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Information technology

Startups provide innovative solutions to local government needs

Startups are working with the city governments on solutions that can simplify reporting of crime, emergency and disaster situations, streamline application for foster parents, analyze city budgets and map land parcels in industrial zones, among others. The program called Startup in Residence (STiR) started in 2014 in San Francisco which produced six technologies that can be adopted for local government. One innovation was an indoor navigation system to guide the blind at the San Francisco International Airport. This year, the program has expanded to include 14 startups across North America that are collaborating with local governments for innovative solutions. The goal is to eventually grow a large network to include other cities domestically and around the globe.

Key Takeaway: 

The Startup in Residence (STiR) program has several startups from across the country developing solutions for local governments in California that include reducing paperwork, coordinating reports for police and fire departments, tracking land parcels and more.

Market Disruptions: 
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Publication Date: 
September 27, 2016

Report: More oil firms are investing in Industrial IoT

According to a Cisco report, more oil and gas companies are making investments in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), collecting terabytes of data a day while having yet to realize the potential of their data. Digitization in the industry could provide real-time access to data coming from cameras, sensors or satellites and enable faster and richer insights which can improve decision making, safety and production, while at the same time preventing potential disasters and reducing losses. Other benefits include decreased errors, cybersecurity and agile development. Cisco also says IIoT can increase profits by 11% and GDP by 8%. In a down market when companies are tempted to slash costs and resources, making the most efficient use of current oil rigs, for example, and raising the productivity of people and information at every stage of the operation can make a difference in the long term.

Key Takeaway: 

Cisco's new report found that more companies in the oil and gas industry are invested in the Industrial Internet of Things where data from assets can be used to improve decision-making, enhance safety and increase efficiency, productivity and profits.

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Publication Date: 
September 29, 2016

UN will buy spaceship to help poor nations launch orbital experiments

The UN is planning to buy a spaceship from a US company to enable developing countries to launch their own scientific discoveries in space. The spaceship called Dream Chaser is a one of a kind orbital space plane made by a company called Sierra Nevada Space Systems. With the spacecraft, 14 nations will be able to conduct experiments in orbit over a two-week mission in 2021. It builds on a program that will let developing countries launch a cubesat satellite every year from Japan's module on the International Space Station. The UN may be looking to large non-profits to fund the mission as well as participating developing nations. Satellites which are getting cheaper with innovation and competition can be used to track the weather, monitor crops, provide telecommunications services and mitigate disasters, according to a Quartz report.

Key Takeaway: 

The United Nations is going to buy a US-made spacecraft to open access for space experiments to developing countries which could benefit from data collected by satellites in space.

Market Disruptions: 
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Publication Date: 
September 29, 2016

BlackBerry will no longer manufacture phones to focus on software

BlackBerry is not anymore in the hardware manufacturing business, the company just recently confirmed. Future BlackBerry phones will be made by third party companies such as Alcatel. Instead, BlackBerry will focus on its software and services model including developing security software and applications, and will continue to support the Android ecosystem. The announcement was made during BlackBerry's second quarter financial results report.

Key Takeaway: 

BlackBerry will no longer manufacture its own phones and will transfer that responsibility to third party makers; instead, the firm will focus on its software and services as sources of revenue going forward.

Market Disruptions: 
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Publication Date: 
September 28, 2016

AirGig uses antennas on power lines to beam Internet access

AT&T has a new project called AirGig that taps low cost plastic antennas built on top of power lines and millimeter wave technology to beam Internet connection. The system which will be field tested next year can reach speeds comparable to 4G LTE and 5G mobile Internet. It can bring Wi-Fi connection to areas without access cheaply as it does not require new power lines or towers to be built. It could also help utilities monitor electricity usage along power lines, alerting them of any issues that may arise.

Key Takeaway: 

AT&T's new technology AirGig can distribute Wi-Fi access to areas without an Internet connection using antennas without the need to build more towers or power lines.

Publication Date: 
September 21, 2016

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