Tags Posts tagged with "technology 2017"

technology 2017

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Uber Technology Drives Into Portland

Uber technology and the company’s automobiles are making their way to Portland, OR. The company doesn’t have the best history with the city, but that won’t stop Portland from becoming the first U.S. market where Uber will push a set benchmarks for electrifying its fleet.

For the Portland version of Uber Electric, a program that the company rolled out to London last year, the ride-hailing company will team up with Drive Oregon, a partially state-funded nonprofit that seeks to get more electric vehicles on the road. With a combination of incentives and educational initiatives, Uber aims to make 10 percent of its Oregon fleet electric by 2019, statewide. Right now, the company says that 100 of the 6,000 active Portland Uber drivers use electric vehicles, so it has a lot of work to do.

To reach its 10 percent goal, Uber is pursuing a range of local collaborations. The company will work with Portland’s Black Parent Initiative to expand electric vehicle access to underserved communities, Cynergy E-Bikes to connect UberEATS couriers with electric bikes, and Arcimoto, an Oregon-based EV company. Uber is expected to use its auto-lease subsidiary Xchange Leasing to offer in-house deals to drivers wishing to get behind the wheel of an EV.

Uber stated about its mission in the city, “The City of Portland has also adopted some of the nation’s most aggressive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Uber Electric will help Portland and the state of Oregon achieve these important clean energy goals.” Uber isn’t the only alternative transportation company going electric in Portland. Late last year, the city became the second market for BMW’s ReachNow, a Zipcar-like service with a focus on electric vehicles, and a previous initiative by Car2Go sprinkled electric smart cars onto its rainy streets all the way back in 2012.

In a world where a quarter of cars could drive themselves by 2030, Uber’s decision to take two years to recruit a few hundred EV drivers is more incremental than revolutionary. Still, it shows that the company is implementing both long and short-term strategies for rethinking transportation, even in the midst of one of the worst PR crises the tech industry has ever known.

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technology robot

New Technology: Robot Pizza Delivery?

The pizza company joked about driverless delivery robot technology back in 2015. The food delivery robots are coming! Remember the “Domi-No-Driver” campaign? Domino’s has joined hands with Starship Technologies to begin using its “personal delivery devices” this summer in Hamburg, Germany. If all goes well there, Domino’s and Starship intend to bring robot pizza delivery to the Netherlands as well.

technology robot

Starship’s devices have the look of a self-driving food cart, rather than some science fiction humanoid. They travel on six wheels at an average speed of 4 miles per hour, and can carry just over 40 pounds. In Hamburg, the robots will deliver pizzas within a one-mile radius.

Starship is facing significant competition in the prospering market for “professional service robotics.” Competitors range from fellow startups like Marble to established players like Boston Dynamics. The International Federation for Robotics (IFR) forecasts that between 2016 and 2019, logistics businesses will have begun using at least 175,000 robots to provide their services. That compares to UPS’ global fleet of around 100,000 trucks today.

Launched by Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis in 2014, Starship Technologies also recently inked food delivery partnerships with DoorDash and Postmates in the US. But Domino’s has yet to offer pizza delivery by robot here. Many retailers and restaurants are waiting to see how robot delivery tech shapes up, but also how the rules for using these devices are set in the US market. Virginia, and as of this week Idaho, allow delivery by robot today. Other states and federal US laws are still to be determined..

Domestically, Domino’s has offered other tech-enabled and entertaining ways to buy a pie, including by Tweeting a pizza emoji to @dominos, or requesting delivery from drivers of the Domino’s DXP “ultimate pizza delivery vehicle,” a modified Chevy Spark. In New Zealand, Domino’s has also begun delivery by drones in a partnership with Flirtey.

Indeed, tech has become an international marketing gimmick for Domino’s. But learning what works, and doesn’t, in the next wave of logistics tech could spell serious cost savings, and not just near-term buzz, for any major restaurant chain that delivers. After all, robots may need maintenance, but they don’t call in sick unexpectedly or hop between employers like the people they could displace.

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SmartLink Adds Modern Connected Technology To Older Ford Vehicles

Ford’s SmartLink technology comes with a 4G LTE modem on board, letting it act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 8 devices in the vehicle. It also permits remote start, lock and unlock functions, and can send alerts to a car owner via a companion web and mobile app to let them check on car healthy, and get alerts related to security and service requirements. Brett Wheatley, Executive Director of Ford’s Customer Service Division stated, “We’ve seen the huge interest that we’ve had in SYNC, and now in the modems that we have in our vehicles, and we just talked to a lot of customers and they’re very happy with their current vehicles, but they obviously wanted to have some of the latest connectivity features, too.” said Brett Wheatley, Executive Director of Ford’s Customer Service Division. “We’ve been doing research for many years on it and we just wanted to make sure that we had the right product that would meet all of our security requirements.”


Wheatley said that in the course of creating SmartLink and looking at customer feedback, they also discovered that users wanted different things from a connected car, with some seeking security via theft alerts, others looking for more insight into maintenance issues, and others just wanting ways to offer connectivity for their family devices on the road. SmartLink is a way to address the most frequent requests in terms of connectivity use cases for people who own Ford vehicle. SmartLink is now undergoing pilot trials at a few dealers in the United States, and will be available publicly in the U.S. through dealerships this summer, with final pricing to be announced at that time. SmartLink is definitely an opportunity for dealers, since it gives them a way to potentially enjoy a more profitable post-purchase relationship with clients.

Wheatley stated, “We think it’s a great opportunity for our dealers to stay connected after the time of purchase, to make sure that they’re in regular contact with that customer, keeping their vehicle in great working condition.” Wheatley was asked whether SmartLink might support third-party apps and services eventually, as Ford has done with SYNC 3 in its newer models. He said, “We’ve definitely done that in our new vehicles, so I think that is an opportunity for down the road, to see how we could give the customers in those older vehicles all the great technology that’s in our new vehicles, and all the connectivity features and benefits they have.”

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Finally, A Technology Update To Google Voice

Google Voice technology is getting ready to reveal a momentous update. Some Google Voice users reported seeing a technology upgrade link reading “the new Google Voice” on the web version of the service. There was also a link for them to follow to try it out. Obviously, the message was released too early because the upgrade didn’t actually come through when the link was clicked.


A banner showed up at the top of the screen when they logged into their account. The message read, “The new Google Voice is here. Try now,” according to Droid Life blog. However, when the users clicked on it, the page refreshed and they stayed on the current user page on the site.

The updates have been few and far between, even with the usefulness of the service and its room for growth. Since Google failed to continue improving in the space it has given other voice calling apps room to excel. Other calling apps like Burner and Listen seem to be getting more of the focus now.

The Google Voice competition have prospered in part by focusing on mobile users, an area where Google Voice has fallen short, having not updated its iOS and Android apps since last year. Google confirmed that it is working on updates to Google Voice, but declined to give any details ahead of the reveal.

The company’s strategy regarding its communications apps have been sloppy. It will be interesting to see what the improved Google Voice looks like. Google has several communication products, which seem to constantly fluctuate.

For example, Hangouts has seen its API shut down, which will shutter the application ecosystem on the platform. The apps that would remain have an business focus instead, as Google related to developers in an email that it is moving away from its customer focus.

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As it continues to try to find a new future for itself in 2017, Twitter is releasing another new product. Taking another step forward into the future, Twitter is now introducing live 360 degree video streaming through Periscope. 2016 has been a difficult year for the company. It saw itself the subject of a potential major acquisition before those talks fell apart. Since then, Twitter has struggled to find exciting and new ways to expand. The company has rarely added any new features or tools.

Subscribers on Twitter can now watch 360 degree live video (but must have Periscope). This live video is only available for a limited number of Twitter users right now. As live streaming becomes more popular on Facebook it was sure to happen that something similar come out on Twitter.

With live 360 video, Twitter subscribers can now get a full angle view of what is happening from a broadcaster’s surroundings. Presently this feature is only limited to its partners, however there does not look like there will be a whole lot of live 360 degree video streaming for a some time. Users will surely use this new feature as a playground to explore new use cases. This could be a great plan to engage new subscribers who might otherwise go to different platforms. This would offer new tools to experiment with to continue expanding their audience.

While not as popular as Facebook (who has over 300 million users worldwide), twitter will continue the effort and make changes to the platform to broaden their audience. The company would like to grow faster. This is not easy but if Twitter is going to find new ways to spark growth the company will need to continue to make big bets, specifically ones in video streaming.

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