Sure, we have our Roombas and a few AR Drones here and there, but researchers expect that we’ll have many more – and better – robots within the next few years and that the overall market should hit $6.5 billion by 2017.
According to ABI Research’s Consumer Electronics Research Service, the consumer robotics market is currently at about $1.6 billion and growing. A slow economy and fairly expensive parts has stagnated things for the time being but improved devices and more interesting implementations – home helper robots, for example – could push the market up considerably.
As we’ve seen in our visit with Bossa Nova Robotics, devices like the Mobi ball bot can move through crowded spaces and help out in unique situations. While it’s still no Rosie the Robot, I could imagine a cleaning bot that could also help move heavy objects as a team effort and robots that can inspect chimneys and drains. Interestingly, the problem of safety begins to crop up when talking about consumer robotics.
Obviously the question remains: did the robots start the fire on purpose?
It’s been successful in Europe and has been positioned for a big push in the U.S. But an unexpected turn of events has lead to an investment by a Hollywood star in the form of a new undisclosed investment by actress Jada Pinkett Smith.
She actually discovered the app after her daughter Willow began using it fall of 2012 and realised it might dovetail with her work as an advocate for the rights of human trafficking victims, given that bSafe is all about personal safety.
Bipper founder Silje Vallestad, who moved to the U.S. last year, received an out-of-the-blue call from Hollywood and the deal was sealed at the Smith family residence at a lunch event with First Lady, Michelle Obama. Every day stuff really…
Initially Smith was to promote the launch of Bipper’s safety products, bSafe and MobileKids, in the U.S., but ended up investing as well.
In a statement Pinkett Smith said: “”bSafe is a safety service that can easily be used by anyone… I chose it because I saw the potential to solve real problems for kids, parents, and anyone looking to increase their overall safety. I have great confidence in Silje and her team and look forward to working closely with them to increase the reach and impact of an already fantastic security tool.”
bSafe has competition in the form of PanicGuard, an app which sounds an alarm, will SMS a contact, start recording video and track your location. But it’s expensive ($6 a month), and hasn’t had the growth of bSafe.
The service (which costs $2 per month or $20 yearly) alerts your friends or family when you hit the panic button on the app, but also secures evidence and broadcasts a time-stamped video recording to them and sends them a map with your location. It additionally allows you friends to follow you home with live GPS tracking, broadcast just one location, and a ‘Fake Call’ feature makes the phone ring like a real phone call to help the user get out of an uncomfortable situation.
Founder Silje Vallestad has now moved to the U.S. to fund-raise a Series A round to take the service global.
See the article here: Bipper App Lands Hollywood Investment, Courtesy Of Actress Jada Pinkett Smith
The National Rifle Association must have a media mole inside its executive team directing the organization to conjure up the most incendiary policies imaginable. Today, the NRA released a mobile first-person shooter game for Apple’s iOS, suitable for children as young as 4 years old. Just in case that didn’t offend enough people, children can purchase military-grade assault weapons for the price of a pack of gum, if a simple pistol doesn’t satisfy their young trigger fingers.
Apple rated the game suitable for children 4+ because the app is entirely devoted to non-human targets, like practice dummies and skeet disks. Additionally, NRA: Practice Range offers a litany of insightful gun safety tips, such as this gem: “Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.”
All of this may be perfectly defensible in the name of proliferating gun safety. Or, in the words of the official game description: “It strikes the right balance of gaming and safety education, allowing you to enjoy the most authentic experience possible.”
But, why (why?!?!) would the NRA profiteer from the very assault weapons its attempting to protect by charging children money to purchase them? The meager amount of profit made from allowing children to purchase an AK-47 or MK-11 sniper rifle for $0.99 just can’t be worth the public condemnation.
Aside from the very reasonable debate America should have about gun rights, this could quite possibly be the dumbest PR move I’ve ever seen from any organization.
Dear commenters, go wild.
Go here to read the rest: NRA’s New First-Person Shooter For Ages 4+ Profits From Assault Weapons Upgrades
The sharing economy is booming, as companies like Airbnb, Getaround, Lyft, and others are disrupting incumbent industries like hospitality or urban transportation. But by using technology to create new services, these companies don’t fit neatly into the regulatory framework in those industries. I spoke with New York University Stern School of Business professor Arun Sundararajan about this very topic. His take? Regulators will have to evolve the way that they approach these new businesses.
For Sundararajan, the sharing economy provides a way for real-world assets to be disaggregated in space and time and repackaged into standalone services. That’s disrupted the scope of what can be disrupted by digital tools, and allows people to time-share goods that would otherwise go unused at certain times. Examples: Sharing an apartment on Airbnb or renting out a car through Getaround.
But the problem arises when industries that are usually highly regulated — like the hospitality industry or the car rental market — is suddenly forced to compete with services that don’t go through the same rigorous levels of inspection or qualifications to ensure public safety. Your Lyft driver is most likely not licensed to drive according to the California Public Utility Commission’s regulations, and the car you rent from Getaround probably doesn’t adhere to the same scheduled maintenance and inspections that are common for cars rented from incumbent agencies like Enterprise or Avis.
The solution, according to Sundararajan, could be to allow the companies that offer these marketplaces to self-regulate through a mix of vetting goods providers on their own and using identity and reputation management to ensure that bad actors don’t stay in the system.
By doing so, regulators could distance themselves from some of the more arcane public safety elements, which are today already being solved by sharing economy companies themselves. Instead, they could work more on being the place of last recourse for consumer complaints if things go wrong. In other words, they should spend less time on the screening aspect and more time solving problems when there’s nowhere else to turn.
The good news is that many companies in the sharing economy are already doing a good job of self-screening. The ride-sharing companies, for instance, do background, license, and criminal checks on all drivers, and have systems in place to get rid of those who are rated poorly by riders. And the star rating system for other marketplaces — like Airbnb — tend to ensure that poorly rated properties don’t get rented.
But don’t take my word for it. Check out the video above for the full interview.
See the article here: Balancing Innovation And Regulation In The Sharing Economy
In August of last year, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski introduced plans for a next-generation 911 service, which would support text, picture and video messaging in cases of emergencies.
The plan was expected to take 5 to 10 years, but today Genachowski has announced alongside major wireless carriers that the SMS portion of the plan will be accelerated.
The major carriers expect widespread deployments in 2013, with a bounce-back service being implemented nationwide by June of 2013, ensuring that users know when SMS emergency messages are not available in their area.
The message would also point the user to call 911. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile have committed to full-scale availability of SMS emergency services by May 15, 2014.
Here’s the FCC Chairman’s official wording:
Access to 911 must catch up with how consumers communicate in the 21st century – and today, we are one step closer towards that vital goal. Last year I announced a comprehensive plan to accelerate the transition to Next Generation 911, including text-to-911, and the FCC has acted to advance this effort. I also called on the communications industry and public safety entities to work together to enable nationwide text-to-911 as quickly as possible, and I am pleased that the nation’s four largest wireless carriers and leading public safety organizations have responded with today’s commitment, which will save lives starting in 2013.
This is good progress, but our work is not done. Next week the FCC will consider further actions to advance text-to-911 for all consumers. We will also take additional steps in this area next year, including closely monitoring carriers’ compliance with the commitments they have made today and addressing other aspects of Next Generation 911 such as enabling transmission of photos and videos to 9-1-1 centers. We are also working to strengthen the resiliency and reliability of the existing 911 system, where significant deficiencies were revealed by this summer’s Derecho.
I would like to thank all those involved in developing today’s important agreement.
The report indicates that text-to-911 trials are already underway, and when completed the service will reach 90 percent of Americans.
Not only will this help millions of hearing and speech impaired citizens, but it will empower victims in dangerous situations to send life-saving text messages.
The FCC release makes no mention of video or picture service, but the commission has been making steady progress on both NG911 and the current E911 system. In fact, in October the FCC laid down new requirements for service providers regarding location accuracy for phone calls.
Read more from the original source: FCC, Big 4 Carriers Announce Plans To Accelerate Text-To-911, Commit To Nationwide Rollout By 2014