Jeff Kagan

About the Author Jeff Kagan


Privacy

Artificial Intelligence vs. Echo’s Eavesdropping and Google’s Home Invasion

There’s a lot of excitement about all the new artificial intelligence technology hitting the market — like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home smart speakers, among many other products. However, there’s also growing concern over how these devices may invade our privacy. Despite the companies’ assurances to the contrary, some people worry that they could be listening to every word we utter.

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Trends

Are You Ready for a RoboCEO?

Here’s a disturbing thought: A RoboCEO powered by artificial intelligence — possibly based on IBM’s Watson — could be running some companies within the next decade. Not every company will warm to the idea, to be sure, but it’s conceivable that the practice could begin. This idea has started to bubble to the surface, with leaders like Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma apparently taking it seriously.

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Trends

Artificial Intelligence, Smart Speakers and You

The artificial intelligence speaker war is now being waged, and it is escalating. Today you can choose between Amazon Echo and Google Home. Harman Kardon’s Invoke is coming this fall. By the end of the year, Apple’s HomePod will be competing in the market, and Samsung has indicated it will join the fray as well. With all these choices, how can you determine which smart speaker is right for you?

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Boardroom

What Will Rise From Uber’s Ashes?

There has been quite a bit of churn in the waters around Uber during the last few years. Now that founder Travis Kalanick is no longer CEO, what does the future look like for the company, workers, drivers, investors and customers? Will Uber continue to grow and lead, or has it seen its best days? Most people connected to the company probably would say the same thing: They want calm but rapid growth.

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E-Commerce

How Amazon Is Transforming Retail

Amazon’s plan to buy Whole Foods Market has raised many new questions. If the company is successful in making the acquisition, and then successful in operating the business, it could transform the entire grocery industry. If we pull the camera back, we can see how success on the grocery side could foreshadow Amazon’s success in many other parts of the retail environment.

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Opinions

Amazon’s Echo Show: The Future Is Here

Amazon recently launched its Echo Show, which brings a visual screen to its smart speaker device. I wonder whether we’re ready to start living in what seems like a futuristic Star Trek world. The Echo Show experience is sort of like having a laptop sitting on your table — one that uses AI, allows you to speak to it, speaks back to you, and shows you relevant things on its screen.

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Service Providers

Netflix Climbs the Growth Wave as Cable TV Slides

A few short years ago, Netflix was nothing more than a mail order Blockbuster-type video rental business. Since then, it has been growing rapidly and changing. Believe it or not, Netflix today has more U.S. subscribers than cable TV. That’s an amazing accomplishment for Netflix — and a major hit to traditional cable television. Netflix and cable TV are on opposite sides of the growth wave.

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Service Providers

The Best Wireless Service and Smartphone

During a recent grocery checkout conversation, the cashier asked me which was the best wireless service and best smartphone. This is a question I get frequently, and though it seems straightforward, it’s difficult to answer. As I told the cashier, it depends. “On what?” she asked. That’s when I realized that the industry’s marketing doesn’t answer the big question: “Which carrier is best for me?”

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Mobile

Charter’s Wireless Play

Charter Spectrum has announced it will resell Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile wireless service to customers inside its region. The good news is that this deal lets Charter get quick access to wireless without competing with Comcast. Comcast and Charter Communications last week said they had reached an “operational agreement” about working together.

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E-Commerce

Will Amazon Go Reinvent Retail?

Every time I walk into a retail store, I grumble about the same pet peeve. After walking the aisles and filling the basket, you then must go through the most inefficient checkout process. First you unload everything in your basket, then it’s rung up, then you put the items in bags that go back into your basket before you can walk out of the store. There must be a better way.

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Trailblazers

A Solution for the Uber CEO’s Anger Problem

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has earned a reputation for having a short fuse. In addition to his apparent personal anger management issues, there are the stresses that come with running a giant company — and Uber recently has been losing executives. When it rains, it pours. What’s happening with Kalanick, and can Uber recover its mojo? Many people have issues with anger, but few are in the spotlight.

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