Is the iPhone 7 Worth It?

The new iPhone 7 is here, and just as we expected, people are lining up to purchase it. By now, a fair number of people have gotten their hands on the device and have quite a bit to say. If you’re still trying to figure out whether you want to drop some cash on the iPhone 7, here are a couple of aspects of the device to consider:

Pro: Camera

Apple’s executives have been talking about how precise these cameras are, and they weren’t kidding. While camera review sites such as the DPReview have not yet put these cameras to the test, it’s clear that these are the best smartphone cameras to ever exist. The only cameras that come close are Samsung’s cameras on the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge and Galaxy Note 7, though it’s hard to say which of these Galaxy devices comes in second for camera quality after the iPhone 7.

Professional photographer Austin Mann reviewed the camera and took some truly mind-boggling photos. But perhaps you don’t believe the quality of the camera from this review. After all, Mann is a professional. But typical users can capture images just as impressive. If you don’t believe me, check out some incredible iPhone 7 photos from Reddit here.

Con: “Hissgate”

You may remember that the iPhone 6 evoked a phenomenon called “Bendgate”, named after the fact that the phones were bending. This, of course, was a result of people either putting their phones in their back pockets, or intentionally bending their phones to make a point. The controversy soon died down and people flooded in to buy the new iPhone 6 regardless.

After the release of the iPhone 7, “Hissgate” may be the new “Bendgate.” A number of people have complained to Apple that their phones are letting out a strange humming sound when using processor-intensive apps, like gaming apps. People have even tweeted clips of their phones creating the sound. We will have to wait and see how Apple handles these complaints, and whether this deters people from buying the iPhone 7.

The long-anticipated iPhone 7 is finally here and, like all new devices, it is being met with mixed reviews. We’ll have to see how well the product does, but if the track record of most other Apple devices is any clue, the iPhone 7 will probably sell just fine.

VR and Empathy

Any new technology faces an interesting task: how can it shed the novelty and assert itself as a useful medium for human development? It took motion pictures a while to go from carnival attraction to storytelling medium. The internet had to make the jump from kitschy home computer add-on to a serious repository of information. VR has found itself in the same situation. Early gamers used to dream of this tech, and systems like Nintendo’s Virtual Boy even gave consumers a taste of what VR could be. But now it’s trying to find its true niche in our digital world, apart from its gamer fantasies.two hands joining puzzle pieces

Jeremy Bailenson is leading the charge. A recent profile by Wired explores the efforts by the Stanford Academic to use VR as a tool to increase empathy among people. Think of some VR simulations as a PSA, but more immersive and efficient. Bailenson believes that VR avatars are a great vehicle for this empathetic expression. In one study, users watched themselves (via the avatar), cut down a tree. After a researcher “accidentally” knocked over a glass of water, those who experienced the simulation used 30% fewer napkins than those who just read about the harm of deforestation.

But there are some blank spaces in the empathy research. One is the question of how long this empathy boost will last. For a few hours? A week? Researchers will be following up with test subjects in six months intervals to get a better read on the lasting effects. That question leads to another— will we feel as empathetic as the novelty of the VR medium loses its luster? Now, we perceive it as an entirely new experience. But imagine several years from now, a world where VR interactions are the norm. Would we become desensitized to the lessons the medium tries to teach us?

One of the most interesting problems highlighted is the notion that “anything that can change human behavior for the better can also change it for the worse.” For all of the good VR can do, some of the tactics for changing behavior could backfire. Several years ago, a study from Bailenson’s lab found that users who were given a darker-skinned avatar expressed negative stereotypes of black people. The point of the exercise was to put the user in another’s shoes, so to speak. But if this kind of experience primes negative perceptions about other groups, labs will need to reevaluate the process.

 

The Internet of Things Is Drastically Changing Retail

The Internet of Things is beginning to make its mark on various industries. Most large companies are using IoT (Internet of Things) technologies or are planning to use them. IoT technologies can be used to gather data in order to help companies better serve customers and to be more efficient. But there is an industry that has already incorporated IoT technology to a large degree. That industry is retail.

Venkat-Janapareddy-bag-839602_960_720The landscape of the retail industry is rapidly transforming due to IoT technology. This revolutionary data-sharing technology has created a number of new opportunities in customer service, in brick-and-mortar stores, in the supply chain and more. IoT technology has also made its way into a number of home-based connected platforms. IoT technology has also been used to track inventory through the installation of smart shelves that can detect when inventory is low. Goods can be tracked throughout the supply chain using RFID sensors.

IoT technology has played a large role in shifting the consumer experience. In today’s world, consumers expect to have a seamless shopping experience, whether they are on an e-commerce site or if they’re shopping at a brick-and-mortar store. Many steps are being taken to shape what a connected store would look like and to make that dream a reality. Some stores have systems that send shoppers personalized digital coupons when they come into the store. Electronic shelf labels with dynamic pricing are also a key part of IoT technology’s role in the consumer’s experience. Other examples include self-checkout using smartphones and interactive digital signs that sense who is in front of them in order to tailor promotions to that individual.

This potential for growth utilizing IoT technology is largely thanks to long-range, low-power Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi and other indoor location-based technologies let retailers bring IoT technology into the store and experiment with the ways that it can improve the customer experience while still maintaining the customers’ privacy.

IoT technology is also altering retail supply chain and delivery operations. In the world of retail, there is a need to understand where the goods are and how up-to-date they are. IoT technology can provide a lot of this information. It allows for better visibility and can also help to prevent the loss of goods. IoT technology can also be utilized to measure how environmental factors like heat are affecting goods. When goods are damaged, IoT technology can help people figure out the exact location and time of the damage, therefore making it possible to identify what party is responsible.

IoT technology is also able to help automate and optimize the supply chain. Shelf sensors can be installed in stores and warehouse systems so that they can re-order products when inventories reach low levels. This can lead to increased accuracy of inventory accounting as well as a reduction in out-of-stocks and a decrease in product loss.

Like all new advances in technology, the Internet of Things does come with its challenges. The biggest challenge is simply how quickly it is evolving and the wide variety of technologies that can be connected. The largest issue regarding IoT technology in retail is figuring out how to analyze, manage, and act on the large amounts of data that are coming in from all of the connected devices.

IoT technology will truly become a key part of the retail industry when merchants realize that the goal of IoT technology is to change business outcomes. IoT technology has the power to create a new revenue stream, new customer experiences, and new business models. It’s only a matter of time before IoT technology transforms the way we think about retail.

Biggest Challenges For The Internet Of Things

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While the Internet of Things has only been growing since it was first created, it has faced some challenges along the way and will continue to face challenges as long as it is in existence.

Security

In 2015 the amount of devices connected to the Internet of Things was around 6.5 billion. This number is only expected to grow as technologies advance. With such a large number of devices connected, the security concern is extremely high. Individuals and businesses have a great deal of confidential information stored on the cloud and if people don’t believe that their devices are protected on the IoT then they might choose not to buy new technologies and utilize them. This could significantly slow down the progress of technologies.

Bandwidth and power consumption

With 6.5 billion devices connected to the cloud (IoT), the amount of bandwidth capacity needed to send and store this information is great. Figuring out ways to constantly grow this network and ensure that everything continues to have a place of the cloud is a great challenge for the Internet of Things.

Sensing

Something that the Internet of Things needs to work on is ensuring that everything connected to the cloud is equipped with sensors to relay information to you when the device is facing a network connectivity problem.

Connectivity

The point of the Internet of Things is to ensure that devices all around the world are constantly connected to each other and to the cloud. This is only possible if the IoT is constantly available and never disrupted.

Adaptability

Technology is constantly changing. Trends change as does the need of the consumer. With these changes, the IoT needs to evolve and adapt in order to improve itself. If you look at where the Internet of Things was when it first started, you can tell that it has come a long way. It has expanded into many different fields such as transportation and agriculture. But it needs to ensure that it continues to grow and help out the consumer as much as possible,

The Internet of Things: Changing Urban Areas

Internet of Things Urban Areas

Right now, in 2016, more than half of the world’s population live in urban areas. By 2050 that number is expected to multiply so that two-thirds of us will live in cities. That means that by 2050 there will be 2.5 billion more people living in cities who need housing, employment and transportation. Imagine 2.5 billion people living in our cities right now.That would be a nightmare as we are already facing traffic, global warming, overcrowding, crime and many other issues. However, technology that is currently in the works will help the cities of the future better cope with this mass population increase.

Traffic lights

Currently, you may have to wait a really long time for a green light even if there are no cars in the other direction. That will all change. Video sensors are being embedded into traffic lights to adjust their greens and reds according to where the cars are. This is a huge improvement on two fronts. The first is that it will reduce congestion and unnecessary waiting times. The second is that it will reduce smog, since vehicles that are idling at red lights burn up to 17% of the fuel consumed in urban areas.

Parking

In Barcelona, they are already using sensors to help with parking. Sensors in spots relay information in real-time to drivers via an app to tell them which spots are available so they don’t have to drive around looking for something. While this is great, it requires drivers to be on their phone while they are driving which is dangerous. Frankly, this could be done more efficiently. Recently, Siemens gave a grant to a startup that is looking to build parking drones that could guide cars to available spots. This would reduce congestion a great deal, as up to 30% of congestion is caused by drivers that are roaming the streets searching for a place to park.

Designated lanes  

Right now many cities have designated bus or carpool lanes that are supposed to be reserved for these vehicles only. However, many people don’t abide by these rules. In Tel Aviv, they have installed sensors in hopes of stopping this problem. Sensors in the lanes designated for certain vehicles scan the license plate number of the vehicle and automatically charge the owners credit card at a rate that varies depending on how busy the road is.

Solar-powered garbage cans

In many urban areas garbage is a huge problem. It is just left out on the streets, sometimes overflowing and not picked up. In Philadelphia they have started to build something that is working to help resolve this issue. Big Bellies, as they call them, are solar powered garbage cans that crush waste and send a message to a dispatcher requesting a pickup when they are full. This will reduce the amount of overflowing garbage on the streets as well as lower the amount of times that garbage trucks need to make rounds to potentially empty garbages. Since implementing Big Bellies, which run for $4,000 apiece, Philly has been able to reduce the number of weekly garbage collecting shifts from 17 to just three. They have also saved $1 million on fuel, maintenance and labor costs in the past year alone.

How the Internet of Things Has Optimized Transportation

Venkat Janapareddy

The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing in popularity and more and more companies are trying to get in on this new trend. Established companies and startups are creating their own products and services that are influenced by this new technology. One of the sectors that the IoT is moving into is transportation. Cars, road, trains, planes and every other form of transportation is becoming “smart” and getting connected. As a result, we are becoming safer, saving ourselves money and making our lives easier and more efficient.

Cars
The new Tesla S electric sedan is currently on the market for $70,000. While that might seem like a ridiculous price, just wait until you hear everything that it offers. In less than four seconds it can pick up from 0 MPH to 62 MPH. Running on electric charge, if you are running low on juice the car’s navigation system can lead you to the nearest charging station. The autopilot, which comes standard in all of these cars, uses a combination of camera, radar and 360-degree sonar sensors to automatically drive on open roads and in stop-and-go traffic. It also uses these sensors to find and back into parking spots, including parallel parking spots. The camera sensors can also read the road signs and warn drivers when they need to slow down. If you start to veer out of your lane then the driver’s seat will shake. In order to improve the car, it constantly sends data back to the company’s engineers. While this is an extreme example, as it is the most advanced car out on the market at the moment, it just goes to show the amazing things that the Internet of Things can do when it comes to our everyday transportation.

Roads
Sensors, which are powerful, compact, low-power, and wireless, are also being installed in our roads. They are measuring things like changes in temperature, traffic volume, humidity as well as other traffic and weather conditions. All of this data is collected and wirelessly transmitted to a server for analysis and processing purposes. The data will allow authorities to provide real time information about traffic and road conditions to drivers. During the winter months road maintenance can also be measured with this collected information. All of these little, what seem like insignificant sensors, will make our lives safer and easier.

Planes
The aviation industry is one of the most outdated industries when it comes to adopting new technologies. Nevertheless, airplanes are currently equipped with many sensors and smart devices to help maintain the plane. Sensors on planes collect data on fuel efficiency, altitude, location, and maintenance issues. This data is wirelessly transmitted to both the pilots and workers on the ground so that they can be ready to service the plane in whatever way is necessary even before the plane lands. As a result, flight delays and cancellations have been significantly decreased.

Trains
The railroad business is also, slowly, moving towards new technologies. As with planes, many trains are being installed with sensors to tell workers if the train needs maintenance or are in threat of a nearby landslide or flooding. Research shows that these new technologies will significantly reduce the estimated 1.3 million hours that workers currently spend on rail inspections. In New York City, sensors have been installed on the tracks so that we know exactly where trains are, which means that the gaps between trains don’t have to be as large. This allows more trains to run on the busy route- up to 26 per hour, instead of only 15.

Boats
Shipping is also hopping on the IoT bandwagon. Trucks used to have to wait around at busy ports for the ships with their cargo to get in. Now, many of the 9 million containers moving through ports transmit and constantly update their precise arrival times so that trucks can plan to be there just in time. Another system allows trucks to even book a parking spot, so they don’t have to drive around searching for one.

The Internet of Things has significantly improved our transportation in the last few years. With every transportation industry starting to implement these technologies more and more we will see even better improvements in our transportation. Our everyday movement from place to place will become safer, easier and more efficient right before our eyes.

How the Internet of Things will Change Your Business

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The Internet of Things may sound like something that is completely difficult to understand but actually, it is quite opposite. It’s simply everything that is connected to the internet. Today, the number of things in the Internet of Things is growing rapidly. Almost everything that you use in your daily life and specifically at work is connected to the Internet of Things. So how does this affect your businesses? Here are four ways how the Internet of Thing will change and have already changed the way that you work.

Companies can begin to make more advanced and smarter products

Not too long ago we didn’t used to expect much from technologies. But today, however, we expect the world from them. Take cell phones for example. Just a few years ago the only thing our phones were supposed to do was make calls. But today if our phones don’t have access to the internet at the moment that we need it we freak out. We expect our phones to do so much more than simply make a call. Moreover, simple items such as watches and tennis rackets are now “smart”. The reason behind this is the Internet of Things (IoT). As a result of the IoT businesses have the technologies and opportunities to make “smarter”, more useful and more connected products.

Businesses will be able to make smarter operational decisions

The Internet of Things isn’t only about smarter devices but it also has a lot to do with sensors. These tiny gadgets can be attached to anything from cell phones to floors to car and everything inbetween. They record and then transmit data into the cloud. With this new technology, business will be able to collect more data and specific feedback on how products are being used, their efficiency, when they break, and even what features users might want in the future. For example, sensors are being used on airplanes to relay to the ground what needs to be serviced when the plane lands. This way operators on the ground know exactly what parts they need before the plane even lands, which has cut down delay times significantly.

Change in business models

Firstly, companies, such as FitBit and Jawbone, are emerging that exclusively deal with technologies that have been created as a result of IoT. The fitness trackers that FitBit and Jawbone sell collect data about our fitness habits and health stats. This data is extremely pertinent for marketing and other purposes.

While the Internet of Things has affected the technologies that companies are able to create, more importantly it has changed the way we think about the world, both in business and our personal lives. People today couldn’t imagine going back to a world without smartphones, smart cars, smart roads, and smart infrastructure. We are used to living with these technologies. They have become a part of our everyday lives and without them our lives would be extremely different. When thinking about the IoT you have to think big- according to Forbes, “the Internet of Things could change everything and every business needs to consider its implications.”

Make businesses more efficient

As a result of the Internet of Things, business have and will become more efficient in terms of security and saving time. Experts, according to Forbes, believe that in the near future network security will become one of the most important aspects of businesses. Therefore, it is imperative for businesses to invest in high-quality data solutions that will help their business immensely.

The Internet of Things has the ability to make businesses more productive and efficient. One way that it can do this is by locating objects quickly and easily. Anything that is connected to the IoT can be located with a few clicks of a button. For example, hospitals are currently geographically tagging all of their Internet-connected equipment, which saves nurses and doctors valuable time hunting down life saving devices. Businesses can also use IoT to track every aspect of their business from managing inventory to filling out orders, and locating tools and vehicles. With IoT businesses can know where everything is, as long as it is connected to the Internet, at all times.

Another way that IoT can make businesses more efficient is by helping you save time and get more out of your day. Many devices are becoming wireless, which helps businesses be efficient in their time management. Moreover, your devices, such as your smartphone, are “learning” about you. Through sensors, smartphones can know where you are and what you need. For example, your phone can detect when you walk into a Starbucks and wirelessly tell the barista your coffee order so that you don’t have to wait on line. You can then even pay for the coffee on your phone. These sensors can save you time during the day, be used for businesses and make your life more efficient.

Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is an online environment in which objects, people and even animals are provided with unique identifiers and have the ability to transfer data over a network. This transfer can be done without human-to-human or human-to-computer interactions. “Things,” or devices that are a part of the Internet of Things include, but aren’t limited to, smartphones, refrigerators, sensors on a car that alert the driver when tire pressure is low, a heart monitor implant, and a biochip transponder in a farm animal.

Things have begun to share their experiences with other things. Devices now have the ability to sense, communicate, and touch. From there, things can communicate and interact with other things on their own, without the need of human intervention. Let’s take smartphones as an example. Smartphones have a great deal of sensors. It knows where you are, if you’re moving, how you’re holding it, how much light is in the room, how close it is to your face, it knows what you’re saying to it, it even has an eye so it can see what’s around it, and it can communicate over a wireless network. Smartphones are able to learn their surroundings and transfer the data they are collecting over a wireless network to other devices, including other phones, computers, and tablets.

These smart and connected devices are already transforming our world and the competitive forces in business. Advances in these technologies have positively affected industries such as healthcare, travel and energy. Sensors on planes communicate with technicians on the ground to tell them what parts need to be fixed or serviced even before the plane lands. Medical technologies send out patients data to multiple doctors so that you can get attention faster and so that doctors have more time to see more patients. Wind turbines tell engineers what parts need to be fixed so they can be ordered and fixed immediately.

The Internet of Things is growing and changing rapidly. Forbes compiled some interesting facts about the IoT that show the staggering facts about the phenomenon and prove that it is here to stay.