I love money articles. Usually the money articles, or those generating for money sites, whether venture funding or in this case CNBC intrigue me. These are sites that sit outside our industry and are not invested in the perspectives we are. Jim Cramer, the rambunctious host of Mad Money offered his plan for the next big company the Cupertino, California-based technology giant should purchase; a name familiar to many of us in the AV industry: Harman International. Harman has been in the news lately as one of their semi-recently acquired companies (AMX) had some “issues” with back-door security holes causing some in the industry to want to rethink how AV devices perform in network security, and others to claim much adieu about nothing . However, one of the larger portion of Harman International’s business is car audio. A natural relationship exists there for the two companies, especially with Apple looking to grow their Apple CarPlay platform and increase their market share. Also, Apple has been rumored to be working on an electric car, although the person overseeing the project has recently departed for personal reasons. Other industry insiders are conjecturing Apple could eventually purchase smaller AV (in relation to Harman International) company, Savant. As the old adage goes “time will tell.”
Technology, politics and security converging to form quite the article in this one. State lawmakers are introducing bills that would prohibit smartphones from being sold with unbreakable encryption. Government and technology manufacturers have been at odds over this issue for some time now, I wrote about it in November 2014. The rationale isn’t evil, in this case California Assemblyman Jim Cooper wants this provision included to fight human trafficking; recently in New York a similar bill was introduced, except to fight terrorism. However, there are incredible implications for privacy, free speech and for people who don’t want to see government regulate every piece of their lives. I’m not minimizing the importance of fighting human trafficking, or terrorism for that matter, I think we can all agree these are two important issues that need to be addressed. I just don’t think infringing on consumer privacy or manufacturer’s products is the way to accomplish this and I’m not even a tin-foil hat wearing, “the government is out to get us” conspiracy theorist either.
Light bulbs. We’re talking about smart light bulbs. Ten years ago we were enamored with smartphones, and now we look at people who carry “dumb phones” as fringe-of-society crazies. Now we’re talking about smart light bulbs. Not just smart in the sense they don’t waste all your money because they are energy efficient, but they can be controlled by apps and do cool stuff. A few years back a smart light bulb was able to be turned on and off, dimmed and possibly even change the color. Now those light bulbs are dumb, and technology has given way to newer, smarter light bulbs. I won’t spoil all the amazing things these light bulbs are capable of (other than the title) so you’ll have to actually click the link. However, I will say this: the more objects get labeled as smart, the dumber I feel.
103 seems to be an arbitrary number, to say the least, but Commercial Integrator selected 103 Twitter accounts and labeled them ‘must follow.’ For some reason, probably due to my affiliation with AVNation, I was selected as one of the ‘must follow’ accounts. When asked how they determined which accounts to follow, the list’s author, Craig MacCormack, said it was mostly a discussion among the CI team, some were obvious and they’re already looking to compile a new list. MacCormack and Commercial Integrator are no strangers to industry lists, publishing two 40-under-40 lists for our industry in addition to this Twitter list. If you’re not on Twitter, sign up for an account right now and come back when you’re done. If you are on Twitter click the link to the article and get prepared to click the follow button as many as 103 times.
I like the idea, Microsoft, but if it looks half as bad as the image on the article, please don’t move forward. Video conferencing can be weird. I do it often for work so I’m used to communicating with remote coworkers, or with office mates when I’m on the road, and that doesn’t bother me. However, it is still somewhat unsettling when video chatting with friends (in full disclosure I also hate talking on the phone). Microsoft gets that it’s weird, or uncomfortable to stare at someone’s head on a 15.6″ laptop in a video call. So they’re working on a way to make it less awkward by putting a life-size 3D image of a person in the same room with you during video calls. What a world we live in. What a time to be alive.