How The Internet Of Things Impacts Supply Chain

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Traditionally, companies have relied on third-party logistics contractors to ensure that goods get from one place to another. This was a reasonable solution, but certainly open to human error, considering that all shipping, tracking, receipt, etc. have been accomplished manually.

Today, however, we have “smart” technology with the capacity to perform complex tasks at a higher speed and with higher precision. The combination of cloud computing, analytics and hardware advancements have created a new avenue for conducting delivery and fulfillment operations, powered by the Internet of Things (IoT).

Just what is IoT?

The Internet of Things is a new technology paradigm that allows objects to “talk” with other objects and with humans, through embedded electronic nodes that are programmed for specific functions. It makes these things “smart.” Thus, a “smart” thermostat can communicate with its owner and other “smart” devices in the house and vice versa. A “smart” car can alert its owner to traffic issues on the way to work.

So, how does this new technology relate to supply chain management? In many ways. And in so doing, it can eliminate the third-party logistics contractor and speak directly to a supplier, shipper or receiver, according to Sean Liu, CEO of Versara Trade, a trade finance platform built on blockchain to facilitate crypto credit enhancement on trade finance transactions and improve on traditional factoring and asset-based lending (ABL) by using cryptocurrency as extra collateral.

Tracking locations

There are different aspects of tracking the locations of raw materials, inventory, and finished products.

1. Tracking transit and delivery from a raw materials supplier to a manufacturing facility. Many manufacturers rely on a number of suppliers to deliver ordered materials on time. When these suppliers can use RFID (radio frequency identification) tags on materials, everyone knows the route, the times, and the actual delivery to the manufacturer. This provides full transparency at both ends of the chain.

2. Tracking the locations of materials once delivered. Again, if the manufacturing facility is large and shipments are arriving all of the time, it can be a nightmare when a specific shipment is somehow “lost” in the yard. Those embedded RFID tags solve this issue.

3. Tracking materials and products within a facility. Materials do get misplaced. This can result in production problems, delays and unhappy customers. With RFID tags, nothing is misplaced.

Environmental sensing

Many products are perishable and/or environmentally sensitive. Certain temperatures, humidity, and other conditions must be maintained for risk control. IoT applications for these circumstances are ideal, because, just like a smart refrigerator in a home, there will be alerts when conditions go awry.

“IoT allows for monitoring conditions during shipment – not just temperatures and humidity, but vibrations and shocks,” said Liu. “Thus, both transporters and receivers of goods can be notified in advance of delivery, and a replacement shipment can be dispatched in short order. When blockchain is added to the mix, it increases transparency, security and confidence.”

Managing fleets

CB radios and then cell phones have been the traditional means of communicating with transport vehicles, as goods are moved from one point to another. And there are all of those pesky regulations regarding driver operations and rest, not to mention weight compliance issues.

“With IoT and blockchain, which facilitates the recording of every transaction across multiple copies of the distributed ledger, a manufacturer or contracted transporter knows where each of his vehicles is at any given point during the transit process, can monitor that it is on schedule, and can be immediately alerted if there is a breakdown or some other issues,” Liu explained.

Emergency services

Cisco recently teamed up with the California Shock Trauma Air Rescue service – an air ambulance operation – in the use of IoT for its dispatching functions. The biggest benefit is that when a call comes in, the location is “geo-matched” to the closest crew and that crew is automatically dispatched to the scene. And the entire operation is monitored throughout the process.

5 Tips For Writing a Book People Will Actually Read (From a First Time Author)

I was sitting alone in a garage surrounded by packing boxes.

My usual morning routine, which started with coffee back then (and now is more about black tea), segued into a new idea for this column. I started writing about what it means to be driven, to push yourself so hard that you have no other choice but to find a solution. Like someone absolutely committed to obtaining a college degree or finding their way through downtown traffic, you just push and push and push.

And yet, the neurons were not firing that day. I was in a garage because we had sold our house, and a friend had offered a place to live for a few weeks. On a cabin by a lake–sounds idyllic, right? And yet, the cabin didn’t have an office or a place to work. In fact, it barely had a working air conditioner.

That garage, sitting on the end of a dirt road, became a haven for me, but it wasn’t easy to keep writing. My chair creaked. The oil stains smelled. I’d sometimes hear the scraping of some wild animal late at night, giving me the creeps. Pushing was not exactly an option. It was more like a mind game; I was trying to stay productive.

I wasn’t. In the midst of acquiring bank loans and arranging for a U-Haul, I kept driving and pushing myself. Since 2001, I’ve worked as a columnist in magazines and online (including about seven years writing this column). This time, I was pushing against a brick wall, so I decided to retreat back into the cabin and fetch more coffee.

On my way back, I thought pretty hard about why I’m so driven. What was this internal motivator pushing me forward? Was it money? Or the appeal of success? Or a desire to prove my father wrong after I left a corporate job? I stopped in my tracks. I didn’t see a light shining down from the sky–other than the sun–but I did have an epiphany. I realized right then and there that I needed to stop trying so hard, living under my own power. I went back to the cabin and wrote a column about how “being driven” is not the answer.

And then I had an idea for a book. It’s on a spiritual topic, but the basic concept is that we can’t do it all on our own. We need help. We can stay driven and keep pushing, but at the end of the day, there’s only so much we can do to find success. In a business context, it means letting other people mentor us, letting our team develop and grow outside of our control. In marriage or in raising kids, it means allowing friends and extended family to become part of our inner circle, to help us move forward.

We push so hard, and yet–for most entrepreneurs–the constant pushing often leads to more stress, anxiety, and even depression. I wrote my first book as an attempt to come to terms with this for myself, but along the way, I learned a lot about what actually works and how to write an extended piece of non-fiction that people will read and understand.

Here are my best tips if you follow a similar path.

1. Write with empathy

My book is about my own spiritual journey in life. I had to think long and hard about my topics, and I restarted several chapters when it seemed like they were mainly a feeble attempt to set myself up as an expert. That process–setting ourselves up–usually ends in failure. You’re either an expert or you’re not. My topic, living a spiritual life, is one where few of us are experts. So I wrote mostly about my own experiences, a memoir of sorts, and I decided to write in a way that treated the reader as a fellow non-expert. We’re all in this together, I thought, and we might as well admit none of us have all of the answers. This helped me see the reader as a partner, not a pupil.

2. Stick to your instincts

A piece of me is in the book. A big piece. I avoided flowery language, or overly complex segues. On a long plane ride to Austria in the fall of 2016, I wrote two full chapters of the book; on the return trip, I wrote two more. I poured out the stories in a flash of inspiration, and I didn’t worry too much about whether any of the material would win a literary award (it won’t). However, I wanted to directly and succinctly communicate a simple idea, and I wanted to use everyday language. If you write a book, this is perhaps my biggest tip of all: Keep it simple. Keep it straightforward. Trust your instincts.

3. Persevere through the process

Most authors will tell you that writing a book is laborious. It takes an incredible investment in time; it can take months or even years. For my book, I wrote the basic chapters in a draft form in about two months, writing almost everyday. That does not include revisions and editing. Yet, the hardest part was not the drafting or the editing or even the revisions. The hardest part was writing a book that reflected exactly what I wanted it to say, and within the publication window. This is more than editing and revision; this is soul searching. It’s a monumental struggle to translate from the idea to the written word in a way that makes sense and communicates the idea clearly, and in a way that makes you feel proud.

4. Give your ideas time to germinate

That struggle to write is no match for the struggle to find insight in the first place. It’s more than staying on a rigid sleep schedule and drinking extra coffee. You can’t quickly find insight. Your ideas have to germinate and grow, and they originate with experiences and the hard lessons you’ve learned. I’ve persevered through many struggles over the past 30 years, and my book is mostly a document of those struggles. Now, I worry about the next book, which is already in an infant stage, because I’ve already drawn from the well so many times. If you can’t quickly find insight, you also can’t quickly have experiences. You need to give them time to develop (in fact, I might take another full year).

5. Know when to put the pen down

I know, there’s no pen involved. We’re all on keyboards. For me, it was hard to finally stop hammering on my laptop and to realize when the stories were documented enough for my own purposes and for the purposes of my publisher. I finished the book last year, and every month I’d think about making revisions. Yet, I resisted the temptation because it became a record of my thoughts and ideas during that timeframe. Changing it too much would pull the book into my current timeframe. You have to accept the risk that what you have documented during that season is what is the most accurate and best version. And you have to accept when a book is done and ready to debut. For me, it’s time.

Three Consequences Of The Transition Taking Place In The Electric Sector

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Our increasingly digital world has raised expectations for speed:

Speed of communication = smartphone (iPhone, Android).

Speed of travel = car sharing (Uber, Lyft).

Speed of information = internet search (Google…well, just Google).

Speed of financial transactions = real-time payment (Venmo, Stripe).

There appear to be few barriers to accelerating the speed of anything to its utmost physical potential using the miracle of 21st-century information technology. For the flow of digital information, if it is not in real time, it might as well arrive by horse and buggy.

This phenomenon took the telecommunications industry by storm during the early part of my career, and the world has never been the same. Real-time, secure communications worldwide is a reality that has fueled the burgeoning digital economy.

A transformation not unlike what I witnessed then is now taking place in the electric power grid. Lest we forget, without the ever-present availability of electricity, the world as we know it does not run. This makes it all the more egregious that it is running on obsolete, 20th-century technology.

An Electric Sector In Transition

The holy convergence of economic competitiveness and consumer demand is driving the exponential growth of renewable energy, with energy storage soon to follow. In 2016, new capacity added to the grid from renewables exceeded that from traditional coal and gas sources for the first time. What is taking place is much more fundamental than just technological substitution. The entire character of the electric grid is changing, from centralized, large-scale generation to a proliferation of smaller-scale, distributed energy resources that are cheaper, more efficient and much faster to deploy. In concert, the energy regulatory environment is shifting to accommodate the addition of new distributed generation while simultaneously injecting competitive market forces. Similar to the breakup of Ma Bell, dismantling arguably the largest remaining monopoly in the country is stimulating more innovation — and creating challenges — in a “network” business known as the electric power grid.  

Consequences Of This Transition

1. The Dilemma Of Big Data

While these technological and regulatory advances are transforming the business models of utilities and their energy retailer cousins, a challenge looms — big data. Yes, big data equals big problems in an industry that is still running billions of dollars of transactions using Excel spreadsheets.

This energy transition has created exponential growth in data and complexity, which, if left unresolved, will stymy the growth of renewables and distributed resources and keep the electric grid stuck in the 20th century.  

Again, the reason comes back to data — a truck-sized firehose of complex power data that is impossible to make sense of using current information and transactional systems. To put this in perspective, there are more than 12 million backup generators in the U.S. This number dwarfs the number coal-fired generation stations (over 700) operating in the U.S. Just in backup power capable of serving as a distributed asset behind the meter, this represents an exponential increase in data and complexity for the grid.

EU Parliament committee votes for tougher EU copyright rules to rein in tech giants

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Google (GOOGL.O), Facebook (FB.O), Microsoft (MSFT.O) and other tech giants could face more curbs on their market power after a European Parliament committee voted in favor of tougher copyright rules on Wednesday.

The logo of Google is pictured during the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

The copyright rules, proposed by the European Commission two years ago, are designed to take account of the growing role of online platforms, forcing them to share revenues with publishers and bear liability for copyright infringement on the internet.

The vote by the Legal Affairs Committee is likely to be the Parliament’s official stance as it heads into negotiations with EU countries on a common position, unless dissenting lawmakers force a vote at the general assembly next month.

While internet luminaries and activists and some lawmakers have criticized the EU reforms, copyright holders have applauded them.

German lawmaker Julia Reda, part of the Greens group in the parliament, opposed the EU proposal and said the measures would break the internet.

“People will run into trouble doing everyday things like discussing the news and expressing themselves online. Locking down our freedom to participate to serve the special interests of large media companies is unacceptable,” she said in a statement.

Slideshow (2 Images)

“I will challenge this outcome and request a vote in the European Parliament next month,” she said.

Criticism has focused on two articles of the proposed new law. Article 11 or the so-called neighboring right for press publishers could force Google, Microsoft and others to pay publishers for showing news snippets.

Article 13 or mandatory upload filtering would require online platforms such as YouTube, GitHub, Instagram and eBay (EBAY.O) to install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted materials or seek licenses to display content.

Lobbying group CCIA, whose members include Google, Facebook, eBay, Amazon (AMZN.O) and Netflix (NFLX.O), criticized lawmakers for ignoring pleas from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, net neutrality expert Tim Wu, internet pioneer Vint Cerf and others.

“We urge all MEPs (members of parliament) to contest this report and to support balanced copyright rules, which respect online rights and support Europe’s digital economy,” CCIA’s Maud Sacquet said.

Raegan MacDonald, head of EU public policy at Mozilla, creator of the Firefox web browser, called it a sad day for the internet in Europe.

“It is especially disappointing that just a few weeks after the entry into force of the GDPR – a law that made Europe a global regulatory standard bearer – parliamentarians have approved a law that will fundamentally damage the internet in Europe, with global ramifications,” she said, referring to Europe’s new data protection law.

Civil Liberties Union for Europe also criticized the committee’s vote.

“MEPs listened to lobbyists and ignored our fundamental rights. We will take this to the plenary and keep fighting for freedom of speech in the EU,” the union’s Eva Simon said.

Publishers cheered the committee’s vote, calling it a victory for fairness and a recognition that rights holders should be rewarded.

“The internet is only as useful as the content that populates it. This publishers’ neighboring right will be key to encouraging further investment in professional, diverse, fact-checked content for the enrichment and enjoyment of everyone, everywhere,” Europe’s news and magazine publishers said.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Adrian Croft

New Discovery Reveals How Your Brain Changes When You Need Sleep

, Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

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</div> </div> <p>In desperate need of a good night’s sleep? If so, you aren’t alone.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5353813/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5353813/" rel="nofollow">Between 10% to 30% of adults experience insomnia</a>, and for <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987897/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987897/" rel="nofollow">up to 1 in 10 adults, insomnia can become a chronic disorder</a>. Even people who manage to sleep like proverbial logs can end up sleep deprived if <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-how-much-sleep-do-we-need-29759" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://theconversation.com/explainer-how-much-sleep-do-we-need-29759" rel="nofollow">sleep is restricted</a> by staying up too late or waking too early.</p> <p>Whatever the cause, sleep deprivation can lead to mild to significant cognitive impairment while we’re awake. We’ve all felt the effects at one point or another. It might just be a case of pouring coffee on your cereal or alighting the wrong train while jet-lagged, but fatigue also causes more serious problems like work and motor vehicle accidents.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5859531/#CR8" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5859531/#CR8" rel="nofollow">A recent study showed</a> that drivers who regularly get less than 6 hours of sleep a night have a 33% higher risk of a car accident than drivers who get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. This was the case even when the drivers didn’t report excessive sleepiness. Studies also show that accruing sleep debt over long periods of time can have a negative impact on mental health.</p> <p> </p> <p>So what is actually changing in the brain the longer we go without sleep? And why does a good sleep make us feel so refreshed?</p> <p>Interestingly, although sleep accounts for around one-third of our lives and plays a substantial role in our health and well-being, we still don’t know all that much about the biochemistry of sleep.</p> <p>From an evolutionary perspective, there must be a really good reason for going offline for hours at a time — snoozing instead of hunting, foraging, or mating — and being quite vulnerable while we do so.</p>

” readability=”38.1463112213″>

Shutterstock

In desperate need of a good night’s sleep? If so, you aren’t alone.

Between 10% to 30% of adults experience insomnia, and for up to 1 in 10 adults, insomnia can become a chronic disorder. Even people who manage to sleep like proverbial logs can end up sleep deprived if sleep is restricted by staying up too late or waking too early.

Whatever the cause, sleep deprivation can lead to mild to significant cognitive impairment while we’re awake. We’ve all felt the effects at one point or another. It might just be a case of pouring coffee on your cereal or alighting the wrong train while jet-lagged, but fatigue also causes more serious problems like work and motor vehicle accidents.

A recent study showed that drivers who regularly get less than 6 hours of sleep a night have a 33% higher risk of a car accident than drivers who get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. This was the case even when the drivers didn’t report excessive sleepiness. Studies also show that accruing sleep debt over long periods of time can have a negative impact on mental health.

So what is actually changing in the brain the longer we go without sleep? And why does a good sleep make us feel so refreshed?

Interestingly, although sleep accounts for around one-third of our lives and plays a substantial role in our health and well-being, we still don’t know all that much about the biochemistry of sleep.

From an evolutionary perspective, there must be a really good reason for going offline for hours at a time — snoozing instead of hunting, foraging, or mating — and being quite vulnerable while we do so.

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The Best Blockchain Jobs And Careers Available Today

, Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock

</div> </div> <p><strong>What is blockchain technology?</strong></p> <p>Although <span><a href="https://www.bernardmarr.com/default.asp?contentID=1389" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.bernardmarr.com/default.asp?contentID=1389" rel="nofollow">blockchain</a></span> technology was first developed to use with the cryptocurrency bitcoin in 2008, it is essentially a distributed database that can store any type of record. Users can only edit the parts of the blockchain they own, making it highly secure, but anyone with access to the blockchain can see it, so it is also highly transparent. Some have described blockchain as the “internet of value”—anyone can send value anywhere the blockchain file can be accessed just like anyone can publish information that others can access on the internet no matter where they are in the world. Now that blockchain technology has expanded beyond the financial sector, many companies representing many industries are researching and exploring how adopting blockchain could help their business.</p> <p><strong>Where is the demand for blockchain skills?</strong></p> <p>Blockchain has become what the “cloud” was in the mid-2000s, poised to be the most highly talked about technology and one that offers tremendous professional opportunity. According to Upwork’s skills index, blockchain is the fastest-growing skill out of more than 5,000 on the site. Currently, demand is far outpacing supply. According to<u><a href="https://www.computerworld.com/article/3235972/it-careers/blockchain-moves-into-top-spot-for-hottest-job-skills.html" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.computerworld.com/article/3235972/it-careers/blockchain-moves-into-top-spot-for-hottest-job-skills.html" rel="nofollow"> Burning Glass Technologies</a></u>, there were more than 5,743 largely full-time job openings posted that required blockchain skills in the last 12 months. Even though as a skill-set, blockchain technology is in its infancy, it’s in demand from start-ups as well as established companies such as IBM and Samsung. Organizations are exploring not only cryptopcurrencies powered by blockchain but how the distributed ledgers that are the backbone of <span><a href="https://www.bernardmarr.com/default.asp?contentID=1302" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.bernardmarr.com/default.asp?contentID=1302" rel="nofollow">blockchain can be applied in other areas</a></span> such as supply chains, legal, contracts and more.</p> <p> </p> <p>Blockchain research and adoption requires the leadership and skills of professionals who can build the strategy and develop the blockchain solutions. Here are a few of the hottest positions:</p> <p><strong>Blockchain developer</strong></p> <p>Since there is virtually no industry leader who isn’t somewhat intrigued by the potential opportunities made possible through blockchain technology, blockchain developers who have the expertise to help companies develop blockchain platforms are in high demand. Blockchain development might offer the most robust career path at the moment, because until solutions are developed, all the benefits of blockchain can’t be realized. Some organizations call this role a blockchain engineer. This is a highly technical position that requires tremendous attention to detail.</p>

” readability=”50.4608879493″>

Blockchain expertise captured the No. 1 position on the latest skills index by Upwork for being the hottest in the U.S. job market. This is just one of the many indicators of how high the demand is for people with blockchain skills. Blockchain may have begun in finance to support cryptocurrencies, but now blockchain technology and the solutions it can provide are being explored by industries from healthcare to insurance to manufacturing and more. The only way companies can explore and achieve goals with blockchain is to hire those who have the skill-set to navigate this new technology. Here we’ll spotlight what blockchain technology is, who wants those with blockchain skills and some of the best blockchain jobs and careers that are available today.

Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock

What is blockchain technology?

Although blockchain technology was first developed to use with the cryptocurrency bitcoin in 2008, it is essentially a distributed database that can store any type of record. Users can only edit the parts of the blockchain they own, making it highly secure, but anyone with access to the blockchain can see it, so it is also highly transparent. Some have described blockchain as the “internet of value”—anyone can send value anywhere the blockchain file can be accessed just like anyone can publish information that others can access on the internet no matter where they are in the world. Now that blockchain technology has expanded beyond the financial sector, many companies representing many industries are researching and exploring how adopting blockchain could help their business.

Where is the demand for blockchain skills?

Blockchain has become what the “cloud” was in the mid-2000s, poised to be the most highly talked about technology and one that offers tremendous professional opportunity. According to Upwork’s skills index, blockchain is the fastest-growing skill out of more than 5,000 on the site. Currently, demand is far outpacing supply. According to Burning Glass Technologies, there were more than 5,743 largely full-time job openings posted that required blockchain skills in the last 12 months. Even though as a skill-set, blockchain technology is in its infancy, it’s in demand from start-ups as well as established companies such as IBM and Samsung. Organizations are exploring not only cryptopcurrencies powered by blockchain but how the distributed ledgers that are the backbone of blockchain can be applied in other areas such as supply chains, legal, contracts and more.

Blockchain research and adoption requires the leadership and skills of professionals who can build the strategy and develop the blockchain solutions. Here are a few of the hottest positions:

Blockchain developer

Since there is virtually no industry leader who isn’t somewhat intrigued by the potential opportunities made possible through blockchain technology, blockchain developers who have the expertise to help companies develop blockchain platforms are in high demand. Blockchain development might offer the most robust career path at the moment, because until solutions are developed, all the benefits of blockchain can’t be realized. Some organizations call this role a blockchain engineer. This is a highly technical position that requires tremendous attention to detail.

Page 1 / 2

Arc System Works Is Publishing A New 'Kill La Kill' Game

, I cover gaming in Japan as well the pop-culture here. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Credit: Trigger

The anime series ‘Kill la Kill’ is getting a new game.

</div> </div> <p>With the recent countdown of a <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/2018/06/14/arc-system-works-and-studio-trigger-are-collaborating-on-a-new-project-together/" target="_self">new collaboration between Arc System Works and Studio Trigger</a>, the result of that will be a game for the 2013 anime series&nbsp;<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_la_Kill" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_la_Kill" rel="nofollow"><em data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_la_Kill">Kill la Kill</em></a>.</p> <p>Based on the quest of <a href="http://kill-la-kill.wikia.com/wiki/Ry%C5%ABko_Matoi" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://kill-la-kill.wikia.com/wiki/Ry%C5%ABko_Matoi" rel="nofollow">Ryuko Matoi</a> (shown above) to find her father’s killer, she wields the <a href="http://kill-la-kill.wikia.com/wiki/Scissor_Blade" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://kill-la-kill.wikia.com/wiki/Scissor_Blade" rel="nofollow">Scissor Blade</a> that can cut the mysterious <a href="http://kill-la-kill.wikia.com/wiki/Life_Fibers" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://kill-la-kill.wikia.com/wiki/Life_Fibers" rel="nofollow">Life Fibers</a>. The series itself is surprisingly involved and while rather slapstick at times, the series does have an interesting narrative.</p> <p>Of all the recent <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studio_Trigger" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studio_Trigger" rel="nofollow">Studio Trigger</a> anime, <em>Kill la Kill</em> is probably the best fit for an <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/2016/05/21/arc-system-works-and-its-fighting-game-legacy-its-all-about-the-cool/" target="_self">Arc Systems Works</a> fighting game.</p> <p> </p> <p>This is because the combat in the anime is obviously highly ostentatious but it is mostly based on close combat type attacks, which is ideal for a fighting game.</p> <p>Considering how gorgeous <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/games/2018/02/01/dragon-ball-fighterz-review-goku-said-to-knock-you-out/" target="_self"><em>Dragon Ball FighterZ</em></a> turned out, I am fully expecting to this <em>Kill la Kill</em> game to be excellent.</p> <p>However, it’s worth realizing that this new <em>Kill la Kill</em> game will be in fact developed by <a href="http://www.aplusgames.jp/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.aplusgames.jp/" rel="nofollow">A+ Games</a>, rather than internally at Arc System Works.</p>

<p>To be fair though A+ Games has a long history of working with Arc System Works and producing solid games.</p> <p>Currently, release date and platforms are unannounced but it looks like this <em>Kill la Kill</em> game will surface sometime next year. In the meantime, the game has an <a href="http://www.kill-la-kill-game.jp/en/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.kill-la-kill-game.jp/en/" rel="nofollow">official site</a> and a teaser trailer (shown below).</p>

<p><em>Follow me on <a href="https://twitter.com/Cacophanus/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://twitter.com/Cacophanus/" rel="nofollow">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cacophanus" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.facebook.com/cacophanus" rel="nofollow">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/Cacophanus" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.youtube.com/user/Cacophanus" rel="nofollow">YouTube</a>. I also manage <a href="http://www.mechadamashii.com" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.mechadamashii.com" rel="nofollow">Mecha Damashii</a> and do toy reviews over at <a href="http://www.hobbylink.tv/members/ollie/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.hobbylink.tv/members/ollie/" rel="nofollow">hobbylink.tv</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Read my Forbes blog <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/" target="_self">here</a>.</em></p>” readability=”39.8310322156″>

Credit: Trigger

The anime series ‘Kill la Kill’ is getting a new game.

With the recent countdown of a new collaboration between Arc System Works and Studio Trigger, the result of that will be a game for the 2013 anime series Kill la Kill.

Based on the quest of Ryuko Matoi (shown above) to find her father’s killer, she wields the Scissor Blade that can cut the mysterious Life Fibers. The series itself is surprisingly involved and while rather slapstick at times, the series does have an interesting narrative.

Of all the recent Studio Trigger anime, Kill la Kill is probably the best fit for an Arc Systems Works fighting game.

This is because the combat in the anime is obviously highly ostentatious but it is mostly based on close combat type attacks, which is ideal for a fighting game.

Considering how gorgeous Dragon Ball FighterZ turned out, I am fully expecting to this Kill la Kill game to be excellent.

However, it’s worth realizing that this new Kill la Kill game will be in fact developed by A+ Games, rather than internally at Arc System Works.

To be fair though A+ Games has a long history of working with Arc System Works and producing solid games.

Currently, release date and platforms are unannounced but it looks like this Kill la Kill game will surface sometime next year. In the meantime, the game has an official site and a teaser trailer (shown below).

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. I also manage Mecha Damashii and do toy reviews over at hobbylink.tv.

Read my Forbes blog here.

KFC Just Announced the Unthinkable. Here's Why It's a Bad Idea

Kentucky Fried Chicken is turning into Kentucky Fried Tofu later this year. This comes as a result of the US brand’s recent announcement that they will be catering a new menu item to new sections of the market in the United Kingdom, who don’t eat chicken.  

This mystery meat, may contain less calories, but the larger question worth asking is will it contain the same authentic brand experience for KFC customers?

I think that it goes without saying that this is a bad move.

Although this isn’t as dramatic as the IHOP to IHOB rebrand, it does raise a few concerns from my perspective. If KFC changed their name to KFU, I think some towns would riot.

So let’s get to the basics of this announcement and why I think it’s a bad idea.

For starters, KFC is a world-renowned fast food chain. Being a leader in the fast-food industry means that they aren’t catering to health enthusiasts.

In fact, they have been doing the opposite–very profitably–for decades, now.  

However, every company goes through periods where they feel they need to catch onto the next big thing. Unfortunately for KFC, I don’t think they’ve established a proper market fit.  

The Colonel’s secret sauce is in their branding. The white-haired founder lives on posthumously in commercials and franchise logos, and represents a staple in American comfort food.

What do you think about KFC what comes to mind?  

Probably their home-style biscuits and gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, and of course their famous chicken.  This is because they’ve done an excellent job of creating something that everyone in the world can easily recognize.

Despite this recent blunder, there are still a few takeaways we can glean from this experience.

So what can other companies learn?

1. Continue doing what made you successful

As businesses strive to increase profitability, it’s important to make sure that the main thing, remains the main thing.

Jamba Juice, Protein Bar, and even Subway cater to a health-conscious demographic. Customers who choose to eat at these restaurants aren’t going to start eating at KFC suddenly. It’s important that you let your competitors deviate into newer markets where you don’t have a presence, while you stay tried and true for your loyal customers.  

2. Don’t try to please everyone.

Imagine if KFC began offering a variety of new products: buttered popcorn to complement the popcorn chicken, BBQ ribs for a true Southern experience, and even chicken and waffles to make sure that everyone got what they wanted.

The menu would become too convoluted, kitchen staffs would be in pandemonium over entirely new food items, and sales would plummet.  

The perfect recipe for pleasing no one is trying to please everyone.

3. Improve strengths, not weaknesses.

Everyone has weaknesses. There isn’t a single company on the planet that is perfect. However, working on strengths is the fastest way to get better and stay in your own lane.

When everyone else is trying to compensate for weaknesses, focus on improving what is already working. If a particular product line is doing well, devote more research and developent money towards that. If another product is undesirable, ditch it and move on to something else.  

Being able to launch successful products can be challenging. There’s a reason that Apple doesn’t make driverless cars, and Tesla doesn’t make smartphones.

Being a leader in any market means having sound judgment in terms of what not to focus on.

From my own personal experience, I’d suggest that anytime you are thinking of going into a new market, you make sure that it won’t alienate current customers, or deviate too far from your current successful product lines.

Companies I’ve worked with in my career, usually are best served to stick to the plan and continue doing what’s been working well for them. When companies try to take on too much, too fast–in multiple directions–that energy often tapers out and sales start to fall. Momentum and timing are keys to success in business, as in life.

Don’t try to make everyone happy, and don’t cater to vegetarians if you are the world’s leading chicken chain!

Android Circuit: Radical Galaxy S10 Leaks, Huge Note 9 Revealed, Google Confirms Expensive Pixel 3

Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the futuristic Galaxy S10 hardware, the latest leaked details of the Galaxy Note 9, the unique logo that confirmed Google Pixel 3 XL, the Nokia 5.1’s upcoming American adventure, OnePlus 6’s latest security issues, a review of Huawei P20 Pro, and a new font for Android.

Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android in the last week (and you can find the weekly Apple news digest here).

Supersizing The Galaxy Note 9

If Samsung wants to have a hashtag for the upcoming Galaxy Note 9, I suspect #big is in the running. By Reporting on the latest leaks and information around the South Korean phablet, Forbes’ Gordon Kelly writes that everything is bigger, from the storage and memory, to the camera and the battery:

The Galaxy Note 8 was rightly criticised for its meagre 3,300mAh battery and the Galaxy S9 Plus only improved on this slightly at 3,500 mAh. But now Ice Universe points out that, thanks to clever camera positioning, the Galaxy Note 9 will be the first mass-market Samsung phone with a 4,000 mAh battery.

More here on Forbes.

Galaxy S10’s Futuristic Speaker In Display

As smartphone designers around the world look to reduce bezels and facias on the front of the device. Almost every manufacturer is turning to notched displays, but Samsung has another twist to add to the equation. It looks like the Galaxy S10 will not need to have an earpiece speaker at the top of the handset, because new bone conduction technology will allow it to use the display to generate the audio. I looked over the new details here:

Of course the more hardware you can remove from the front of your smartphone, the smaller the notch has to be. Samsung has a trick up its sleeve to reduce the amount of forward facing technology that takes up space either in the notch or the top bezel. It can use the screen to act as the earpiece and produce the audio when a user is on a voice call.

…This doesn’t mean that the Galaxy S10 will not have any speakers, but it does mean they can be side mounted, freeing up vital space on the front of the S10 so that Samsung’s design team can – presumably like every other smartphone design team – reduce the fascia and bezels and create an all-display front-facing profile.

More on Forbes.

Samsung president of mobile communications business DJ Koh presents the new Samsung Galaxy S9 (Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images)

Pixel 3 XL’s Mystery Logo ‘Confirms’ Google Leak.

Leaked photos that many believed represented the upcoming Pixel 3 XL handset have a subtle sign that ties them back to Google. While the handsets may not have the stylised ‘G’ logo as found on production models of the Pixel handsets, the placeholder logo has been used before… on prototypes of the Pixel 2. Stephen Hall sums up the details:

A photo of a Google Pixel 3 XL prototype leaked earlier today, showing its notch-and-chin design, its ‘crosshatch’ code name, and the first look at what seems to be an all-glass back. If you had any doubt in your mind that it’s a real Google prototype, then I think those doubts can be settled. I found the mystery placeholder logo on the device’s back on an official Pixel 2 prototype from last year.

More on 9to5Google. Meanwhile it looks like one of the curious Pixel 2 features will return in the Pixel 3, according to a deep cut on the Android P source code:

Because XDA Forums’ member meraz9000 attained a prototype Pixel 3 XL which Google accidentally confirmed is the real deal and that user has been able to confirm Active Edge works on their model. Furthermore, after digging around in Android P beta code, XDA Developers found reference to Active Edge commands for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL codenames (Crosshatch and Blueline). Slam dunk.

More on that feature find here.

Next: Nokia 5.1 heading to America, OnePlus 6 security issues, Huawei P20 Pro reviewed, and Google’s new font…

Could Google Image Search Help Fight Fake News On Social Media?

Shutterstock

Last month an image purporting to show children in cages as a result of current immigration policies went viral on social media, accelerated by a number of high profile journalists, activists and former government officials who shared it widely – their visibility and stature leading many to trust the image at face value without the level of suspicion and verification that users might apply to other viral images. The image was real, but taken out of context and spread virally before users began to realize it actually dated from a 2014 news article. Yet, when I first saw the image I simply right-clicked on it and ran a reverse Google Images search that immediately turned up the original 2014 source. Could social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook automate such image searches to help combat fake news at scale?

Social media today is an ocean of false and misleading information spread for nefarious purposes, but far more often by well-meaning individuals who share first and ask questions later. The ease and rapidness with which a 2014 news image went viral, made famous by the very individuals ordinarily tasked with helping to combat false information stands testament to just how easy it is for false information to spread in today’s speed-over-accuracy information ecosystem. In contrast to unverifiable citizen imagery that lacks provenance, professional news photography is particularly easy to verify, yet such ease of verification did little to slow the spread of this image.

The problem is that social media norms encourage sharing over understanding, creating an informational ecosystem in which users act more as transmission nodes, receiving and passing onwards information, than as true consumers that digest and reason about the information they receive. According to one study, 59% of links shared on social media were never actually viewed, while an increasing body of research emphasizes that in our click-happy world of social media, our social capital is dependent on being the quickest to share new information with our connections, with little incentive to take the time to actually read and digest that information to vet it first.

The mobile interfaces that dominate social media consumption today worsen this effect, entrenching the walled garden in which we consume social content and making it difficult to perform extensive research to verify a post. After all, juggling multiple browser tabs and wading through multiple websites to verify the provenance and context of an image seen on social media takes time even on a desktop, but is especially hard in the resource and screen-constrained environment of mobile devices.

On a desktop using the Google Chrome browser it is relatively trivial to right click on a questionable image, click “Search Google for image” and instantly see all of the places on the web that Google’s search engine has seen that image before. Google’s commercial Cloud Vision API goes a step further and can even OCR the image to recognize all text seen in it in 55 languages, making it possible even to fact check visual memes that contain textual quotes or statements. Even more usefully, the Cloud Vision API scans all previous appearances of the image on the web for the captions associated with the image in each case across all of the languages it supports, assigning it topical labels that summarize the most common descriptions of the image online.

Imagine if the major social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook adopted a similar reverse images search and OCR for all images shared on their platform. Every single image shared on their platforms would be compared against a database of unique images and for each new image seen for the first time, the system would perform an open web image comparison to find all previous appearances of that image online. The date the image was first seen on the web and a links to a few high-profile appearances of it would be displayed prominently under each instance of the image being shared online.

In the case of the immigration image, the photograph was shared with a link to the article it came from, which was clearly dated 2014, but when shared on Twitter and Facebook, the presentation display formats used by those platforms do not clearly and prominently emphasize the publication date of a link, meaning that all most users saw was the photograph and a citation to azcentral.com. Displaying the publication date of shared links more prominently might have slowed the spread of the image if users could immediately see that the article dated to 2014.