Welcome to the Dynamic Digest, a weekly recap of the latest news happening in our industry. Want the pulse of what’s going on in enterprise software and analytics, performance management, cloud computing, data, and other like topics? We got you covered!
This week in the world of technology, Facebook opened a huge research lab, Alphabet was granted permission to test drones in the US, Verizon acquired a telematics company, and Dropbox launched a document-editing app.
Facebook Just Built A 22,000 Square-Foot Hardware Research Lab – Fortune, August 3
Facebook just made it easier for its hardware engineers to collaborate and share ideas – with a brand new 22,000-square-foot hardware lab named Area 404 at its Menlo Park, CA headquarters. Although primarily known as a software company, Facebook does have various hardware initiatives such as its virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift, data center projects for its open-source hardware programs, and a solar-powered drone project called Aquila that’s focused on bringing the Internet to remote areas. With its new hardware lab, engineers working on these projects can come together in one place to develop and test prototypes. Area 404 is equipped with a wide range of heavy-duty equipment and machinery, including a CT scanner that can diagnose causes for computer motherboard or device malfunction within a matter of hours or days. There is also a water jet device that can cut into granite, steel, and marble for prototype-building, machines for folding and manipulating metal, fabric cutters, and an indoor crane to help transport heavy materials. The lab took 18 months to build and engineers have already started to work in it since July.
Key takeaway: An all-in-one lab for engineers to work together on hardware projects and build prototypes in-house will encourage collaboration and potentially accelerate Facebook’s hardware initiatives. This is also an indicator of Facebook’s dedication to some of its open-source hardware programs such as the Open Compute Project and the Telco Infra Project.
Alphabet will begin testing its delivery drones inside the US – The Verge, August 2
We may very well be just years away from having autonomous drones deliver our packages to our doorstep. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, was given the green light by the White House to test drones that it’s developing in Project Wing – Alphabet’s project focused on creating drones and a traffic control system that can support them. Why is this such a big deal? Previously, the testing of drones could only be done overseas, due to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requiring drones in the US to be operated by a human pilot or within the sight of a pilot. Thanks to a White House initiative aimed at strengthening the drone industry, the FAA has approved six test sites in the US that Project Wing can use to test its delivery drones. While urban cities may not have the necessary air traffic control system to support autonomous drones anytime soon, Zipline, a startup that delivers medical supplies via drones, has launched a program to deliver medical supplies to rural areas in the US.
Key takeaway: Alphabet isn’t the only big player in the drone delivery game. Amazon’s drone program, Amazon Prime Air, has recently been cleared by the UK government to test out its drone delivery system. While we may be getting closer to a rapid delivery system, there is still a long way to go, at least here in the US. For example, a new air traffic control system will need to be implemented across the US to enable the safe operation of drones, especially in crowded urban settings. The FAA will also need to approve new regulations around drone operations.
Verizon buys Fleetmatics for $2.4B in cash to step up in telematics – TechCrunch, August 1
Verizon is taking another step up in the area of mobile workforce management solutions with its planned acquisition of Fleetmatics, a telematics company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. This is the second purchase in a short span of time for Verizon Telematics, Verizon’s subsidiary that offers fleet management, mobile workforce management, and IoT solutions. Just a few weeks ago, Verizon Telematics announced its planned acquisition of Telogis, a startup that offers cloud software for fleet tracking. Similar to Telogis, Fleetmatics offers SaaS-based fleet management solutions that aim to improve the performance and safety of the mobility workforce. Some of the services it provides include GPS fleet tracking, driver and truck safety services, dispatching and billing solutions. Verizon Telematics CEO Andres Irlando said that it will leverage Fleetmatics’ solutions to strengthen its telematics services for small and medium-sized businesses.
Key takeaway: Verizon’s increased investment in fleet management software will help fuel its growth in the telematics and IoT sector. With the slowdown it’s experiencing in its wireless business, now is a great time to expand in another growing industry. Already owning a massive communications network, Verizon has the potential to become a major competitor in telematics and IoT.
Other top tech stories:
- Dropbox launches an iPhone and Android version of its document-editing app Paper – TechCrunch, August 3
- Google’s latest Maps experiment turns the Himalayas into a 3D playground – The Verge, August 3
- Microsoft launches Excel API out of preview – VentureBeat, August 3
We hope you enjoyed this week’s Dynamic Digest weekly roundup! Have a suggestion or preferred topic you would like to see next week? Tweet at us or leave a comment below!