Friday 25 March 2016

Connected cars - best companions of Smartphones !!

The ‘connected’ car, not to be confused with the self-driving, autonomous car, is defined as any vehicle equipped with Internet access that allows data to be sent to and from the vehicle.

Since the automobiles were invented, car makers have been trying to add features which may reduce driver error. Today’s car has the computing power of 20 personal computers, features about 100 million lines of programming code, and processes up to 25 gigabytes of data an hour.

Digital technology is also changing how we use and interact with our cars, and in more ways, than you probably realize.

The market for smart vehicles is certainly set for takeoff and many analysts predict they could revolutionize the world of automobiles in much the same way smartphones have changed the face of telecommunications.

Is your car connected to the Internet? Millions of vehicles around the world had embedded Internet access, offering their drivers a multitude of smart options and benefits. These include better engine controls, automatic crash notifications, and safety alerts, to name just a few. Owners can also interact with their connected vehicles through apps from any distance.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communications, for example, could help automobiles detect one another's presence and location to avoid accidents. That could be especially useful when it comes to driver-less cars - another advance already very much in development. Similar technology could help ensure that cars and their drivers slow down for school zones or stop at red lights.

Connected vehicle technologies provide the tools to make transformational improvements in safety, to significantly reduce the number of lives lost each year through connected vehicle crash prevention applications.

The Connected Car will be optimized to track and report its own diagnostics, which is part of its appeal for safety-conscious drivers.

Connected cars give superior Infotainment services like navigation, traffic, weather, mobile apps, emails and also entertainment.

Auto insurers also have much to gain from the connected car revolution, as personalized, behavior-based premiums are already becoming the new industry standard.

OEMs and dealers must embrace the Big Data revolution now, so they’re ready to harness the plethora of data that will become available as more and more connected cars hit the roads.

Cloud computing powers much of the audio streaming capabilities and dashboard app functions that are becoming more commonplace in autos.

In the next 5 years, it seems that non-connected cars will become a thing of the past.  Here are some good examples of connected cars:
  • Mercedes-Benz models introduced this year can link directly to Nest, the Internet of Things powered smart home system, to remotely activate a home’s temperature controls prior to arrival.
  • Audi has developed a 12.3 inch, 3d graphics fully digital dashboard in partnership with NVIDIA.
  • Telematics Company OnStar can shut down your stolen car remotely helping police solve the case.
  • ParkMe covers real-time dynamic parking information and guides drivers to open parking lots and meters. It is further integrating with mobile payments.

The next wave is driver-less, fully equipped and connected car, where there will be no steering wheels, brakes, gas pedals and other major devices. 

You just have to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!!

Saturday 19 March 2016

Cards or Mobile payments? The choice is yours !!

Today number of people having mobile phones on the planet is much bigger than bank account holders or credit card holders globally.

Mobile phones have already become an integral part of our lives, often taking the place of alarm clocks, calendars, cameras, calculators, movie tickets or paper tickets from airlines. What they haven’t replaced yet is hardcore money.

As part of Digital Transformation, 2015 was the year when mobile payments happened. We now have Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, LG Pay, Microsoft Pay, Walmart Pay, CurrentC / MCX, Chase Pay, with a few more on the horizon.

Mobile payments are gaining momentum and, as more options become available, usage is set to surge.

Consumers are adopting mobile wallet apps, branded wallets, smart watches and devices with payment capabilities.

In order to make a mobile payment, most applications require several layers of authentication, and may also need a biometric authentication in the form of fingerprint or facial recognition via selfie. This is on top of the tokenization technology, which replaces transmitting personal information with an encrypted code, to process the payment.

Consumers can make three types of payments with a mobile device:
  • Person-to-person transfers initiated from a mobile device
  • The second is for goods and services purchased over the Internet on a mobile device.
  • The third is mobile payments at a point of sale (POS), such as grocery stores, restaurants, or gas stations.

     There are 3 different technologies for mobile payments:
  • Near field communications (NFC) is a short-range, high-frequency, standards-based wireless communication technology that enables an exchange of data between devices in close proximity (less than two inches to four inches). Consumers can send mobile payment by keeping their mobile near the NFC reader.
  • QR code or 2D barcode is a two-dimensional barcode containing more information than a conventional one-dimensional linear barcode. 
  • Beacon-based payments when connected with mobiles on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Current technologies and players:
  • Apple Pay – came in 2014, NFC based payments
  • Paypal – QR code and beacon based payments
  • Google Wallet – came in 2011 and now called Android Pay also testing hands-free payment via Bluetooth
  • CurrentC – QR code-based payments
  • Samsung Pay – came in 2015
  • MasterCard is coming out with biometric authentication or selfie pay
  • Chase pay in partnership with Starbucks

The apps used by Starbucks and Uber offer a high level of customer service and intimacy and represent real value for the merchant and the customer alike.

But mobile payments will give rise to tons of Big Data on shopping behavior & preferences, enabling more sales opportunities via targeted marketing.

One of the biggest benefits of using a mobile payment option is the ability to integrate loyalty and incentive programs into the mobile payment applications. Instead of customers having to keep up with punch cards or key ring tags, all of their information is stored in the application each time they make a purchase with their mobile device.

For end consumers, they help in speedy checkouts, improved experience, better security & reward opportunities.  

Saturday 12 March 2016

Virtual Reality and Digital Transformation.

Virtual Reality is making a lot of impact on the world we live in today. Everything that we know about our reality comes by way of our 5 senses – Sight, Sound, Smell, Touch & Taste.

Our entire experience of reality is simply a combination of sensory information and our brains’ sense-making mechanisms for that information.
Virtual reality is an artificial environment, experienced through sight and sound.  Without the risks that would accompany those experiences in real life. 

In a virtual reality environment, a user experiences immersion, or the feeling of being inside and a part of that world.

One of the main problems with virtual reality is motion sickness. People suffer from nausea after spending a period of time in a virtual environment.

Today, Millennials will prefer to travel to Mars and chill with some aliens instead of spending time with family or friends and teenagers, may generate the boy or girl of their dreams in the head rather than real one.

But VR is helping Digital Transformation in a good way:
  • Healthcare is one of the biggest adopters of virtual reality which encompasses surgery simulation, phobia treatment, robotic surgery, and skills training
  • It is used as a training aid in many sports such as golf, athletics, skiing, cycling etc.
  • It is particularly useful for training soldiers for combat situations or other dangerous settings where they have to learn how to react in an appropriate manner such as flight simulation, battlefield simulation
  • Hollywood movies like TRON, The Matrix series, and Vanilla Sky are great examples of VR
  • Real estate firms will be able to offer virtual walk-through and open houses through 360-degree experiences
  • Theme parks like Six flags & Disney Land are launching VR roller coaster for a terrific experience
  • Even McDonald’s in Sweden are now making happy meal boxes that turn into VR headsets for skiing
  • GE connected experience labs are exploring the VR to experience & visualize the complex and dynamic Big Data datasets.

Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard is the decent gateway drug to VR while Oculus Rift, HTC Vive is the gold standard.

Virtual reality is going to allow anyone to do almost anything, anywhere we can imagine, with anyone in the world. Tomorrow you can sit on your couch at home and still do a skywalk at Grand Canyon or fly over the Eiffel Tower.

    Buckle up everyone, we’re in for one hell of a ride with Virtual Reality !!

Sunday 6 March 2016

The future of Robotics !!

Robotics is the study of robots or machines that can be used to do repetitive jobs. 

Companies like Google, Amazon, McDonald's, Nike and Chipotle are exploiting the power of robotics to be competitive and reduce costs.

In future robots are going to do our day to day work. Imagine if you can rent a robot for 1 hour to do some shopping for you? Or like Drones it can go to the disaster sites to help humans and can be controlled from the far distance to avoid any more human injuries.

Healthcare & process manufacturing like drugs, auto etc. are fastest growing industries for robotics. 

Today there is lot of concern about unemployment robots can bring. Still there are plenty of positive ways like Iron Man, that robots will help us. They can work in conditions hazardous to humans.
    • Fanuc is largest industrial robots manufacturing company.    
    • Amazon is already using robots in their warehouse to move products to workers for further scanning and processing.
    • Some of the bomb squads in USA use robots to dispose of the bombs to minimize the risk to human life.
    • Roomba, the vacuum cleaner robot has been around for a while.
    • NASA uses 3D printing robots to help do research.
    • In farming robots are used for weed control, moving, pruning, seeding and spraying the crops.

Unlike in the Terminator movies, robots are unable to think or make decisions; they are only tools to help us get things done. Robots are machines with programmed movements that allow them to move in certain directions or sequences. Artificial intelligence has given robots more ability to process information and to “learn.”

This science is in the early stages, but robots are being developed that can make decisions in order to serve food, translate words from one language to another, and get information from outside resources to solve problems. 

The robotics market spend is going to be in billions to help mankind.

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