The first successful drone delivery in the US has taken place
- The first drone delivery approved by the Federal Aviation Administration went off without a hitch last week in Wise County, Virginia. [July 20, 2015]
- Flirtey, an Australian drone-delivery startup, piloted a drone carrying medical supplies from an airfield to a medical clinic.
- The July 17 trip from the supplying pharmacy to the clinic is about 35 miles, over windy roads. Flirtey’s drone, like most commercial drones on the market, isn’t able to stay in the air for that sort of distance, and so the company worked with NASA, which flew the supplies to an airfield about a mile from the clinic. NASA’s plane was an experimental drone of its own—a modified Cirrus SR22 that can be controlled remotely.
- Flirtey’s trip marked the first time the FAA has allowed a drone to deliver something in the US, and could pave the way for future drone-delivery systems, like the one Amazon is trying to get off the ground. The FAA is in the process of finalizing its regulations for flying drones in public, which it hopes to have in place by next year.
- Other countries already are using drones in their airspace: Flirtey delivers goods back in New Zealand, and the Swiss government is testing out delivering mail by drone, as is the French.
E-Reading Rises as Device Ownership Jumps
- The percentage of adults who read an e-book in the past year has risen to 28%, up from 23% at the end of 2012.
- The January 2014 survey, conducted just after the 2013 holiday gift-giving season, produced evidence that e-book reading devices are spreading through the population. Some 42% of adults now own tablet computers, up from 34% in September.
- And the number of adults who own an e-book reading device like a Kindle or Nook reader jumped from 24% in September to 32% after the holidays.
- Overall, 50% of Americans now have a dedicated handheld device–either a tablet computer like an iPad, or an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook–for reading e-content. That figure has grown from 43% of adults who had either of those devices in September.
Voice Control Will Force an Overhaul of the Whole Internet
- Google is already using GPUs to power the brain-like “neural networks” that help drive its Siri-like service, Google Now. And Microsoft is using FPGAs to drive at least part of its Bing search engine.
- GPUs are now the chips of choice not only for voice recognition, but for all sorts of other services based on neural networks. These “deep learning” tools involve everything from the face recognition services on Google+ and Facebook to the ad targeting tech on the Baidu search engine, and eventually, they’ll help power self-driving cars and other robotics.
- Jeff Dean, who helps oversee much of the deep learning work at Google, says the company now uses a blend of GPUs and CPUs in running neural networks that now help power about 50 different Google web services.
- “Siri and Cortana and Google Now—and even more advanced applications that deal with data analytics and process video in real time and give you personalized suggestions—is where our technology is going, where industry is going,” Mars says.
Shoppers disrupted: Retailing through the noise
- Delivery of online purchases is preferred by 36 percent of shoppers this year, up from 23 percent in 2011.
- Today’s consumers are having more interaction with businesses than ever, and IBM’s study shows that consumers want tailored, meaningful messages.
- Moving beyond simple demography, companies are collecting (or, through analytics, discerning) many of their customer’s preferences and interests, their location, responses to prior communications, browsing and purchase behavior, relevant social messaging and so much more to infuse context into their messaging. Shoppers know and appreciate a well-crafted contextual message when they get one.
- While only 28 percent of customers are willing to share current location information with trusted retailers, that number is growing, up from 24 percent last year.
- More consumer interest is shown in social and mobile sharing, with 38 percent of shoppers willing to share their social handle (up from 32 percent) and 42 percent willing to share mobile for text (up from 38 percent).
- 48 percent of shoppers surveyed in 2014 want on-demand, personalized promotions while online, and 44 percent want the same in the store.