E-Commerce Global Tech

Alibaba’s Logistics Gamble: Difficulty Ahead

Say the word “logistics” in any conversation and you’ll almost inevitably put anyone listening to sleep. But the concept is hardly a boring one in China’s hyper-competitive e-commerce space, where industry leader Alibaba has just announced a massive 100 billion yuan ($16.3 billion) plan to build up its logistics network over the next few years. To me this plan looks like a direct response to similar recent moves by e-commerce names like Jingdong, Tencent, and Amazon, which are aggressively building logistics networks with an aim of reducing delivery times to two hours or less.   More

Global Tech

A Farewell: The Professor Who Made India a Tech Power

A remarkable character in the history of technology died this week in Bangalore. Few in the West have even heard of him, yet every Indian technology company, every U.S. corporation that ever sent software development to India, and in fact the entire globalized world-is-flat economy owes him a debt of gratitude. Padma Bhushan N. Seshagiri was an unlikely tech industry hero. While doing a project in India over the past 18 months, I got to know him a little. He struck me as brash, brilliant, and nerdy. When he talked about all of the incredible behind-the-scenes roles he played in launching the Indian tech sector, I at first thought he had an overblown sense of himself. It turns out he didn’t.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Why Medical Research Does Big Data Wrong

(image via Shutterstock)

Medicine is among many sectors waiting to be transformed by big data, we often hear. Conducting global studies of disease progression, integrating health records electronically, or analyzing petabyte-size banks of DNA sequence data should hasten the pace of medical discovery and lead to faster cures, the thinking goes. Not so fast, says computational biologist Michael Liebman. Health information is only as useful as the thought that went into gathering it. And Liebman says not enough thought is being applied to what data should be collected in healthcare.   More

Business Global Tech

XO’s Carley Roney on Going Mobile in China

At a Dell Women’s Entrepreneurship Network dinner, Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick spoke with Carley Roney about XO's entry into China. Roney notes that China is the biggest wedding market in the world, with ten million marriages each year. But launching The Knot's online platform in China was more difficult than expected, because Chinese consumers already expect full mobile integration. "What was interesting was how far advanced they were from a technological perspective," says Roney. "So there we were thinking we were going to import our knowledge, and then we were like, 'Hey, do any of your engineers on the mobile side want to give us any ideas?'" The Chinese version of The Knot, ijie.com (which tranlates as "Love Knot"), launched in late 2010.   More

Business

Your Therapist Will See You Now … On Skype

"Even Google cannot answer every query." That's one of 10 reasons the new online platform TalkSession gives for why a teletherapy session with one of its mental health professionals could be good for you. And the fact that the Affordable Care Act will soon give tens of millions more Americans access to mental health insurance coverage is one of the top reasons this business idea to match patients with therapists online stands a chance.   More

Lab: IOE 13 Internet of Things Video

How Facebook Connects You to Everything

It's called the Internet of Everything rather than of "things," because it is increasingly apparent that we are part of an interlaced reality. Whether it's a Fitbit, video memory augmentation, apps that connect our friends to our whereabouts in our car, or a panoply of other kinds of intersections, Facebook is central. It is the main connection mechanism for people. In this session from the May 15 Techonomy Lab: Man, Machines, and the Network in Menlo Park, Calif., Facebook's head of mobile, Cory Ondrejka, talks with Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick how the company sees its role.   More

Lab: IOE 13 Internet of Things Video

Constructing the Physical Graph

Your smart phone is a remote control for your life, waiting to be programmed and capable of integrating profound intelligence into the “dumb” objects you use every day. Alex Hawkinson of SmartThings, a company that aims to bring this control to the average, non-technologist consumer, explored the possibilities for connectedness at our May 16 Techonomy Lab: Man, Machines, and The Network in Menlo Park, Calif. “Anything that can be connected for a purpose, will be connected,” Hawkinson explains, showing how a light can be triggered by an opening door. Beyond demonstrating basic features, Hawkinson describes his vision for a safer, healthier, more energy-efficient life, in which you can “automate the whole arc of your day in sort of a Jetsons-like way.”   More

Lab: IOE 13 Internet of Things Video

Your Life Is in the Internet of Everything

Gordon Bell is one of the great men of technology. Not only has he invented or participated in much of the Net's evolution, but now, as a top Microsoft researcher, he has passionately embraced the effort to track himself with tech, augment his memory with images, and integrate himself into the network. Joining Bell in this discussion from Techonomy Lab: Man, Machines, and the Internet, held on May 16 in Menlo Park, Calif., is Geoff Hollingworth of Ericsson, a radical thinker and exponent of the significance of the coming world of interconnection. Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick moderates the discussion.   More

Lab: IOE 13 Internet of Things Video

Internet + Everything = ?

As connectivity and intelligence spreads everywhere, a new set of interrelationships emerges between machines, people, processes, and the network. What does that mean for society? The biggest companies are rethinking business in the face of explosive change. In this video from our May 16 Techonomy Lab: Man, Machines, and the Network in Menlo Park, Calif., Rob Chandhok of Qualcomm Internet Services, Cisco's Dave Evans, Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick, Paul Rogers of GE Global Software, and Ford's Vijay Sankaran discuss the implications of the nascent Internet of Everything for business and society.   More

Lab: IOE 13 Internet of Things Video

The Internet of … the Universe

Peter Platzer, CEO of NanoSatisfi, wants the public to revise how it thinks about satellites. At our May 16 Techonomy Lab: Man, Machines, and The Network in Menlo Park, Calif., Platzer explained that the satellites people normally think of—big, bulky, exorbitantly expensive, and reserved for the military and government—are in actuality decades outdated. He equates the most modern satellite being flown by the U.S. military today to a “Pentium 2 running Windows 98,” using technology that’s far from cutting edge. With successful prototypes for smaller, cheaper, more connected satellites, NanoSatisfi imagines "The Internet of the Universe" and a reality that allows even the average person to be in control of a satellite.   More

Global Tech Startup Culture

Beirut—yes Beirut—Has a Vibrant, Growing Tech Scene

Beirut image via Shutterstock

OK, Beirut, Lebanon may not yet be a startup hub like Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, or even Dubai. But recent success stories suggest that the Middle Eastern city is emerging as a serious contender. They include event-ticketing and crowfunding platform Presella, mobile music app Anghami, and local tech darling Instabeat, a swim-goggle-mounted heart-rate monitor. “You can get a feel that there is a community developing,” says Rabih Nassar, founder of element^n, a company that provides cloud platform services. “There are a lot of ideas, a lot of young people who want to jump in.”   More

Business

Red Flags About Google Glass Hyperventilation

It's one of the defining technologies of our day, already, even though it's not even really released. Everybody has a question or a complaint about Google Glass. Whether you think them cool or creepy, the combination of the technology's potential and the fact that Google is the vendor has the world reacting. Sage observer Larry Downes argues in Harvard Business Review that there is no stopping this tech. But he makes note of calls to regulate it, much like governments that initially insisted someone walk in front of early cars carrying a red flag to warn horse-riders of the oncoming danger. Congress and governments generally seem to have no clue this time, either. Google, meanwhile, is saying nothing.   More

Business Manufacturing

Could Crowdsourcing Make Better Cars?

Co-created cars could have better cupholder designs, among other features.

Whoever designed my car doesn't drink coffee during their morning commute. Otherwise they'd never have put the cupholder in front of the gear stick. The manufacturer of my next car might actually be interested in my input. According to a report out this week from consulting giant PwC, co-creation is a growing trend in the automotive industry.   More

Global Tech Government

Using Tech to Anticipate Tornado Strikes

iStock_000018566764XSmall

Approximately 16 minutes before the massive twister struck Oklahoma on Monday, meteorologists used satellites and radars to issue a tornado warning in Oklahoma City. Sixteen minutes may not be much time—but it’s certainly a major advance from 30 years ago, when the average lead time was five minutes. In the 1950s, it was even illegal to predict tornadoes because of the uncertainty and panic that could result from a false forecast. Those 11 additional minutes likely saved more lives as people burrowed into safety shelters and basements. But imagine if they had as much as 30 minutes or more.   More

Finance

Look Who’s Crowdfunding Now

220px-Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore

The world’s most famous real-estate mogul, Donald Trump, is jumping into the crowdfunding fray. Trump has partnered with Bill Zanker, founder of The Learning Annex, to create FundAnything, a crowdfunding platform that allows people to create campaigns for any amount of money in various categories—creative arts, causes, personal pursuits, business ideas. The site charges a nine percent commission, returning four percent to the creator if the fundraising goal is achieved. FundAnything also enables entrepreneurs to offer non-financial rewards in exchange for donations.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Qihoo, Alibaba Tie-Up Set For Turbulence

Alibaba's eTao ties up with Qihoo

A sudden rush to form new partnerships on China’s Internet is creating some interesting new tie-ups, including the latest one that is seeing e-commerce leader Alibaba join with security software firm Qihoo 360 in the e-commerce search space. This new pair-up actually seems relatively minor, with Qihoo using Alibaba’s specialized eTao search engine to power e-commerce searches on Qihoo’s own so.com general search site. This kind of tie-up isn’t all that uncommon in search, where portals and other companies that want to include a search function on their home page often license a third party’s engine like Google’s or Baidu’s for the job.   More

Jobs Learning Opinion

Class of 2013: Narcissism or Altruism? In a World of Abundance, Time to Decide

Graduation image via Shutterstock

I'm jealous of anyone graduating college today. You are stepping as a newly-burnished adult into an era of unprecedented promise, innovation, and opportunity. The world you will witness and contribute to can be fairer, wealthier, and more peaceful than any that people have ever known. What makes all these glories possible is the exponential pace of change driven by technology. Your generation takes that for granted, and revels in it. But it makes those older than you deeply uncomfortable, and many simply refuse to see it. That puts a lot of responsibility on you.   More

Energy & Green Tech Global Tech

Dutch Eco-Engineering: Using Nature to Protect Against Climate Change

Zandmotor vlucht-711-04-2011foto: Rijkswaterstaat/Joop van Houdt

Necessity truly is the mother of invention. With almost three quarters of the Netherlands at or below sea level, Dutch engineers are finding new ways to protect themselves from the increasing threat of floods due to climate change by using nature as a defense against rising tides. For example, the Sand Engine is a vast reservoir of sand continually cultivated to protect eroding beaches,   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Tencent, Walmart Heat up China E-Commerce

New moves from Internet giant Tencent and global retailer Walmart are turning up the competition in China’s e-commerce wars, which are quickly becoming a contest to see who can outspend whom. Both of these latest initiatives look quite pricey, especially Tencent’s move that will see it roll out an ultra-fast product delivery program. WalMart, meantime, is pouring big money into a campaign to build a new in-house clothing brand for its recently acquired Yihaodian online store. The current trends are a bit worrisome, as they indicate no near-term easing in China’s e-commerce price wars that have raged for about two years now.   More