Global Tech Mobile

Apple Holds China Smartphone Crown

An Apple store in Shanghai. (Image via Shutterstock)

Media are fixated on a new report showing China’s smartphone sales fell for the first time in this year’s first quarter, in a development that shouldn’t surprise anyone due to the market’s supersaturation. But equally impressive in the report is the ongoing surge of Apple, which managed to hold onto its title as the nation’s leading smartphone brand for a second quarter after stealing the crown from the high-flying Xiaomi. Some may say Apple’s surge is due to timing, since it released its latest iPhones in October, fueling a fourth-quarter sales boom that lingered into the first quarter. That may be partly true, though I personally have to applaud CEO Tim Cook for mounting a very focused campaign to woo both Beijing and average Chinese consumers.   More

Analytics & Data

Satellites, Helped by “the Crowd,” Aid Crises in Nepal and Elsewhere

DigitalGlobe's satellites take high definition photographs of areas hit hard by disaster like Nepal, and volunteers then help identify where roads are impassable, survivors' tarps are located, and determine where aid needs to be sent, and how. Other projects include identifying where farmers are starting dangerous and smoky fires in Indonesia in order to clear forest to plant palm oil trees. DigitalGlobe's Bert Turner spoke to Edie Lush of Techonomy partner Hub Culture during the WEF Latin America event in Mexico.   More

Government Techonomy Events

Techonomy Policy June 9 in DC: the Age of Data Exhaust

Recently Techonomy hosted a dinner in New York, and our guests wanted relentlessly to talk about data. Where will society produce it? How much can we manage? Who will control it? What will they do to us with it? How can individuals retain influence over it? These are elemental questions for our era. They are questions that not only citizens, but government itself needs to be methodically asking. The dinner had nothing to do with our impending Techonomy Policy conference next Tuesday, June 9, in Washington. But it’s no coincidence that the opening session is entitled “Keeping America Innovative In the Age of Data Exhaust.”   More

Techonomy Events

Reflections from Ross: DLD in New York and Policy in DC

(Photo via DLD)

Last week was, as usual, a busy week in New York for the tech, media, and startup community. Burda's DLD conference was in town, as was TechCrunch's Disrupt NY. And it was the Huffington Post's 10th anniversary (celebrated by Arianna and many of her editors at DLD). And, totally unrelated to anything Techonomy, let's not forget the Met Gala. On that DLD session celebrating HuffPo, the editor of HuffPo Canada gave a shout-out to someone they've recently covered—Thiel Fellow, Techonomist, inventor, and entrepreneur Eden Full (who is still only 23 years old). If you haven’t heard of her, check out this short video from Techonomy 2012.   More

Finance

Can Financial Services Use Social Media Right?

(Image via Shutterstock)

Did you know a tenth of HSBC’s workforce is in compliance? Or that the average corporate fine from the U.K.'s financial industry regulator increased nearly seven-fold from 2010 to 2013? Meanwhile, similar trends are being seen in the U.S. and around the world. The regulatory clampdown is happening at the same time that technology is transforming our world. Just this month, New York State’s top financial regulator granted the first license to a Bitcoin exchange, giving it bank-like status. This is technology literally throwing down the gauntlet to our monetary system. Social media is another case in point.   More

Business

Why Asia Matters for LinkedIn

(Image via Shutterstock)

As LinkedIn works to connect all the world’s professionals, CEO Jeff Weiner is increasingly setting his sights on a bigger vision—to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. Since Asia accounts for a large portion of that workforce and a rising share of global economic activity, its importance for the professional network is bound to grow. At Techonomy 2014, Weiner envisioned LinkedIn as a platform that connects all the world’s workers, companies, and educational institutions. This is not an impossible dream. LinkedIn already has more than 364 million registered members globally.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Why Genetic Tests May Call For a Second Opinion

(Image via Shutterstock)

When you get your cholesterol levels after a blood test, you may grumble about the new diet your doctor recommends or the statins you have to take—but you probably don’t wonder whether the levels were wrong. We know clinical lab results are tightly regulated, so we take their accuracy as a given. Assuming the same thing about lab results from a genetic test, however, could be a mistake.   More

Media & Marketing

Empowering Women One Brand at a Time

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Women are everywhere. No surprise, right? They do, after all, make up 50 percent of the world’s population. Yet, everywhere we look, women are a topic of conversation. Michelle Obama’s outfit choices on a recent tour of Japan are proclaimed to break down female stereotypes. Sweaty, jiggling, and fabulous women exercising on our screens chant “This girl can.” A woman’s mob killing in Afghanistan sparks a global #JusticeForFarkhunda movement. The banning of "India’s Daughter," a documentary about the gang rape in Delhi, raises hackles across the globe. Meanwhile, Ellen Pao's lawsuit against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins sheds light on sexism in Silicon Valley, even if she lost.   More

Analytics & Data Global Tech

How Tech Is Helping Relief Efforts in Nepal

(Image via Shutterstock)

As Nepal faces the aftermath of April’s devastating earthquake that claimed over 7,500 lives, technologies like drones, people finders, and crowdsourcing platforms are playing a role in disaster relief. Drones, so often associated with the violence of military warfare, are contributing to emergency-response efforts in Nepal by videoing and mapping the disaster zone. Using thermal sensors and ultra-zoom lenses, camera-equipped drones scan the wreckage and identify survivors. And soon, unmanned aerial vehicles might also be able to deliver critical medical supplies, food, and water to hard-to-reach areas.   More

Government Manufacturing

Driverless Cars Debut Soon—But Will We Be Ready for Them?

(Image via Shutterstock)

Is operating a driverless car legal? With Tesla, Audi, and Cadillac all set to roll out vehicles featuring autonomous functions over the next year—in a legal climate where the federal government and a majority of states lack any regulation at all—the question is difficult to address, but urgently demands an answer. Many automakers say that if a state doesn’t expressly bar hands-free driving, it’s permitted. And legal experts agree. But they also point out that how police officers elect to actually handle driverless cars is another matter.   More

Government Techonomy Events

TE Videos Set Stage for Policy Conference in DC June 9

In June we’re launching a new conference, Techonomy Policy. It will focus on the pressure and friction points created when the speed of tech butts up against the ability of government, governance, regulators, and institutions in general to keep up. We’re trying to regulate things that are completely new, be it the technology itself or the applications it enables. And by the time we start thinking about implications, it’s already too late. Can policy become less reactive and more proactive? And how do you navigate such ethically and politically complex issues with huge economic, social, and moral implications?   More

Government

The Peculiar Charms (and Perils) of Electronic Voting

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It’s remarkable that in a world where it seems everything is becoming more digitized most of the globe still elects their political leaders with pencil and paper. Only a peculiarly-diverse handful of countries—including Belgium, Brazil, India, and Venezuela—use electronic voting machines nationwide. (The U.S. and other countries use them in some areas.) What these countries have discovered is that when you have a robust system the cost of elections falls, people’s votes count more, fraud is cut, and the results are known faster. And, rather extraordinarily, replacing paper with machines can change societies in ways that save lives.   More

Learning

How Tech Fights Problems Caused by Tech

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We live in a time of increasingly obsessive worry that our lives are being worsened by the tech that surrounds us. We are sacrificing our privacy, we hear, as we dwell online. We don't spend enough time with real people and too much instead in virtual interaction. We suffer from shortening attention spans. And on and on. However, there are likely to be endless ways to employ tech to combat the effects of tech that we decide we really do not like. This article in The Chronicle of Higher Education is about tools to reduce distraction while taking online courses. It points toward what's possible. Careful research on students showed that using software to give them incentives not to stop studying really worked.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Could a Microbe Transplant Make You Thinner? (And Other Amazing Things About Bacteria and Antibiotics)

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We are in the earliest days of understanding the human microbiome—the communities of microbes that live in and on our bodies—but already scientists are getting a sense of the incredible complexity of this ecosystem and its interaction with us. These advances were made possible just in the past decade by the latest DNA sequencers and other technologies that can scan and analyze huge numbers of microbes at a time. This understanding may enable radical new techniques for weight control, among other revolutionary implications.   More

Learning

Robots for All

(Image via Leesburg Today)

“Most robotics kits are hundreds or even thousands of dollars, so we wanted to give kids who don’t have that kind of money a chance build their own robots,” Ritvik Jayakumar tells Leesburg Today. The really cool part? Jayakumar isn’t a Silicon Valley whiz (yet) or a crowd-funded entrepreneur (yet). He’s one of nine Ashburn, Virginia, middle-school students on “Team Gear UP!” competing at the FIRST Championship taking place this week in St. Louis, Missouri. One of the program’s elements tasked teams to come up with an innovative solution to improve learning around the world, and before the team knew it, the Craft-A-Bot kit was born.   More

Global Tech Learning

Educators Unite to Build Vietnam’s Tech Talent

Vietnamese student learns game design. (Photo courtesy of Everest Education, Ho Chi Minh City)

Vietnam’s tech industry is booming. For growth to continue, however, Vietnam must cultivate an increasingly skilled tech workforce and develop new capabilities in research, problem solving, and client service. But building such capabilities requires a major mindset shift at educational institutions, which typically emphasize rote learning over problem solving. Such a change will also challenge companies that opt for rigid hierarchy over the flatter structures that encourage creativity and initiative. To overcome these challenges, many Vietnamese tech companies are partnering with educators, NGOs, and government agencies. Although some companies still think of Vietnam as simply a place for cheap labor, the forward-thinking ones know the country has deeper potential.   More

Mobile

What Is MVNO Anyway? Google It …

(Image via Shutterstock)

As anticipation grows around the impending launch of Google’s MVNO service (Mobile Virtual Network Operator, for those of us not in the traditional telecom industry), I think back to the Techonomy session "A Future Without Industries." Google was once easily defined by their core search-engine product, but with its expansion into everything from robotics to glucose-monitoring contact lenses to connected thermostats, it’s hard to put Google into any one box. This isn’t Google’s first connectivity project. Their Google Fiber initiative is looking to redefine Internet and TV in the home.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Techonomy Events Video

Great Short “Bio” Videos from Techonomy’s Chief Program Officer

As we wrapped our second Techonomy Bio conference a couple of weeks ago, it got me thinking about how many interesting “bio” related 180s we've produced in recent years. Our “180° Talks” are three-minute presentations in which the speaker aims to change the audience’s mind about a generally accepted paradigm, or tells us about something they’ve reversed their thinking about. My all time favourite is from Techonomy 2011. Andrew Hessel, then at Singularity University and now at Autodesk, spoke about biotech, procreation, computer-assisted genetic design, and his decision to get a vasectomy.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Your Next Prescription Could Be a Genome Sequence

(Image via Shutterstock)

At Advances in Genome Biology and Technology, a conference for genomic scientists held earlier this year, one speaker told attendees that the use of genome sequencing to improve patient care is no longer a far-off goal—it’s happening today. While you won’t encounter genome sequencing on an average visit to the ER, there are certain clinical areas where this technology has indeed become routine: cancer, pediatric care, the diagnosis and treatment of ultra rare diseases, and a few others.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare Techonomy Events

How Techonomy Bio Inspired My Southeast Asian Healthcare Journey

A sign for a Thai pharmacy. (Photo by Will Greene)

Last year, I watched the inaugural Techonomy Bio conference from a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. At the time, I was working on my first healthcare consulting project—a market research study for German medical device manufacturers interested in Vietnam. I spent my days interviewing suppliers, distributors, purchasers, regulators, and other stakeholders, trying to make sense of the snarled Vietnamese healthcare system. Due to the time difference between Vietnam and America, I couldn’t catch the live webcast of the conference, but in the week after the event, I ended each day by kicking up my feet and watching video footage of the 2014 conference sessions on my laptop. Watching those videos hammered home the fact that in both developed and developing countries, much of modern healthcare is fundamentally broken.   More