tech innovation

IBM Predicts Five Technologies That Will Change the World in the Next Five Years

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 17, 2013 05:43 PM

As the year readies to close out, it's time for the annual onslaught of year-end lists of best ofs, worst ofs, and 2014 look-aheads. So in due course, IBM has released its annual 5 in 5 annual technology predictions, highlighting what the company thinks will come to the forefront in the next five years. 

“We try to get a sense of where the world is going because that focuses where we put our efforts,” Bernie Meyerson, VP Innovation at IBM, told VentureBeat. “The harder part is nailing down what you want to focus on. Unless you stick your neck out and say this is where the world is going, it’s hard to turn around and say you will get there first. These are seminal shifts. We want to be there, enabling them.”

Among the expected innovations in cloud computing and smarter cities, IBM expects there to be significant changes in the way the medical community treats illness, and how our digital lives are made more secure.

The new list of tech trends and innovations that IBM expects to impact our lives in the years ahead:Continue reading...

tech innovation

Samsung Can Power Galaxy for Days, But Could It Power an Electric Vehicle?

Posted by Dale Buss on December 17, 2013 01:54 PM

Despite the best efforts of everyone from A123 Systems to Tesla, electric vehicles have continued to face a problem: It's just too darn hard to come up with new batteries that can add significantly—much less by multiples—to the range of today's vehicles on a single charge. 

And no matter what other smoke and mirrors and government subsidies are propping up the technology these days, that central reality will continue to hamper EV sales until it changes.

That's why some are hopeful that the potential entry of Samsung into EV technology could eventually become a game-changer. If the company that lately has been outflanking even Apple with its smartphones could apply some of that same innovation and moxie to the challenge of long-range battery systems for automobiles, maybe it could lead to a breakthrough that could move battery-powered vehicles from niche to mainstream.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Is Google Planning a Robot Revolution? Company Acquires Maker of Eerie Military Bots

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 16, 2013 07:07 PM

Boston Dynamics builds robots that mimic the movements of humans and animals “with stunning dexterity and speed"—products widely used for dangerous military operations. So what does Google want with them?, and Google just acquired them. 

Apparently it has a plan, as the the Massachusetts-based company became the eighth robotics company snapped up by the Silicon Valley giant in the last six months in an undisclosed initiative led by former Android chief Andy Rubin. Its portfolio previously included Autofuss, Bot & Dolly, Schaft, Industrial Perception, Meka, Redwood Robotics and Holomni.

As web-based companies push back into the real world of fulfillment, robotics is heating up—a concept most recently demonstrated by Amazon, which announced the development of Prime Air delivery drones earlier this month. Amazon paid $775 million for Kiva Systems last year to automate its fulfillment centers.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Facebook Wants More Social Intelligence – Artificially

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 11, 2013 11:10 AM

Facebook’s hiring of Yann LeCun, among the world’s most prominent artificial-intelligence researchers, to spearhead a massive cross-company initiative, “points to a new layer in Facebook’s ambitions, as well as a shift in the research and development of artificial intelligence,” The New Yorker writes

LeCun, a New York University professor of computer and neural sciences posted on Facebook: 

Big news today!

Facebook has created a new research laboratory with the ambitious, long-term goal of bringing about major advances in Artificial Intelligence.

I am thrilled to announce that I have accepted the position of director of this new lab. I will remain a professor at New York University on a part-time basis, and will maintain research and teaching activities at NYU.

Simultaneously, Facebook and New York University's Center for Data Science are entering a partnership to carry out research in data science, machine learning, and AI.

The application of machine-learning vis a vis social content opens the spectrum for enhanced targeted ads and news feed improvements short-term, and beyond that, LeCun’s background amplifies the longer-term possibilities for Facebook, and others mining AI. Continue reading...

tech innovation

Apple Set to Lift Off as New 'Spaceship' Campus Gets Green Light to Break Ground

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 22, 2013 11:15 AM

Apple will soon begin building Steve Job’s visionary "spaceship" campus as the Cupertino, Calif. City Council unanimously approved building plans last week. 

"Steve transformed Apple into one of the most innovative companies in the world and we understand the responsibilities that come from carrying his legacy forward with this project," Dan Whisenhunt, Apple's head of real estate and facilities told the Council. "We've designed it with the same care and attention to detail as we do with all Apple products."

The 2.8 million-square-foot circular headquarters, due to be completed by 2016, will have four floors, an exterior made almost entirely of curved glass, and enough space for 14,200 employees, close to three times the number previously working on the site.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Pressed to Improve Results, P&G Turns to Its 'New-Age Plastic'

Posted by Dale Buss on October 21, 2013 03:39 PM

Procter & Gamble long has relied on innovation to shake things up with new products and features that gain sales and market share and even create new brands, like Pampers disposable diapers, Swiffer, and Crest White Strips. During his first tenure as CEO, many of those innovations came from A.G. Lafley.

Now, in his second turn at the top, Lafley reportedly is pushing acceleration of a "new-age plastic" developed internally by P&G with a "high-velocity injection molding" system that could save the CPG giant alone $1 billion in cost savings—and result in the establishment of a colossal B2B business selling the revolutionary material to non-competitive customers.

"P&G's patent applications say its manufacturing system can make packages with material as much as 75 percent thinner than existing ones," Advertising Age said about the new material. "The technology also makes it easier to use recycled resins or plant-based alternatives to petrochemicals and will help P&G make packages more recyclable because it allows caps and closures to be made from the same material as the rest of the package."Continue reading...

tech innovation

Marriott, Valpak Take Advantage of Augmented Reality Marketing Opportunities

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 17, 2013 06:27 PM

Among marketers, augmented reality is becoming almost pedestrian. Two diverse brands, Marriott and Valpak, have both incorporated it into recent campaigns.

Marriott is pairing a futuristic redesign of its hotel lobbies, replete with tech-enabled work spaces, with an AR ad in Wired magazine, part of its Travel Brilliantly campaign that is “re-imagining the future of travel."

Consumers can scan the ad with the Blippar app to view a video that show's the hotel’s innovations. “More than just a picture, this campaign truly captures the look and feel of the Marriott brand,” Lisa Hu, VP/GM Blippar told Mobile Marketer. “For a hospitality brand, video is the perfect way to showcase the sights and sounds of vibrant cultures that are paired with a welcoming place to stay. Marriott chose to utilize their unique video content in order to bring the augmented reality experience to life.”

Mobile video is performing well as an engagement factor according to a recent Unruly report that saw click-through-rates for mobile video ads triple in the last year.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Ford, University of Michigan Open R&D Lab for Electric Car Batteries

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 14, 2013 12:37 PM

Ford is just the latest in a long line of global companies that are taking advantage of enterprising startups and universities to help drive innovation. Ford has teamed up with the University of Michigan to create a battery lab that will focus on research and development of a cheaper, more efficient battery that will make electric cars more affordable—a major hurdle facing the car industry as it tries to turn the technology mainstream. 

The $8 million lab is one that will uniquely cater to the auto industry, as most battery labs often don't relay their findings to the industry until late in the production process, essentially stifling innovation, according to the Detroit Free Press.  

“There is nothing like it in the industry,” said Anand Sankaran, chief engineer for energy storage and hybrid systems for Ford, which contributed $2.1 million, adding to $5 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and about $900,000 from the Univ. of Michigan College of Engineering.Continue reading...

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