Enjoy this weekly feed of inspiring, interesting and intellectual articles and news, with a focus on disruption!
Amazon pushing hard with Alexa
Amazon Echo and it, assistant Alexa, has long been a favorite here at the feed (although by now we’ve almost lost hope of it coming to Sweden). Ever since being first the Echo smart speaker has been the best one (at least if you live in the US). While competitors are catching up Amazon sure seems to want to hold that position as apparently over 10,000 employees are working on the assistant and its speakers!
In other Amazon news, its founder Jeff Bezos is in for one VERY expensive divorce. As of about a year ago Bezos stake in the company was a little more than 16% and potentially half of that could go to his wife. Obviously this would impact voting rights as well…
Yet another player for check-out free stores
There are many ideas on how to achieve checkout-free stores right now. Amazon, Walmart and 7-eleven have earlier presented their own ideas to speed up grocery shopping by skipping the checkout line. Now we can present yet another solution in the form of a smart shopping cart developed by the startup Caper. The cart is equipped with a barcode scanner and card swiper but perhaps above all an interactive screen which can show shoppers deals and suggestions on products they walk by.
Certainly, a cheaper solution than Amazon’s camera surveillance solution in the short term but at the same time more expensive than Walmart’s app solution. Caper is not affiliated with any retail chain, so we’ll see if they manage to scale it up.
Build with wood, not brick!
EU will start requiring a “nearly zero-energy” standard for all new public sector buildings as of this year. However, these standards aren’t as green as one might think, as they only account for the energy used when the building itself is used. Not the energy required to build it. Now, as some estimates put production emissions at close to 50% of a building’s total lifetime, “nearly zero” isn’t so close to zero anymore. However, wood instead of steal and aluminum could be a way forward.
“The energy required to produce a laminated wooden beam is one-sixth of that required for a steel one of comparable strength. A softwood window frame provides nearly 400 times as much insulation as a plain steel one of the same thickness and over a thousand times as much as an aluminum equivalent.”
Oh, and the world’s first wooden sky scraper will be finished this year! The “second little pig” wasn’t so wrong after all…