Chetan Sharma: The Connected Intelligence Era & The Golden Age of Mobile

Some fantastic stuff in here. About 35 pages in total. Covers (mostly) future mobile enablement of the Internet of Things/Connected Intelligence/Contextual Internet/whatever you want to call it. Are we at the tail end of the Golden Age of Mobile? Or will this era of connected intelligence be its own cycle?

Also, some really good insights into the mobile stack and the relationship between the last mile of connectivity, the API/enabling layer and the software at the top of the stack. The paper ends with a look at this revolution from a policy standpoint: how jobs will be affected, in what sectors and what policymakers will ultimately be able to do to maximize the benefits and mitigate the potential damage.

Noke is a Bluetooth padlock you unlock with your phone (@venturebeat)

Oh, the ‘ol padlock. At this time of year it is on the back to school shopping lists of millions of students. It’s also the inspiration behind the Noke by Fuz Designs, the latest runaway success project on Kickstarter.

If this sounds similar to another Bluetooth lock Kickstarter project, that’s because it is. A Canadian company called Total North started a Kickstarter project last year for its Teo lock. Unfortunately, the campaign fell short of its funding goal.

What are the differences between Teo and Noke? Several, according to the article: mostly related to design and price:

Total North’s Teo has a decidedly unorthodox design, looking more like the unholy offspring of a door handle and a large Ikea hex key than a traditional padlock. Not ugly by anyone’s standards, just a little odd. Gibbs thought so too, saying, “Their design missed in a few areas. They show a clip in their video with it on a locker and it just doesn’t look quite right.”

Fuz Designs’ Noke on the other hand, is a kindred spirit to the Nest Thermostat in the sense that it distills the classic combination lock down to its simplest elements: A round body and u-shaped shackle that latches vertically and swivels side-to-side.

On price:

“I think price point is huge difference. Ours is much more in the range that is acceptable for product like this. Also [the Teo] was based out of Canada so anyone in the U.S. who wanted one would have to pay the $15 in shipping,” Gibbs points out. No question about it — $59 with shipping included is easier to swallow than $79+ $15 for shipping. Unless you’re Canadian.

The Kickstarter can be found here, if you’d like to donate. The campaign has already reached it’s funding goal and is at just over $145k as of this writing.

Sensors And Sensitivity (@techcrunch)

While this tech sounds very smart indeed, what’s even more interesting — from a tech trends perspective — is the growing potential of this anti-wearables approach of invisibly embedding sensors into objects with which humans interact.

So instead of having our bodies cluttered with electronic bangles that continuously quantify our existence, there’s an opportunity for more targeted applications of sensor technology, based on locating it in proximity to us — within objects we use, handle and interact with for specific purposes.

The key though, as with wearables, is the ability to have these sensors talk to one another in order to gather relevant data sets. Whether these devices end up on our bodies or the objects we interact with, isn’t really the point; although for those building this kind of hardware, working with companies to build these sensors directly into products their selling rather than selling directly to the consumer might be the way forward for mass adoption.

Samsung To Scoop Up SmartThings For Around $200 Million (@techcrunch)

Google has Nest, Apple has HomeKit and Samsung has…SmartThings, we’re hearing. The deal was completed for around $200 million dollars, though it might have been less according to one source.

SmartThings is in the home automation space, and allows you to connect devices like lights and doorlocks to a system controlled by your mobile phone. It has raised over $15 millionfrom investors including Greylock, Highland Capital, First Round Capital, SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, Yuri Milner’s Start Fund, David Tisch, A-Grade Investments, CrunchFund* and Box Group.

Dylan’s Desk: The last thing I need is an interactive refrigerator (@venturebeat)

Funny rant about a number of things, but mostly Internet of Things-related, at least in the beginning:

Appliance makers can’t seem to figure this out. This year at the International CES trade show — one of the world’s biggest electronics events, happening this week in Las Vegas — LG Electronics is proudly showing off an interactive fridge. It’s equipped with something LG calls HomeChat, as if chatting wasn’t something that people haven’t already been doing at home for millennia without LG’s help, thank you very much. In a video, LG showed an actor talking to his fridge, asking if any beer was inside — and the fridge answered. LG also showed how you could do things like send a text message to your vacuum.

Yeah, I don’t think you’ll see voice recognition baked into smart appliances once they hit the mass market. By the time they do, I’d expect there to be several “central hub” locations that will play nice with Apple & Android to allow for those commands to be facilitated from your smartphone straight to the appliance, should you choose to do so. Whether or not there’s any utility in that, to me, misses the point because voice recognition is only the vehicle that gets me to my destination. I see the ultimate use case in these smart devices to be one in which I’m no longer at the mercy of my own (faulty) memory for timing the device, replenishing it, fixing it etc.

My car (my real one!), for example, lets me know what my oil life % is down to and when I need to bring it in for service. So would having my fridge send a notification to my phone to let me know I’m low on milk before I drive home from work be a useful thing? Absolutely. That’s a huge time saver that pays for itself the first few times it happens.

And what if you WERE able to send a message to a vacuum, particularly a Roomba or a similar device? You want to bring company over impromptu and you want the floor cleaned prior to their arrival. Another beneficial use case.

I think the author is a little overly hung up on the voice recognition aspect rather than the practical application of connected devices.