shift 2020 Brain Food Newsletter #5

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Welcome to this weeks shift 2020 Brain Food #5 newsletter with insights on digital transformation changing our world in business and society. This week’s topics include lots of FinTech and 3D Printing, IoT, the income shrinking of the middle class, and an item on the complexity of predicting the future.

The result of the survey last week is that most people prefer Fridays or weekend over Tuesdays or midweek, so I’ll keep sending the newsletter on Fridays.

Let me know if you enjoyed reading this newsletter and which sections you like the most by simply replying to this email or to send me your feedback, tips & links to add or simply start a conversation.




IoT Shifts Conference, Barcelona, October 19-20, 2015

I am partnering with Claro Partners from Barcelona to host the IoT Shifts Conference, a new two-day event bringing innovators from the startup, digital and developer communities together with the corporate world to create and advance business opportunities within the Internet of Things (IoT).

Held at the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona on October 19-20 2015, the event will kick off with a day of inspiring talks and panels with visionary speakers exploring the future of IoT, as well as brands and business leaders with practical case studies of how to apply IoT solutions in different business area’s today. A startup showcase will be featured showing the most exciting and promising startup products in IoT.

Day two includes a hands-on, practical event day including technical workshops (4 spaces of 50 people each) and new business models talks by the major IoT ecosystem players.

Our audience is targeted towards startups, brands and businesses looking to learn how to adapt your company strategy to an increasingly connected future of people and things. Learn about new opportunities and business models applied through the use of connected data for the digital natives generation who want purposeful products and contribute to build a sustainable future. This conference will capture this essence and showcase main trends and products brought to you by some of the brightest minds in the business.

If you’re interested to speak, direct a workshop, partner, sponsor or volunteer for this event, please send your request. The conference will cover Consumer and Industrial IoT in Retail, Health & Fitness (Quantified Self & mHealth), Gaming, FinTech, Connected Home, Manufacturing, Energy, Smart City and Transportation.

The weekend before the conference, we’re organising as well the IoT Shifts Transformation Retreat – a brand new, groundbreaking two-day custom designed workshop at a beautiful luxury 5-star resort in Spain.

Unlocking the potential of the Internet of Things
A new McKinsey Global Institute report, The Internet of Things: Mapping the value beyond the hype, attempts to determine exactly how IoT technology can create real economic value. Our central finding is that the hype may actually understate the full potential—but that capturing it will require an understanding of where real value can be created and a successful effort to address a set of systems issues, including interoperability.


Two weeks ago, I attended the Global Leadership Summit of the London Business School, an event with rather conservative business talks in my view, if it wasn’t for the part I came for: the session on the future of business, organised and moderated by fellow speaker Rohit Talwar with Gerd Leonhard and upcoming futurist Gray Scott. A very interesting session, it’s always great to see fellow futurists give their vision. Gray with his cybersubliminal vision, while Gerd is more concerned about the Technology vs. Humanity topic. You can view the videos and slides here. GREAT stuff!

Predicting the future is difficult, because we tend to look into the future with what we know now and are mostly missing new real disruptive technologies popping up that can change the way we live, communicate or work. To illustrate this, just think when you were a kid and how you would see the future. In my case, early seventies in primary school, we were asked to draw the world in the year 2000 and guess what? Most of us would draw flying cars! And look now, +40 years later and we still don’t have any of those – or nearly… as you can read in Brain Food #3. However, few people in the early seventies, could foresee the coming of the desktop computer, the internet and the mobile phone  and the way these inventions would change so many things, as we know now.

Most of the topics in my work cover technological disruptions or enhancements for the coming 3 to 5 years, eventually looking ahead for the next 10 years. All that I can do by having access to information, knowledge and from my personal experience. The difficulty lies into looking further ahead, like 20 years…

Just think looking back 20 years: the internet was hardly known, just used by some super early adopters and we did not had mobile phones… Two major innovations, only a handful of people had predicted decades earlier, the level ofToffler, Drexler, Good or McLuhan.

Think about technologies like Graphene that may provide new breakthroughs and radical innovation, not seen before.

Graphene has many extraordinary properties. It is about 200 times stronger than steel by weight, conducts heat and electricity with great efficiency and is nearly transparent. If commercially viable and better adapted, graphene has the potential to reshape the world we live in. Some of the ways graphene could extend the longevity of products are flexible smart cards, updatable foldable newspaper (the Harry Potter one!), better electric car batteries, indestructible smart phones and solar panels for example.

BTW Did you know that there’s an upcoming trend amongst scientists and technologists predicting the end of Moors’e Law? Intel says that it can keep the law going for at least another ten years, but is not sure what’s coming after that. Meanwhile they are already working on photonics, using light pulses at blistering speeds in optical cables to move data more quickly than conventional copper wiring for linking computing and storage units.

Optalysys in Cambridge, UK is developing optical high performance computing hardware that uses light, rather than electricity, at a fraction of the cost and energy consumption.

So, who knows which of these technologies will become determined in the future? And there are many other domains where innovations will change our lives dramatically, like some of the ones mentioned below?



The Computer as a Financial Planner
Computer-generated investment advice has gotten a lot of attention in the last few years. And for good reason. Many web-based services have given investors with smaller portfolios access to advice that they wouldn’t otherwise get. And because these services charge lower fees — no need to pay human advisers, after all — that can increase returns on investments that track indexes.

But what has not been clear is what benefit, if any, these so-called robo advisers, which help investors with asset allocation and charge a relatively modest fee for the service, bring to high-net-worth investors. Suffice it to say there is little consensus. And that is probably fair: There are pluses and minuses among the three dominant ways to use technology in personal investing. Here’s a look at the three.

The Future of Financial Services
The World Economic Forum released a great report on The Future of Financial Services and how disruptive innovations are reshaping the way financial services are structured, provisioned and consumed.

Bitcoin’s Ironic Crisis by Bram Cohen, creator of BitTorrent.
“Bitcoin has always had the potential for a crisis. Maybe it will be the subject of a successful denial of service attack. Maybe it will be declared illegal. Maybe it will be supplanted by a newer, better technology. But not until very recently had anyone suggested the potential crisis which Bitcoin is now heading towards: Of being undermined by a developer who’s gone rogue, using his political influence to convince vendors that an upcoming minor problem will be a major crisis, getting them to accept his own extraordinarily bad pet solution to that problem, and as a result hurtling the whole ecosystem towards potential disaster.” Read the full article.

New bitcoin technology can tell banks where coins come from with incredible accuracy
Elliptic, a bitcoin analytics and storage startup based in London, thinks it’s just made a huge breakthrough that could make banks way more interested in bitcoin. The company has created a sophisticated bit of software that it says can identify where a bitcoin has come from. That’s a big deal for banks, which have a legal obligation to find out where the money they hold is coming from to ensure they’re not holding proceeds of crime. Read the full article here.

Fintech 2.0 Paper highlights the multi-billion dollar opportunity open to financial technology businesses which can help to reboot financial services. Santander InnoVentures, Oliver Wyman and Anthemis Group have today published The Fintech 2.0 Paper: rebooting financial services. The paper is a call to action to banks, financial institutions and financial technology (fintech) businesses to work together to undertake a fundamental ‘reboot’ of the core processes, systems and infrastructure of the banking industry.



Switzerland begins postal delivery by drone
Switzerland’s postal service said on Tuesday it had begun testing parcel deliveriesby unmanned drones, although widespread use of the flying postmen is not likely to kick in for another five years. Postal service executives showed off the drones for the first time on Tuesday and said initial tests of the machines’ post-delivery abilities would run until the end of July.



Middle class income in the Western World is shrinking everywhere since nearly two decades now, the new middle class is currently being formed in developing economies. Here are some interesting links to spice up your weekend debates:

The Shrinking American Middle Class 
Since 2000, the middle class has been shrinking for a decidedly more alarming reason: Incomes have fallen.

6 key takeaways about the world’s emerging middle class
“During the first decade of this century, the world experienced a dramatic drop in the number of people living in poverty and a significant rise in the number who could be considered middle income, according to a new Pew Research Center report. Here are six key takeaways from the report on how these big global changes have played out recently.”



How Peter Thiel Is Trying to Save the World
These startups are trying to beat Alzheimer’s, cure viral diseases, and kill tumors with gold. One common thread: funding from Peter Thiel.



Local Motors announced the winner of Project [REDACTED]
With more than 60 entries, the Local Motors community responded to the challenge to create a design for the highway-ready 3D-printed car. In addition to its revolutionary design, the winning entry showcases the myriad of benefits of Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM), including the ability to create a completely customizable vehicle.

World’s First 3D Printed Office Building To Be Built in Dubai
The United Arab Emirates wants to transform the country into a technological center of the world when it comes to architecture and design, and has set forth a plan to 3D print an entire office building. Not only will the exterior walls be printed, but so too will the interior walls, and furniture. Leading this project will be WinSun Global, a company who has 3D printed an apartment building as well as a home late last year in China.

Dubai’s Museum of the Future to be Partially 3-D Printed
Holograms, robotics and 3-D printing will play a crucial role in the structure’s realisation. Learn more and watch a video fly-through the building. It looks amazing!

3D Printing and its Impact on Real Estate
View my slides on 3D printing and its Impact on Real Estate from a talk I did for the Center for Real Estate at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio on April 22 this year.

The Story Behind the First 3D Printed Wrench in Space
Though the news of the first 3D printed wrench in space was big in the media, the behind-the-scenes story wherein an engineer at Made in Space, a startup born at Singularity University Labs, rapidly designed the tool and quickly sought approval from NASA has not been told.

That’s it for this week. Feel free to pass this newsletter around to your friends and colleagues interested. You can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here.

Read the previous editions of this newsletter here.

Be kind to yourself and your loved ones.

Have a great week!


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