The Weekly Disrupt - Edition #2

Feb 17, 2015

The Weekly Disrupt is a summary of the most important technology stories from the last week. These are stories that hint at fundamental shifts in the way we will live and do business - things to keep on your radar to ensure you capture future growth opportunities.  

Here are 10 stories that have caught our eye this week. A rating of 10 represents a truly disruptive innovation. Let us know what you think in the comment section.

IBM Watson offering machine learning to the masses

IBM has announced five new services for the Watson Developer Cloud. IBM is quietly bringing machine learning services to customers, including visual recognition and language processing. As the hype surrounding Big Data dies down, companies are now trying to do something with their data. IBM is positioning itself excellently as this market grows.

Disruptive Potential: 10

Graphene 3D printing = #thefuture

A team of researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Warwick has created a graphene 3D printing material. The graphene 'ink' is at a very early stage of development, but ultimately this is the Holy Grail for 3D printing and advanced manufacturing. Graphene printing could become the killer application for 3D Printing. 

Disruptive Potential: 10

Dude, where’s my driverless pod?

An autonomous vehicle will be run for the first time on public footpaths this year, developed by Transport Systems Catapult. They will be the first unmanned road vehicles used in an urban community setting in the UK. This is a long stride towards a future in which most transportation is unmanned, increasing safety by eliminating human error, and increasing transport efficiency.

Disruptive Potential: 10

Let there be (3 terabit per second) light

A project coming out of Oxford University builds on the Li-Fi project to provide optical connectivity over infrared wavelengths. Issues relating to mobility still need to be solved, and it's unlikely to replace Wi-Fi, but potential data speeds could exceed 3 terabits per second would allow for extremely high-bandwidth applications. There's a strong use case in converged lighting/connectivity environments such as offices and secure facilities. Keep an eye out for more lighting-as-a-service propositions including Li-Fi.

Disruptive Potential: 8

Japanese robot hotel

Japan, as usual, is leading the way in the use of robotics. This time a hotel in Nagasaki is using ' to handle check-in, move luggage, pour coffee, and clean rooms. This is a sign of things to come. As robots become good enough to complete more and more tasks, employees will seek to reduce staffing costs and unemployment will rise. We have already seen this happen in primary and secondary sectors, and we are at the beginning to see it in tertiary sector. 

Disruptive Potential: 7

SIGFOX suggests the IoT will not be cellular

Telcos, industrials and satellite operator, among others, get behind M2M network service provider. SIGFOX's ultra-narrowband technology is dedicated to M2M use cases and designed to be bandwidth efficient. The IoT will not be (mobile) cellular. 

Disruptive Potential: 6

Ofcom backs new wireless technology

Ofcom backs novel cognitive radio technique that uses central registry to allocate 'spare' white space spectrum. The approach allocates frequency slots dynamically based on local interference conditions. Ofcom has taken its time to be reassured the technique works. By giving its approval, it ushers in a new value paradigm for Hz, reducing the pressure on a scarce resource.

Disruptive Potential: 5

FAA halts drone delivery dream in the US

The FAA has announced rules that ban use of commercial drones out of operator sight. This will certainly delay the use of drones for aerial home delivery in the US and will likely result in Amazon and other aerial delivery companies deploying in more drone friendly countries. Meanwhile, Alibaba this month launched its own airborne delivery trials in China. Every country will have to weigh up threats to national security versus benefits from drone delivery.  

Disruptive Potential: 5

Apple's ambitions in the auto market become clear

This week it was reported Apple are working on a car or 'minivan'. It is unlikely Apple are close to a launch and so we will learn more in time. But it certainly makes sense. Apple is a company that makes computers. The car is becoming a computer on wheels, with Tesla, Google's self-driving car, and now the world's richest company. My message to carmakers – ‘good luck’.

Disruptive Potential: 5

Singapore restaurant shows off autonomous drone waiters

Sure, drones can be used for aerial photography, surveillance and over time, logistics, but a novel use case from Infinium Robotics is as a waiter. Unlikely to replace waiters in the short-term, new novel uses are being found for drones on a weekly basis. 

Disruptive Potential: 4

The Weekly Disrupt is written by Frost & Sullivan's Connected Industries team. We focus on the impact of technology in industry transformation, helping our clients to navigate through an increasingly complex business environment where every vertical market has its own unique challenges and aspirations.

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Lawrence Lundy

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