was successfully added to your cart.

Monthly Archives: February 2016

Sustain Weekly Newsletter-29Feb2016

By | Sustain | No Comments

Sustain Weekly — Dear Robot, HuHu Ha Ha Hu Hu

The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing” — Isaac Asimov

Welcome to the leap year. We all gained a day to make a change. So, let’s not waste this day. Carpe Diem folks. Last week, I wrote mostly about Smartphone addiction and mindfulness. I also included a few interesting sustainable technology news and links in that weekly. Check it out in case you missed it.


Then, during the week, I read an article on the launch of the next generation Atlas — the robot from the Boston Dynamics lab of Alphabet (Google parent). The robot was operated indoors and outdoors and even handled tricky terrains. It even took a beating. Pushed front and back!

Did you feel sorry for the bot? — Interesting!

Plenty of articles were written on how these robots are going to steal your jobs. That’s weird. They don’t make decisions like that. It’s the big corporations who are going to use robots to replace you.

Also, just stating the obvious, I don’t think a robot will pick your job if given a choice. Which fully automated super intelligent machine will want to do the kind of work and labor we put ourselves. Imagine how robots will handle office politics and discuss traffic and weather in office with colleagues.

So, what jobs are they taking away?

Robotics is the next scientific frontier for humans. But it’s not new to us. There is already an established market for robotics in some advanced environments. Robotics and software is eating away into every single industry. Take agriculture for instance. Completely automated farms have emerged in Japan. It’s easily understandable why Japan is the early hub for robotic influence in farms. First of all, Japan has an ageing farming population. There is a challenge to find suitable successors to maintain farming processes.

So, farmers have been substituting labor with increased use of machinery. This has become more of a necessity now and thus a driver for growth for robotics. 2) Rice, being Japan’s major crop and ~48% of farm output, is highly mechanized and will continue to do so. 3) Urban areas have picked up agriculture. farm output in the cities are on the rise. Urban farmers are 1/4th of farmers in Japan. This will further fuel the market for robotics. After all, it is the land of the Giant Robo.

So, if you’re not feeling sad for them, do you fear them?

The fear that robots will take over is legit and if they do, we’d have caused it. We’re teaching them Alice in Wonderland for them to understand human emotions. Facebook is doing that!


So, if they gain enough intelligence and be truly autonomous, then — you’re the one going into the rabbit hole.and that’s when Elon Musk will say ‘I told you so’

The Tesla CEO thinks the fear is real and has formed the Open AI non-profit team with $1 billion that wants to keep AI safe for humans.

So then, do you hate them?

At least not at this point of time. Companies are already making robots that provide assistive comfort to senior citizens. Pet robotics is a significant market or will emerge to be. Tactile sensors help build healing robotic pets. Basic coos and purrs are easy for touch based interactivity. Hasbro already makes three variations of robot cats that look pretty real. While many of us are thinking this might be sad, it might also be smart. In an assisted set up, the pet robot could not only give you comfort but could also read vital signs. In the future, I expect these pet robots to be embedded with facial recognition that could read, measure and transmit happiness levels to both family and healthcare institutions.

So, will the future will be full of robots?

Most likely. Will that cause an existential threat? — Yes. We develop super human intelligence and then expect that no one will go one extra mile and program an additional function and push the boundary, then that’s short sightedness.RoboticsMonkey

But living in that fear and curb development is regressive. Therefore, we have to love them and co-exist. Future of robotics is inevitable.Also, if you are a robot and reading this and are offended by my sketch, you should know that I was merely explaining the irony that is facing us humans.

A few sus-tech news I found interesting last week

News @Arcluster

Arcluster Advisory is a sparring partner for your business decisions. Kind of like Tony Burton for your Rocky Balboa. We specialize in vetting market opportunities and help our clients define and execute a sustainable strategy in increasing market share, value, penetration through better market understanding. We compliment this with actively discovering and dissecting market opportunity numbers. For the latest news from the company, follow us on twitter here, Linkedin here and Like us on Facebook here.

Sustain Weekly Newsletter-22Feb2016

By | Sustain | No Comments

Sustain Weekly — A blind eye to a natural addiction

“We are all so much together, but are all dying of loneliness” — Albert Schweitzer

Thank you for reading the silver jubilee edition of Sustain — a weekly digest of things I stumble on in a week, shuffling through 1000s of articles related to people, technology and sustainability. Of these, some interest me, some are just PR dish outs but some really affect me. I spend more time wondering on the effects and consequences of market developments and how it relates to the future. In the last weekly, I wrote mostly about Future of work and Virtual Reality. I also added a few images on how easy it is to create simulations on Minecraft. Then, during the week, I read an article on people failing to notice Chewbacca on the street while on their phone.

Chewie-noWSJ conducted a Chewbacca test — they had a guy dress up as the famous Wookie to test pedestrians if they noticed him while they walked being distracted by their phones. Almost 50% of them didn’t. That’s the increasingly risky trend of people getting hooked to their phones even while doing simple chores. Couple this trend with the rising need of being forever online. We’re going to be distracted a lot and that’s not going to stop. We’re going to wake up and sleep with high power computing electronics on us.

Some of us are already sleeping with phones under the pillow and it has become the first and the last thing we see every day.


People are walking around bumping onto things and other people on the road while being distracted on their phones. This looks a lot more risky when you compound with the growing short sightedness as a health condition that is expected to increase 7 times in the next 30 years. In fact, half the world (~5 billion) might suffer from myopia in 2050.


We’re looking at 1 out of 10 people being blind. But then, we’re already entering a world where you will replace your eye with bionic or prosthetic ones. Replaceable human parts such as eyes might happen in that time frame.

But if you’re one of the people who won’t like being operated on your eyes when you’re older, you’ll be wise to wean out the excessive screen time behavior starting now.

MobileDelayStressI also read about a health advisory that the stress levels caused by mobile delays are more severe to the heart than standing at the edge of a cliff. In fact, waiting in a line at a retail store is apparently less painful than the stress caused by a mobile delay. That’s really bad. Especially with sucky telco connection speeds. So, people out there, just relax if the page doesn’t load.

We’re in a social and mobile isolation while at the same time be the most connected humans have ever been. Take a rain check on this dysfunction. Maybe meditate and include mindfulness. Smartphone use in moderation. Take mobile-free holidays and fewer photos. Maybe, we should do this very often.

A few sus-tech news I found interesting last week

News @Arcluster


Arcluster is excited to announce the publication of its First Market Forecast Report on Commercial Drones. The report is part of our newly launched Class ‘F’ studies that cover exclusively on market forecasts of emerging technologies and markets. The study is part of our ongoing studies in the drones space. The market report is available for purchase at our research store or can be procured through one of our reseller partners. For the latest news from the company, follow us on twitter here, LinkedIn here and Like us on Facebook here.

About me
I manage market research and consulting at Arcluster, an innovation design and market consulting company that does research and consulting on micro emerging markets and sustainable solutions. You can reach me on twitter at@anirmal or via email arun@anirmal.com

Sustain Weekly Newsletter-15Feb2016

By | Sustain | No Comments

Sustain Weekly — Falling in love with the future of work.

“You can’t blame gravity for falling in love” — Albert Einstein’

Last week, I wrote mostly on Internet of Things and Amazon dash buttons. I even made a sketch of a ‘high-tech heel’ that can auto increase and decrease heel height from ‘flat’ to 5’ based on user settings. Then, during the week, I read an article on Steven Spielberg working on a project ‘solely for VR’. That’s virtual reality and it’s happening.

So @HashAnand and I discussed about social software at the workplace and the inherent need or the lack of for enterprise social tools. This moved into how consumer tech transitions into enterprises over time. So, naturally, if slack gets popular for consumers, it should get super popular at the workplace. It is. So, how will the future of workplace impacted by immersive social technology.

Slack-daily-active-users-021216-578x408Someone in the higher echelons of management should see value in social tools and adopt it enterprise wide. But then, what is this value? The biggest value is the social bridging between products, sales and clients. It is valuable when it reduces sales cycles, builds personal client rapport and solves customer problems quickly. Basically just being there for the customer on a platform and making sure he’s on that platform. That platform today is WhatsApp.

If you’re retiring in the next 10 years, skip ahead. A slightly long read

Surely, already a lot of us are using WhatsApp for internal communication. Some account managers are already in chat conversations with their clients. So, will messaging platforms be the future of this bridge? If so, will it be like an app constellation like WeChat? Recent news of WhatsApp dropping $1 download fee and going enterprise route already indicates that.

Right now the popular tools are Slack, Yammer, Jive or some new enterprise social network. But who needs it?, who will pay for it and who will use it? From my perspective, remote workforces in companies that are small might see the biggest value. Let’s say you run a small business and have 20–50 employees, where most of them are remote, then you’ll see value in the platform where you can bring distributed workforces into goal-oriented channels. But if you’re a CEO of a large enterprise and are trying to boost collaboration and thinking that an online water-cooler will solve your cubicled teams, then I got to say that you’re hallucinating.

What will happen is a few loud mouths will hijack the platform and post morale boosting posts and position themselves as thought leaders. Then, employees will be peer pressured into ‘liking’ these’thoughts’. Soon, your human resources manager or people manager will tell you that the company has invested heavily in social tools and you have not participated in any conversations. Then, it will become a KPI to judge your team skills and slowly it’ll become part of everyday work. This will happen in more number of organizations than you will imagine.

Unless the future of work and workplaces comes along.

and change it will. Rising real estate costs, increasing traffic, increasing number of remote employees, and to truly have a global team — you need to create a platform for everyone to collaborate and at the same time interact. Will this include audio/video? Most of these are chat platforms. Push the boundary to 5–10–15–20 years and apply macro and technology trends, one thing that stuck was Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality (VR/AR), a technology that can be pervasive, immersive and collaborative. It has the potential to become the next big consumer product. maybe enterprise too.

A property simulation on Minecraft I built in a day. Imagine VR to be more elaborate & immersive.



A VR headset will help you simulate your workspace and help meet/greet/interact with other employees. If I am working from a home office, I can use an avatar/VR version of myself and enter the ‘work’ environment. Naturally, the main point was how much this pervasiveness of tech will alter our daily lives. People are now hooked to phones. In the next decade, the trend might continue and people will be connected to some form of computing forever. But arts will grow. More people will travel for leisure. More people will create. Software and robotics will eat away a lot of jobs. About 7 million of them. 2 million will be created. So, aging workforce will be replaced with a younger generation that is less enthused about spending ‘quantity’ hours at work. They’ll want more experience, more quality to life.

If necessity is the mother of all inventions, time is the father. The youngest generation will have more time. They might start to create a whole bunch of new stuff. They’ll be designers at heart. A job of the future might be a designer who creates virtual reality workspaces and sells on a marketplace. He/she will work 20–30 hours a week for support and maybe create new addons. Solopreneurs will be on the rise. They have always been but this time, they’ll be technology enabled, independent and location agnostic. Location agnostic work environments are already happening. Will VR/AR be part of it? That is a function of technology and people over time and money.If I could build that Minecraft simulation in a day, then imagine designers with the right interest and tools building top of the line virtual environments for everyone. I’ll ante up my bets for a future with a high dosage of virtual worlds.

A few sus-tech news I found interesting last week

Turners and Technology

Uber redesigned its logo and app a couple of weeks back.Here is the inside story. Design iterations are common. They are usually met with a sine wave response from audience.


I made a small graphical representation on Audience Opinion vs Design Iteration as a function of your love for design change.Asics acquired GPS fitness tracking company RunKeeper. Earlier — Adidas bought Runtastic and UnderArmour bought MapmyFitness, MyFitnessPal and Endomondo. Sports companies love fitness apps.

and Finally, Farewell Facebook’s Free Basics. @nixxin and @jackerhack and TRAI fought FB’s 300 crore advertising budget to fight internet colonialism is not easy. In the midst of this, poor @pmarcamade a sad comment of India’s colonial past. I don’t think he meant to think low of the country. He’s probably pissed that TRAI pushed out Free Basics even when all the study groups, metrics, numbers were in favor of the platform to monetize and create money. He made an offensive tweet, deleted it but it was too late. Everyone caught it, fought it and then he had to apologize. Zuckerberg quickly did his PR thing and issued a statement that he loves India and he doesn’t love Marc right now.

Start up (week’s stories and insights)

The Valentine week wasn’t that lovely for Indian startups. Except for Zomato getting to a break-even (probably from ads and data and not from ordering and delivery).


  • India’s unicorn Inmobi might be in trouble. Monetary issues. Fund squeeze going on. Let’s see how this turns out.
  • PepperTap, one of India’s many hyperlocal delivery services, shuts down operations in 10cities. Now they operate in 8. Funds are drying up in this space. The ones that was been acquired and/or acquihired are Townrush, Pinkingo, Delyver, Jiffstore, Mygreenbox, MeraGrocer, EkStop. Some others such as Local Banya has shut down. Add to this last week’s news of Amazon starting 2 hour delivery in Bangalore, the heat on players has intensified in this space.
  • Oyo has acquihired Zo. Meaning Zo rooms didn’t have great cohorts and metrics to get another round of funding. It indicates Tiger Global doesn’t want to back such ones anymore. Come to think of it, Tiger looks increasingly pessimistic about its returns in India. First of all it has sunk some $1 bn in Flipkart, which doesn’t look so sound. Secondly it upped its investments in Amazon and Uber in the US. There is definitely a VC market shake up in India. Tiger really looks beaten and bruised. Oyo’s effort to monopolize the budget hotel market might be working.
  • Paytm raised another $400M from Alibaba. They had earlier injected $680M. Alibaba is also involved in Flipkart in a large way. All these companies will find it hard to raise new funds, esp. with China’s market volatility and Tiger leaving. Flipkart saw Sachin move into a chairman role, Mukesh bansal and Ankit Nagori leaving the company and Binny Bansal being the new CEO. Could be an indication of a potential merger or combination of Flipkart and Paytm marketplaces. Paytm might just do online banking as a standalone business. Should have done that only.

Why Originality is over rated

News @Arcluster

Arcluster’s Telecom, Tech and Media vertical covers more than 5 industries, 50+ segments, covering over 300+ markets across Computers and Networking, Media, Software and IT, Telecom and Wireless, and Industry Applications. The segment of cross-industry applications are one of the most exciting areas for us and that is where most of our upcoming research is focused on. Follow us on twitter @arcluster for the latest news from the company.

About me
I manage market research and consulting at Arcluster, an innovation design and market consulting company that does research and consulting on micro emerging markets and sustainable solutions. Also, I love feedback. Please email me your views and suggestions. Cheers. You can reach me on twitter at @anirmal or via email arun@anirmal.com

Sustain Weekly Newsletter-8Feb2016

By | Sustain | No Comments

Sustain Weekly — Buttons, High Heels and Internet of Things

“I believe time wounds all heels” — John Lennon

Last week, I wrote about the impending intersection of smartphones and wearables. Then, during the week, I read this article on a line of solar powered smart jackets. These clothes will evolve to include lighter fabric, energy efficient, flexible, and embedded with computing and data-capturing sensors.

The intersection between wearables and high power computing will happen. At the same, it will also intersect with the hippest tech trend right now — the Internet of Things (IoT). Basically, IoT is the networked connection of machines that can communicate information to others in the network. Basically, a fridge talking to your phone talking to your washing machine talking to your closet. Five years back, this was aimed for just a fridge talking to your grocery store. But that has kind of changed now. We want everything to talk to everything. Also, the grocery store is now Amazon.


That’s the basis for the market for Amazon dash — the company’ co-branded buttons to order home supplies. For example, a ‘Tide’ button that orders detergents from Amazon. You press it and it auto-orders a specific quantity of detergent from Amazon. So, you need multiple buttons for multiple products. Simple yet cluttered. Firstly, this is not so complicated to execute for Amazon because the money to make these buttons comes from retail giants, who are looking for alternate ways to sell their merchandise. So if you’re a big FMCG company and don’t have a button yet, it means you’re not working your channel like others.

But, at the same time, I don’t think the buttons are great. First of all, it creates a vendor lock-in. Shoppers can’t try other products quickly when they want to. Secondly, you wouldn’t want to see several buttons around the house, making it look like an old café bistro. However, I do like small non-protruding buttons. Especially on stuff that can power or manipulate a device to change settings. A concealed button on cloth, rings and jewellery work great for rapid assistance during emergencies. I think there’s a lot of progress already, but commercially available big brands are yet to get on this. Such buttons might also find functionality in assisted living facilities among the older generation.

Color me crazy! — But, this is coming.

High Tech Heals

Three years back, I found myself in the midst of debate on the over-valuation of wearing heels and I claimed software will eat this one too. On-demand heels. I still claim high heels should function on a ‘wear-as-you-go’ model rather than on permanent 6–10 hour slots. It wasn’t far-fetched at that time; neither it is now.Combine this with the advancements in materials science and shape shifting nano-materials that can be fit with communication capabilities, I see more value back to the wearer than plain other stilettos. I believe these ‘High ‘Tech’ Heels’ are not only easier on the heel but also on the purse. I also feel the same way about the Nike swooshes. If I were in charge, I’ll definitely make them color-agnostic and give the power to the wearer to express through a conceal button or an app. The intersection of wearables and IoT will happen. There is not even reasonable doubt. What it includes and excludes based on the feasibility of commercialization is what will govern the future of products in the next decade. So, will there be auto retractable high heels? — we have to wait and see.

A few sus-tech news I found interesting last week

Technology and Startups — What is your value? Are you over or under-valued?

  • Yahoo, GoPro, Twitter stocks sinks. Linkedin fell 46.5%. This was expected. Market correction.
  • Amazon launches 2 hour grocery delivery service in Bangalore. About 50 hyperlocal startup founders are spending this weekend thinking about their future.
  • Cisco acquired Jasper for $1.4 billion. For its Internet of Things (IoT) push. Or as Cisco calls it Internet of Everything (IoE). Come to think of it, Cisco has a problem with industry terminology of emerging technology. They like to name technologies. But only they call it that.
  • Microsoft acquired SwiftKey, the keyboard app company, for $250 mil. Microsoft has been surprising everyone with its acquisitions. They acquired calendar app Sunrise and To-Do list app Wunderlist. Will they integrate in a phone that not many are buying? Sometimes, I think Microsoft want to see Microsoft make something really good.
  • Google’s market value is now greater than Apple’s. Four ways to see it. 1 — Market likes it when you have monopolized a market (search) and diversify into what everyone is touting as the future. 2 — You can go down from here. 3 — Stock market value changes over time. 4 — Google’s two businesses are a) Google and b) Everything else that can be written off.

Did you know

News @Arcluster

Arcluster’s Energy, Power and Utilities segment covers more than 50+ sub-segments, covering over 300+ markets across Energy, Minerals, Mining and Utilities. Under utilities, we cover the emerging technologies addressing smart grids, gas, sewage, waste, smart meters and water. Follow us on twitter @arcluster for the latest news from the company.

You’re seeing this on my blog! That’s great but you should consider subscribing it as a newsletter and read at your comfort. Join the mailing listhere. Here is the past archive

Also, I love feedback. Please email me your views and suggestions. Cheers.

About me
I manage market research and consulting at Arcluster, an innovation design and market consulting company that does research and consulting on micro emerging markets and sustainable solutions. You can reach me on twitter at@anirmal or via email arun@anirmal.com