360° Coverage : Why All The Best Minds In Tech Are Starting To Flock To Hardware...

2 Updates

Why All The Best Minds In Tech Are Starting To Flock To Hardware (Not Software)

May 17 2014, 8:03am CDT | by

Over the past few years, Jon Bruner, the editor-at-large at publisher O’Reilly Media and former data editor at Forbes, started noticing how many of his technologist friends in the software industry...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

14 weeks ago

Why All The Best Minds In Tech Are Starting To Flock To Hardware (Not Software)

May 17 2014, 8:03am CDT | by

Over the past few years, Jon Bruner, the editor-at-large at publisher O’Reilly Media and former data editor at Forbes, started noticing how many of his technologist friends in the software industry were taking a keen interest in the hardware world.

“A lot of these people started seeing hardware as a way for them to extend the software that they had already written,” Bruner said.

The most obvious example in this is Google. The search engine giant has been buying up a flurry of robotics companies and of course the much talked about $3.2 billion acquisition of learning thermostat maker Nest.

The past few years have seen a growing interest in the “Internet of Things,” which promises eventually every object in your life will one day be connected to the internet. We’ve seen everything from internet-connected dog collars to sprinkler systems. But the most interesting thing is the software behind these devices and how it will make them more useful. This merging of the hardware and software worlds will be the focus of an event next week called O’Reilly’s Solid Conference, chaired by Bruner and MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito.

And even hardware makers are realizing that they need better software to make more useful products. Nest, best known for its sleekly designed thermostat, is constantly refining its software algorithms and adding new features. It hired Yoky Matsuoka, an artificial intelligence expert from the University of Washington, to lead its machine learning.

In an interview in December of last year, Nest cofounder and CEO Tony Fadell told Forbes, “Through software and service, we’ve been able to transform that piece of hardware to doing so much more than when it first came out.”

Nest’s focus on software is letting it find new ways to expand its energy services business. In an interview this week, Ben Bixby, Nest’s energy services director, told me that a software push will allow its thermostat users to save more energy by better coordinating what kind of climate they live in with their living habits.

And there’s big money behind this software that powers the hardware. A Bank of America Merrill Lynch report estimated that revenue from software alone powering the “Internet of Things” was $10 billion in 2013 and will grow to $36 billion by 2017. The report lays out how there are plenty of other big software players interested in this game too: Oracle, Adobe, Salesforce.com, Microsoft and Amazon.

This current hardware movement first started taking root among hobbyist, especially with the growth of the Maker Faire. Devices like Raspberry Pi have allowed any entrepreneur a low-cost way to take their hardware dreams and add a layer of intelligence on top of it.

Prototyping hardware has also gotten faster for small startups, not only because of 3D printing, but also because factories in China have begun offering manufacturing services for small batches. Companies such as PCH International can help entrepreneurs with the logistics of these Chinese manufacturing deals.

“Suddenly, the creative pallet has broadened for software engineers, ” Bruner said. “ You don’t have to be a Sony anymore.”

Ultimately, though, people will only be comfortable with the new level of pervasiveness of all these “smart” objects if they are able to provide value with better software and services, Bruner said. Take, for example, when Google introduced Gmail in 2005. People complained about the company’s servers reading user email to offer up relevant ads. But soon it was quickly forgotten after users recognized the enormous value of Gmail.

Similar to the ridiculousness of all these new smart gadgets being offered today, they will need to actually offer value in order for consumers to be okay with it. For example, a microwave with an embedded radio chip sending consumer data back to the manufacturer will likely cause consumer pushback. But if that microwave could, say, download optimal cooking cycles for different foods, people might start feeling differently about it.

“Nobody likes to be spied on when they’re not getting anything out of it,” Bruner said.

“Eventually, the internet will be so much a part of us—40 sensors in the house, wearings things on your body and your cars, and internet-connected sprinklers—that you won’t look the internet as a separate thing, it will just have the invisibility of ubiquity; the internet just becomes part of the fabric of life,” O’Reilly’s Jim Stogdill said. “It’s kind of creepy, the possibilities that will come out of that.”

 
Update
2

4 hours ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing t ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

1 day ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17" hits h ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Modi leaves for Japan
New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for Japan Saturday morning on his first bilateral visit outside the Indian subcontinent.
 
 
Modi embarks on Japan visit
New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for Japan Saturday morning on his maiden bilateral visit outside the Indian subcontinent.
 
 
Modi government selling off Indian assets: Mamata
Kolkata, Aug 30 (IANS) Accusing the Narendra Modi led BJP government of selling out the country's assets by embracing FDI across sectors, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday warned that such policies would put Indian economy in grave crisis.
 
 
13 die of Ebola in DRC
Kinshasa, Aug 29 (IANS) A total of 13 people, including five doctors, died of Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the country's Minister of Public Health Felix Kabange told Xinhua Friday.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Fugitive Colombian warlord nabbed in Panama
Bogota, Aug 30 (IANS/EFE) A former rightist militia chief convicted in absentia for his role in massacres has been arrested in Panama, Colombian police said Friday. Colombian police informed Panamanian counterparts...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Brazil's Gremio bans five fans over racist abuse
Rio De Janneiro, Aug 30 (IANS) Brazilian club Gremio have banned its five fans from attending home matches after they were found to be involved in racially abusing a player. Santos goalkeeper Aranha was racially...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
44 detained UN peacekeepers safe: UN
United Nations, Aug 30 (IANS) The 44 UN peacekeepers detained Thursday by militants in the Golan Heights are "safe and in good health", a UN spokesman said late Friday. "The United Nations has received assurances from...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Jessica Chastain demands a female superhero movie
Los Angeles, Aug 30 (IANS) Actress Jessica Chastain demands a female superhero movie, which should have Scarlett Johansson in the lead role. The acclaimed actress, who starred in the 2013 horror film "Mama", says...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Putin, Poroshenko agree on aid delivery to Ukraine by railway
Moscow, Aug 30 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday he has agreed with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on the proposal of delivering humanitarian assistance to southeastern Ukraine by train. "We...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Militants take hostate 44 peacekeepers in Golan
United Nations, Aug 30 (IANS) At least 44 peacekeepers have been taken hostage by the militnts in the Golan Heights, a UN spokesperson said Friday. "The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Seacrest hopes to have 'great marriage' like parents
London, Aug 30 (IANS) Anchor-producer Ryan Seacrest, who is dating Shayna Taylor, says he would like to have a fantastic marriage just like his parents. The 39-year-old admires his parents - Connie and Gary - and...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Moscow threatens to retaliate against Poland
Moscow, Aug 30 (IANS) Moscow Friday threatened to take retaliatory measures against Poland, after its authorities refused permission to a plane carrying Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to enter its airspace....
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Over three million flee Syria since 2011: UN
Geneva, Aug 30 (IANS/EFE) The number of Syrians forced to flee their country as a result of the civil war that began in 2011 topped three million Friday, UN refugee agency said. Journey out of Syria is becoming...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Madonna slams Gaga in leaked song
London, Aug 30 (IANS) Pop star Madonna has reportedly called Lady Gaga a "copycat" in the lyrics of her leaked track "Two Steps Behind Me". The 56-year-old wrote the song about the "Pokerface" hitmaker in which she...
Read more on Celebrity Balla