Tag Archives: technology

Will Google Glass Change the Workplace?

11 Jun
Google Glass

Google Glass
Image: giuseppe.costantino via Flickr CC

The new Google Glass is a pair of what looks like hi-tech clear sunglasses, when in reality it is a new, wearable screen that will allow you to interact on the web with even more ease.  Google Glass’s software will customize what you see based on your search history and Google usage, basically eliminating your need to search for your everyday information, such as flight times, messages or schedules.  Other applications suggested for the usage would be seeing instant translation subtitles while watching your favorite foreign film, getting directions from your point of view, and recording unique videos and pictures.

While the idea seems novel, highly advanced and sometimes frightening, Google insists that Glass is simply a way of streamlining and increases access to what you can already do with your smartphone. In fact, many of Glass’ applications, such as a GPS, will only work by being connected to your phone.

However, there are definitely some things about Glass that may give early adopters in business a leg up.  One is the ability for Glass to identify people, so when you are meeting new prospects you can be looking at their social media profile and have plenty of information about them, thus coming off more friendly and prepared.

Google Glass prototype 2012

Google Glass prototype 2012
Image: Antonia Zugaldia / Ars Electronica via Flickr CC

Obviously, Glass can also remind you of when you need to switch one task to the other, tell you to go to meetings even if you aren’t in front of your computer, and streamline your email process.  Other applications for Glass at work are speculated to be on the way. Google is already working on an Evernote app, a highly respected productivity application on many platforms.  It is clear the intention is to help boost workplace productivity, but whether offices will accept the new form of technology remains to be seen.

Hulu Bids Are In: But Will They Sell?

30 May
hulu

Is Hulu up for grabs?
Image: Hulu

The subscription TV service Hulu is potentially up for grabs, and everyone seems to be rushing to get a bid in. Last year the company brought in nearly $700 million in revenue from ads and paying subscribers (of which there are about 4 million), so it’s likely that they will be looking for bids of $1 billion or more.

Hulu is currently owned by three different companies: News Corp., Walt Disney Co., and Comcast Corp. While Comcast operates as a “silent” partner, Walt Disney and News Corp. have disagreed on a strategy for the company. This difference in opinion has likely been a main driver in the sale. The shared ownership makes for a tricky situation for buyers, since one, two, or all three can independently decide whether or not to sell.

So who is knocking on Hulu’s door? Everyone is, it seems. Yahoo, who recently acquired Tumbler for a pricey $1 billion, has put in a bid, as has Silver Lake Management teamed with WME Entertainment. Private equity firm KKR, led by business leaders Henry Kravis and George Roberts, has also reportedly put in a bid.

netflix

Hulu, like Netflix, is a leader in next generation television.
Image: Netflix

Time Warner Cable, DirectTV, the Chernin Group, and Guggenheim Digital Media have all also shown an interest, according to inside sources. For each of the bidders and potential bidders, there is a wide array of benefits to acquiring Hulu. Yahoo likely sees this as a chance to get more involved with video media, as Google has done with YouTube. Cable and media companies would probably use the service as a way to distribute media in the future, and companies like Henry Kravis’ KKR are likely interested in the growth potential of Hulu as compared to competitor Netflix.

Will Hulu’s owners actually sell? The bids would have to be high, but we already know that some companies (like Yahoo) are willing to pay a big chunk of money for future investments, so long as they see it paying off in the long term.

3D Printing Opens Worlds of Possibility for Entrepreneurs

16 May

As the price of 3D printers continues to drop and sales increase, new services are opening up to anyone who has an idea.  Suddenly, the jumping through hoops process of creating a prototype have disappeared.  No longer do people have to suffer the lack of flexibility of manufacturing plants commit to buying 50,000 copies of their own invention just to get it to market.

Now, services like Shapeways can make your design idea a reality almost immediately.  Some of their applications simply make a black and white drawing into a 3D model, with no extra technical knowledge on your part required.  Shapeways will even sell your design for you in their online marketplace if you choose.  With 8 different materials to print with, the possibilities are abundant and everything from art and jewelry to machine parts and tools can become a reality.

A start-up called Kor Ecologic has designed a car using 3D printers that is aimed to be the world’s greenest car. Urbee, as it is named, is lightweight, aerodynamic and requires little material and labor compared to other cars manufactured today.  The car comes with a solar kit for garage rooftops to recharge the battery.  Someday, surely every city will have small companies making custom cars to order out of someone’s garage.  Urbee is just one example of how 3D printing will eliminate manufacturing competition overseas, re-localize economies, and even the playing field for small businesses and start-ups.

The Urbee from Shapeways is being called the "world's greenest car" Image: solidsmack.com

The Urbee from Shapeways is being called the “world’s greenest car”
Image: solidsmack.com

The wonder of this technology is not without its demons.  Recently, a group called Defense Distributed posted plans for printing a gun on a 3D printer online.  The plans had over 100,000 downloads before the U.S. State Department ordered the group to remove the plans.  Such actions and other thoughts have put 3D printing in the hot seat for ethical debate.  Is a system that is easier to exploit mean there will be more abuse than what we experience now? It is hard to say.  Surely, the benefits to social equality and sustainability will outweigh any negative effects the technology could have.  New technology is always met with challenges and hurdles, but one thing is for sure: 3D printing will change our world.

Lessons from Google applicable to small businesses

12 Jun

Google is redefining big business in today’s technology world. While it sounds impossible, Google is one of the companies that some suspect may someday overpower Microsoft as the biggest name in the technology business. While most people believe that this puts Google as untouchable as Microsoft, it’s important to remember that Google was just a small garage business when it started. There are mantras in Google that can teach any business in any field some important lessons.

The first is to launch, and iterate. The most intelligent people in the world will never truly know how the public will react to a new innovation. For proof of this, one need only simply look at, say, Microsoft’s Zune. While the Zune had many useful features and was very user friendly, it simply did not take off with music lovers all over the world. There are many stories like this where a product has millions poured in to its development, but the public simply didn’t take. Google puts an imperfect product on the market, and constantly works to perfect it with the added benefit of consumer input. While failure, as another Mantra states, is inevitable, it’s important to look at it as a learning experience rather than a hurdle.

Google’s done a great job of putting innovation before their own pride, and have benefitted greatly for it. Anyone looking to be the next Microsoft or Google need only remember that failure isn’t the end for a company or product, it’s simply a new beginning.