When Will Passwords & Pins Disappear?

Will Pins and Passwords Die?

When Apple first introduced the touch ID security, there was a lot of skepticism about the new process. Who has access to these finger prints? What was wrong with typing in a password? Who came up with this? Will this be secure? Can this be used against me?

Some individuals still have these sentiments, but almost three years later, most of us don’t even give a second thought about unlocking our phones with our fingerprint. Apple didn’t invent biometrics, but they certainly aided in the mass acceptance of it.

A bill was drafted three years ago that proposed a new federal government-issued ID card. It would contain biometric information such as fingerprints.

“At the most basic, biometrics can be best explained by breaking down the word: bio, as in biological; and metric, as in measurement. That is to say, biometrics are biological measurements. Thanks to the unique nature of many of these measurements, biometrics are particularly suited for identification. Fingerprints, facial measurements, the patterns that your veins make and even the way you walk — all of these characteristics and more are unique to you and you only.”

The card would be needed to authenticate the user’s identity and have their working status and history. Drafters ultimately decided to drop the bill, possibly because there are about 8 million undocumented individuals in the U.S. workforce.

Fingerprint ID’s are just a fraction of the possibilities of biometric technology. I used to believe face recognition was only for James Bond characters, but who knew we would have the same technology illustrated in the 1980’s A View to Kill at our 9–5’s. Many businesses have transitioned from old school paper time keeping and have adopted automated biometric timekeeping systems like Clockwise. There is so much more behind this science then IPhones and secret spies. Biometric technology has capabilities ranging from voiceprint biometrics to invisible biometrics that can measure and track the way you type and use your mouse.

“Apple is reportedly working on sophisticated facial biometrics, and Canada is testing facial recognition technology at its border patrol stations.”

I predict that in 2016 the use of passwords and pins will drastically decrease. As biometric technology advances, the public perception continues to accept the changes it brings. Biometrics has claimed their stance in our every day lives. In 2015, biometric technology made nearly $15 billion in the global market and is estimated to reach $41.5 billion by 2020. The health care industry has begun to integrate this technology in their practices. It eliminates security problems and human error possibilities such as “overlays” (when someone’s records are placed in another’s file).

It may take more time before passwords and pins are completely eradicated, but we are moving closer to them being used interchangeably. The general public isn’t as skeptical to log in to a device with a fingerprint as they were three years ago. Many would actually prefer it because it saves time, it adds another level of protection, and for its accuracy. Biometrics isn’t a trend, it’s the new way of security in this digital age.

Advertisements

The Apple Energy Move

q-100

Last week, Apple created a new business unit called Apple Energy. Apple has been buying renewable energy to power its facilities using an instrument called an REC. (Renewable Energy Credit) Essentially, the idea with RECs is that renewable energy, bought by Apple and put into the grid in one place, is used by an Apple facility or store from the grid in another. Because the contribution of renewable energy and usage of energy match, the net is that Apple’s energy usage is logically renewable-sourced. And Apple has been buying a lot of renewable energy. So much so, that Apple is a mini-utility for clean energy. Why do that?

Millennials

Well, for one, given the volume of clean energy it purchases, Apple can fairly claim itself as a sustainability leader to its customers and employees. Many of both constituencies are millenials, a group particularly focused on buying from and working for companies that act responsibly from an environmental perspective. So, there’s an argument to be made that Apple Energy is simply a smart marketing move to capture hearts of Millennial customers. That’s fantastic and frankly necessary for Apple anyway. But, it’s not the important take-away.

Product

My theory is that it’s about service + product combos. Think about what Apple started in 2007 with the launch of the iPhone. Apple added massive value on both sides of the communication network and created a revolution… without needing to own the delivery network. Apple launched the iPhone on the consumer side of the network and the AppStore (and other services) on the Apple side of the network. AT&T sat in between.

With Apple Energy, Apple may be creating a renewable energy service on one side of the Enernet and matching that to new devices on the consumer side of the network. Devices like smart home tech, batteries and energy appliances that pair with Apple’s renewable energy and differentiate themselves as dynamic energy devices, powered by clean tech.

Depending on how that’s done that could be a transformative moment for energy. Imagine new devices from Apple in their HomeKit suite… Apple’s versions of Nest, Sonos, Sense, Powerwall, and Chargepoint, all with the option to be powered by renewable energy. How? Apple sells you a sexy product with the “guaranteed carbon free” energy as an add-on through it’s renewable energy service. This would be similar to how Tesla bundles in its SuperCharging network for its S and X models. Speaking of which…

Car

It’s no secret that Apple is working on a car. If you believe that’s true, then Apple Energy is a logical move. It’s a place to house R&D into battery tech and EV charging products, and procurement of renewable energy for the fleet of energy devices necessary to support iAutos on the Enernet. It could also be a place, for now, to house some development around its automotive product.

Assuming Apple does launch a car, it’ll need charging stations, for home and community, and a lot of them. If the approach is anything like Apple’s charging philosophy for its phones, Apple will design a custom connector with innovative features that folks never imagined from a “cord”… like a guarantee that the electrons passing through it are green. Apple Energy could house all that.

If it’s not evident by now, I’m impressed by Apple and the Apple Energy move. If I’m right, it’s a massively strategic move for Apple, one that demonstrates leadership and vision. Assuming Apple is successful, the move may also portend a coming, Apple-led shift in products and how businesses and consumers think about energy.

How the Chatbot will Change Retail

facebook-chatbot

You’ll soon be able to do a lot of neat stuff with a Facebook messenger chatbot or via your favorite SMS app, such as WhatsApp, Line, Kik and Slack. For many of us who’ve used bot-powered digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, bots may seem like a novelty. You may find yourself laughing at their misunderstandings more often than you’ve found yourself appreciating their utility.

But evangelists of the technology say that bots are poised to be at the center of a crucial paradigm shift in how we think about using the Internet. While a Web browser might once have been our front door to the Internet and apps often play that role today, bots could soon become our primary digital gateway. At a conference last month, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said, “Bots are the new apps.”

Retailers will have much more pressure to adopt retail technologies that consumers will enjoy. This means the customer experience will be more implicated with technology, than ever before. The role of AI’s role in customer engagement will be in one word, exponential in its growth and impact on sales.

What many people don’t seem to realize is how chatbots are the first contextual AI that will change how brands and smart spaces communicate with us. The chat bot revolution comes at a time when mobile commerce, the Internet of things (IoT) and more immersive branding combine to form a better experience for customers and one that allows them to truly personalize their journey in relation to your brand and while shopping in your store.

Integrative Engagement Paradigm (IEP)

  1. Personalization: Chat-Bots (AI) linked with predictive analytics and data-augmented technologies such as cloud POS, Big Data, loyalty programs.
  2. Convenience: Wearables (unified nativity). Multiple points of contact (Voice, SMS, notifications, wearable vibrations, color flashes on smart bands (that mean different things).
  3. Responsiveness: Smart Spaces (IoT). Open-source human data-points and human analytics.
  4. Immersion: Video content, Digital signature, holograms, AR & VR. Acquiring and engaging attention, branding and emotion.
  5. Customization: Personal Virtual Assistants (AI-ML-NLP). Hybrid human-AI intelligence.

With social media becoming less engaging and social sharing down on sites like Facebook, we’re already looking to the future. The future is one in which AI actually humanizes cities, spaces and facilitates a more personalized world full of more ambient and emotional customer experiences and authentic interactions.

Growing up texting and on Instagram is one thing, growing up with responsive environments and customizable AI interfaces is quite another. The future is not just one experience, it’s choosing the way you want to interact with people, places, brands and contexts that are customizable with AI to help you navigate an increasingly “noisy” world.

YouTube Needs to Step Up Their Game

For the past few years, Youtube has been in the power position when it comes to dealing with artists. It is the one of the most popular sites on the web and certainly the biggest music destination. Every once in awhile, an artist will try to fight it, as well as the industry, but generally the music business knows that pulling songs and videos off YouTube is a losing proposition overall.

youtube

No other site offers as much music as YouTube and even though much of it is poor live footage and bootleg content, this is stuff that fans can’t find anywhere else. YouTube also has the stickiness of a video and the ability to engage two senses if you want, but you can also just let the users click open to another tab and just let the music run in the background.

However, there are signs that YouTube’s domination in music may be coming to an end. The big hit is that other streaming sites are finally starting to engage with video. Yes, I’m talking about Spotify. They’ve gotten massive raises recently and it’s pretty likely that they’ll spend at least some of that money increasing video offerings. The other threat is SoundCloud’s launch of its long-awaited streaming service, Go. Even Apple Music’s deal with Dubset to license mixes is a threat. YouTube’s ownership of the UGC and unofficial content space might finally be disrupted.

In reality, YouTube won’t lose artists tomorrow and frankly, it might never cease to be the site where the vast majority of the world comes to listen. This is an awakening though – that they need to begin stepping up their features to prevent any further losses. What could they do?

First, YouTube could market itself as a destination for music and create its own class of music starts within their ecosystem. When the NYC subway was wrapped with YouTube ads, all of the ads were for YouTube stars – none of them were for recording artists, even though they are a huge driver to the site. YouTube stars feature people who make videos about makeup application, cooking, video games and other topics. While YouTube has invested heavily in them, they could also invest heavily in the ready to be recording artists. Why not start their own record label and keep them in house?

YouTube could also help artists solve the big problem of monetization. Last year, they rolled out more e-commerce options, but they could allow artists to make money on everything. Any time Beyoncé wears a dress in a video, I need to be able to hover over it and see a link where I could theoretically buy it, once I won the lottery. More realistically, any time an indie artist wear a cool piece of clothing from an up-and-coming designer, I could hover, buy it with one click, and the artist would get a cut, along with YouTube. Everyone would win.

One last suggestion I have is to harness some of Google’s power. Some of the smartest data scientists on earth work there, and could surely help artists comb through all their information and route the most effective tours or plan great marketing campaigns, and some of those AdWords gurus could assist artists in figuring out how to get in front of casual listeners who just want to hear something that sounds like their favorite band.

What do you think that YouTube should do?

Apple Releases New iPhone SE, iPad Pro & Discounted Apple Watch

Today, Apple revealed some new toys for us – a new iPhone, iPad tablet for business use and a cheaper Apple Watch. These announcements were expected to be made in an effort to keep up with the company’s commercial momentum in the face of mounting sales challenges.

iPad_Apple_New

That’s right, Apple needs a lift. Sales of its flagship iPhone are leveling off after the surge to record levels last year that made Apple the world’s biggest company by stock market value. We’re wondering if Cook can come up with another big hit.

“Tim Cook has said he thinks there’s a lot of life left in the iPhone product line, despite the media and investor community pressuring Apple over the potential decline in premium iPhone sales,” Brian Blau a tech analyst at Gartner said. “I think it’s exactly these types of things that he has in mind.”

The new phone, named the iPhone SE is an upgrade to the older, four-inch iPhone 5S that was released in 2013. This phone is for consumers who haven’t jumped for the big-screened iPhone 6 models. The new features include a faster processor and graphic performance, which were only available in versions of the iPhone 6.

While shoppers bought a record 74.8 million iPhones in the final three months of 2015, Apple has signaled demand in the current three-month period will fall short of the 61 million iPhones sold in the January-March quarter last year. The iPhone SE will sell for $399 with no cellular contract, significantly lower than larger iPhone models, which list at $549 or more. The smaller phone may appeal to some shoppers, especially in overseas markets, who want a premium phone at lower cost.

The Apple Watch got quite the discount as well. Normally it costs around $350, but now it is only $299. There are also a new variety of accessories including a nylon strap.

Apple is calling the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro “the ultimate PC replacement.” Its screen is fitted with a “true tone display,” which means that the onscreen display changes its color depending on the ambient light. Other features include four speakers, a super advanced camera and a powerful A9X processor. Additionally, the screen encourages users to draw using the Apple Pencil. You can get the new iPad Pro is silver, gold, space gray and rose gold.

Did you tune into the announcement as well? Let us know if you’re planning on buying any of the new gadgets, I’d like to hear why and what you think of them.

Pandora’s Box of Apple vs. FBI

A US district court ordered Apple to break security protections on an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter, drawing the company into a legal fight with FBI and the US government. There has been a huge discussion based on the conflict between confidentiality and terrorism that is sweeping the globe. 

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAPCAAAAJGZkYTViNzRlLWZlMTUtNDY2NC05OTlkLWU3N2ExZjYzZjZkOA

Donald Trump says that Apple should comply with the California judge’s order to help the FBI hack the phone. Being in strong agreement with the government, Trump questioned Apple: “Who do they think they are? We have to open it up!”

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, replied that they won’t provide a “backdoor” for the FBI, saying, “It’s just something we simply don’t have.” Strongly against the order, Apple refuses to build something that could threaten their customers. Apple released an open letter written by Cook, stating “Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government.”

Advisor Abbate is siding with Cook, against hacking the iPhone. “If this software was available to the government, then they may be able to access anyone’s phone they want to check without reasons and permission. And once the software gets leaked, you don’t want to imagine what you’ll be facing. There are millions of iPhone users who also need to be protected. If leaving the shooter’s phone locked brings potential crisis to homeland security, will hacking into people’s cell phones really provide safety to us? We have to draw a line to better balance the consequences.”

“We have been experiencing it time and time again, losing freedom by having privileges taken away from us. It’s very critical to make this decision, pro the order,” said Advisor Abbate. “Throughout my years spent managing businesses, I was disappointed by the government and the American traditional system. For example, with the attitudes of the prosecutors, they are so ‘eager’ to prosecute someone in order to advance their career, which is their primary concern. The government should be truly and primarily concerned about the public, they should be protecting and servicing the people.”

China is keeping its eye on the discussion. Analysts have said that in the regulation of information encryption, China would refer to the practice of the U.S. government, having similar requests to technology companies. China has passed new controversial anti-terrorism laws at the end of last year, saying that technology companies are needed to combat growing threats. It also states that if the government requests for technology assistance, the referring company should do it in order to help the police department.

What if this event happened in China? Would Apple make the same decision? Anyone adapting to doing business in China, should know the local “policy.” ApplePay is going live this week and they don’t want to lose such a tremendous market. Compared to Uber’s failure by losing over $1 billion a year in China, Didi Kuaidi, backed by the Chinese technology giants Tencent Holdings Ltd and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, have each spent enormous amounts to subsidize rides to gain market share. “It’s getting better and healthier for the Chinese market, and it’s great they’re going towards the right direction”, said Advisor Abbate, “But AliPay will continue to lead the market.”

Apple’s battle with FBI is literally the Pandora’s box, “Once you open it, even a bit, there’s no way back.” Do you want to open it? Which side you would take?

Help, My Phone Is Becoming My Brain

I’m sure that everyone has experienced this. You are with friends and despite the physical proximity, mentally and emotionally, we might as well have been on different planets. Beyond constantly looking at our phones, we were all living on our phones. They have become our operative consciousness, creating a virtual reality where our brain is not present – even when the screen is off. You cannot escape the world of work emails, Instagram, text messages, etc. Our phone is now our brain, controlling our reality.

download (5)

There is a real danger that the digital world and real world have morphed into one. It is hard for us to escape that digital consciousness and be present. We excited in meaningless conversations that are uninteresting and unsophisticated because our brains are still busy consuming the digital world. I think that our subconscious is under siege as well. Have you done the following? After you’ve consumed all the new content in Instagram, you click the home screen button and then on autopilot tap the Instagram button again unable to process in that moment there is nothing new to see. The result? A recent HBR story uncovered that Millennials are stressed when they’re around their phones, but also stressed by their absence.

My phone is an invaluable tool for many aspects of my life such as communication, media consumption, transportation and more. The phone is amazing at creating different worlds that allow me to sometimes escape my real life for a few minutes, which sometimes I really need.

I have tried many times to make a commitment to create separation between my real life and the digital world. I know that when I am on my phone, I will exist on my phone and appreciate the power of knowledge and convenience that it provides. When I am in real life, I will focus on being fully present and leaving my digital consciousness behind. They worlds will intersect some times, but I try to do my best to keep my digital world from distracting me from reality.

At a minimum, I will try to engage more deeply with the people around me, look up when I walk along the street and appreciate the detail that other humans have created. Otherwise, my phone is my life and I will wake up 50 years from now and the inevitable nearness of death will finally force my brain to exist in reality.  I will then, finally realize that I haven’t lived at all, my phone was my brain.   

The Future with VR and AR

Virtual and augmented reality have been all the talk the past year and I find myself…along with investors pondering – are they even real? I understand that it is tough to understand the vision for VR without experiencing it. This technology is especially difficult for all of us to grasp because it has to be delivered one a one-on-one basis.

download (1)

Hardware

There is actually a high volume and variety of VR headsets in production that range from the basic Google Cardboard to Gear VR, along with Chinese competitors like Oculus, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. On the AR side, there is Magic Leap, DAQRI and HoloLens among some others. There will most likely be a monopoly in this category, while there are also supporting technologies like eye-tracking and haptic feedback expanding as well.

Content

This past year, we saw headset companies make huge investments in niche VR content producer to drive mainstream consumer adoption beyond gaming. Media companies and Hollywood studios are even jumping into VR content. VR producers are even getting overwhelmed and forced to outsource content creation to visual effects studios like ILM and Weta Digital.

Until there are tools to democratize content creation, content will remain in the hands of niche players that can’t meet the demand. Over time, this will change – media companies will bring VR content creation capabilities in-house. For now, VR producers are maximizing their long-term value by turning themselves into distribution companies and developing their own IP.download (2)

Software

Software enables tools and apps for content creation and discovery – just like in the PC and mobile eras. In the next few years, as headsets come to market, it will be the VR and AR software that will create the most value.

Investors in AR and VR are going to be those who are looking for a transformative opportunity that cannot be displaced by something that is incrementally better. To find the right opportunities within VR and AR, one must understand where this ecosystem is going and be able to identify the technologies and teams that will advance the industry.

Time travel, teleportation and immortality will be within our reach with VR and AR – as well as many other things that we have only imagined. I am very excited to watch VR and AR pioneer the next computing era.

What do you know about VR and AR? Are you just excited as I am?

Free Basics, Net Neutrality & Economic Discrimination

Free Basics – formerly, Internet.org is Facebook’s initiative to provide free, but limited Internet to the developing world. Last week, the Times of India reported that India’s telecom body asked Facebook’s partner, the wireless carrier Reliance, to cease the service while it determines whether operators should be able to price their services based on content.

download (7)

Mark Zuckerberg emerged from his paternity leave to pen an op-ed article in the English-language daily. Basically, he can’t believe that India isn’t grateful for it. I, myself am still deciding whose side I am now, but let’s take a look at his response to figure it out.

The first time I breezed through his article, I could pick up on the annoyance. On the second read, I realized how Zuckerberg sees India, where about a billion people are not connected to the Internet, as backwards for even questioning Facebook’s charitable endeavor.

“Who could possibly be against this?” he asks passive-aggressively. “Surprisingly, over the last year there’s been a big debate about this in India.”

Even though net neutrality is an issue in the United States as well, Zuckerberg makes it more of a first-world problem, such that it doesn’t apply to India because limited service is better than no service. Net neutrality activists are arguing that Facebook and its telecom partners are gatekeepers, deciding which websites can be accessed for free. While Facebook could add more telecom partners to open up the number of sites and services Free Basics users could use for free, it only has one partner in India.

Zuckerberg does acknowledge that Free Basics does not provide people with access to the full web, but sees it as a step in the right direction. He claims that half of the people that come online for the first time by using Free Basics, buy full internet access within 30 days.

He even tells the story of a farmer named Ganesh, who uses the free Internet service to check weather updates and commodity prices. He asked, “How does Ganesh being able to better tend his crops hurt the internet?”

Something that Zuckerberg failed to address is that zero-rated services like Free Basics amount to economic discrimination – poor Internet for poor people. In the Times of India in October, net-neutrality advocacy group Savetheinternet.in quoted Tim Berners-Lee, father of the internet, as saying: Economic discrimination is just as harmful as technical discrimination, so [internet service providers] will still be able to pick winners and losers online.” Facebook’s walled garden could very well determine the sites and services that will succeed in India.

What do you think?

 

The Technology that Will Make 2016 a Transformative Year

The technology of 2015 went beyond larger screens and app updates. There has been a broad range of technologies invented from cool science projects to objects that can transform peoples lives. Some are saying that we haven’t seen anything of this since the invention of the printing press in the 1400s. Let’s take a look at the three new technologies that will transform our lives as we know it.

A technology that became mainstream this year was the CRISPR gene modification. These are elements of an ancient system that protect bacteria and other single-celled organisms from viruses, acquiring immunity to them by incorporating genetic elements from the virus invaders. With them, DNA can be edited. That means that we can remove unwanted sequences or insert payload sequences, costing as little as $100. CRISPR modification can correct DNA that is responsible for genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia and Alzheimer’s.

imagesSince the cost of drone dropped to $100, the drone age has officially begun. It was estimated that Americans would purchase almost half a million of these flying machines over the holiday season this year. We will see them everywhere; and as the technology advances, they will be able to carry heavier weights and travel greater distances. Who knows, by next year Amazon and Walmart could be delivering your groceries or Starbucks to your home via drone. Not only making our lives easier, but they will monitor traffic and crime, perform building inspects and provide emergency assistance in disasters.

Bitcoin, the unregulated and uncontrolled digital currency has caused a lot of controversy. It gained notoriety by criminals and hackers, then falling from its peak of $1100 to $250. Now it is gaining acceptance by retailers like Overstock.com. Aside from this, the technology that underlies it – blockchain has become the basis of hundreds of technology-development efforts. You see, blockchain isn’t just for finance. It can digitize anything like birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, deeds and titles of ownership, medical records, votes, etc. It could transform the lives of billions of people who lack bank accounts and access to legal infrastructure that we take for download (5)granted.

There has most definitely been great progress in data of the Internet and connecting doctors to patients as well. What else do you see disrupting our world in 2016?