Thursday, May 28, 2015

What to Expect at Google I/O 2015 (PCMagazine)

Google I/O

The time is nearly upon us. The tickets have long sold out. Google I/O, the search giant's annual developer conference, kicks off today and promises a peek at what Google has in store for 2015.
All About Android in 2014
The 2014 conference (see video below) was notably Android-focused, with an overriding theme of taking Android out of mobile phones and putting it everywhere. Android, Google said, would be in watches, cars, TVs, and even laptops.

Among those, the most anticipated was Android Wear, which brought Android to smartwatches for the first time. But while Android Wear didn't really catch on, theApple Watch isn't exactly on every wrist, either.
I/O 2014 also saw the release of an enormous visual upgrade to the Android OS called Material Design. This emphasized a layered approach to app design, and including interactive elements that mimicked cut paper. It was a huge change for Android, and one that debuted with the release of Android Lollipop, an early version of which, dubbed Android L, was also announced at the 2014 conference.
What to Expect This Year
A quick note before we dive into the speculation is that what follows is just that: speculation. Technology moves fast, and the rumor mill moves faster, so take everything with a grain of salt.

New Android OS: Like last year, a new version of the mobile Android OS is expected to be at the center of Google's announcements. One big change Google may finally be introducing is fine-grained controls for app permissions. Currently, when you download an app you agree to grant the app access to tons of your phone's capabilities and your personal information with a tap. A new approach might follow in the footsteps of iOS and let users pick and choose which features and what information they want to share with apps. If included, this would be a big win for consumers and security advocates who have long criticized Android's permissions system.
But the big question on many salivating lips is, of course, what the next version of Android will be called. Tradition dictates that Android 6 will be named after some kind of sweet confection starting with the letter "M."  Reports say that the company's internal name for the new operating system is Macadamia Nut Cookie, but few of Google's internal names ever see the light of day. My money is on Marshmallow, though I wouldn't be surprised if Google simply referred to the OS as Android M until the operating system's formal release this fall, as it did for Lollipop.
Android Pay: 2015 is going to be a big year for payment systems. Apple grabbed a lot of attention with its Apple Pay service, and federal law mandating chip and pin cards will completely change how Americans use credit cards this year. Though Google has long supported in-app payments and NFC transactions through Google Wallet, Ars Technica says that an independent API called Android Pay could make purchases with your Android even easier.
Hyundai First to Offer Android Auto
Android in Cars: In 2014, Google debuted Android Auto, which brought Android features into the automobile, provided you had a phone already attached to your car. Android M is rumored to be even more tightly integrated with automobile navigation and entertainment systems, but Google might go even further, and provide a version of Android that's built right in to new vehicles.

Google may hope that an automotive version of Android could do for high-tech cars what it did for smartphones and take the hassle out of constructing interfaces for automobiles. Though car manufacturers have almost universally failed to produce decent navigation and entertainment interfaces for cars, I have a hard time imagining they'd let Google take the driver's seat.
Brillo for IOT: Google is rumored to be building a super-small version of Android that can run on low-power devices. Specifically, the kind of low-memory, Internet-connected devices you might find powering smart thermostats or fridges. Since its purchase of Internet of Things maker Nest, Google has been pretty quiet on the IOT front, but a special version of Android—rumored to be called Brillo—might help bring more devices to market, and bring much needed standardization to the space. Besides putting the call out for an audio expert and cozying up to other device makers, nary a word has been heard from Nest. Perhaps that will change this week.
Google Chromecst
New Chromecast: Google first introduced itsChromecast streaming stick in 2013, and the platform is ripe for a new upgrade. But at I/O 2014, Google also showed off Android TV, which the company insisted was not a specific device, but a platform for developing in-home entertainment systems. Perhaps it's time these two got together? At the very least, we should expect to see more from Google on how it will be delivering movies and TV shows to your living room.

Everything Else: What more could you want? Perhaps Google Play launching in China, finally bringing first-party app support for Chinese Android devices as Ars reports. Perhaps clearer rules on how long Nexus devices will receive major system updates and security patches, as Android Police expects. Perhaps a new Google Photos app that will offer great backup and editing features, while divorcing Google+.
Potential Surprises
Expecting the unexpected is good, but tricky, advice. Here's a look at some Google I/O 2015 long shots that we just can't rule out.

Google Cardboard
Virtual Reality: For me, the breakout story of I/O 2014 was Google Cardboard. This flat-packed headset brilliantly brought a virtual reality experience to Android devices using no special hardware outside of two lenses. Since then, Cardboard has seen a handful of new releases, and other Android-based VR systems have grabbed headlines. I/O 2015 could see another in-your-face surprise. From what I've seen of Google's Project Tango, the company clearly has the know-how to do something amazing.

Google Glass: The (in)famous wearable computer system debuted at Google I/O 2012 in spectacular, wing-suited fashion. Since then, the device received mixed reviews and serious social backlash. Google has moved the platform out of its moonshot department and into active development, but also promised more low-key presentations in the future. Of course, how Google Glass could ever be low-key, especially when Luxottica is involved, is a mystery to me.
Google self-driving car
Self-Driving Cars: Google has been quietly tinkering with its self-driving cars for years, and recently announced that 100 adorable proptypeswill be on the streets this summer. It wouldn't be surprising if one of these autonomous autos rolled onto the Google I/O stage, with or without human help. Or an invitation.

Protests: The most surprising moment of I/O 2014 didn't come from Google, but from the audience. Two protesters, apparently working independently of one another, interrupted the proceedings to loudly object to Google's involvement with alleged killer drones and real-estate deals. Will 2015 see more interruptions?
Google I/O's day one keynote kicks off at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT. Be sure to check back for more live coverage and follow @PCMagLive for all the news from San Francisco.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

This isn’t your parents’ America Online: Verizon gives 5 Billion Dollars

The early Web pioneer once known for screeching dial-up modems and “You’ve got mail” has undergone a dramatic transformation since the collapse of its merger with Time Warner Inc., one of the biggest takeover failures in history.

As a standalone company since 2009, AOL has become a competitor in the growing online advertising business. That transition helped attract interest from Verizon Communications Inc., the largest U.S. wireless carrier, which Tuesday agreed to buy AOL Inc. for about $4.4 billion. What Verizon wants is to make more money from mobile video, and the new AOL can help.

AOL is now focused on online video and on so-called programmatic advertising, which uses computer algorithms rather than salespeople to buy and sell ad space on websites. The system works like an online marketplace: a shoemaker, for example, can get a display ad on a website in milliseconds, less than the amount of time it takes a reader to load a Web page. And data gathered on people’s browsing habits helps the shoemaker reach the right consumer with the right ad at the right time.

The goal is to become an automated middle man between advertisers and publishers. Last month New York-based AOL unveiled technology called ONE that helps marketers decide where to best spend their money, putting it in direct competition with two online ad giants, Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. The technology allows advertisers to see whether consumers are buying more products after seeing an ad on a smartphone, and enables them to shift more spending to mobile devices from desktops and television.

Online Video

AOL’s reinvention has come largely through investments. The biggest was the $418 million purchase in 2013 of, which matches advertisers and video publishers through an exchange.

AOL Chief Executive Officer Tim Armstrong has also been investing in the company’s websites to broaden their global audience. The Huffington Post, for example, has recently introduced sites in Greece and India.

Armstrong also wants to grab a share of the advertising dollars that are being shifted from television to online video as more Americans watch TV on the Web. AOL recently announced a deal with NBCUniversal, in which NBCUniversal video clips -- from networks like Bravo, E!, Esquire, NBC and USA -- will be available on AOL’s websites and apps. The companies will co-develop original online video series.

So far, the strategy has been working. Sales at the platforms unit, which includes digital advertising, grew 21 percent to $279.8 million last quarter.

AOL said Tuesday that the combination with Verizon “brings us to the scale of Facebook and Google.” Maybe not just yet, but it does make AOL a more powerful rival.

“It’s an ambitious plan,” Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics based in Dedham, Massachusetts, said of the deal with Verizon. “The mobile advertising market is dramatically dominated by Google.”

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The $10 Hedge Fund Supercomputer That’s Sweeping Wall Street (BusinessWeek)

It sounds like the mother of all spreadsheets: 1 million rows, 1 million columns -- 1 trillion entries in all.

Fortunately, Braxton McKee isn’t using Excel. Instead, he’s tapping into the cloud to crunch all that market data on the cheap with software he built that learns as it goes.

The cost of that cosmic power: $10.

Welcome to the brave new world of cheap-and-cheerful artificial intelligence.

McKee, 35, is part of a wave of math and computer whizzes that’s pushing data science to new heights across Wall Street. What’s remarkable about their efforts isn’t that AI science fiction is suddenly becoming AI science fact (sorry, Steven Spielberg). It’s something more mundane: thanks to cloud computing, mind-blowing data analysis is getting so cheap that many businesses can easily afford it.

Sophisticated hedge funds like Renaissance Technologies and tech giants like Google Inc. have been deploying AI and its subset, machine learning, for years. Now data shops like Ufora, which McKee founded in 2011, are leveraging cloud power to help hedge funds and other financial players run complex, big-data computer models. The results are startling.

Five years ago, the sort of programming involved in McKee’s 1-trillion-point dense matrix would have taken months of coding and $1 million-plus of hardware. Now McKee simply logs onto Amazon Web Services to name his price for computing capacity and sets his code loose. Out of a loft in the Flatiron District in Manhattan, he works on what he calls “coffee time.” His goal is to make every model -- no matter how much data are involved - - compute in the time it takes him to putter to his office kitchen, brew a Nespresso Caramelito, and walk back to his desk.

Machine Learning

McKee, previously a programmer at Ellington Management Group, the credit hedge fund, has been backed by a venture division of Two Sigma Investments, a big quantitative firm run by a former artificial intelligence academic and a mathematics olympian.

Braxton McKee

Braxton McKee, founder of Ufora. Source: Ufora via Bloomberg

Quant shops like Two Sigma and Renaissance have been hiring machine-learning experts of their own. Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates and Steven Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management also have been building up big-data analytics.

But much of the action is in start-ups. Like McKee, three Bridgewater veterans, Matthew Granade, Chris Yang and Nick Elprin, recently struck out on their own. Their San Francisco-based firm, Domino Data Lab, gives data scientists a way to review their old work and collaborate with professional colleagues, an important feature in the iterative process of programming.

Reading Comprehension

Braxton McKee

Another young firm, Palo Alto-based Sensai, helps companies analyze what’s known as unstructured data, such as corporate documents, transcripts and social media. That involves natural language processing, which is basically reading comprehension for machines.

The rise of cloud computing is making much of this cheaper and faster. It’s also helping spawn a new AI industry. In all, 16 AI companies got initial backing from venture capitalists in 2014, up from two in 2010, according to data compiled by researcher CB Insights for Bloomberg. The amount invested in the startups -- some of which describe themselves as doing machine learning or deep learning -- soared to $309.2 million last year, up more than 20-fold from $14.9 million in 2010.

While giants like Google drove the initial push for big-data analysis, technological innovation is democratizing access, both on and off Wall Street, said Granade of Domino Data Lab.

“Automotive manufacturing, the U.S. government, pharmaceutical firms -- we’re seeing sophisticated analytical need across the board,” said Granade, formerly co-head of research at Bridgewater. “Hedge funds seem to think of themselves as on the cutting edge. They are, on some level. But the rest of the world is moving very fast as well.”

Hedge Funds Wall Street Cloud Computing Science Software Hardware Manhattan San Francisco Work Palo Alto

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Autonomous drones to 3D body scanners...

The future tech headed to your home

Autonomous drones

Fancy a peak at the technology that's just around the corner?

This week, chipmaker Intel unveiled prototypes that reflect the type of gadgets we will be using in the near-future.

This ASCTEC drone is able to automatically dodge obstacles and people as it navigates.

The drone has full 360 degree, 3D view of the world around its thanks to the six long-range Intel RealSense cameras that sit on top.

Controlling the drone is as easy as giving it a destination and then letting it find its own way - thanks to its ability to spot and avoid potential collisions.

Intel said such automated navigation will be necessary if retailers are to deliver goods using drones.

The cameras can capture colour video at 60 FPS, as well as recording how far away the objects they film are from the camera. Each camera can capture this depth information at up to 10 feet.
Through the drone's eyes

A snapshot of what the ASCTEC drone sees through its six depth-mapping cameras.

3D body scanning

Ever wanted to create a tiny bust of your head to give to your friends?

The answer may be no, but if you do then you're in luck. By Christmas this year tablets should be available that will allow you to scan a person so you can print off your own mini-me.

Capturing a scan takes less than a minute. The 3D model could then be printed off at home, or for those without a 3D printer forwarded to an online service to create a more elaborate model. The process could also capture people to allow them to be digitally animated or used as an online/in-game avatar.

The tablet captures the scan using the same long-range RealSense 3D camera used with the ASCTEC drone.

Intel says that Android and Windows tablets, running on both Intel Core and Atom processors, will be released with the long-range RealSense cameras.

Mini me

And here is the end result, a tiny, etched glass bust based on an earlier 3D scan captured by the tablet.
Become one with the data

One for gadget lovers not afraid to let technology get under their skin, or at least to pipe data through it.

This computer is transmitting data to the bracelet via the wearer's skin, a process that Intel calls 'Human Body Communication'.

Intel says the technology could provide an easy way to swap information between machines. For example, the user could highlight an address on a computer, touch the pad to download it to the bracelet, then touch a sat-nav to communicate that destination to the device.

Power without wires

Wires will soon disappear from computing if the tech giants are to be believed.

When it comes to wirelessly charging, Intel is betting on the Rezence technology, which is based on the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) standard and relies on magnetic resonance to juice gadgets.

Rezence chargers can beam up to 20W of power to nearby devices, charge multiple machines at once and transmit through a thick wooden table top, as seen here.

Monday, May 18, 2015

These 10 Pieces of Art Just Sold for Almost $800 Million (BusinessWeek)

The art market is on such a tear even the insiders are scratching their heads. Since New York’s spring sales started last week, at least $2.1 billion of art has been sold at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, with the top 10 lots accounting for almost $800 million.

Christie’s said collectors from 35 countries were bidding at its May 11 sale while Sotheby’s said clients from more than 40 countries were out in force the next evening. They jockeyed for Impressionist, modern, postwar and contemporary art.

Christie’s Global President and auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen takes bids on Pablo Picasso’s “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’),” which sold for nearly $179.4 million, setting a world record for artwork at auction, during a sale at Rockefeller Center in New York on May 11.
Christie’s Global President and auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen takes bids on Pablo Picasso’s “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’),” which sold for nearly $179.4 million, setting a world record for artwork at auction, during a sale at Rockefeller Center in New York on May 11.
“There’s a lot of money out there and people are chasing great works,” said Mera Rubell, who, along with her husband, Don, runs a private museum in Miami showcasing their collection. “Now the young artists are selling for millions.”

That means bargain hunters will be sorely disappointed: Picasso and Monet may be at record highs, but prices for living (if not quite young) artists are nipping at their heels. The 60-year-old Christopher Wool’s canvas spelling “Riot” in chunky black letters sold for $29.9 million — the same price paid for a 1948 Picasso portrait of his lover Francoise Gilot.

Records were smashed. In just 11 minutes, bidding for a Picasso surged from $100 million to $160 million before settling at $179.4 million, the most expensive work ever purchased at auction. The value of the work increased by 462 percent.

You know the market is frothy when a Monet that sells for $40.5 million doesn’t make the final cut for a top 10 list.

Les Femmes d'Alger (Version
Pablo Picasso’s “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’)” sold for a record $179.4 million.

This is the most expensive work ever sold at auction: Pablo Picasso’s colorful 1955 painting “Women of Algiers.” The price smashed the record held by Francis Bacon’s $142.4 million triptych, “Three Studies of Lucian Freud,’’ since November 2013. The Picasso buyer so far is unidentified. (Christie’s, May 11)

Alberto Giacometti, “L’Homme au Doigt,” $141.3 million

The Pointing Man

Mark Rothko “No. 10,” $81.9 million
Mark Rothko's
Pablo Picasso, “Buste de Femme (Femme a la Resille),” $67.4 million

Vincent Van Gogh, “L’Allée des Alyscamps,” $66.3 million

L'Allée des Alyscamps by Van Gogh

Lucian Freud, “Benefits Supervisor Resting,” $56.2 million

Andy Warhol “Colored Mona Lisa,” $56.2 million

Claude Monet, “Nympheas,” $54 million
Water Lilies by Monet

Francis Bacon “Portrait of Henrietta Moraes,” $47.8 million
Mark Rothko, “Untitled (Yellow and Blue),” $46.5 million
Yellow and Blue by Mark Rothko

Friday, May 15, 2015

Build 2015: Microsoft's new plan to rule the mobile world (TechRepublic)

Microsoft plans to have at least one billion mobile devices running Windows 10 and any app you want, no matter its original platform. 
Windows 10 devices

Getting developers to create apps for the mobile Windows platform has been a real problem for Microsoft for many years now. Developers have been coding for iOS and Android where the most of the people (and the money) live. However, if Microsoft can bring its plan to fruition, to have at least one billion Windows 10 devices in service within three years, that barrier to success may fall.
This plan was announced at the Microsoft Build 2015 Conference, and it included one clever and long overdue twist. Microsoft will now provide the tools necessary for developers to port their existing apps from the iOS and Android platforms to the Universal Windows Platform. This is a variation of the "if you build it, they will come" Field of Dreams theory. If porting apps to one billion Windows 10 devices is easy, then why wouldn't developers do it?

Universal Windows Platform

The key component for this strategy is the Universal Windows Platform, which allows developers to code once and have their app work and display properly on any device that runs Windows 10. Using Visual Studio tools, developers can create apps for PCs, tablets, phones, HoloLens, Surface Hub, Xbox, and Raspberry Pi.
But there's more to the Microsoft plan, because the company also announced tools that will allow developers to port their existing Android and iOS apps to the Windows 10 platform with minimal additional coding.

Build a bridge to somewhere

For existing Android developers and apps, there's a new runtime called Project Astoria available. These tools will allow developers to code for Windows 10 mobile devices from within their familiar Android IDE.
In similar fashion, Project Islandwood will give existing iOS developers the ability to code for those one billion Windows devices by importing Xcode directly into Visual Studio, where the existing code will be extended to include Universal Windows Platform capabilities.
Figure A
 Image: Microsoft News Center

Bottom line

These tools, along with other tools designed to make app presentation on the Microsoft Store easier to accomplish and more consistent across devices, will help the company grow its database of available mobile apps. If more apps are available for Windows 10 users, then the "lack of apps" stigma often applied to Microsoft Mobile devices will disappear.
Microsoft has finally realized that having solid hardware--in the form of Lumina smartphones, for example--is not enough. Users, regardless of platform, want the apps they want. When Kate Upton appears on television commercials during the Super Bowl touting the joys of playingGame of War, she's not talking to users of Windows smartphones... at least not yet. The future of Microsoft is riding on the success of this code-porting plan.
With the availability of Project Islandwood and Project Astoria, developers can now port their apps to the Windows 10 platform quickly and with very little additional labor. This means more paying customers for them and more revenue for Microsoft. A rare win-win scenario.
The only remaining question I have is: Do these tools work as advertised? We'd like to hear from developers who have tried it. Are the tools solid, or is this just pie-in-the-sky marketing malarkey? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

3D smart glasses will transform workflows around the world, says Atheer's CEO (TechRepublic)

The augmented reality future is now for workers using 3D smart glasses in healthcare, warehousing, construction, and oil and gas industries, notes Atheer Labs CEO Alberto Torres. 

"Augmented reality... will transform the global enterprise and the way work is done in the future, in nearly every imaginable way," said Atheer Labs CEO Alberto Torres in a recent email interview. "From the warehouse floor to the operating room," augmented reality "will unlock human productivity and enable faster, safer, and smarter workflows for everyone."
Augmented reality is a direct or indirect view of a physical environment whose elements are "augmented" or enhanced by computer-generated input such as audio, video, graphics, or locational data.
In the near future, added Torres, "users in the industrial workforce will leverage powerful technologies such as Artificial IntelligenceIoT (Internet of Things), and thePhysical Web to enhance their capabilities well beyond those of an unconnected worker or a standalone machine."
Based in Mountain View, Calif., Atheer Labs provides a 3D augmented reality platformwith gesture-based interaction for enterprise customers in the medical, oil and gas, and industrial verticals. Atheer's platform consists of its AiR Smart Glasses and AiR OS. The company also provides a developer kit, the AiR DK2.
Also, in this Q&A, Torres shares the company's take on the demise of Google Glass in the consumer market, talks about industries in which augmented reality is seeing traction, and what led him to accept the CEO post at Atheer Labs in 2014.
TechRepublic: What potential does augmented reality technology have to disrupt and transform enterprises? What changes could we possibly see within five to fifteen years?
Alberto Torres: Augmented reality -- and in particular, Augmented interactive Reality(AiR) -- will transform the global enterprise and the way work is done in the future, in nearly every imaginable way. From the warehouse floor to the operating room, AiR will unlock human productivity and enable faster, safer and smarter workflows for everyone.
albertotorresatheerlabs.jpgAtheer CEO Alberto Torres
In a warehousing logistics scenario, for instance, workers equipped with AiR devices could optimize the workflow of every pallet build, from picking order to item stacking, regardless of past warehousing experience. In an industry such as oil and gas, where human error can lead to disastrous consequences, equipping field workers with AiR devices while performing safety checks could mean the difference between life and death. AiR devices utilized for medical applications will enable professionals to take the next step in patient care. Doctors equipped with AiR smart glasses will have unprecedented access to patient data and unfettered access to communications, enabling smarter, timelier, and more impactful patient care.
This is not some futuristic scenario. This is a reality today.
Looking forward five to fifteen years, the power of smart glasses really shines as the world becomes more connected and coordinated. With the AiR system of the future, users in the industrial workforce will leverage powerful technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, IoT and the Physical Web to enhance their capabilities well beyond those of an unconnected worker or a standalone machine. For the coming generations, AiR technology is poised to completely change the way we interact with all types of computers, our peers, and the connected environment at large.
TechRepublic: Why is it that Google Glass did not fare well in the consumer marketplace, and what can a B2B-oriented firm like yours learn from that?
Alberto Torres: The arrival of Google Glass was a turning point for augmented reality -- one that signaled a promising future for smart glasses, a technology which had previously been considered by many as "aspirational" or "ahead of its time" at best. When a company like Google announces a project like Glass, the future appears much closer all of a sudden.
However, introducing the world to an entirely new class of technology is no easy feat, especially if your initial target market is mainstream consumers. Long story short, consumers have remarkably high expectations and -- as Google found out first hand -- meeting them, universally and on day one is nearly impossible. In this case particularly, those expectations were amplified by the considerable hype surrounding Glass, making customer expectations an even higher bar to meet. Then there was the $1,500 price tag.
The result: earlier this year, Google shut down the Google Glass Explorer Program. When this happened, the team at Atheer wasn't the least bit surprised.
While we firmly believe that smart glasses will be widely adopted by consumers in the long run, we recognized these challenges early, and identified the enterprise as the most natural starting point for smart glasses technology adoption. Just as mobile phones arrived on job sites more than a decade before replacing landlines, we saw augmented reality through smart glasses as a technology that would be following a similar trajectory.
The lesson learned is that when it comes to introducing an entirely new device category -- especially one that requires behavioral changes like smart glasses -- finding high-value use cases is the key. As we have discovered since launching Atheer, these use cases can be found at every corner of the enterprise, because there are a variety of mission-critical job functions that are not able to fully leverage today's digital technology in a matter that enriches their work.
TechRepublic: In what industries do you expect to see mobile 3D platforms have a more immediate impact?
Alberto Torres: While the applications for AiR are limitless, we are seeing considerable traction in the industrial, medical and oil & gas segments. These are areas where high-value assets need regular attention and AiR can provide an immediate impact with high returns.
 Image: Atheer Labs
Doctors in many of today's modern medical facilities use tablets for everything from triage to surgery in order to access information; however, touch-screen devices like the iPad are not practical in the many situations where medical professionals wear gloves and are in sterile environments. Atheer's hands-free gesture platform allows healthcare professionals to access vital medical information without physically touching a screen or interface. Not only does our technology improve workflows for healthcare professionals, but it also prevents contamination and eliminates the downtime of scrubbing in and out to access information on a computer.
In the industrial sector, Atheer's large, natural interaction display allows users to more easily view and complete tasks, as well as access step-by-step instructions, analytical data, instructional videos, images, emails, and more. Atheer's precise, mobile-optimized gesture recognition software allows the user to interact with things like 3D blueprints of structures and equipment. Users can also live-stream their point-of-view to get expert support and receive feedback in real time. All of these applications are highly valuable in construction, heavy machinery, and other industrial workplaces that place a premium on workers' hands being readily available, and on enabling the worker on the ground to get the job done right the first time.
In the Oil, Gas and Petrochemical industries, having the best tools to minimize down-time of high-value assets is critical. Atheer AiR delivers the compelling benefits of productivity and safety to the mobile Oil & Gas workforce. Workers in this industry typically wear gloves, drill mud, have greasy hands, and other issues making it impossible for them to efficiently use a tablet. Atheer's hands-free gesture-based platform allows workers in these fields to work more seamlessly and safely by allowing them to access critical data without having to physically touch a device.
TechRepublic: What are the things are really define Atheer Labs' technology? How to do want to innovate over the next several years?
Alberto Torres: Atheer is the industry's only mobile, gesture-based AiR computing platform, designed with the enterprise customer in mind. Enterprises and the mobile workforce of today require portability, natural data interaction, immersive displays, and extensive ecosystem support. We believe that the Atheer AiR platform stands alone in uniquely delivering on all of these requirements.
I believe that hands-free, AiR computing is going to revolutionize the world of computing. It is a game-changing paradigm shift in human-computer interaction and mobility.
Alberto Torres
Our smart glasses are the industry's only mobile, gesture-controlled see-through smart glasses. Users can see critical workflow information overlaid onto the real world, interact with it in a natural way, and collaborate with peers like never before.
Currently, the AiR platform is available to companies and independent software vendors around the world developing applications for the enterprise in these sectors. We are continuing to expand our platform by working directly with our enterprise customers to create a product that has practical, real-world implications.
TechRepublic: What attracted you about the opportunity to become CEO at Atheer Labs last year?
Alberto Torres: Having spent many years in the mobile space, including my time with Nokia, I was most attracted to Atheer Labs, because I believe that hands-free, AiR computing is going to revolutionize the world of computing. It is a game-changing paradigm shift in human-computer interaction and mobility. Adding rich digital information within the context of real-world scenarios, opens up possibilities for unprecedented collaboration and knowledge.
AiR promises to be a powerful enabler of true change across many different industries. Atheer is at the forefront of the industry from both a technology development and vision standpoints. We are in the right space, at the right time.
TechRepublic: Having secured a new round of funding in February, what are your main goals for the remainder of 2015?
Alberto Torres: We've spent the past few years developing the ground-breaking AiR platform, refining our patented gesture technologies, and conducting pilots with Fortune 500 companies within the Medical, Industrial, Oil & Gas fields. For the remainder of 2015, we are continuing to expand our AiR Pilot program, creating next-generation productivity applications, and working towards a wide commercial release of the Atheer AiR Smart Glasses.