Good News Friday

Thank goodness it’s time for another Good News Friday installment to mitigate all the bad news from this past week.

We’re going to concentrate on the hi-tech sector this week, but these are all going to be items with a little twist.

3D colour printed shoes

My first item is about one of my favourite things – shoes! Not quite your usual pair of shoes that you can buy in a shoe shop, but printed ones. 3D printed shoes to be precise. Read on:

We’ve told you before about the 3D-printed car and the 3D-printed designer clothing, both printed by Israeli-American 3D-printing giant Stratasys, and now, the company has set the bar even higher, by bringing color into the 3D-printing world.

Until now, most 3D printers could print in one color only, and some could print in two. That meant designers who used the technology had to print out a model using one solid color and paint over it later.

The new Objet500 Connex3,  however, is able to print in color right out of the box and the company believes its printer, which costs a whopping $330,000, is a “game changer.”

[…]

“Stratasys’ goal is to help our customers revolutionize their design and manufacturing processes,” says Stratasys CEO David Reis. “I believe our new Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer will transform the way our customers design, engineer and manufacture new products. In general and with the Connex technology in particular, we will continue to push the envelope of what’s possible in a 3D world.”

It is important to state that this printer is not intended for mass-producing items, but to create models. While the 3D printer is already available today, the flexible raw material, used to create the various models, will only be available after March 2014.

Well, I for one can’t wait till 3D printers are available in every home. Imagine the revolution it would create! Imagine how many pairs of shoes I could have! (especially since my daughter did a head foot count and discovered I have 36 pairs). 🙂 (You didn’t know my middle name was Imelda, did you?). Kol hakavod to Stratasys for their ingenuity. May they go from strength to strength (and shoe to shoe).

“Inside” app by Shopcloud – indoor GPS

My next item is of a much more practical and immediate nature – especially for me, as I am known to get lost in a car park. An Israeli technologoical development acts as a GPS within buildings, without need for an internet connection. The technology is called simply Inside (h/t Hadassah) and is intended to help you find your way inside buildings, including shopping malls. The above link is in Hebrew, but this is from the English website of Shopcloud:

Like most great innovations, we developed INSIDE to fulfill our need for a simple and accurate solution for indoor navigation. When we didn’t find a technology that
was user-friendly and affordable, we set out to create it ourselves. The result was Inside – an indoor navigation service that is accessible to everyone, wherever they go.

Their blog explains more:

GPS has revolutionized the way people get from place to place but it hasn’t prevented people from getting lost once they’ve reached their destination. Isn’t it about time that we have an option toeasily navigate indoors too?

[…]

Some companies attempt to conquer the large beast that is indoor navigation, but fall short on their crusade. Existing indoor positioning systems need extra and costly hardware to map venues, require users to connect to their WiFi and other complicated hurdles. They also provide a low degree of accuracy compared to GPS and need additional information to determine which way a person or object is facing.

[…]

The ideal indoor-location technology will be one that requires no additional hardware to be installed in buildings or any additional effort from users. All that without compromising the quality of its results and provides precise accuracy.

When it comes to indoor navigation, the key is to be precise.  Having a fully functional indoor navigation system can change the way we experience new places, save us time, and help us to avoid some really awkward social moments. It can mean the difference between rushing into the men’s restrooms instead of the women’s.

[…]

Think of the options it gives us in terms of using hyper geo-location – no more losing your car, no more missing big sales in malls, no more panicking, “will I hear the stewardess calling me to board my plane?”. If done correctly, it may even help us during emergencies when you might need to act fast in a place you’re not familiar with.

Here is a video which illustrates how the technology works.

This is simply brilliant! At least as brilliant as 3D printed shoes. :-). Kol hakavod to the gifted team at Shopcloud for the ingenuity and innovation. You have saved many weary feet many miles of weary walking while getting lost in massive malls. Now that is truly a benefit to mankind!

Rami Levy (standing L.) at a cellphone sales center in one of the supermarkets bearing his name. Levy plans to market TV set-top boxes in the same way, said Noam Josephides, CEO of Vonetize (Photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)

The following item is good news for Israeli readers only but I’m sure it will interest everyone. The discount supermarket Rami Levy is teaming up with start-up company Vonetize, to bring Israeli customers low cost cable TV and video on demand (VOD) at slashed prices:

Israel’s premium television content services, Yes and HOT, will be facing some new competition soon — from the same guy who upended the country’s cellular phone market. Within the coming months, Rami Levy Communications plans to market its own premium television services, with much of the same content that its satellite and cable competitors already carry — but at a far lower cost.

The new project, which will be officially announced next week, is the result of a collaborative effort between Rami Levy Communications and an Israeli start-up called Vonetize, which in the space of just a year and a half has turned into one of the major players in the world of premium television content. And if it works in Israel, Rami Levy’s new TV service could serve as a model for similar services in countries around the world.

Levy has a reputation as a maverick cost cutter. Several years ago, in response to the high cost of food, Levy slashed the price of chicken at the supermarket chain bearing his name to NIS 5/kilo (64¢/pound). This has since become a promotion common in Israeli supermarkets. After that, Levy threw the Israeli cellular industry a curve ball by cutting prices on cellphone service by up to 80% — forcing the established phone companies to do the same.

[…]

Priced between $70 and $100, the movie, entertainment, sports, music, and kids’ channels offered by Israel’s premium content providers — Yes via satellite, and HOT via cable — is too expensive for many Israelis’ tastes. With the help of Vonetize, said CEO and co-founder Noam Josephides, Levy will be able to do for premium TV content what he did for chickens and cellphones — shrink prices by 50% to 80%. Thus far, the service price list has yet to be released.

Vonetize itself is an interesting start-up that deserves a second look:

Vonetize is unique in many ways, said Nathan Low, President of the Sunrise Financial Group and head of Ziontech, a new investment fund based on the crowd-funding model that brings together qualified investors to pool money into one or several companies the fund invests in. “Vonetize has been profitable almost since the company was established and started selling in 2012,” Low said at an investor conference he organized for dozens of angel investors from the US, the UK, and Israel. “They are also unique in that they do everything in-house and bootstrap everything, taking no money from potential partners or customers.”

This is potentially excellent news for all Israeli TV viewers who pay fat fees for cable or satellite TV if tehy want to watch anything besides the 2 or 3 standard local israeli TV channels. Kol hakavod to Rami Levy who has a reputation for fairness and cost-cutting, adn to Vonetize for their innovation. I hope their collaboration succeeds and grows further.

Perhaps all this technological innovation is the reason that IBM will be setting up a cyber-center in Beersheva:

IBM Corporation (NYSE: IBM) will establish a cyber center of excellence in Beersheva in collaboration with Ben Gurion University of the Negev, SVP software and systems Steven Mills announced at the CyberTech 2014 conference.

“We think that these centers will need more than 50 people, but that is no reason why it should not grow to several hundred,” said Mills. He estimates that IBM will invest several million dollars in the cyber center. “Send us your CVs,” added IBM Israel software development manager Daniel Yellin.

This is great news for the city of Beer Sheva and for Ben Gurion University. Hopefully this cyber-center will bring much-needed employment to the south. Kol hakavod to IBM for their initiative and for recognizing the excellence of Israel’s hi-tech sector, and particularly Ben Gurion University.

So with those happy thoughts of home-printed colourful shoes, an app to prevent you getting lost in a mall, and cheap cable TV, I will wish you all Shabbat Shalom!

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5 Responses to Good News Friday

  1. Reality says:

    oooh Love those shoes! -just in time for my clown outfit for Purim! I loved this post. As for the GPS Inside, just last week we were discussing at home why doesn’t someone invent something like this so we don’t get lost & can meet up with each other in a mall or get to the right office in some enormous building.
    As for Rami Levy, Hooray ! We’ve been talking for ages whether to change from one server to another, as often there is nothing to watch & we’re paying a fortune for that right! I changed our family’s cellphone server to Rami Levy & they reduced their prices even more last month with a flat fee for as much phone use, messages & internet for the grand total of 50 shekel a month. I’m waiting to hear how much they’ll slash the cable tv to.
    As for IBM, thats lovely news that they are bringing business to the south of the country where it is so desperately needed. Well done!
    Shabbat Shalom everyone and thank you for the lovely post.

  2. JudyPT says:

    Thanks for great post I think the Inside navigation system would be a fantastic boon in big hospitals like Tel Hashomer(Sheba) where one can spend half an hour going up and down elevators and stairs trying to find the correct clinic.

    • anneinpt says:

      Brilliant idea re the use of the Inside for hospitals. Some of them are so badly sign-posted that it’s easy to get lost, especially if you’re nervous about tests or treatment in the first place.

  3. Over 4 years ago we got a satellite dish for Tv, The cost was ns1,600. We get all of the Israeli channels and some foreign ones, enough for us. Just recently, after the blizzard we had a ns200 repair. So that’s a grand total of ns1,800 in over 4 years, not bad.

    • anneinpt says:

      Wow, that’s a fantastic deal Batya! Which company do you use? We’re very tempted to get rid of Hot and find a satellite service.

      Also, welcome to my blog! I feel honoured to see you here.

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