Browsing Posts in Technology Verticals

It's always interesting to watch the evolution of a new technological space. How the companies that have embraced and focused on that single idea are now blossoming into producing very viable products. I've been watching the development of AR and VR quite a bit and it's interesting to see how some of the larger tech' "power houses" (Google, Facebook, Microsoft) are now aligning themselves in preparation for it's potential mainstream adoption.

Microsoft was pretty quick to announce it's work on HoloLens and Facebook made a very public announcement of it's acquisition of Oculus VR.

Two other AR companies I've been really excited to see progression with are Meta's "Space Glasses" and Magic Leap. The later of which has recently been supported with huge investment and interest from Google and more recently rumor of potential backing from Alibaba.

I think there is a very strong consensus that, AR specifically, could replace and/or compliment traditional desktops and that larger tech' companies have been watching start ups from afar to see which one's offered the most promise and real-world application. There is a natural marriage between Google Glass and Magic Leap and with Google committed to the Enterprise with Google App's it makes sense that they would want to compete with Microsoft on AR turf.

In terms of investing, 3D printing demonstrated that new tech' should be approached with caution. Stratasys and Makerbot (and their subsequent merger) tried to exemplify that this technology has real applications and growth potential, but unfortunately that just isn't being realized at the minute. I do foresee a day when 3D printers will be as common in residential applications as inkjet and laser printers are today, but just not right now.

With AR though; I feel like something is different, that there is a huge driving force to realize this technology. Just as Military and Space Programs have traditionally been the main drivers of technological innovation I feel that, subjectively and with any opinion aside, online pornography will be a huge catalyst in propelling, specifically, VR technology mainstream.

AR could be totally transformative in how we use technology today. I'm pretty excited to see how this "space" plays out.

Back in January 2014 I wrote a quick piece predicting there will be a big play between the three tech' power houses to get inside your car. Apple ($AAPL) with CarPlay, Google ($GOOG) with #AndroidAuto and it's "Open Auto Alliance" and Microsoft ($MSFT) with Sync.

In yesterday's WWDC convention Apple's Craig Federighi announced a few big new features for CarPlay. It was crammed into the final few minutes of a conference largely focusing on the updates coming in iOS9, but it was these final minutes that said more about Apple's futures, to me, than with the announcement of it's Streaming Music Service.

CarPlay is adding support for different display sizes, automaker apps, and wireless. The "automaker apps" component is huge. It bridges the gap between the Car's native OS and third-party OS like CarPlay, AndroidAuto and Sync.

Already Google and Microsoft are loosing out. Apple dominated in the smartphone sector the same way, Google and Microsoft are still trying to catch up. Microsoft and Google both had hardware/software but Apple secured mass market by taking a technology problem and packaging it in a way that is easy and intuitive to use. The same thing is happening with Car operating systems. Microsoft have had Sync' running in Ford for years now but it's still this bloated, complicated OS. Google are still trying to secure larger adoption, it's introduction into Tesla $TSLA cars could be huge, but Apple has quietly been working on an all inclusive product for cars.

TALOS is back in tech-news today as it's announced that LegacyFX, the company that developed Tony Stark's Iron Man suit for Hollywood is now working alongside Ekso Bionics to help the US Military deliver on TALOS, or Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit.

This got me thinking about some broader technologies emerging. A while ago I wrote an article on the slow, but increasing overlap between humans and technology. Augmented reality, wearable technology. Touch and gesture. Sensory peripheral technology and for a while now the exploration of technology focusing on human motor skills, mobility and enhancement.

Whilst the prospect of TALOS sounds incredible, the military applications are both equally consequential as they are amazing, however military technology is often responsible for rapid advances in day-to-day technology. ReWalk, an Israeli start-up, now with offices in the US and Germany, is making huge advances in the medical application of exoskeletons. Their products have been the first in this sector to pass FDA approval and offer people with motor disabilities the opportunity to, for example, walk again.

I think the future of Exoskeletons is just as exciting as driver-less cars.

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