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We went to the 2017 New York Motorcycle Show — check out all the coolest bikes and gear (HOG)

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 01:38 PM PST

2017 New York Motorcycle Show

I'm a serious car lover, but I also dig motorcycles. And this is the time of year that the two-wheelers pull into New York City in force.

Running through the weekend, the New York Motorcycle Show is at the Javits Center on Manhattan's West Side.

We took it all in last year and came back for more in 2017. There were a few trends. One as the notable absence of Ducati, on of the world's major bike brands. Another was the ongoing roll-out of stylish throwback bikes, typified by the expansion of Royal Enfield outside its home market on India and setting up shop in the US.

Check out all the cool sights:

SEE ALSO: FOLLOW US on Facebook for more car and transportation content!

The 2017 show pulls into the Javits Center.

No weapons allowed!

Progressive's Flo gets her ride on.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

THE VOICE ASSISTANT LANDSCAPE REPORT: How artificially intelligent voice assistants are changing the relationship between consumers and computers

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 01:08 PM PST

bii consumer usage and interest in VAs global 2017 accenture

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Advancements in a bevy of industries are helping intelligent digital voice assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa become more sophisticated and useful pieces of technology. 

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are allowing them to accurately understand more information, while upgrades to mobile networks are facilitating quick transfers of data to robust clouds, enabling fast response times. In addition, the swell of internet connected devices like smart thermostats and speakers is giving voice assistants more utility in a connected consumer's life. 

Increasingly sophisticated voice assistants and the growing potential use cases they can assist in are driving consumers to adopt them in greater droves — 65% of US smartphone owners were employing voice assistants in 2015, up significantly from 30% just two years prior. Consumers are also eagerly adopting speaker-based voice assistants, with shipments of Google Home and Amazon Echo speakers expected to climb more than threefold to 24.5 million in 2017, according to a report from VoiceLabs.

However, there are still numerous barriers that need to be overcome before this product platform will see mass adoption, as both technological challenges and societal hurdles persist. 

In a new report, BI Intelligence explains what's driving the recent upsurge in adoption of digital voice assistants. It explores the recent technology advancements that have catalyzed this growth, while presenting the technological shortcomings preventing voice assistants from hitting their true potential. This report also examines the voice assistant landscape, and discusses the leading voice assistants and the devices through which consumers interact with them. Finally, it identifies the major barriers to mass adoption, and the impact voice assistants could have in numerous industries once they cross that threshold. 

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Voice assistants are software programs that respond to voice commands in order to perform a range of tasks. They can find an opening in a consumer’s calendar to schedule an appointment, place an online order for tangible goods, and act as a hands-free facilitator for texting, among many, many other tasks.
  • Technological advances are making voice assistants more capable. These improvements fall into two categories: improvements in AI, specifically natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning; and gains in computing and telecommunications infrastructure, like more powerful smartphones, better cellular networks, and faster cloud computing.
  • Changes in consumer behavior and habits are also leading to greater adoption. Chief among these are increased overall awareness and a higher level of comfort demonstrated by younger consumers.
  • The voice assistant landscape is divided between smartphone- and speaker-based assistants. These distinctions, while important now, will lose relevance in the long run as more assistants can be used on both kinds of devices. The primary players in the space are Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, Google Assistant, Amazon's Alexa, and Samsung's Viv. 
  • Stakes in the competition for dominance in the voice assistant market are high. As each assistant becomes more interconnected with an ecosystem of devices that it can control, more popular platforms will have a sizable advantage. 

In full, the report:

  • Identifies the major changes in technology and user behavior that have created the voice assistant market that exists today. 
  • Presents the major players in today's market and discusses their major weaknesses and strengths. 
  • Explores the impact this nascent market poses to other key digital industries. 
  • Identifies the major hurdles that need to be overcome before intelligent voice assistants will see mass adoption. 

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. » Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. » Purchase & Download Now

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Elon Musk may not be joking about launching his red Tesla Roadster to Mars in January 2018

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 12:19 PM PST

elon musk red tesla roadster electric car smiling 2009 RTR23D14

  • Elon Musk said several times on Friday and Saturday that he plans to launch his red Tesla Roadster to Mars in 2018.
  • A SpaceX employee and engineer also said Friday that the first Falcon Heavy payload had been announced, and that "this is legit and of course there will be cameras!"
  • But Musk reportedly walked back his comments Saturday, telling The Verge that he had "totally made it up."

In a series of tweets on Friday night, Elon Musk said he plans to launch his red Tesla Roadster to Mars in 2018. 

Or maybe not, depending on how one interprets Musk's remarks.

Few could be blamed for flat-out believing Musk. The tech mogul and billionaire once sent a wheel of cheese into orbit with a rocket built and launched by his aerospace company, SpaceX. And in March, Musk said he plans to launch "[s]illiest thing we can imagine" on the first Falcon Heavy rocket — SpaceX's biggest and newest launcher, and one that's able to send a payload of 37,000 pounds (nearly 14 Tesla Roadsters' worth of mass) to Mars.

The inaugural Falcon Heavy launch will occur in January 2018, Musk confirmed this week.

"Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. Destination is Mars orbit," Musk tweeted on Friday, referencing the song by David Bowie. "Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn't blow up on ascent."

spacex falcon heavy lift rocket illustrationMusk seemed to further confirm his plans in an impromptu question-and-answer session that evening.

"Just to reiterate, the payload for the first Falcon Heavy rocket will be a Tesla electric car, playing Space Oditty, heading for Mars," wrote a user named J.C.

"Yes," Musk answered.

Will it be a first-generation 2008 Roadster?

"Yeah," Musk replied to another user.

Another person asked about the midnight cherry-red paint on Musk's roadster.

"Red car for a red planet," Musk replied.

Musk repeated his claim Saturday afternoon, telling Ars Technica senior space editor Eric Berger that the mission was "100% real." 

Berger tweeted that he had not heard back from the SpaceX communications team regarding Musk's comments, which led him to believe the mission is happening.

Joy Dunn, a SpaceX employee and engineer, tweeted on Friday that the first Falcon Heavy payload had been announced, stating "this is going to be so awesome," later adding "oh this is legit and of course there will be cameras!"

Musk also reportedly confirmed his plans to The Verge on Friday, writing "it's so real" in response to an email the outlet sent.

However, The Verge updated its story on Saturday, writing "Musk told us he 'totally made it up'" in a follow-up email.

Business Insider reached a SpaceX spokesperson, who declined to comment on the record. We also contacted Musk directly, but he did not immediately reply. NASA also did not immediately answer our questions about Musk's purported Tesla payload.

It's possible Musk is just having a good laugh at the expense of fans, employees, and journalists on Friday. Then again, one can totally make something up — then later make that idea a reality.

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk wants to fly people from LA to New York in 25 minutes in a giant spaceship — but it could be a 'vomit comet'

DON'T MISS: This is not a joke: Elon Musk once rocketed a wheel of cheese into space

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: There's a place at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean where hundreds of giant spacecraft go to die

THE AI DISRUPTION BUNDLE: The guide to understanding how artificial intelligence is impacting the world (AMZN, AAPL, GOOGL)

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 12:07 PM PST

global ai commerce financing trend

This is a preview of a research report bundle from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

Artificial intelligence (AI) isn't a part of the future of technology. AI is the future of technology.

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have even publicly debated whether or not that will turn out to be a good thing.

Voice assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa have become more and more prominent in our lives, and that will only increase as they learn more skills.

These voice assistants are set to explode as more devices powered by AI enter the market. Most of the major technology players have some sort of smart home hub, usually in the form of a smart speaker. These speakers, like the Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod, are capable of communicating with a majority of WiFi-enabled devices throughout the home.

While AI is having an enormous impact on individuals and the smart home, perhaps its largest impact can be felt in the e-commerce space. In the increasingly cluttered e-commerce space, personalization is one of the key differentiators retailers can turn towards to stand out to consumers. In fact, retailers that have implemented personalization strategies see sales gains of 6-10%, at a rate two to three times faster than other retailers, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group.

This can be accomplished by leveraging machine learning technology to sift through customer data to present the relevant information in front of that consumer as soon as they hit the page.

With hundreds of hours of research condensed into three in-depth reports, BI Intelligence is here to help get you caught up on what you need to know on how AI is disrupting your business or your life.

Below you can find more details on the three reports that make up the AI Disruption Bundle, including proprietary insights from the 16,000-member BI Insiders Panel:

AI in E-Commerce Report

ai ecommerce

One of retailers' top priorities is to figure out how to gain an edge over Amazon. To do this, many retailers are attempting to differentiate themselves by creating highly curated experiences that combine the personal feel of in-store shopping with the convenience of online portals.

These personalized online experiences are powered by artificial intelligence (AI). This is the technology that enables e-commerce websites to recommend products uniquely suited to shoppers, and enables people to search for products using conversational language, or just images, as though they were interacting with a person.

Using AI to personalize the customer journey could be a huge value-add to retailers. Retailers that have implemented personalization strategies see sales gains of 6-10%, a rate two to three times faster than other retailers, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). It could also boost profitability rates 59% in the wholesale and retail industries by 2035, according to Accenture.

This report illustrates the various applications of AI in retail and use case studies to show how this technology has benefited retailers. It assesses the challenges that retailers may face as they implement AI, specifically focusing on technical and organizational challenges. Finally, the report weighs the pros and cons of strategies retailers can take to successfully execute AI technologies in their organization.

The Smart Speaker Report

smart speaker report

Smart speakers — Amazon's Echo, for example — are the latest device category poised to take a chunk of our increasingly digital lives. These devices are made primarily for the home and execute a user's voice commands via an integrated digital assistant. These digital assistants can play music, answer questions, and control other devices within a user's home, among other things.

The central question for this new product category is not when they will take off, but which devices will rise to the top. To answer this question, BI Intelligence surveyed our leading-edge consumer panel, gathering exclusive data on Amazon's recently released Echo Show and Echo Look, as well as Apple's HomePod.

This report, which leverages BI Intelligence's proprietary data, analyzes the market potential of the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod. Using exclusive survey data, we evaluate each device's potential for adoption based on four criteria: awareness, excitement, usefulness, and purchase intent. And we draw some inferences from our data about the direction the smart speaker market could take from here.

The Voice Assistant Landscape Report

Voice assistant landscapeAdvancements in a bevy of industries are helping intelligent digital voice assistants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa become more sophisticated and useful pieces of technology.

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are allowing them to accurately understand more information, while upgrades to mobile networks are facilitating quick transfers of data to robust clouds, enabling fast response times. In addition, the swell of internet connected devices like smart thermostats and speakers is giving voice assistants more utility in a connected consumer's life.

Increasingly sophisticated voice assistants and the growing potential use cases they can assist in are driving consumers to adopt them in greater droves — 65% of US smartphone owners were employing voice assistants in 2015, up significantly from 30% just two years prior. Consumers are also eagerly adopting speaker-based voice assistants, with shipments of Google Home and Amazon Echo speakers expected to climb more than threefold to 24.5 million in 2017, according to a report from VoiceLabs.

However, there are still numerous barriers that need to be overcome before this product platform will see mass adoption, as both technological challenges and societal hurdles persist.

This report explains what's driving the recent upsurge in adoption of digital voice assistants. It explores the recent technology advancements that have catalyzed this growth, while presenting the technological shortcomings preventing voice assistants from hitting their true potential. This report also examines the voice assistant landscape, and discusses the leading voice assistants and the devices through which consumers interact with them. Finally, it identifies the major barriers to mass adoption, and the impact voice assistants could have in numerous industries once they cross that threshold.


Access the three in-depth reports referenced above today when you claim our exclusive AI Disruption Bundle. By purchasing the full bundle today you will SAVE 33% 0ff list price! But act now, as this is a limited-time offer.  
Access my AI Distruption Bundle NOW


Register for an All-Access membership to access these three reports PLUS hundreds of other reports, data, and daily newsletters! Register for All-Access NOW >>

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Take an inside look at the offices of Facebook, PayPal, Twitter, and 11 more high-profile employers

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 11:20 AM PST

Facebook NYC 4904

Who says offices have to be boring?

Not everyone toils the day away in a drab cubicle farm. There are some pretty incredible offices out there.

At Business Insider, we've gone on numerous virtual and in-person tours of amazing workspaces — including those of Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify.

Here's a glimpse of some of the coolest offices we've visited:

Jacquelyn Smith, Jessica Mai, Courtney Verrill, Emmie Martin, and Tanza Loudenback contributed reporting.

SEE ALSO: A look inside Kickstarter's Brooklyn office, where employees enjoy perks like a secret rooftop garden, coffee on tap, and plenty of dogs

DON'T MISS: A look inside Facebook's New York office, where employees of the $280 billion company enjoy virtual reality games and an in-house pastry chef

PayPal's busy office featured lots of comfy seating and bright murals.

Venmo's headquarters boasts one of the most unusual conference rooms we've ever seen — one with a wall of fake dollar bills. We were told that one of them was authentic, but we couldn't find it.

See the full PayPal and Venmo office tour »


Facebook's Manhattan office is filled with amazing artwork created by both resident artists and employees. These works give the space a creative vibe.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

THE MOBILE CARRIER LANDSCAPE: How AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint are overcoming slow user growth amid a fierce price war

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 11:06 AM PST

bii big four carrier revenue

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

It hasn't been smooth sailing for telecoms in recent years. Native voice and messaging services, which once accounted for the vast majority of telecoms' subscriber revenue, are struggling to compete with over-the-top (OTT) apps, like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Viber — and they're losing.

A fierce and ongoing price war among the Big Four carriers is only compounding the pressure telecoms are facing. The consequent resurgence of unlimited data plans is straining carriers' networks, and revenues are suffering.

Nevertheless, telecoms are now better positioned than ever to play a bigger role in their subscribers' lives. Consumers spend more than half of their digital time on smartphones, compared with a third on PCs. This shift has effectively placed telecoms at the front door of consumers' digital experience.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we examine where the wireless industry stands as a result of the price war and uptick in data demand from consumers. We also look at how technological advancements and the adoption of new product lines could incentivize the next wave of revenue growth for telecoms. Finally, we explore potential barriers to carriers' growth, and examine which of the Big Four carriers are poised to lead the pack.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Native voice and messaging services, which once accounted for the vast majority of telecoms' subscriber revenue, are struggling to compete with over-the-top apps.
  • A fierce ongoing price war among the Big Four is only compounding the pressure telecoms are facing.
  • Still, consumers' growing dependence on smartphones and data means telecoms are now better positioned than ever to play a bigger role in their subscribers' lives.
  • As digital continues to reshape the wireless industry, telecoms are preparing for the next wave of disruption, including connected cars, augmented reality, and 5G.
  • Despite a plethora of opportunities, several existing and emerging threats could impede telecoms' growth and expansion efforts.

In full, the report:

  • Describes how the US wireless carrier is shaping up.
  • Explores the effect of the fierce pricing wars taking place, and the methods carriers are using to retain their subscribers.
  • Highlights the new technology carriers are using to drive growth and revenue. 
  • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit carriers' growth and examines who's best positioned to come out on top.

To get the full report, subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now

You can also purchase and download the full report from our research store.

Join the conversation about this story »

One chart shows how terrible a decision it has been to bet against Amazon (AMZN, FB, GOOGL)

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 08:21 AM PST

Jeff Bezos

  • Thousands of traditional retail stores are closing down as more people shop online.
  • A chart from T. Rowe Price shows that investors who stuck with the sector are most likely badly burned.
  • Amazon's stock performance has far outpaced a basket of traditional retailers and the broader stock market.

Investors who stuck with traditional retail companies over the past few years were going against a ferocious tide.

More than 6,400 store closings have been announced this year alone by chains including RadioShack and Kmart. That's primarily because more people are shopping online — and especially at Amazon.

The chart from T. Rowe Price illustrates just how much Amazon's performance has outpaced the broader stock market, and how badly a basket of traditional retailers has done.

"I still am struck by just how dramatic that impact is for investors," said Ken Allen, a portfolio manager of the $5 billion Science and Technology Fund at T. Rowe Price. "If you owned Amazon, you did great. If you owned a traditional retailer, you did horrible. If you did both, you did really really well."

11 20 17 amazon value creation COTD

And that's just Amazon's retail unit. Its more profitable cloud-computing division is also helping the stock outperform incumbents like Cisco and IBM.

Though Amazon has captured nearly 50% of e-commerce, its share of the overall retail market is about 5%, Allen said. That's similar to Facebook and Alphabet, which dominate the digital advertising market but are surrounded by several stalwarts of the broader industry.

"All these companies are addressing enormous total addressable markets," Allen said. "That gives many of them continued runway for strong growth and potentially solid stock performance to grow into their valuations, which have appreciated quite significantly especially in the last year or so."

SEE ALSO: DEUTSCHE BANK: Something 'very unusual' is happening in markets

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is why you should be buying gold

Inside the last slice of old-school San Francisco where you can still buy a home for under $1 million

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 08:15 AM PST


Ingleside is miles off the beaten path for most San Franciscans.

It's a haul from any central location in the city, and it has a reputation as one of the tougher neighborhoods, which has helped the working-class area stay under the radar of tech workers and real-estate investors. In fact, you can still buy a home for under $1 million in Ingleside.

According to data from Paragon Real Estate Group, only 20% of homes sold in San Francisco since July 2016 went for under $1 million. Of those 593 sales, 83 have been in Ingleside.

Business Insider visited Ingleside to see what this last affordable enclave is like.

SEE ALSO: A couple bought one of the most exclusive streets in San Francisco for $90,000 — now the city is making them give it back

San Francisco's public transit system services Ingleside, but it is by no means a short trip. We hopped on Muni by our office in downtown and arrived a solid 40 minutes later.

Ingleside sits to the far south of the rest of the city, sandwiched between Balboa Park and San Francisco State University. Highway 280 brushes its western border.

Our first stop was the community garden at Brooks Park, where locals can grow produce and ornamental plants for personal use. It's known for panoramic views of the city.

After some serious huffing and puffing up one of Ingleside's (many) steep hills, we arrived. Two people were tending their plots, and the garden was beautifully well-maintained and quiet.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Everything you need to know about Bitcoin, its mysterious origins, and the many alleged identities of its creator

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 08:00 AM PST

FILE PHOTO: Bitcoin (virtual currency) coins placed on Dollar banknotes, next to computer keyboard, are seen in this illustration picture, November 6, 2017.  REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Since it was created in 2009, Bitcoin has experienced significant highs and lows. Just this week, the cryptocurrency surpassed an $11,000 evaluation for the first time in history. 

Bitcoin is considered the preeminent cryptocurrency in the world, but there's still plenty of mystery surrounding its creation. Who came up with Bitcoin? Was it created by more than one person? And who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

Here's a rundown on the currency's strange beginnings:

In 2008, the first inklings of bitcoin begin to circulate the web.

In August 2008, the domain name bitcoin.org was quietly registered online. Two months later, a paper entitled 'Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System' was passed around a cryptography mailing list.

The paper is the first instance of the mysterious figure, Satoshi Nakamoto's appearance on the web, and permanently links the name "Satoshi Nakamoto" to the cryptocurrency. 




On January 3, 2009, 30,000 lines of code spell out the beginning of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin runs through an autonomous software program that is 'mined' by people seeking bitcoin in a lottery-based system. Over the course of the next 20 years, a total of 21 million coins will be released.


But Satoshi Nakamoto didn't work entirely alone.

Among Bitcoin's earliest enthusiasts was Hal Finney, a console game developer and an early member of the "cypherpunk movement" who discovered Nakamoto's proposal for Bitcoin through the cryptocurrency mailing list. 

In a blog post from 2013, Finney says he was fascinated by the idea of a decentralized online currency. When Nakamoto announced the software's release, Finney offered to mine the first coins — 10 original bitcoins from block 70, which Satoshi sent over as a test.

Of his interactions with Nakamoto, Finney says, "I thought I was dealing with a young man of Japanese ancestry who was very smart and sincere. I've had the good fortune to know many brilliant people over the course of my life, so I recognize the signs."

Finney has flatly denied any claims that he was the inventor of Bitcoin and has always maintained his involvement in the currency was only ever secondary. 

In 2014, Finney died of the neuro-degenerative disease ALS. In one of his final posts on a Bitcoin forum, he said Satoshi Nakamoto's true identity still remained a mystery to him. Finney says he was proud of his legacy involving Bitcoin, and that his cache of bitcoins were stored in an offline wallet, left as part of an inheritance to his family. 

"Hopefully, they'll be worth something to my heirs," he wrote.

As of today, one bitcoin is worth more than $10,000.  

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

We partied at the ‘Burning Man on a yacht’ party attended by the wildest part of New York’s tech scene

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 07:45 AM PST

Kiva Sutton   BoatPaty17 484 8

  • The Burlesquerade is an annual costumed gala on a yacht that brings together 1,200 of New York's techies, artists, and entrepreneurs for a wild night of partying.
  • The Burning Man-esque party features a lineup of DJs, aerialists, burlesque dancers, and performance artists — as well as cacao ceremonies, sound healing, and more.
  • It began as a the birthday party of Timothy Phillips, the co-founder of Lightning Society, a self-described "community of changemakers."


By 10:30 p.m.,  I was ready to collapse on the dance floor. Everyone else was heading to an afterparty at a far-off warehouse. That's the kind of party New York's Burlesquerade is.

Now in its 7th year, the annual costumed gala has grown from a birthday party in a tiny apartment to an extravaganza on a 30,000 square-foot "super yacht" featuring an eye-popping lineup of DJs, aerialists, burlesque dancers, and performance artists.

The Burning Man-esque party attracts 1,200 partygoers ranging from bigwigs at Goldman Sachs and Facebook to Brooklyn's DIY fashion designers and filmmakers. Timothy Phillips, the man whose birthday started it all, says he hopes the event is "inspiring."

"The idea is really just to set this expectation that everyone should be surrounded by people who inspire and motivate them all the time," Phillips told Business Insider.  "We try to create events that facilitate that."

Phillips recently invited me to attend this year's Burlesquerade. Here's what it was like.

At Phillips' insistence, I showed up at Pier 40 early so he could show me around the boat, the Hornblower Infinity. I was dressed in my costume gala finest, but in true New York form, no one batted an eye.

As I made my way through the security line, where guards studiously checked the videographers and volunteers' bags, Phillips spotted me.

He was dressed in a black glistening jacket that evoked a raven's feathers and was flying back and forth a bit like a mad bird, talking to security or the caterer or picking up a cellphone for a harried call to an unknown person. 

Phillips said that the Burlesquerade started because he had friends from so many different scenes that were often “intimidated by each other” or “stuck in their preconceptions about who the others were.”

By creating a massive party and forcing everyone to costume themselves, he thought he might be able to “break down those barriers.”

Phillips soon handed me off to Joe Che, his business partner and the man most often tasked with turning Phillips' high-flying ideas into, in Che's words, "practical realities."

Dressed in a kind of antique captain's jacket festooned with ornaments, Che gave me a tour around the boat so I knew where all the performances and activities would be. But as he warned me, there's too much to do for any one person to see everything.

Challenge accepted.

Che explained that he and Phillips formed Lightning Society three years ago to expand what they had created with the Burlesquerade and to find new ways to “bring people together for meaningful connections.”

So far, that has resulted in the current version of the Burlesquerade and a co-living space in Bushwick.

The co-living space, which houses 16 people ranging from a teacher to tech developer to an astrophysicist, hosts weekly programming, including yoga and dance classes and an ongoing speaker series.

They started boarding the boat early because the security line takes so long.

The event recruits more than 150 volunteers to put on the party, who do everything from set up to production and photography. Volunteering is a way for many who can’t afford the $75 ticket price to join the festivities. 

It takes Che, Phillips, and the team of volunteers seven hours to set up the boat.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here are Warren Buffett's most valuable investments (WFC, AAPL, KO, BAC, AXP, PSX, IBM, USB, MCO)

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 07:41 AM PST

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has made nearly $2 billion on its investment in Apple.

The conglomerate bought more in the third quarter just as the stock, with the rest of the tech sector, continued to hit new highs. 

Many of his other investments aren't doing too badly either, to say the least. 

The list below, via Bloomberg, is ranked in ascending order of the market value of Berkshire's positions at the end of the third quarter. It excludes Kraft Heinz, as this investment is accounted for with the equity method because Berkshire owns a significant controlling stake.

The list includes Berkshire's position changes disclosed in the most recent 13F regulatory filing.

Here it is: 

SEE ALSO: A $423 billion investor explains why tech stocks are defying a warning sign

Charter Communications

Ticker: CHTR

Sector: Services

Market Value: $3.085 billion

Market-value Change: -$96 million

Q3 Position Change: -954.10k shares

Source: Bloomberg 


Ticker:  MCO

Sector: Services

Market Value: $3.434 billion

Market-value Change: $432.5 million

Q3 Position Change: Unchanged

Source: Bloomberg 

US Bancorp

Ticker:  USB

Sector: Financial

Market Value: $4.559 billion

Market-value Change: $142 million

Q3 Position Change: Unchanged

Source: Bloomberg 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The only supermoon of 2017 is happening this weekend — here's what a supermoon actually is

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 07:33 AM PST

The only supermoon of 2017 is rising on December 3. But what is a supermoon? And why do we only see one or two a year? Following is a transcript of the video.

Supermoons are a rare type of full moon. They appear up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than normal. While the full moon rises about once per month, supermoons can only occur a few times per year — max.

That's because the timing has to be just right. The Moon takes about 27.32 days to orbit Earth. During its orbit, the moon passes through two points: Perigee and apogee. Perigee is about 30,000 miles closer to Earth than apogee.

A supermoon can only occur at perigee-syzygy, when the moon is full and at perigee simultaneously. This is rare because as the Earth revolves around the sun. the moon's orientation to Earth stays mostly the same. This changes where the Moon is in orbit during each full moon. But supermoons would even more rare if the moon didn't precess. Over many years, the moon's precession changes its orientation slightly.

It's often hard to differentiate a supermoon and a regular full moon. The best time to watch a supermoon is when it's low, near the horizon. So you can fully appreciate this rare moment in space and time.

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The 11 most overrated things to do in NYC for the holidays

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 07:14 AM PST

how the grinch stole christmas

There's nothing more magical than holiday time in New York City — that is, until you have to push yourself through hordes of tourists and mouth-breathers.

The Grinchy, TLDR-version of this article is that virtually everything you plan to do in NYC over the holidays that usually draws a crowd is overrated. Sorry.

But take heart! There are some exceptions to this rule — and plenty of alternatives to choose from that won't result in you and yours getting overheated, trampled, mobbed, and then some.

To find them, Business Insider consulted staffers who live and work in and around New York City.

Here some of the most overrated things to do in NYC over the holidays, along with some caveats and alternatives.

SEE ALSO: 31 of the most bizarre holiday gifts employees have ever received from a coworker

DON'T MISS: 15 things you should never do at the office holiday party

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

"The event packs all the blocks around the tree with selfie-stick-wielding tourists, creating a crowd that can induce claustrophobia, especially for those who (like me) don't care about oversized Christmas trees that much," Science and Innovation Editor Dana Varinsky said. 

"And the thing is: The tree will be up for the entire season, all lit and everything, exactly as it looks on that first night, but with less crowds and better photo ops."

Intagramming the perfect picture of the Rockefeller Tree

"It's always super crowded in Midtown during the holidays, and there's no such thing as the perfect shot — unless you want it to include a bunch of random tourists in the background," said Insider Picks Editor Ellen Hoffman, who's been in New York for more than eight years.

An anonymous Business Insider employee who has lived in New York for five years suggested going to see the Washington Square Park tree instead.

Going anywhere in Midtown

In fact, Hoffman said going anywhere in Midtown ever, but especially during holidays, is a nightmare.

"The massive crowds will swallow you whole if you're not used to walking around NYC," she said. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A body double, CGI skull, and secret filming sessions: Inside the yearlong process to bring this beloved character to the 'Blade Runner' sequel

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 07:10 AM PST

BF 2049 lead final

  • John Nelson, the Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor on "Blade Runner 2049," walks through how he made a CGI version of the franchise's memorable Rachael character for the movie.
  • The process took a year of trial and error, which was all done under secret shooting sessions and a code name.
  • Sean Young, who played the character in the original movie, was also brought on to supervise.

With a total of 1,200 visual effects shots in “Blade Runner 2049” — that comes out to 1:45 of the movie’s total running time of 2:43 — Oscar-winning VFX supervisor John Nelson and his team logged in major hours to go a step beyond the 1982 original movie’s legendary sci-fi look.

But there was a particular scene in the movie that Nelson and director Denis Villeneuve paid special attention to.

Toward the end of the movie when Deckard (Harrison Ford) meets Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), he is offered something very near and dear to him in exchange for information on where Wallace can find the only known child replicant. From the shadows appears Rachael, played by actress Sean Young, the beautiful replicant who is also Deckard’s love interest in the original movie. For the “2049” scene, Rachael looks like she hasn’t aged a day from when we saw her in the original movie, and that’s because Nelson and his team pulled off a flawless CGI version of Young to bring back the character for the sequel.

This is just the latest example of recent major blockbuster movies using computer graphics to de-age an actor. We’ve seen it with Kurt Russell in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” Robert Downey Jr. in “Captain America: Civil War,” and Michael Douglas in “Ant-Man.” That's not even counting “Rogue One,” in which a younger version of deceased actress Carrie Fisher appears in her Princess Leia role and Peter Cushing, who had been dead for 22 years at the time of the movie’s release, shows up in CGI form reprising his Governor Tarkin role from “Star Wars: A New Hope.”

Nelson and Villeneuve were aware of most of these past VFX landmarks, but felt they could go a step beyond those. Nelson was tasked to make the best CGI human ever put on screen yet.

“I looked at all the digital human work and for the most part I could see where it all falls down,” Nelson told Business Insider. “We tried to build on the shoulders of everything that had been done before us.”

What Nelson found was that it’s not enough to use motion capture to create the face you want to portray. There are small details to include that can’t be ignored to pull off the task. But it took him a year of trial and error to realize that.

Here’s how CGI Rachael was achieved:

Creating the digital skull

Rachael was given the code name “Rita” during filming, and the scene was done often with a very small crew to ensure that what was being done would not get out to the public.

Nelson and his team started by creating a digital skull of the Rachael character. They scanned Young’s head and then were able to find a life cast of her that was done a few years after the original “Blade Runner." By combining both they created a CGI skull of her. Nelson and his team than began de-aging the CGI head using footage from the original “Blade Runner” as a guide.

Shooting the scene with a body double and Sean Young's guidance

While all of that was going on, back on set Villeneuve shot the “Rita” scene with Ford and Leto. Actress Loren Peta was brought on as the Rachael body double. With Nelson and Young also on hand, the scene was done with dots all over Peta’s face, which would be needed when the footage went through the motion-capture phase. Peta’s face would be erased, and CGI Sean Young would be inserted.

“Sean would be sitting with Denis and they’d be talking about Loren’s performance as Rachael,” Nelson said. “She would advise him on the movements and the looks of Rachael. ‘I would have done it this way or that way,’ she would tell Denis.”

Back to the drawing board

At this point Nelson took the footage shot and inserted what they had done with CGI Rachael, and showed what they had to Villeneuve and the producers. But no one was that impressed.

“They were like, ‘Well, it really looks like a woman that looks a lot like Sean Young, but it doesn’t look like Sean Young,’” Nelson recalled. “So I went back to the drawing board.”

Nelson went even deeper, and that’s where he found pay dirt.

“What I found is it's her imperfections that make her beautiful,” he said. “Her eyes are not symmetrical, her eyes actually stick out of her head a little more than most people. We studied how makeup was done when 'Blade Runner' was made. In fact, we went to every woman on the crew and asked about how makeup was done in the 1980s. We learned about the right shade of lip stick. Just subtle things from the first movie that we could put into our Rachael.”

Nelson went back to Denis and the producers with four scenes from the original “Blade Runner” and inserted CGI Rachael into a single shot in each scene. But he didn’t tell them what he did.

“The producers and Denis were like, ‘John, this is great but why are we looking at the first movie?’ and I told them what I did and they couldn’t tell, they actually got upset,” Nelson said. “They were like, ‘Why didn’t you tell us?’ And I was like, ‘Isn’t that the point? It’s supposed to be like the real thing.’”

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This founder explains how not taking investor money let his startup build a product that 750,000 users love

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 07:00 AM PST

bryant chow cto webflow

  • Bryant Chou is the CTO of Webflow, a Y Combinator startup that hasn't taken any investment beyond a modest seed round. 
  • Chou says that Webflow has slowly built itself into a profitable business, and expects to do $10 million in revenue this year. 
  • Webflow is a visual website development tool that's spread through word-of-mouth.

In 2013, web development tool Webflow graduated from Y Combinator, the Silicon Valley startup farm that has turned out tech success stories like Dropbox, Airbnb, and Stripe. 

Unlike most of those companies, though, Webflow raised only $2.9 million in a relatively modest seed investment — and then never took another dime of venture capital. In fact, Webflow CTO and cofounder Bryant Chou tells Business Insider that the company never actually touched any of that seed cash, and has been profitable all the while. 

The key, says Chou, is taking a slow-and-steady approach to growth. Thanks to positive word-of-mouth, Webflow has grown to 750,000 users in four years, including developers at NASA, Dell, and MTV. Chou says the company is on track to do $10 million in revenue this year, with about 50 employees on board. 

Webflow is a smaller company and its growth has been more measured than some of the more famous Y Combinator alumni, which had explosive growth out of the gate. But Chou says that Webflow has come to like it that way — if you get too big, too fast, you run the risk of prioritizing the wrong things, he says.

"You lose focus, or you get distracted," says Chou. 

Similarly, Chou says that not loading up on VC money has let Webflow build exactly the product it wanted to build, without interference from investors. "We would have really needed to focus on short-term metrics" to please them, he says.

Webflow is for easily building professional-grade websites

The idea for Webflow came about while Chou was serving as the first CTO of Vungle, a video advertising startup.

He and his friends, the brothers Sergie and Vlad Magdalin, decided that there should be a better way to build websites — a way that's as simple as popular tools like Wix or Squarespace, but as professional and fully-featured as Adobe's popular Dreamweaver. 

"We set out to build something that doesn't exist," says Chou. "We always knew something like Webflow should exist." 

Webflow pricing starts at $12 a month for individuals, and goes up to $35 per user per month for business plans. There's also a basic, free plan to get started.webflow

The idea is that you can create fully-featured websites, just by clicking and dragging around, and then publish them to the web instantly. The websites that Webflow creates are fully compatible with universal web standards, including HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript.

That means Webflow can be a timesaver for even seasoned web developers, who can click-and-drag their way to a basic outline, and then drill down in whatever other tool they like using and do the rest of the job. While Chou says it sometimes senses a "stigma" of people who assume it's just another consumer tool, he says it's ready for business. The guiding principle behind Webflow, says Chou, is that it's the tool he and his cofounders would want to use.

"We're building this for us," Chou says.

Generally, the rest of the world seems to agree: On G2Crowd, a popular site for business software reviews, WebFlow is lauded as being easy to set up, easy for the IT department to administrate, and easy to do business with, though it's rated as less "usable" than some competitors.

As for the future of Webflow, Chou says that the company is focused on making it more collaborative for multiple designers to work on a site at once. Business-wise, he says that Webflow is pretty happy building a "sustainable" business. Maybe one day, that could even mean an IPO.

"It's not something we've ruled out," says Chou.

SEE ALSO: 51 enterprise startups to bet your career on in 2018

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An iOS bug caused iPhones to crash when the date changed to December 2

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 06:52 AM PST

iPhone X

  • An iOS 11 bug caused some iPhones to crash when the date changed to December 2.
  • Apple rushed out a fix for the bug in a software update early Saturday.
  • It's the second major Apple software bug this week.

A bug in iOS 11 caused some iPhones to crash early Saturday as the calendar changed to December 2. According to iMore, the bug was related to notifications from third-party apps.

Apple has already issued a fix. It pushed out iOS 11.2 to devices early Saturday morning ahead of its scheduled release early next week. In addition to fixing the "December 2" bug, iOS 11.2 also adds peer-to-peer payments through Apple Pay, which lets you send money to other iOS users through iMessage. (Think of it as Apple's answer to Venmo.)

But since the iOS 11.2 software update was released early, peer payments won't be live until Monday or Tuesday. It'll only be available in the United States for now.

The iOS bug is the second big software blunder from Apple this week. Earlier this week, users discovered a bug in the latest Mac operating system that let anyone log into a password-protected computer with the username "root." Apple fixed the bug the following day.

SEE ALSO: The iPhone X review

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NOW WATCH: Some iPhone users can't type the letter 'i' — here's what's going on and how to fix it

ZTE's chunky new device looks out of place in 2017, but it's the most intriguing phone of the year

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 06:30 AM PST

zte axon m

In a year of great smartphones, ZTE's new Axon M would seem to stand out, but not in a good way.

Rival devices such as Samsung's Galaxy Note 8, the OnePlus 5T, and Apple's iPhone X are beautiful and sleek, have powerful processors, are made with premium materials, and include advanced features and cameras. By contrast, the Axon M is chunky, heavy, and kind of slow. 

But looks — and even speed — aren't everything. The Axon M is actually a compelling device, in part because a unique feature: it's built around two fully functional screens that are joined together on a hinge.

The phone is a thing of wonder. 

Check out the ZTE Axon M:

SEE ALSO: REVIEW: The new Razer Phone looks out of place in 2017, but it has one great feature that no other phone has

The Axon M doesn't look like a phone from 2017.

ZTE's device is thick, heavy, and has huge borders around both its displays. Compared to svelte and sleek phones such as the OnePlus 5T, Samsung's Galaxy Note 8, and the Essential Phone, it looks like a brick.

The Axon M's blocky design is similar to that of the Razer Phone, but even that phone is sleeker than ZTE's new gadget.

But it's got a unique feature — a second screen on a hinge!

The hinge feels sturdy.

When you close the second screen it makes a satisfying click.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Tesla's biggest threat is now GM (TSLA, GM)

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 06:02 AM PST

Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt next to a third-generation prototype of General Motors' self-driving car.

  • GM has demonstrated an all-electric self-driving fleet of cars in San Francisco.
  • Tesla continues to struggle to scale up production of its Model 3.
  • In just a few years, the Detroit giant has surged ahead of the Silicon Valley upstart.

Earlier this week, General Motors and its Cruise self-driving-car division staged their first demonstration for the media of all-electric Chevy Bolt vehicles that can handle the streets of San Francisco without anybody's hands on the wheel or feet on the pedals.

As Business Insider's Troy Wolverton, who attended the event, reported, GM's autonomous Bolt's can't self-motor without hitches. But it's early days. The analogy that leaps to my mind is Kitty Hawk, the Wright brothers, and the dawn of flight. Orville and Wilbur made their first flight in 1903; passenger flight arrived a decade later, and by 1947, the sound barrier was broken by Chuck Yeager.

Self-driving cars don't have to fly, but Yeager didn't have to avoid airborne pedestrians on the way to 742 mph. The upshot is that what GM has achieved is prototypical spectacular: getting an autonomous vehicle to self-navigate a complicated urban streetscape is a profound achievement. And Cruise isn't the only GM effort. Cadillac rolled out its Super Cruise semi-self-driving system earlier this year, enabling fully hands-free highway piloting.

GM started working on Super Cruise several years back, bought Cruise Automation in 2016, and got the Bolt into production and up to sales that could hit 5,000 per month in about two years. This concerted undertaking to define the future of mobility is aimed squarely at the perceived leader on that score — Tesla.

Tesla takes all the risks

elon musk

Tesla has been around for 14 years, and for most of that time, GM has been content to let Elon Musk and his company take on all the risks associated with electric and self-driving cars. But with three years of booming US sales under its belt and a healthy balance sheet, GM is ready to take its own risks.

And it's doing so like the global giant it is. Tesla has one factory, about 33,000 employees, and will sell a record 100,000 cars in 2017. GM has dozens of plants, over 200,000 employees, and builds a million vehicles a year. It isn't David vs. Goliath — it's David versus Goliath and all Goliath's relatives and friends.

The biggest threat to Tesla has never been that company can't innovate or craft a compelling story. It's been that after a decade-and-a-half, the Palo Alto-based carmaker doesn't yet have massive scale. If it can rapidly ramp up production of it's $35,000 Model 3, it could be making a million cars annually by 2020 — a tenth of what GM churns out.

In the auto industry, properly managed massiveness is a huge advantage. The mass-market math is simple: If you can manufacture more cars and trucks than the competition and do so profitable, you win. A lucrative cycle develops: you have more cash to develop innovative vehicles when times are good and the resources to defend and even capture market share when times are bad.

A sheltered Tesla

Tesla Model 3

Tesla has been sheltered from this dynamic for two reasons. First, it has been making only electric cars, and although it dominated this market, it's but a slice of a global EV market that represents on 1% of auto sales. Second, its cars up to this point have been high-priced luxury vehicles. That's a tough market, but it isn't a challenging as selling affordable vehicles to a large buyership.

The sheltering period is ending, and thus far for Tesla, the end has been humbling. A predicted 20,000 units in Model 3 production by December won't happen until March 2018 at the earliest. Tesla could have as many as 500,000 pre-orders for a vehicle that it's struggling to build. The company is burning over $1 billion per quarter, and although Wall Street has rewarded Tesla's growth prospects with a market cap that bigger than Ford's, GM spends a billion a month to build a million cars, while Tesla spends that much to deliver only around 25,000 in a quarter.

That which doesn't kill Tesla makes it stronger, and the company will likely emerge from this production Purgatory with its momentum intact. But aggressive, well-capitalized, seasoned competition has arrived much sooner than expected. All the things that Tesla is good at used to be the stuff that GM was bad at. But in just two years, GM has arguably gotten better at Tesla's stuff than Tesla is. 

This doesn't mean that Tesla is facing an existential threat. But it does demonstrate that Tesla decade-and-a-half lead is fragile, particularly when it comes to self-driving technologies. GM was able to spend $1 billion all-in to buy Cruise. Tesla could use its stock to make similarly ambitious acquisitions, but Musk's focus now is on automated manufacturing, and that's where Tesla's M&A activity has been directed. But due to its relatively small size and inflexible balance sheet, Tesla is in constant danger of being swung from leading to playing catch-up.

Tesla's story is big, but GM is huge

A woman gets in a self-driving Chevy Bolt EV car during a media event by Cruise, GM’s autonomous car unit,  in San Francisco, California, U.S. November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

I think GM did have a brief window when it could have put Tesla out of business, but the Detroit colossus wisely decided that the value of making Tesla go away was lower than continuing to use Tesla as an innovation lab funded by other people. As a result, GM recently rolled out a plan to develop a whopping 20 electric vehicles worldwide by 2023 and to use a profitable platform for those cars to enter new businesses in ride-hailing and ride-sharing, as well as data monetization. 

GM is and always has been compulsively and practically macro; Tesla is telling a huge story, but as practical matter it's comparatively small. At its height in the immediate postwar period, one of every two cars sold in the US was a GM product; now it controls about 20% of the market. Tesla will have its best year ever in 2017 and hold only around 0.5% of the US market. Tesla thinks big, but it can't execute big. GM might not think as big as Tesla — although it's starting to — but it always plan to execute at a global, industrial scale, as it has for over a century.

This is where Tesla's connection to the technology industry and Silicon Valley is a hindrance. Facebook is major player in the 21st century economy, but compared to GM at the carmaker's peak, Facebook employs a tiny number of people and has a dinky physical footprint. The whole point is to have a massive effect on markets but to operate lean, using technology to leverage up and to enlist billions of users as a workforce. That works with software. But it doesn't with cars.

Tesla can outcompete — up to a point

Tesla Roadster

We're witnessing this New Economy-Old Economy struggle play out with Tesla and GM. Up to a point, Tesla can outcompete GM. But only up to a point. Then the harsh realities of building large, expensive machines. and lots of them, kicks in. 

In San Francisco, Tesla's back yard, GM took the first step toward putting everything together: EVs that drive themselves and that can be shared or hailed in a big city. Tesla isn't there yet. 

But don't think that Musk is upset. He took Tesla to where it is today precisely so that the big guys like GM would join in his campaign to make cars cleaner and safer. GM is a a threat to Tesla — but it's a threat Tesla should welcome.

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SEE ALSO: GM promises 20 all-electric cars by 2023

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NOW WATCH: Watch Tesla unveil a brand new Roadster, which Musk says will be the fastest production car ever made

The Internet of Everything — $12.6 trillion ROI expected over the next decade [SLIDE DECK]

Posted: 02 Dec 2017 06:01 AM PST

future of retail deck slide 10

It all started on our PC's. Now, single function items are becoming interfaces connected to the Internet and offering us capabilities above and beyond their original intended purpose. The phone goes way beyond making calls, the watch goes way beyond telling time, the car goes way beyond getting us from place to place, etc.

Our businesses and governments are becoming more efficient by investing in the IoT revolution. Industries like oil, manufacturing, agriculture, medicine, insurance, retail, and utilities are all actively innovating with IoT installs. Governments are improving the quality of cities and defense programs with smart, Internet-connected solutions.

However, the IoT revolution doesn't come without hurdles. The current infrastructure is struggling to keep up with the Internet traffic. There are also security concerns around connecting everything to the Internet.

As a result of everything becoming connected, we are seeing shifts in investments and returns. There is already a great demand for network expansion, cyber security, and insurance. And generally, the prices of hardware will fall as IoT becomes less of a novelty.

future of retail deck slide 10

All of this opens up a huge opportunity for everyone to make and save a lot of money. We will invest $6 trillion in IoT between 2015 and 2020, which will yield $12.6 trillion ROI over the next decade. Enterprise will make up the majority of the investment dollars, followed by government and consumer.

BI Intelligence has created a slide deck exploring the most disruptive trends in IoT.  To get a more detailed view of the progression, landscape and projections of the Internet of Everything, access the complete slide deck by clicking here.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • The market drivers for the IoT.
  • Forecasts for the IoT market.
  • A breakdown of how many industries are utilizing IoT devices.
  • A look at how governments are using the IoT to revolutionize their cities and defense.
  • An examination of the smart home and connected car market.
  • And much more.

Want the full deck? Access it here for FREE >>


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