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Robert Scoble
Partner, Transformation Group
Partner, Transformation Group

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Get up to speed on mixed reality with this keynote

This keynote, titled "The Next Two Clicks of Moore's Law" gives you a look at what Robert Scoble is seeing in his research into mixed reality (next generation augmented reality). He gave it last week at the conference in Paris.

This is a continuation of the work he did with Shel Israel in their book "The Fourth Transformation: how AR and AI will change everything."

Every day Scoble shares what he's seeing in the tech world on Facebook at -- join him there to keep up to date on mixed reality and other innovations that are going to affect your business within the next two clicks of Moore's Law (IE the next four years). Sorry, he's turned off commenting here. If you want to comment, come on over to Facebook!

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I see HUGE things for Apple next year. Here is what.

Keep in mind I no longer do Google+, am only posting all the videos/things I'm seeing in the world on Facebook at

I've also turned off commenting here because it was a cesspool and zero value to anyone. If you care about talking with me, get on Facebook.

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Airobotics launches autonomous industrial drones and announces $28.5 million in funding.

What does that mean?

It makes drones that fly, with very little human involvement, thanks to a series of breakthroughs in robotics, sensors, and navigation systems.

Keep in mind these aren’t things that just anyone will be able to buy. Who is in the market for them? Anyone who has a sizable plant that’s worth hundreds of millions to billions of dollars. Oil refineries. Mines. Factories, etc. If you have multiple people providing security for such, for instance, or have to inspect miles of pipes regularly for leaks, you might be in the target market for one of these.

Why is it significant? Because this isn’t a consumer drone retrofitted for continuous use, like previous companies have tried. No, this is a completely redesigned system from a highly-specialized shed that houses a robot that changes the payload under the drone to an advanced tracking system to monitor a series of autonomous drones, to the drones themselves, which are designed to be far more reliable than usual drones and that can carry a much heavier payload than, say, a DJI drone can carry.

“We wanted to build a drone that’s as reliable as a missile,” says Ran Kraus, CEO and cofounder. “The computer usually does it better than you,” he told me while explaining why an autonomous drone will be better for a variety of tasks than a human-flown one, or a human on the ground with a camera.

Today it isn’t just announcing this drone system, but $28.5 million in funding. Major investors include Noam Bardin, the CEO of Waze (acquired by Google), Richard Wooldridge, Google ATAP’s COO, and BlueRun Ventures.

When you visit this company in its Israel offices a short drive from Tel Aviv you’ll notice it’s a different kind of startup right away. First, from the outside you’d never expect a multi-million-dollar company inside. Second, when you walk around you see a ton of quotes in huge signs on the wall, with a few cages for testing out new drone designs, along with dozens of workers putting the touches on three different pieces of its business: a base station with a variety of communication radios and GPS sensors, a motorized airbase (looks like a large shed) that houses a commercial robot that grabs the drone, switches its battery and payload, er, sensors, and the drone itself which has blades much longer than your usual consumer-focused drone.

Airbotics’ drone is flying over Israel Chemicals (ICL), a global manufacturer of products based on specialty minerals. ICL produces a third of the world’s bromine, and is the sixth largest potash producer, at its 1,000-acre facility in Israel. The Airbase's door automatically opens and a Launchpad pushes the drone up. Then the drone fires its engines, flies off, and works for up to 30 minutes performing a variety of chores over its site, say providing live video feeds for security purposes or checking fence lines. Then comes back and automatically lands. All of this without humans involved, at about 9:53 into my interview you see one fly off out of its shed.

I wasn’t allowed to shoot it landing, because how it gets guided back into the AirBase is a trade secret the company doesn’t want its competitors to be able to see before being deployed in the field, but I saw it do it and it landed easily on a platform in the shed, which was quickly lowered inside and the AirBase doors automatically closed while the robot inside replaced the batteries with a freshly-charged one, and replaced the sensor payload from a 4K video camera to one that can do 3D mapping (a variety of sensor payloads are available).

At the push of a button the drone can be called home for a new payload. Say you own an oil refinery you can switch the video camera payload out for one that looks for gas leaks.

How much does this cost? A lot, but Kraus says it’s a lot cheaper than having a human who provides the same services. He knows, he had Israel’s first commercial license as a drone pilot. As part of the cost they work with a plant’s team to setup a series of automated tasks for the drones to complete on a regular basis.

Currently it has several payloads and sensors:
A DSLR high-res (4K) camera for mapping and surveying. Combo - RGB and IR video camera for security and inspection purposes. And a HD video camera (4k). Coming soon: LiDAR, Hyperspectral and Multispectral, and a gas sensing video camera as optional sensor payloads. All payloads are kept inside the AirBase and a robot arm inside changes the payloads as needed.

Learn more at

You may see the full press release here with all the details:

Here is a link to the new super cool Airobotics’ video:

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The news is now out: I’m joining Upload VR, details here…

What a seven years it was working at Rackspace, much of it as its futurist.

As you know, for the last seven years you’ve seen me hop around the world visiting innovation labs, conferences, startups, and other places/companies that could tell me something about where the future is going. I’ve built relationships all over the world and brought Rackspace to many new companies and places but there are deep shifts coming in our society due to new technologies and it’s time to make a career change.

Not to mention I was one of the most recognizable faces at a multi-billion-dollar public company with 6,000 employees and successfully helped it build its brand on social media and on the world’s most important stages.

Today I’m announcing that I’m leaving Rackspace to join Upload VR — a new media site covering virtual and augmented reality — as its entrepreneur in residence, where I’ll be developing new shows, events, and working with other entrepreneurs in the Upload Collective, a coworking space for virtual reality-focused startups. In particular working with Upload’s cofounders Will Mason and Taylor Freeman.


Well, two years ago, at Web Summit in Ireland, I watched many people get their first look at Oculus Rift. Nearly everyone came out of the demos with a stunned look on their face and most used expletives to describe their experiences. Me too. I’ve seen that happen dozens of times since, including last weekend in Cape Town, South Africa, where a local entrepreneur threw a VR party in my honor and many people got their first experiences with VR.

It is clear to me that there are new opportunities to build companies in the VR space (duh, just look at the billions of dollars of investment) and the Augmented Reality wave that will follow VR will be even bigger. I wanted to be in a place where I’d have the freedom to create businesses, or at least be part of a media team that was focused on this future.

In the past six months it’s been clearer and clearer that Rackspace was undergoing its own shifts, toward supporting more enterprise customers who were moving existing datacenters to clouds running at Amazon or Microsoft. VR and AR didn’t yet matter to them, at least not to the bottom line. At least not yet and probably won’t make a difference in the bottom line for three years.

As a media guy, though, I know that in three years the market window will have closed. If there will be new brands, and I believe there will be, or new shows, documentaries, conferences, blogs, worlds, whatever you want to call them, they will all be built in the next three years.
I just didn’t want to sit on the sidelines and Rackspace couldn’t invest in me internally to do such. That’s not how companies work.

So, today, I’m announcing that I’m leaving Rackspace to be entrepreneur in residence at a new media property that you might have heard of. Upload VR which is my favorite place to learn about new VR headsets, products, experiences, games, cameras, and more.

I’m writing a separate post about what Rackspace, and, in particular, my boss, Robert D. La Gesse, meant to me over the last seven years. It’s been such an honor to be a public face of a public company and, especially one that has such an important role in the tech industry with hundreds of thousands of customers.

Some QA:

Q. What does Rackspace think of this? Were your bosses disappointed?
A. Rackspace invested in me to go follow my dreams and passions. We both are friends and you may see Rackspace involved in what I do in the future. They also gave me my newsletter, content rights to use as I see fit. This move made sense for both sides. We’ve been working on this for a while and figuring out what my future might look like.

Q. How are you going to be compensated?
A. I’m in a very fortunate position because I’ve been asked to speak to corporate events all over the world. I have a new speaker management company, ODE Management, and they are quite positive that there’s enough demand out there for me as a speaker that I don’t need to worry about that short term and that I can work with Upload easily while doing so. That said, I’ll be working on making a series of businesses, including a new book, “Beyond Mobile” that I’m writing with Shel Israel, so I’ll open up new sponsorship and advertising possibilities in the future. More on those soon. I’m also open to new business opportunities, if you have one let’s talk!

Q. What does this mean for what you are doing on social media?
A. You probably won’t see many changes, at least not soon. My Facebook will keep being full of industry news and things that catch my eye. I will still visit with many entrepreneurs and others, albeit with more of a VR/AR focus now. Same on Twitter, SnapChat, LinkedIn, and Google+. They will get my newsletter, like I’ve been doing the past year. Some changes you might notice is that my blog will start up again and I’m playing with some ideas for YouTube, but more on those later in the year.

One idea that I’m noodling on is doing social media consulting, though. Dale Bracey (he worked at Rackspace on the social media team) and I are thinking that through. A lot of the world still doesn’t understand how to use social media well and Dale was amazing at doing the dirty work of what I call “defensive social media” (helping customers out on Twitter and other places) while I did the “offensive work” of building brand, and building storytelling devices for Rackspace (like I did at Microsoft too). I’m working with brands to come up with some ideas, if you have advice or need that kind of service, drop us a line at

Q. What will my role as EIR at Upload entail?
A. I’ll be working with the Upload Collective team to help find other great startups to join me in the space, along with thinking through its event strategy for 2017. This is one reason why I wanted to join as an EIR, it would give me time after leaving Rackspace to have discussions with a number of companies without the constraint of worrying about appearances. Being a public representative of a public company does tend to limit the kinds of discussions one can have without causing rumors, brand destruction, or stock price consequences, so this change frees me to work with the marketplace on a number of different initiatives. Want to have a chat? Please contact me at or on Facebook at

Q. What will you be doing this weekend at SXSW?
A. I’ll be attending the Upload VR Mixer on Sunday night. I’ll also be hosting a “Beyond Mobile” VIP breakfast for VIP brand representatives on Sunday morning (sorry, that’s sold out). Plus speaking at several events and doing my own reporting on how the VR/AR space is evolving here at SXSW. Am on a panel during the VR day on Thursday with several VR pioneers. Plus having a little fun at the concerts in the evenings and many dinners and parties I’ve been invited to.

Q. Will this mean you will focus exclusively on virtual reality?
A. No. I’m going to continue to cover “Beyond Mobile” technologies, including additive manufacturing, IoT, robots, self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and other technologies that change our future, all hitting in the next decade. I’m especially interested, though, in VR and AR, and how our culture is deeply changing due to these new technologies. In fact, one advantage of this move is I can spend more time working with Shel Israel on our book, “Beyond Mobile,” which will ship in December. We’re still looking for more sponsors for that, by the way. We’re looking for companies who want to position themselves as leaders in the “Beyond Mobile” space.

Q. Why Upload VR?
A. While most people haven’t heard of Upload, it is my favorite site of those covering the upcoming virtual reality and augmented reality spaces. Plus they have a great office in downtown San Francisco where they are hosting several startups with more coming soon.

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This was sent to my email subscribers last night. Every Thursday night I send out a new email newsletter. Subscribe at:

“Focus beats resources every day of the week.” That’s what Shaan Puri told me when I met with him this week. He’s the founder and CEO of, a video chat service that has gotten fairly popular quickly. For instance, he says that every big Google+ Hangout show has already moved to Blab.

Check out this interview with him, where he packs in a TON of tips about how to take on the big companies:

What did I learn?

1. To grow you must have simple social behaviors that let users share easily.
2. Startups often have an advantage because they don't need to serve a corporate master. Blab has ways to share into both Twitter and Facebook. Now imagine getting that approved at Facebook or Twitter.
3. Having a single investor lets the exec team focus on users instead of worrying about upcoming fundraising. Xochi and Michael Birch are his only investors. They started Bebo, sold it for $850 million and backed Puri to build another great consumer success.
4. Know what you can do as a startup and what you can’t. We had an interesting discussion about captions in videos. YouTube didn’t do that until several years into its life, he said, while pointing out he has to prioritize feature requests and do more important stuff first.
5. Find a user need that isn’t satisfied yet. People like getting together and talking, he noticed, and Blab is aimed at that.
6. Make it hyper easy to share to your existing communities (in this case, Facebook and Twitter).
7. Being in San Francisco helps consumer startups like his. He says he regularly bumps into other entrepreneurs. “Here doing something different is normal.”
8. Finding a technology advantage is important. He’s running on Web RTC, which lets him have high volumes of people talking in real time where other video systems have a delay.


Think businesses have all joined the modern world? Doppio Group Founder and CEO Erik Kiser knows different. He’s been doing the “boring” work of taking big companies, particularly in supply chain or retail, from ordering off of paper to doing it in the cloud. His interview at is telling. It shows that there’s still plenty of places in the world that software hasn’t “eaten” yet.


A “shocking” wearable that helps you get rid of negative behaviors:


At this week’s Mobile World Congress, Samsung got ahead of Apple and is the first company to demonstrate end-to-end 360 video. They already have the Gear VR headset, but this week they announced a Gear 360 camera too:

Other notable things from MWC? LG brought out a phone with two cameras, which provides much sharper resolution and more zooming features. Apple is expected to announce the same later this year.


On Monday morning you’ll find me trying to get through to HTC to buy my Vive Virtual Reality System. Details are up at Engadget:

Man, the robots from Boston Dynamics are sure getting crazy cool:


Andreesen Horowitz investor Chris Dixon wrote a great primer on what’s next in computing: - .t27vfd1sl


Join me at the Upload VR SXSW mixer:

I did an interview with the Voices of VR podcast about what I see happening in VR and AR:

I also did an interview with GeekWire Radio and two tech journalism greats (Todd Bishop and John Cook) while on a trip to Seattle last week:

I interviewed Bertrand Nepveu, CEO founder of VRVana, who showed me glasses with the widest viewing angle I’ve seen so far:

I’m also doing a ton of travel over the next couple of months. South Africa is next week. Texas for SXSW. Sun Valley for Dent. London for Smart IoT. New York for Datacenter Dynamics. Mumbai, India for Click Asia Summit. New Orleans for Collision. Israel to see startups. And more, details at

See you on the road!


As a Rackspace futurist, I keep my finger on the pulse of Silicon Valley and global trends, to offer insights into what’s coming next in tech and why it’s important to you.

Since 2009, I’ve traveled near and far, meeting with startups, innovative companies and visionaries, as well as evangelizing the Rackspace managed cloud story.

I read all my email at and anything done in response to this newsletter goes to the top of my inbox. I’m also at +1-425-205-1921 or on Facebook at

Please share this newsletter on your social networks or via email. If you received this from a friend, you can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here:

And props to Hugh Macleod and team for creating art each week. Find more at

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This was sent to my email subscribers last week. Every Thursday night I send out a new email newsletter. Subscribe at:

This week I got a very rare look inside Sephora’s Innovation Lab in San Francisco, where they test out new store concepts.

While I was there, I met with Bridget Dolan, the head of innovation for Sephora, who showed me what’s currently possible inside retail stores.

That video is at:

She showed me how Sephora is using augmented reality on signage and other items in the stores. You aim your phone at the sign, and the sign has virtual items that pop off of it.

In another demo, I saw how you can virtually try on lipstick. You aim your phone at your face and then click on various products and shades.

Fantastic stuff, but our conversations went a lot further. Sephora has developed a color match system that keeps track of not only your purchases, but your color preferences, so that you can easily match other products in the future.

I also got to see the importance of Sephora’s community, hosted on Lithium, which they call “Beauty Talk.”

This community includes both employees in stores as well as everyday customers, who discuss Sephora products. On an associated site called “Beauty Board,” they show off their latest makeup and discuss how they did it.

Sephora uses those communities to discover new trends, like contouring, and then quickly develop new products based on those trends and get them into stores. Bridget showed me one such product aimed at the contouring trend they discovered several years ago, and said they’re selling tons of those kits.

They also use beacons to let customers automatically bring up their shopping lists when they enter the stores, among other features. But, they also said they were proceeding very carefully with such features because they don’t want to freak out customers or make them feel uneasy with tracking technologies.

Like other innovators who are using beacons, such as the Coachella music festival, this team focuses on delivering utility to customers and making sure they aren’t freaked out.

One last thing that got my attention -- they aren’t pushing augmented reality as hard as other apps on the market are.

Some apps, like this magic mirror, let you see entire makeup sets, while Sephora so far has focused only on lipstick:

This is because they want to make sure the quality of the experience matches Sephora’s brand promise. Colors must match exactly to what the products actually deliver.

Sephora is hugely important to the future of retailing and you regularly see their work demoed on stage at Apple and other keynotes. They’re worth paying attention to, and I was so happy I got the chance to do a live video with this incredible team.


Scoble World Tour, research for new book “Beyond Mobile”:

While on the road I’m seeing companies like RealSpace 3D, which does amazing audio systems for VR headsets:

Here’s the Futurecast I did at CES with Andrew Keen:


Microsoft shows off Hololens (its version of augmented reality glasses) at TED:

The Meta video is coming March 2nd. First images of Meta’s demo are here:

If you want a taste of augmented reality, visit the Hunger Games demo at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, or watch this video:


How will VR change the way you sell things? Check out this demo about how condo sales are changing:

VR Studios builds motion capture rooms for enterprises. Here its founder shows off one such room and discusses how enterprises are using them to both design new things, but also sell new things, like condos that haven’t yet been built:


Investor Mark Suster breaks down valuations:


Nice list of tools to use in business:


Apple’s CEO Tim Cook spoke up against a government attempt to get Apple to hack a terrorist’s iPhone and Rackspace’s CTO, John Engates, agrees here:
I agree with both.


Can you keep up with me? Rackspace employee Thomas Weeks wrote up what I did in just one day in Virginia. Whew!

Hope you have a great week, if you see me checking out lipstick don’t worry, OK? :-)


As a Rackspace futurist, I keep my finger on the pulse of Silicon Valley and global trends, to offer insights into what’s coming next in tech and why it’s important to you.

Since 2009, I’ve traveled near and far, meeting with startups, innovative companies and visionaries, as well as evangelizing the Rackspace managed cloud story.

I read all my email at and anything done in response to this newsletter goes to the top of my inbox. I’m also at +1-425-205-1921 or on Facebook at

Please share this newsletter on your social networks or via email. If you received this from a friend, you can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here:

And props to Hugh Macleod and team for creating art each week. Find more at

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This is my email newsletter that I sent out last week. You can subscribe here:

This week I visited a retail store of the future in downtown Palo Alto called B8ta. Not only is it the first store where you can test bleeding edge products like the new Avegant Glyph, but it’s quite unusual in its open use of cameras to study customers in new ways, and its open adoption of “showrooming.”

What’s showrooming? That’s where customers come in, physically check out a product and then buy that product online for a cheaper price.

B8ta has turned that business model around. Manufacturers like Avegant pay a slotting fee of around $1,000 a month for a small display area. That way the store is pretty profitable even if it never sells a product, but of course, sales are great.

Why? Because for each item in the store, there’s a custom-made display with an iPad mini in it, which shows you all sorts of stuff about the product.

Each display also has a camera over it that’s studying customer behavior. Right now they’re most interested in dwell time, or how long each customer hangs out in front of specific products. They use that to understand how interesting each product is and what percentage of the time someone will transact.

Think of it as if Product Hunt and Apple Retail had a child. Also, each product lists the price Amazon and Best Buy sell it for, so you don’t need to pull out your phone to check on competitive pricing.

You can see a video tour of the store here:


B8ta will soon introduce fantastic new products to the market, including Augmented Reality. I thought VR (Virtual Reality) was enough for this year, but next week, Meta will introduce its latest at TED and I was lucky enough to get one of the first sneak peaks.

I came away highly emotional. Then I declared this was the most interesting demo of my life and certainly, the most important one since Steve Jobs brought us the iPhone.

I’m not alone. The founder of Reddit, Pebble, Wired and Mixbook, among others are RAVING about their demos in this teaser video:

Here’s what I said last Thursday after getting home from a tour of Meta (come back in a few weeks, we’ll get one we can video after they show off at TED next week):

Don’t count Microsoft out, though.

Its Hololens product is also on the playing field. Here they show what watching the Super Bowl will look like in the future. They aren’t kidding either. Augmented Reality will be this good this year for enterprises, and within three years for consumers:

Want to see what Augmented Reality is used for in the enterprise? Check out the videos at this conference:

You’ll see Catepillar and others using AR in many situations already, from mechanic training to supply chain management.

Some of AR is already shipping. Here I sit down with VR pioneer David Leavitt, who showed me his new interactive control platform, Pantomime:

The guy who started Second Life is now at work creating a new virtual world called High Fidelity, and it came out of stealth this week:

Faces augmented with small projectors -- this will be done in AR glasses within three years:

Still confused by all this AR talk? Here’s a good mixed reality primer:


All that cool AR stuff will run on the cloud, and Techstars has a new class of cloud-focused companies that came out on Thursday. The details are here:

I love Techstars, I was at their first demo day and it’s only gotten better since.


Last week I also visited Avegant’s new headquarters to get a look at its Glyph video headphones, which are quite amazing for watching videos on planes and other places:


Speakeasy came to my house and showed me much better audio conferencing for mobile workers:


My speech at AT&T’s FutureCast was written up here:

Whew, what a week. Tomorrow I’ll be at the Unity developer conference and will get to check out plans for a VR theme park, among other things.
Have a great week, and try not to get too distracted by Augmented Reality. :-)


As a Rackspace futurist, I keep my finger on the pulse of Silicon Valley and global trends, to offer insights into what’s coming next in tech and why it’s important to you.

Since 2009, I’ve traveled near and far, meeting with startups, innovative companies and visionaries, as well as evangelizing the Rackspace managed cloud story.

I read all my email at and anything done in response to this newsletter goes to the top of my inbox. I’m also at +1-425-205-1921 or on Facebook at

Please share this newsletter on your social networks or via email. If you received this from a friend, you can subscribe (or unsubscribe) here:

And props to Hugh Macleod and team for creating art each week. Find more at
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