TechFirst with John Koetsier

TechFirst with John Koetsier

By John Koetsier
Dive deep into tech. Piggyback on interviews for my Forbes column on consumer tech, smart home, IoT, AI, and more.
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Vonage: 2000% increase in telehealth video usage thanks to Coronavirus

TechFirst with John Koetsier

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Is Fortnite the new movie theater?
Massively social platforms built around gaming or video or news might be our new way to experience entertainment. We've already seen concerts in Fortnite -- Travis Scott, a month or so ago. Now we're going to see movies being screened in Fortnite. Christopher Nolan, the filmmaker behind Inception, The Dark Knight, and Interstellar will be bringing “one of his iconic films” to the massively popular Fortnite game this summer. And guess what: No risk of COVID-19!
03:55
May 27, 2020
The wacky cyborg future of AI, AR, and VR with brain-machine interfaces
(cross-posted from my future39 podcast) Today we plug our computers in to power. Tomorrow, we might plug ourselves into them. AR and VR are changing how we see the world. AI and augmentation and brain-machine interfaces will change how we live, how we work, and how we play. Cathy and I chat about HTC Vive, Magic Leap, Oculus Quest, brain-machine interfaces, Upload (the new show on Amazon Prime), and augmented intelligence. We also talk about Apple and where Apple's upcoming product will fit, as well as the convergence of AR and VR.
25:13
May 25, 2020
Digital Census 2020: How the US Census Bureau is surveying 330M people in a pandemic
How do you survey 330 million people across 4M square miles?   Every 10 years: the United States government is constitutionally required to take a census, which then gets used as the basis for distributed hundreds of billions of tax dollars.   In 2010, doing the census cost $12 billion. They printed 17 million pages of paper maps and 50 million paper questionnaires.    In 2020, the Census Bureau is going digital in 59 languages. Good timing too: COVID-19 happened, and the Census Bureau had to cut back some of their door-to-door surveying.   In this TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat with the US Census Bureau live on the 2020 digital census ... what kind of technology do you need to build for that? What's the required capacity? How do you secure it all? How do you protect it from bots and hacking?    And, how do you run a census during Coronavirus shutdowns?
28:36
May 22, 2020
Is Joe Rogan getting underpaid to move to Spotify? $100M might just be the bargain of the year
Joe Rogan is getting $100M+ to move to Spotify exclusively. But that might just be less than he's worth ...
05:13
May 22, 2020
3-time NYT best-selling author Dan Ariely on depression, loneliness, and anxiety thanks to COVID-19
Dan Ariely is working with Wisdo on a 25 million student study. The question: Are we losing our young people to depression, anxiety, and loneliness thanks to COVID-19?   Dan is a 3-time NYT bestselling author ... my favorite book of his is Predictably Irrational. He's also a professor at Duke University.   We discuss his horrific injury, why he wears half a beard, and what that taught him about power, control, depression, and all the challenges that we're facing now with a global pandemic. Specifically, we focus on problems that college students and young people are having right now: more abuse, more loneliness, more anxiety.   And ... we talk about what people can do to combat those problems.
30:14
May 15, 2020
Working from home with 1M clients, 55K employees, 52 countries, 75B annual transactions totaling $10 trillion
I work from home. Many others do too.  But not many companies with 55,000 employees with a million clients in 52 countries. Especially fintech companies managing the flow of $10 trillion via 95 billion transactions annually. In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, I chat with the chief risk officer of FIS, Greg Montana. We talk about the company moved to working from home, what technology it takes, how they've managed security, and how Montana views the back-to-work timetable.
13:38
May 14, 2020
9 things we lost when Google canceled its smart cities project in Toronto
Three years ago Google subsidiary Sidewalk Labs floated visions of smart self-driving cars and smarter technology making Toronto, Canada, a leader among smart cities. Last week, that all died. Sidewalk Labs canceled the Quayside project on May 7. But we lost something when that happened. In fact, we lost at least nine things, as I discuss in this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier. To read the full story on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2020/05/13/9-things-we-lost-when-google-canceled-its-smart-cities-project-in-toronto/
11:16
May 13, 2020
Using phones ... as phones again: voice up 36% during quarantine
Texting is nice. Zoom is great for work and birthday parties. And Facebook works for our wider circle of friends.   But there's something about good old-fashioned audio that has us returning to voice calls on our phones during quarantine. TextNow says its users spent more than 450 million minutes talking on the phone in the first full month of shutdown, March. While once that might not have been a shocking thing to say, it’s up 36% more than the previous month, and totals 313,000 days or 850 years of cumulative time talking on the phone.
04:31
May 8, 2020
Re-Opening America? Massages, pedicures, and restaurants are big business again in Georgia
Haircuts, pedicures and massages are big business in Georgia again. Restaurants, too. The state started re-opening businesses on April 24 and dropped its shelter-in-place order a week later. Now mobile data shows that visits to nail salons, spas, tattoo parlors, and barber shops is back up to 80% of pre-Coronavirus levels. Visits to restaurants are also up. With dine-in service allowed again, Georgia restaurants are now at 75% of their former pre-COVID levels of service.
06:39
May 7, 2020
Getting robots, drones, self-driving vehicles, and smart machines to work together
We know how to get people to work together. How do you get robots, drones, autonomous vehicles, and smart systems to collaborate? Welcome to TechFirst with John Koetsier. No jobs are simple ... getting a pizza requires multiple steps, processes, and hands, not to mention a car. Everything in factories takes steps and processes too. If we're going to get to an autonomous reality ... smart machines need to work together. In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we talk to Kumardev Chatterjee, CEO of Unmanned Life. His company is working with Walmart, Vienna, Deutsche Telekom, and other companies to help drones and robots work together. One example? Drones that take off from fire trucks and fly ahead to help in search and rescue operations, which Unmanned Life is doing now with the city of Vienna.
15:40
May 1, 2020
Will your next home be a bioceramic geodesic dome? Geoship CEO Morgan Bierschenk says yes ...
Will your next home be a bioceramic dome? They last 500 years, are bugproof, don't rot, mold, or rust ... and they're carbon-neutral. They're also much cheaper, according to Geoship.   I interview the CEO, Morgan Bierschenk, on live social video.  We talk about construction, materials, permitting, whether they're built on-site or off-site, and what kind of maintenance they need. We also talk about new models of living: how they can be joined, and how you can form communities with bioceramic domes.   And, of course, we chat about the cost.   The full transcript will be available at johnkoetsier.com, and you'll be able to subscribe to the podcast at anchor.fm/techfirst.
22:23
April 24, 2020
Fake news: the truth about lies
Fake news: the truth about lies .... what is fake news? How can you spot it? And what can we do about it?   In this edition of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat with Mitch Chaiet, who is the Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Coordinator at the University of Texas at Austin.   We'll discuss computational propaganda, reality bubbles, and Misinformation, Disinformation, and Malinformation, as well as how to spot fake news and how to fight fake news. (Including how to bring it up with Uncle Bob, who won't like it if you tell him his news is fake.)   We'll also talk about who creates fake news, and why. (Hint: there's a lot of money in fake news.)
31:39
April 23, 2020
The science of sleep: putting WiFi, Bluetooth, speakers, massagers, and more in a bed
Are WiFi, Bluetooth, massage, adjustable positions, and built-in speakers essential for a good night’s sleep? For the past few weeks, I've been sleeping in a adjustable position bed with more tech than my whole bedroom used to have. In this episode of TechFirst, we talk to Intellibed CEO Colin House about the $70 billion sleep industry, what technology matters (and what doesn't) and what works best for sleeping. Hint: According to House, it's different for men and women.
15:03
April 17, 2020
Backing up the planet: How scientists are recreating the entire globe in virtual reality
Today we're stuck at home. Wouldn't it be great to virtually wander the world in virtual reality? (At least until we can go out for real again!) In this episode of TechFirst we chat with Simon Che de Boer from New Zealand’s Reality Virtual, who took 4,000 photos in Queen Nefertiti's tomb and digitally reconstructed King Tut's mask.  They're working on technology to virtually re-create real physical locations, make them available to all, create ways for people and organizations to contribute to sort of a Wikipedia of virtual places, and tele-present us in more real ways than ever before. How? A ton of machine learning, generative adversarial networks, and a lot of computer. Graphics processing tech from Invidia helps, as did a big grant from Epic Games.
30:34
April 17, 2020
Vonage: 2000% increase in telehealth video usage thanks to Coronavirus
Just one health-care startup had 139,000 new doctors join and 1.35 million patients use telemedicine last week. Is this temporary or the evolution of a trend with staying power?   In this edition of TechFirst with John Koetsier, I chat with the CEO of Vonage, Alan Masarek.   Some of the increases he's seen:   - Total video traffic up 6.5x in last six months   - Total video traffic up just over 2x in the last 3 weeks of March   - Healthcare is specifically up more than 20x
20:49
April 10, 2020
Vonage Founder Jeff Pulver on the next evolution of blockchain-based internet communication
Jeff Pulver created VOIP and founded the $3B Vonage. Now he's reinventing video, voice, and text communications online to fix security issues with Zoom and other platforms.   Is secure, private communication a complete pipe dream?   Jeff Pulver literally created VOIP. He also got the US government to issue the Pulver Order, which ensured that voice over IP was not restricted. Now he's working on a blockchain-based communications platform that could reinvent video, voice, and text communications online ... and make it much more secure.   We dive into the details ... along with what's happening with Coronavirus and COVID-19.
43:27
April 9, 2020
Is Coronavirus good for the mobile app economy?
Mobile app spend in Q1 2020 was the highest in history. And mobile app use was up 20%. In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, I talk about a story I just published at Forbes based on a new App Annie report. Lots of apps, especially social, education, business, and fitness, are up and to the right. But will this last?
04:41
April 2, 2020
Tech to connect with quarantined elders in a COVID-19 world with photographer and technologist George Krieger
Coronavirus is leaving our elders alone, lonely, and frightened. In this episode of TechFirst, we dive into the tech you need to stay connected.   I talk to photographer and technologist George Krieger about the tech he's set up for his dad, who built the Iomega Zip drive. It includes a remotely controllable PC, a camera, a TV that shows who he's talking to on a large screen, a wearable device called Tempo from Care Predict, an Echo Show from Amazon, and smart plugs to control lighting.   The result: much more peace of mind. Less stress for seniors, and much more connection and safe socialization, even when you're shut out of the care home thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
29:01
March 26, 2020
COVID-19 and the app economy: crisis & opportunity
Instacart is getting record downloads. Uber and Lyft are seeing record lows. How is Coronavirus impacting the app economy? Will Coronavirus be the death -- or the savior -- of our digital economy? Welcome to TechFirst with John Koetsier.   COVID-19 is changing everything. When it comes to mobile apps, some industries are way up, and some are way down. With us today to discuss which is which is Adam Blacker from Apptopia.   Airlines are in tough. So are hotels, but the drops are not completely consistent. And Uber and Lyft are experiencing record lows for app installs and usage.  Delivery apps like Instacart, however, are way up, breaking download records every day for about four days straight. But ready-to-eat food delivery apps are down, Blacker says.
18:02
March 18, 2020
Digital obesity: 2000-person study shows how tech increases loneliness, social isolation, stress
Is technology making us lonely, stressed out, insecure, and narcissistic? In this TechFirst with John Koetsier we dive into a 2,000-person study on the impact of technology and mobile devices on:   - mental health   - loneliness   - narcissism   - social isolation The news is not great ... I chat with futurist Nikolas Badminton and researcher Nick Black to go through their study.
21:42
March 13, 2020
Zoho launches Remotely, a free virtual collaboration productivity suite, in response to Coronavirus
Coronavirus is changing how we work ... most tech companies are now telling their employees to work from home.   Well, if you work from home, you need tools to do that.   One company says it’s going to offer a free productivity suite to everyone. Zoho created a product literally this week called Remotely, which it is offering for free for all.   We’re chatting with Raju Vegesna, the Chief Evangelist at Zoho.
09:11
March 6, 2020
Living & working with coronavirus in Beijing, China
What is it like to be living and working in China right now, during the coronavirus epidemic? What's different?   We chat with James Ren, who’s currently living and working in Beijing, China. He leaves his home every three days for food and hasn't seen his family for weeks, but he's trying to do business, meet clients virtually, and keep working through the crisis. What we talk about:  What’s the status in Beijing right now?  Are there any conferences that you’re planning to go to? Or, have they been canceled?  Are you restricting your movement? Meetings?  What information are you getting from medical authorities on what to do and what not to do?  How are you continuing with business?  What’s the impact on your business?  How long do you anticipate this continuing?
20:05
March 3, 2020
Where billions go to die: a deep dive into ad fraud
Ad fraud costs billions each year.   Why does that matter to you … and how can we stop it?  Welcome to Tech First Draft, with John Koetsier   Ad fraud is huge ... I’ve seen estimates from $10B to even $40B a year, globally. Just today, Google kicked 600 apps with 4.5B downloads out of Google Play.   Luke Taylor, the founder and COO of TrafficGuard, is going to tell us how it works ... and … how to stop it. And yes … we’ll even talk about how ad fraud impacts you, or any average person.   The types of fraud we'll talk about include:   - App install farms   - SDK spoofing   - Misattribution (i.e. click spam, click injection; where ~80% of ad fraud occurs)   - Domain spoofing   - Cookie stuffing   - Hidden ads/ads stacking   - Bots & servers   - Malware engagement
29:07
February 21, 2020
Digital 2020: a state of the union with Hootsuite
We now have almost 8 billion people on the planet ... what kind of digital growth are we seeing from those billions on social, mobile, and the internet as a whole? Welcome to Tech First Draft, with … yours truly ...  John Koetsier Hootsuite just put together a massive series of reports -- 200+ pages -- about everything, basically, in terms of digital growth … social adoption … mobile penetration … top social networks ... emerging trends ... you name it. So we’re going to dive into all that … we’re going to chat with: Simon Kemp, who wrote the report, and Henk Campher, a VP at Hootsuite.
38:40
February 14, 2020
TFD11: Killing fake reviews, with TrustRadius CEO Vinay Bhagat
Fake reviews are killing our ability to google for the truth Two of the top 9 google suggestions for “fake reviews” are “fake reviews generator” and “fake reviews generator free” So we know that it’s hard to trust reviews for consumer products What about reviews for B2B software? Consumer products might cost $50 to $500 B2B software? Could be $500,000, and easily more with multi-year contracts Today, we’re chatting with TrustRadius CEO Vinay Bhagat about a new program to kill fake reviews
17:29
February 10, 2020
TFD10: How to make your headphones better … with software
Are your headphones not providing the quality sound that they might actually be capable of? Can you get audiophile quality sound with hardware that doesn’t cost thousands of dollars?    This company says it can make your headphones better … with software.   Welcome to Tech First Draft.    See all TFDs here: https://johnkoetsier.com/category/tech-first-draft/  My guest, Matthias, is from Dirac: https://www.dirac.com   My name is John Koetsier, and today we’re speaking with Mathias Johansson, the CEO of Dirac.   He’s fixing crappy audio with software, and we’re going to find out how ...   What we talk about:   - You’re on a quest to fix bad audio. Why?   - What is the problem with most headphones/earbuds sold today?   - You are trying to fix it in software … via an app. How?  - What headphones or earbuds do you support right now? Will you eventually support all brands?   - Your software learns or adjust to different hardware … how? Do you test all different types of hardware in the studio?   - How close are you right now … you’re in beta still, right?   - When I tested, it sounded great. But podcasts had some echo … perhaps because of lower-quality recordings?
18:18
January 28, 2020
TFD9: Future proofing, digital transformation, and more ... what brands need to do in 2020
Why is technology so important for the next decade of business? Why is every company a tech company? And how are expectations changing over the next decade? I talk about State Farm, NASCAR, Allbirds, and TikTok in an interview with Sean Moffit of FutureproofingNext.
16:15
January 21, 2020
TFD8: Is TikTok digital crack cocaine? Speaking with Dr. Julie Albright, author of Left To Their Own Devices
Let’s start with TikTok. It gained over 500 million new users just last year. Why is it growing so quickly? When you’re on TikTok -- and other, similar social platforms -- there’s an almost compulsive view and flick, view and flick as you scroll through bits of content. What’s happening in the brain while this is going on? And … what does this do to people? Does it kill their attention span? Does it ruin them for anything requiring deep focus? As a culture, we have a long history of crying wolf at the next new media platform, claiming it will ruin kids, ruin society, destroy education, kill the future workforce. Contextualize TikTok and other similar platforms for us within this history. But are digital platforms fundamentally different than previous shifts? How do you see people changing as we grow up with technology and media like this? What are the good things that come out of this?
25:52
January 16, 2020
TFD7: Is indoor air in your house killing you? Chatting with OneLife CEO Christoph Burkhardt
Intro to guest Christoph Burkhardt is the CEO of OneLife They’ve developed a revolutionary new air purifier that they’re releasing at CES 2020 We’re getting a sneak peek What we talk about: What are the worst problems with indoor air? What percentage of people even know that they might have a problem? There’s a lot of existing air purifiers out there … what’s wrong with them? Replaceable air filters … one reason why people don’t buy purifiers? Talk about OneLife … what makes your solution better? PM1 … how small is that, really? And … those are the most numerous particles, right? Wireless? Battery?
19:19
January 2, 2020
Top 100 apps of 2019: Netflix, Uber, Spotify, Google Pay, Wish, and more
We’re chatting with Apptopia’s VP of Insights Adam Blacker about the top 100 apps of 2019. Which made the cut … what surprised us … what this means for tech giants like Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and all the others in 2020 ... Mobile app categories we hit: Games Social/messaging Entertainment Food & drink Dating Shopping Music & audio Health & fitness Finance Companies and apps we talk about: WhatsApp TikTok Helo Netflix YouTube Twitch HBO Disney McDonalds Uber  Tinder Badoo Wish! AliExpress Pinduoduo Spotify  Apple YouTube ... Google Amazon Samsung  Xiaomi Sberbank
29:16
December 31, 2019
Full self-driving cars within 3 years? Expert says yes ...
We’re talking about autonomous driving ... specifically … how soon we can expect self-driving cars? And what changes will they bring in our economy and our society? My guest is Blair Lacorte, the president of AEye, a Silicon Valley company that “develops advanced vision hardware, software and algorithms that act as the eyes and visual cortex of autonomous vehicles.” He says: we’ll have self-driving cars within 3 years. What we cover: Many experts say that full self-driving is many years away. Some say we’ll never get there. Talk about how you think we’ll get there in 3 years. You also say we’ll need to redefine what self-driving means … maybe redo the Levels of Automation. How so? What’s unique about your technology? You have something you’ve call iDAR … what is it, and how does it work? Who are you working with right now on this? Elon Musk says we don’t need LIDAR. Agree? How important is critical mass of instrumented cars and shared data to accelerate the AI that we need for self-driving cars? Robotaxis … will we see fleets of personal cars roaming the roads as taxis? Other models? There are those who say that autonomous cars -- and their development -- is unsafe. How do you respond? Anything else?
37:09
December 16, 2019
iOS spellcheck's massive failure: a symptom of Apple's bad AI?
We talk to Robert Scoble about iOS spellcheck: is it really that bad (yes), why it's that bad (privacy?), and how this will impact Apple's competitiveness against Google and Android. "80% said it got at least a little worse than before than two years ago" "Swipe is a good new feature that comes with this system, but it's an immature system. It hasn't been trained very well." "I had dinner with the guy who runs Siri at Apple. He said ... Google is beating us ... we see Google's learning at a faster rate."
25:55
December 4, 2019
Tesla Cybertruck: Automotive designer Fede Ponce on why he ordered
You either love Cybertruck or you hate it. Designer Fede Ponce has worked for Nissan and BMW. He's currently consulting with Mercedes, and won awards for his work on the Iron Man and Thor movies. He's worked on autonomous vehicles and heads-up displays. Hear why he's ordered a Tesla Cybertruck.
19:54
November 27, 2019
Amazon's smart home VP on the future of smart home (and what he has in his smart house)
chat with Amazon VP of smart home Daniel Rausch about: what’s in HIS smart home what drives consumer adoption why voice is better than phones for a smart phone hub the growth of the Alexa universe Amazon’s new “Certified for Humans” program, which lets you set up device by voice alone Alexa’s new “Did You Mean” feature Making smart homes … actually smart Alexa Guard, which makes your home look like you’re home … even when you’re away Privacy Adding Alexa to anything How Amazon grades itself on its progress with Alexa and Echo
36:37
November 25, 2019
Are we wasting billions on smart home tech?
Are we wasting billion on smart home technology? 70% of smart home tech that gets returned ... has nothing wrong with it. TechSee CEO Eiten Cohen surveyed smart home owners to find out what the biggest problems are ... and gives us the goods.
14:32
November 19, 2019