Disruptive Commercial Drones

December 09, 2014
Commercial uses for drones aka unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are poised to make a big impact across diverse industries. The implications are virtually endless. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sparked people’s imagination in 2013 when he discussed Amazon’s UAV aspirations for shorthop deliveries on 60 Minutes. Today, Amazon is experimenting with the eighth generation of its Prime Air UAV. Similarly, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to employ UAVs to bring affordable Internet access to the five billion people in the developing world who lack connectivity. The company then purchased U.K.-based drone maker Ascenta, while Google scooped-up Titan Aerospace, a two-year old...

A Watershed Moment for Healthcare

September 22, 2014
Healthcare systems are becoming more efficient and better coordinated. Beyond Google Glass and its medical applications, the Google X Life Sciences group is developing wearable devices to collect data such as heart rate, heart rhythm and oxygen level. This group also developed the smart contact lens — but the potential game changer is its new Moonshot Project, called Baseline Study. In its pilot, it will map genetic and molecular data from 175 people—and later thousands—to create what the company hopes will be the fullest picture of what a healthy human being should be. While other mass medical ...

Printing Innovation in 3D

July 22, 2014
3D printing is disrupting traditional manufacturing and may be the catalyst for the next industrial revolution. It’s moving beyond making prototypes, molds and tooling into the customization of end-use parts for applications ranging from aerospace, medical, automotive, consumer products, architecture and electronics. McKinsey estimates that the 3D printing industry could generate between $230 billion and $550 billion by 2025. Companies like 3D Systems, GE, Shapeways and Stratasys are making major bets on this manufacturing transformation that holds the potential to stimulate job growth with...

Crowdfunding Unfolding

May 22, 2014
Crowdfunding is disrupting the relationship between entrepreneurs, the money raising ecosystem and investors. Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other sites are helping innovators to build businesses and leverage funding with more than 200 online crowdfunding platforms in the U.S. alone. Evidence is mounting that crowdfunding is starting to impinge on the seed turf of angel investors. Venture capitalists (VC) are no longer immune from the effects of crowdfunding, as deal making within a crowd context is leveling the playing field with terms that are more favorable to entrepreneurs. This is especially true on the East Coast where words ...

Let's Collaborate

April 02, 2014
This year it was clear that one of the real values of the 2014 International CES is its role as an important venue for collaboration across companies and industries, and that this is a new way of doing business. Historically, collaborations at CES tend to be about bilateral company deals such as large OEMs selecting a particular chip or software program within the traditional CE ecosystem. Often, press releases by smaller companies tout their alliances with a major CE company. While that’s still an important aspect, we are now seeing a shift towards inter-industry collaboration...

Watch for Wearables

January 24, 2014
For the New Year, C4 is focusing on wearable technologies. Two key events catapulted wearables—the introduction of Google Glass and the launch of the Pebble Smartwatch, the crowdfunding wonder that raised more than $10 million, making it one of the most successful Kickstarter projects to date. The fusion of fashion and accessories with associated apps, software and hardware will change the way people use technology in their everyday lives. It is becoming more common to connect low-energy devices like wristbands to iPhones for health or behavior tracking—with technologies like micro-controllers...

Going After the Money: Crowdfunding

December 18, 2013
Innovation and the need for funding go hand in hand. Lots of great ideas are nurtured in college labs, which is great if there are grants.   But often, entrepreneurs turn to their own bank accounts for seed money, and then to friends and family. However, new sources for funding are emerging. Today, incubators and accelerators offer mentoring, modest funding, networking opportunities and an environment conducive for entrepreneurs to develop their dream product. But at a certain point, an entrepreneur may need more funding as they work to develop their “proof of concept.” ...

Opening the Internet Radio Box

September 20, 2013
In the late 1990s, Internet radio first began to attract attention. But it was not until 2001 that Apple transformed forever how we listen to music with the introduction of the iPod and iTunes. While there were already MP3 players on the market, Apple’s attractive device made waves, and its online store is now the world’s largest music retailer. iTunes has more than 575 million global accounts that generate about $40 a year per account on content sales, according to market research firm Asymco. However, sales of music downloads from the iTunes store are falling. Other content, in particular apps, now represent a larger...

Disruptive Battery Tech

July 19, 2013
In May 2013, McKinsey’s Global Institute named energy storage devices or physical systems that store energy for later use as one of 12 disruptive technologies that will impact the economy and shape the future. Batteries power our always-on digital lifestyle but seldom get respect. Today, lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries power not only CE devices but also electric and hybrid cars. However, there is a downside to Li-ion. It can overheat and burn, as alleged in two fires on board Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner. Clean-tech company Gcorelab, based in Singapore, is researching a new technology that promises to control...
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