3 Reasons Your Next Startup Should Be in IoT

IoT had a coming out party of sorts at the 2017 CES in Las Vegas. With hundreds of new products hitting the market from companies all over the globe, consumers are about to enter a brave new world. Experts agree that by 2026, IoT will be inescapable, as intertwined with our daily lives as the smartphone or the Internet itself.

As IoT technology becomes more complex and the amount of data it collects increases exponentially, the need presents itself for improved AI. Roboticists have turned to nature for inspiration and, in addition to machine learning, are working on AI that learns from and reacts to stimuli as diverse as the wind, sunlight, or the human hand.

But don’t let the tech scare you. Almost every device can benefit from IoT. Integrating it is more about anticipating needs than it is about being at the cutting edge of technology. If you want to start a business, identify a need and apply IoT to it.

Brush smarter, not harder

The 21st century is in many ways a century of ‘firsts.’ Getting kids to brush their teeth can become their favorite game. Kolibree makes smart toothbrushes fitted with a host of gadgets and sensors that track your brushing habits. AI crunches the data and delivers a status report on your oral hygiene via their app.

This kind of AI is connected to the concept of “biofeedback.” Biofeedback is when a device helps us to change a behavior (such as heart rate) for the better by giving us comprehensive data on the performance of that same behavior. By analyzing and reporting brushing habits users modify their habits to a positive end.

Hair-brained idea

Hot on the heels of the smart toothbrush is the smart hairbrush.

The Hair Coach absorbs every last byte of data it can get its bristles on. Unlike the smart toothbrush, it doesn’t limit itself to tracking human behavior. Through a combination of numerous sensors and a microphone, it cobbles together a picture of your hair’s health, as well as environmental factors, such as humidity, temperature and the wind. Everything is collected and displayed to the user on the corresponding app.

This particular product embodies another emerging trend in IoT – seamless, invisible integration of technology. Looking at it, you would have no idea it houses cutting-edge robotics. With the exception of an unassuming black circle in the center, it looks no different from your garden-variety ‘unintelligent’ hairbrush.

Made in the shade

Until recently, the IoT has been confined to the home and, to a lesser extent, the workplace. Trends are quickly changing, however, as the number of “things” connected to the Internet is expected to reach 50 billion by 2020.

A robotics company based in Los Angeles, ShadeCraft, is part of the evolving landscape. The company’s first product, Sunflower, appears at first glance to be a streamlined, futuristic parasol. It’s also another example of AI and biofeedback working together. Its sensors respond to sunlight, allowing its shade to follow the sun, keeping whomever is sitting under it nice and cool.

It detects and responds to wind speed, automatically closing its shade if the wind is blowing too fast. The app also informs the user of such threats to relaxation as poor air quality and high UV levels.

From a design perspective, it resembles its organic counterpart as well. Like the Hair Coach, its technology is hidden to the naked eye.

These products represent the future of AI in our daily lives. The devices of tomorrow will double as our personal assistants, personal trainers, even our cosmetologists.

So when you’re looking to create the next big thing, don’t. Create the next best version of the thing you already know there is a market for.

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Nerd chic is what’s next in fashion

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Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele sent a troop of nerdy models down his spring 2016 runway on Wednesday, during Milan Fashion Week

Button-up blouses and delightfully tacky neck ties stole the show. In minimal makeup, the model’s faces were instead accessorized with oversized wire glasses and sparkly plastic frames.

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Image: Fashion GPS

The look was a mashup of snazzy, power-women from the ’70s and the cast of Freaks and Geeks

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The next iPhone: The new features we expect to see September 9

Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus camera lenses

Apple is expected to announce its next iPhones at a press event in San Francisco September 9th. The rumors of what the new phones will look like and act like have been flying for months, and VentureBeat’s own sources have given us some reliable insights on the devices.

The new phones — likely called the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus — will be an upgrade from the existing iPhone 6 and 6 Plus phones. Apple’s challenge was to build into these devices an attractive enough feature set to tempt current iPhone 6 owners, and owners of earlier iPhones, to upgrade. And these are the features we expect to see that might tempt them to do so.

Force Touch

As we reported in early June, the new iPhone 6S will get a front screen with Force Touch and haptic feedback.

Here’s how it works. When you press harder on the screen, sensors in the screen detect the increased pressure by measuring the increased surface area occupied by the finger. The device then responds with haptic feedback — a tap — that gives you the illusion you’ve pressed down on a physical button.

The point of Force Touch is to add a new type of navigation tool to the phone’s user interface. For instance, by pressing down on a location on a map you might automatically trigger driving directions to the location without having to press the “route” button. A Force Touch might also bring up a whole menu of actions related to a specific piece of content, such as a song in the Music app.

Faster processor

The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are expected to run on Apple’s new A9 processor, which is said to be significantly faster than the A8 chip in the iPhone 6. This might be most readily apparent in game play and video playback. The new phone will also have 2GB of RAM, which should give the phone still more horsepower.

Better front and rear cameras

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have 1.2 megapixel camera sensors and f/2.2 aperture, which Apple said lets in 81 percent more light than earlier iPhones. The larger 12-megapixel rear-facing camera in the new iPhone 6S should make for brighter and sharper selfies and FaceTime video.

The iPhone 6 has an 8-megapixel camera, and the limitations of that camera can be clearly seen in the washed-out details of images.

4K video

The 12-megapixel rear camera sensor on the iPhone 6S will have the capability to shoot video in full 4K high-definition resolution. The existing iPhone 6’s 8-megapixel camera shoots 1080p video.

While 4K does offer a better, sharper look, for many consumers the new feature won’t immediately make a difference. Relatively few have purchased the new 4K TVs or monitors needed to watch the higher-quality video.

Brighter display

The pictures and video users shoot with the 6S’s improved camera will look better when viewed on the phone itself. VentureBeat sources said last spring that Apple was working with a far brighter OLED screen for its next phone. We expect this to ship with the new 6S.

Better cellular radio

It’s common for new iPhones to get a cellular radio upgrade. The iPhone 6S likely will too, in the form of a new Qualcomm MDM9635M chip that is theoretically about twice as fast as the cellular radio in the existing iPhone 6.

Harder aluminum

Yep, Apple was paying attention to the “Bendgate” controversy, spurred by a video showing a dude bending an iPhone 6 with his bare hands. Apple has strengthened the metal in the inner wall of the iPhone 6S’s back plate around the volume buttons — the place where the iPhone 6 was shown to bend. The screws that hold everything together are also in different places inside the phone.

More colors

And finally, we believe the rumors that the new 6S will come in two new colors — Rose Gold and a darker shade of Space Gray.

The new iPhones are not expected to sell quite as well as the iPhone 6, the first Apple phone to offer a larger screen in years. But then the 6 is a hard act to follow. After the launch of the iPhone 6, Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones in the final quarter of 2014, a new record. In the following quarter, Apple sold 61 million iPhones, which is seasonally slower.

VB’s research team is studying web-personalization… Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.


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