Solar Roadways: Great Concept, Great Marketing [Video]

Solar Roadways, a US based start-up that is developing a “modular paving system of solar panels” has raised $1.4 million in crowd-funding, within 7 days, on Indiegogo. While the concept of solar-powered smart roads is exciting and a peek into possible future, the success of Solar Roadways’ ‘viral’ marketing campaign raises several discussion points for our #hkuiom meetings!

 

The wonderful video that powered this superb effort is below:

 

Moon journey predictions by Jules Verne

I use several images and examples from the works of Jules Verne during our futures discussions in #hkuiom. Here are some interesting facts from his 1865 novel ‘From the Earth to the Moon’.

A hundred years ago, Jules Verne wrote a book about a voyage to the Moon. His spaceship,Columbia, took off from Florida and landed in the Pacific Ocean after completing a trip to the Moon.

  • Verne estimated that the mission would have cost his day’s equivalent to $12.1 billion ($5,446,675 US dollars in 1865). Surprisingly spot on–the Apollo program up through Apollo 8 (the first manned vehicle to circumnavigate the moon) cost $14.4 billion.
  • The launch occurred 132 miles from the site of Verne’s prediction.
  • The United States would launch the first manned vehicle to circumnavigate the moon.

from Skip Henk and astronautix

From the Earth to the Moon

From the Earth to the Moon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 3D Future is 1 of 5 alternative 2050 scenarios

As part of its ‘Delivering Tomorrow’ series, DHL has created a scenario study on “Logistics 2050.” One of the five scenarios visualized in this report is a world of 3D printing; or what we call in my class #hkuiom as ‘A Future of Mass Customization’.

 

2050. Our world is much more colorful, diverse and local. Technical progress, especially in 3D printing, turns consumers into producers. ‘Self-made’ and ‘individually tailored’ become the new ethos for society. New types of production processes facilitate a world with a multitude of individual lifestyles.
Uniform goods and mass-produced items have vanished from display windows and apartments. The consequence of this development is not only a revolution in supply chains. Awareness about the need for recycling is growing, creating new commercial perspectives. Recycling ensures replenishable supplies and keeps 3D printing running. It’s a world characterized by diversity — but are more possibilities out there?

 

See the segment below:

 

The full video, with all five possible scenarios is below

future

future (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

 

The full report also contains some excellent essays on Future Studies and Future Forecasting, besides scenario analysis and future predictions. The full report and other future predictions can be read at www.delivering-tomorrow.com

 

 

Here is an alternative link to Logistics 2050.

Technology Trends

Key tech trends include wearable computing, contextual apps, big data and maturation of social networks.

 

Futurologist Robert Scoble has predicted four major tech trends – wearable computing (see my previous posts here), contextual apps, Big Data (see previous posts here), and social network maturation.

future

future (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

 

While these trends will surely change commerce practice in the coming years, the nexus of these trends will be immensely disruptive. Think convergence – contextual apps on wearable computers that provide services based on real-time analysis of social and location data, delivered via omnipresent wireless internet access.

 

Wearable computing: Think Google Glasses or Motorola Solutions’ new HC1 headset computer that you attach to your head and operate with voice commands

The “open world”: Android’s relative openness has encouraged “contextual apps” to emerge from the woodwork. “Apple doesn’t let them [developers] talk to the WiFi radio or bluetooth radio,” said Scoble.

Weird databases and the rise of “big data”: “We are seeing weird databases spring up like mushrooms,” said Scoble. These include NoSQL, Firebase, and MongoDB.

The maturation of social networks: The leading social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are accumulating a massive store of user-generated data. What will they do with it?

 

Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2012/10/24/scoble-kawasaki/#B8hsX6orKpglPyWy.99

Is it really doomsday for Facebook?

Several issues are depressing Facebook’s stock price, but there seems an upside that the market is not tuned in to.

 

Facebook’s plummeting market value has been a major talking point of late. Its share price recently fell to below half of its IPO level and the doomsday forecasts are arriving thick and fast. Most analysts suggest that this is due to a combination of factors – expiry of a moratorium means that insiders are flooding the market with stock; Facebook is barely meeting its revenue and profit guidance numbers; and, the market is adjusting to the ‘real value’ due to reduced future expectations .

 

This article, on TechCrunch, presents three reasons why the future is bleak for Facebook –

Decelerating growth in users, unfavorable change in user mix, and a question mark in ARPU. In the short term, Facebook is certain to grow, but the question of Inferno vs. Paradiso will take quite some time to sort out.

This infographic by statista illustrates the market saturation and user mix problems faced by Facebook:

 

Image via Statista

 

Facebook’s major user growth in the coming years will occur in developing markets – where average revenues per user are traditionally much lower as compared to developed markets. Another major trend is the the movement of users to mobile platforms.

This second infographic by statista makes this more clear:

 

Image via Statista

 

It seems clear that Facebook’s future (or at least future stock price) is dependent upon its ability to monetize its mobile and developing world users. Or is it?

 

A bigger upside depends upon Facebook’s ability to make itself a platform for commerce and creativity. If Facebook can set rules that protect the privacy and security of its billion plus engaged users, while providing an environment within which application developers and entrepreneurs can offer Social network driven, Mobile based, Location triggered services, it can potentially earn billions in revenues through commissions alone. A scene illustrating this viable future is:

 

You are deciding where to get lunch. You launch the FB app, and use the smartphone camera to view a restaurant. The image is augmented by a bubble which states that 78 of your FB friends have recently been to the place, 80% of whom rate it 4+ out of 5. The app also says that if you eat there today, you will get 10% off your bill in the form of FB credits.

 

How does Facebook make real money in the scenario? By taking a cut on the sales of FB credits (for example, $1 = 1 FB Credit, but you can buy 10 credits from Facebook for $11 and sell 10 credits back for just $9).

 

However, these are big IFs and THENs.

A look into the future of glass

A multitouch screen

A multitouch screen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A year ago, Corning shared a (rather long) video on their take of the role of glass in the future. They recently released Version 2 of this video

Corning’s expanded vision for the future of glass technologies. This video continues the story of how highly engineered glass, with companion technologies, will help shape our world.

‘A Day Made of Glass 2: Same Day. Expanded Corning Vision.’ showcases several technologies of the future – 3D holographic projection, electro-chromatic glass, multi-touch sensitive surfaces in wall and table formats and augmented reality, all riding on the back of high bandwidth, optical fiber driven broadband.

The original video is below:

Arthur Clarke predicted the internet in 1974

Arthur C. Clarke at his home in Colombo, Sri L...

Arthur C. Clarke at his home in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 28 March 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1974, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the science fiction author, and futurist, known best for his 2001: A Space Odyssey, predicted that by 2001,  society will be enriched by inter-connected computers that will help with mundane everyday tasks and enable telecommuting.

will have, in his own house, not a computer as big as this, [points to nearby computer], but at least, a console through which he can talk, through his local computer and get all the information he needs, for his everyday life, like his bank statements, his theater reservations, all the information you need in the course of living in our complex modern society, this will be in a compact form in his own house … and he will take it as much for granted as we take the telephone.

The Future of Higher Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education interviewed the directors of Georgia Tech‘s Center for 21st Century Universities. The interview touches upon several key points regarding the challenges and opportunities around the role of technology in higher education. These include the notions of open courses (see the launch of an online interactive learning platform by MIT and free online courses by Stanford), blogs as a medium for content delivery, universities as credentialing institutions and the resultant challenges faced by middle rung schools.

What you’re seeing, for example, is technology enabling a single master teacher to reach students on an individualized basis on a scale that is unprecedented.

I think what you see happening now with the massive open courses is going to fundamentally change the business models. It’s going to put the notion of value front and center. Why would I want a credential from this university? Why would I want to pay tuition to this university?

Georgia Tech's Tech Tower

Georgia Tech's Tech Tower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The blog is essentially an expression of a master teacher’s understanding of a field to people that want to learn about it. We think that there are some very simple layers that can be built under the existing blogging format that can essentially turn it into a massive open online seminar. It’s also a way of conducting scientific research. When you think about what happens in this blog, it celebrates the process of scientific discovery.

Read more at Could Many Universities Follow Borders Bookstores Into Oblivion? – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.