Home automation still seems a little Tomorrowland, but Ube thinks it can make some parts of that dream a reality, even for the Homer Simpsons among us.
Ube is a startup focusing on bringing the Internet of things to life inside the connected home, starting with an iPhone app and three hardware products: Smart Dimmer, Smart Outlet, and Smart Plug.
“We have been working in the connected home space and consumer electronics space for over 25 years waiting for technology to become available which could simply and inexpensively solve this problem,” said Ube co-founder Glen Burchers in an email conversation with VentureBeat.
Ube, he says, can bring a centralized, cloud-based brain and central control system to all your home’s web-connected electronics. All you need is a smartphone, “no professional custom installation required.” Better still, it’s free.
“We hear a huge influx of people saying, ‘How can I get someone to help me create an infographic or a dashboard or an interactive visualization?’”
We don’t do focus groups - that is the job of the designer. It’s unfair to ask people who don’t have a sense of the opportunities of tomorrow from the context of today to design.
Jonathan Ive was interviewed by the Evening Standard.
On competitors’ failures:
Most of our competitors are interesting in doing something different, or want to appear new - I think those are completely the wrong goals. A product has to be genuinely better. This requires real discipline, and that’s what drives us - a sincere, genuine appetite to do something that is better. Committees just don’t work, and it’s not about price, schedule or a bizarre marketing goal to appear different - they are corporate goals with scant regard for people who use the product.
And on innovation and spending time on details:
It’s incredibly time consuming, you can spent months and months and months on a tiny detail - but unless you solve that tiny problem, you can’t solve this other, fundamental product.
You often feel there is no sense these can be solved, but you have faith. This is why these innovations are so hard - there are no points of reference.
Every additional interview with Ive further convinces me him and his team share the motivations of Benedictine Monks, who stole away from society to obsess over meticulously hand-written Bibles.(via dbreunig)
Today I spent a chunk of my morning writing time explaining how an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic relates to Apple’s legal fight with Samsung and the general state of the smartphone and tablet market.
I. Love. My. Job.
This isn’t just premature, it’s absurd. 3-D printing, like VR before it, is one of those technologies that suggest a trend of long and steep adoption driven by rapid advances on the systems we have now. And granted, some of what’s going on at present is pretty cool—whether it’s in rapid prototyping, solid-fuel rockets, bio-assembly or just giant plastic showpieces.But the notion that 3-D printing will on any reasonable time scale become a “mature” technology that can reproduce all the goods on which we rely is to engage in a complete denial of the complexities of modern manufacturing, and, more to the point, the challenges of working with matter.
[…]Hype is inevitably followed by some level of backlash, or at least disinterest, and it would be a shame for 3-D printing to head into a too-deep trough of the Gartner hype cycle. There will be plenty of interesting applications for 3-D printing, but I’ll bet the ones that will have the biggest impact will be within traditional factories, where rapid prototyping is already having a huge impact.
I believe this is right. That is why it is interesting to try to look where 3D print might have a unique advantage. Following Bruce Sterlings early insights about this I think one of these possible areas are places on the planet where they don’t have access to factories yet, but is in need of things – many cheap, small but specialized things like e g spare parts for important machines.
Update: Ian Pearson commented on Twitter on this post by noting that 3D print will create a great digital craft industry, which I agree with. And that is a whole interesting area in itself since a whole new craft area will most likely redefine how we relate to design and production. Maybe not for everything but for the things that are perceived to be special and we really like and have emotional relations.
Education on a Digital Scale
Felix Salmon provides us with an update on Sebastian Thrun’s free Stanford class “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence”, which wrapped in last year:
Just a couple of datapoints from Thrun’s talk: there were more students in his course from Lithuania alone than there are students at Stanford altogether. There were students in Afghanistan, exfiltrating war zones to grab an hour of connectivity to finish the homework assignments. There were single mothers keeping the faith and staying with the course even as their families were being hit by tragedy. And when it finished, thousands of students around the world were educated and inspired. Some 248 of them, in total, got a perfect score: they never got a single question wrong, over the entire course of the class. All 248 took the course online; not one was enrolled at Stanford.
And I loved as well his story of the physical class at Stanford, which dwindled from 200 students to 30 students because the online course was more intimate and better at teaching than the real-world course on which it was based.
With the completion of the class, Thrun declared he “can’t teach at Stanford again.” He’s walking away from his tenure and starting Udacity, an online university.
Education is finally starting to fully embrace digital. Developments like Udacity, Khan Academy, Code Academy, and Apple’s textbooks look to do to college what blogging and the internet have done to publishing, lowering the cost of entry to an almost negligible point and increasing the scale of participants by several factors.
Think back to how many newspaper and magazine columnists we had in 1995. Now think of how many people are writing frequently online. Imagine if we achieved such a shift in college education, with millions of people learning how to create search engines (Udacity’s first class) and more. Thrun’s numbers above feel about right, and he’s just getting started.
The potential of a population educated on a digital scale, not just made louder with access to publishing platforms, promises to be massive.
In which I poke some fun at the sameness of ultrabooks on offer right now.
Amongst other topics, I pressed the companies on whether or not technology manufacturers were simply producing too many gadgets, outpacing real consumer demand with iterative, insubstantial changes. “Are we creating demand where there isn’t any?” I asked. Though reluctant, Samsung’s Ryan Bidan agreed that the current rate of production “[Is] not optimal, but I think the reality is that this is the industry we’re in at the moment.” Biden added, “There should be a drive towards optimization, the sheer SKU proliferation is a problem.” HTC’s Drew Bamford was more direct. “It’s a goal for us,” he said.