Archive | Technology Trends

Eliminating the Middleman: Millennials Gravitating Toward Alternative Lending

Uber. Airbnb. Etsy. What do all of these companies have in common? In addition to offering ways for people to make a little bit of imagesextra income on a part-time basis (sound like another company you know of?), they allow for more efficient transactions by removing the middleman.

For example, instead of having your call routed through a livery service, needing to contact a rental agency, or having to visit a retailer offering handmade crafts, you are able to deal directly with the entity that is providing you with the service in all of the above instances. This phenomenon is also commonly known as disintermediation.

It seems that “disintermediated” companies are beginning to infiltrate the world of finance. Personally, it seems that this sector is perfect for this kind of innovation, as banks typically make a decent profit off of transaction fees, amongst other things.

Additionally, consumers are becoming more and more disillusioned with the banking industry, especially the younger generation. In one poll, 7 out of 10 young people said they would rather go to the dentist than listen to what banks have to say. Not only this, but some sources estimate that the alternative lending industry is potentially worth a trillion dollars.

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You’ve Got Mail: Verizon to Acquire AOL

aol-running-man-logoThe days may be numbered for the iconic AOL running man logo as Verizon announced today that it is acquiring the tech company formerly known for dial-up Internet service in a deal worth $4.4 billion.

The merger is set to bolster the telecom giant’s mobile and video initiatives with the addition of AOL’s powerful advertising delivery platform. The acquisition also includes AOL’s impressive roster of content and media companies, including The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, MAKERS and AOL.com.

According to USA Today, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong says the focus of the acquisition is mobile and video. “That is where the future is going,” he says, stressing that “the whole world is shifting to video.”

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Four Tech Startups to Watch From TechCrunch Disrupt

Every year in San Francisco and New York City (and more recently in the EU and China), tech publication TechCrunclogoh hosts an event called Disrupt. Disrupt is a conference where startups compete against each other for the chance to win venture capital money from investors, and press and accolades from the media.

This past week, Disrupt NY 2015 was held from May 4-6, so we thought we would give you a quick overview of some of the more exciting startups who competed in the Startup Battlefield competition:

Parashoot  – Perfect for the compulsive cataloger, or those who agonize over finding the perfect shot to post on Instagram, Parashoot is a small device that clips on to a person or a set location, and can be set up to automatically record video and shoot pictures.

The range of capabilities that the 1.5 oz device has is impressive, as it can be programmed to capture auto video, time lapse photo and video, slow motion, photo burst or standard recording mode. Not only that, it comes with some relatively stylish cases to boot. Parashoot looks to compete with other wearable camera products such as NarrativeClip.

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Four Ways Mobile Apps Simplify Food Delivery

Food delivery apps have been increasing in popularity recently. In the past, customers who were both hungry and unwilling tPizza-Hut-iPhone-Appo leave the comfortable confines of their living room generally had limited choices when it came to food delivery.

Additionally, the process of having a meal delivered to your domicile usually involved the unwieldy process of rifling through a drawer of food-stained paper menus, or searching online to see if your favorite takeout joint offers delivery. Food delivery apps have certainly made this process cleaner, but not all of them are taking the same approach.

Aggregators

These services look to take as many takeout restaurants as possible not currently offering delivery, and turn that option into a reality. By aggregating as many locations as possible, they provide their users with a lot of variety. They also typically specialize in meta-search, meaning that if you have a specific place in mind or specific criteria when it comes to ordering, these apps are your best bet for satisfaction. Examples: Foodler, GrubHub

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uTesters Share Their Apple Watch Experience

It’s been exactly one week since the Apple Watch started arriving for the eager adopters who ordered early. uTesters, of course, were among the first in line and are ready to share a closer look at the Apple Watch experience.

In this video, TTL and Gold-rated uTester David Oreol shares his Apple Watch Sport unboxing. Check out what David has to say:

Meanwhile, Silver-rated uTester Matthew Cook gives us a closer look at navigating through the Apple Watch menu:

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Apple or Google: Who Will Reign Supreme With Mobile Payments?

Google and Apple are seasoned adversaries at this point, Mobile-Paymentswith each company constantly threatening to move in on each other’s territory and steal market share.

For example, Google has gotten involved with device manufacturing (see: Google Nexus Tablets), an area which has historically been Apple’s bread and butter, and Apple has engineered a Maps application, something one would usually associate with Google.

The tech giants’ newest battleground seems to be located in the land of mobile payments. Although Google certainly planted their flag first (May 26, 2011, to be exact), the technology did not catch on with a staggering number of merchants and users, most likely due to the relatively small number of NFC-equipped retailers early on.

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Testing to Break: Tesla Model X Testing Autopilot

2014-tesla-model-x-3-429-photo-441419-s-originalThe 2014 SyScan conference already ushered in a new era of testing by offering a $10,000 bounty for any tester who was able to remotely access a Tesla Model S’ automobile operating system.

This latest Tesla testing escapade makes that one seem like child’s play.

According to Gas2, as the Tesla Model X nears its debut, a “spy video shows a test driver purposely trying to crash a Model X test mule, no doubt putting the next-gen Autopilot system through its paces.”

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Mobile App Dating: Is Psychology (and Salad) the Key to True Love?

The market has seen an explosion in dating apps recently. What started out as a relatively straightforward model, in which 1363963082_1180_Datingusers fill out profiles and are subsequently either matched up with potential mates or do the filtering themselves, has rapidly evolved to include a wide array of apps with all types of spin-offs and niche products.

To illustrate this point, there is currently a mobile app in the iTunes store called SaladMatch which aims to connect users based on their salad preferences.

With this type of rapid expansion, one might assume that it would be difficult to observe any sort of meaningful trend running through all of these newcomers. As it turns out, this is not the case, as the most noticeable trend is actually rooted in a number of theories from the field of Psychology.

Generally speaking, as the number of choices a consumer is given increases, their chances of making a purchase decreases. This is rather counterintuitive, as one would expect that more options would equate to a greater likelihood of someone finding a product or decision path that matches up with their wants and needs. However, research from a number of sources has indicated that this expectation does not hold true.

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The ‘On-Demand Economy’ is Transforming Commerce

uberThe term on-demand economy is garnering a lot of attention these days. It’s used to describe the burgeoning segment of companies that promise customers instant access to goods and services that historically have required a longer waiting period or more convoluted steps in order to attain.

Additionally, these companies typically employ freelance employees only, and utilize a mobile app as a means of completing transactions. A few examples of the on-demand economy in action are Instacart, a grocery delivery service, Uber, an app-powered livery service, and Handy, a home-services booking app.

Recently, a new entrant to the on-demand economy game called Magic was announced. Magic promises to be the concierge for all things delivery, as users simply send an SMS containing their order, and a Magic employee on the other end coordinates all the details.

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Facebook Embraces Developers and App Monetization at F8

On Wednesday, Facebook held its annual F8 developer conference in San Francisco, where they announced a number of new innovations and updates to their current offerings.

If it wasn’t already clear from their spate of acquisitions (Instagram, WhatsA10323555_10101141198471157_883645609_opp) and novel products (Facebook at Work), this conference reinforced the notion that Facebook wants to be seen as a holistic suite of apps. Below are some of the biggest announcements from F8.

Facebook Messenger will be opened up to developers

Facebook revealed that it has paid out over $8 billion to developers using its platform over the past five years. In a move that will surely please the above-mentioned developer community, Facebook announced that they will open up their Messenger platform for the creation of new apps and functionalities. This move should give the 600 million monthly active Messenger users some new toys to play with.

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With HBO Now, the Streaming ‘Bubble’ Is On Its Way to Bursting

cable-tv-alternatives-ways-watch-free-tv-movies-online-streaming-lower-bill-save_0.jpgLike many ‘Millenials’ (as society likes to call my generation), I reveled at the thought of cutting the TV cord with the announcement yesterday that you no longer need to be tethered to cable providers to bask in the glory that is ‘not TV…It’s HBO.’

And the price point of $14.99 didn’t bother me much, either. Sure, I’m paying only $8.99 a month for Netflix, but for access to first-tier films and shows like True Detective and the entire back catalog of programs like The Sopranos? Yes, please.

But the more I thought of how the costs could skyrocket, the more I thought that we’ll be soon on the verge of a digital crisis much like the one cable companies are in the midst of — people fed up with paying too much.

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Android Wear to Pair With iOS Devices: The Death Knell for Apple?

Power-Couple-iOS-and-Android-Squeeze-the-CompetitionAndroid has always been the antithesis of Apple — they’re the fun, edgier operating system with an openness for new experiences.

So while it may be surprising that a GigaOM report citing French technology website 01net mentions that “Android Wear might be going cross-platform with an iOS app, possibly launching at Google’s annual developer conference in May,” really, that openness to try new things has always been there.

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