Archive for August, 2012

Mobile Computing Wave Part 3: Three Key Security Features of Mobile Commerce

21 | By Michael A. Robinson

Imagine checking in at the airport, buying a cup of coffee at a local café, even paying for your clothes or groceries at the store’s register… all with a quick wireless scan of your smartphone.

It’s all possible today, thanks to a new type of tech called Near Field Communications (NFC).

No coins to fumble with. No waiting while the store’s machine dials up your bank. No receipts to sign or stuff into your pocket. The spread of NFC technology is a win-win for the customer and the merchant alike.

With NFC, your phone becomes your wallet. It’s able to “talk” to any vendor, bank, brokerage, or credit card firm you like. This technology is set to take the world by storm. In as little as a decade, billions of people around the world will convert to digital currency as their means of paying for the things they need every day.

There’s just one thing slowing it all down right now – mobile security.

Using mobile phones as de facto wallets alarms some people. They fear that if your phone gets stolen, thieves could gain access to every bank, brokerage, or store account you have.

But that’s about to change.

Indeed, much to the chagrin of thieves and con artists, mobile security will hasten the advent of bulletproof digital money used around the world.

I had the chance to talk about this with Michael Saylor, author of the best-selling new book “Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything.” Saylor, who also serves as CEO of MicroStrategy Inc. (NASDAQgs:MSTR), told me alarmists are missing the big picture:

“I think the most important thing to be said about mobile security, and maybe mobile identity, is there are one million organizations in the world that have obsolete, ineffective identification systems now. Most of these things – passports, credit cards, driver’s license, even things we think are reasonably secure, aren’t. And many things aren’t secure at all.

“I think that it’s now possible to create a mobile identity system that runs on a smartphone which is anywhere from 100 times to 10,000 times as secure. Not only are they more secure, it’s impossible to counterfeit and impossible to forge.”

In fact, there are three key security features Saylor believes will make mobile commerce the standard of safe business transactions in just a few years.

Take a look…

Mobile Computing Wave Part 2: Why the Future Belongs to Apple’s iPad

14 | By Michael A. Robinson

The Apple iPad is more than just a great tablet; it’s the single most important computing device released in more than 25 years.

In fact, you’d have to go back to the introduction in 1984 of the Macintosh personal computer to find a machine as game-changing as this one.

Of course, back then, the Mac grabbed only a small share of the huge PC market. But what it did do was establish Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the sector’s clear technical leader. It also gave birth to desktop publishing.

This time around, however, Apple has turned the tables on its rivals in two ways…

  • First, it came up with a breakthrough approach and the ideal screen size. At nearly 10 inches diagonal – very close to the size of a piece of paper – this format feels natural to most users.
  • Second, it’s a runaway success, boasting 70% of the market share.

That leaves tech investors like us with two choices: Learn what this all means, or get left in the dust.

You see, the PC industry is going into a long decline. It’s already started. Ditto for newspapers, magazines, music distribution, and lots of other physical products that will get transformed into software.

So says Michael Saylor, author of the hot new book “The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything.” As I told you last week, I tracked Saylor down to talk about how mobile computing fit into the Era of Radical Change. (You can read the first of my three-part series here.)

His is hardly an academic view. See, Saylor also serves as the CEO of MicroStrategy Inc. (NASDAQ:MSTR), a leader in business intelligence.

He believes five billion people will use iPads or a comparable device within a decade. That’s roughly 75% of the population of Earth. No doubt, he admitted to me, that’s a bold prediction. He added this:

“It’s a prediction upon which you can make a lot of money if you’re an investor. Because if I’m right, then you will have beaten the crowds to that conclusion. And the reason I believe that is – we’ve reached an inflection point, where it’s now cheaper to learn to read on a tablet than it is to learn to read on paper. And I think that’s a very, very meaningful thing.”

Naturally, I wanted to know just what investors need to do to make money off this trend, so I could share the information with you.

Saylor answered by sharing four key facts every investor needs to know about this market-dominating device.

Here they are…

Mobile Computing Wave Part 1: The Rebirth of America

34 | By Michael A. Robinson

America will re-emerge as the dominate force in technology and economics in the world – by far – as soon as the end of this decade.

That’s thanks to mobile computing.

Our leading position in the rise of smartphones and tablet computers makes it certain that the United States will undergo a major revival and rebranding. U.S. mobile computing will make the dollar stronger, spread American values throughout the globe, and establish English as the single most important language on Earth.

Along the way, this new breed of American tech will improve the lives of billions of people around the world by providing them with better health care and education.

Now, though it sounds like the type of upbeat statements I have shared with you over the past few months, these aren’t my insights.

They belong to a hard-hitting high-tech executive who is a renowned expert on the subject. His name is Michael Saylor, and he is the CEO of MicroStrategy Inc. (NASDAQ:MSTR), a leader in business intelligence.

More to the point, he is the author of the hot new nonfiction book called “The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything.” In the book, he makes the case that we’ve passed the tipping point in bringing cutting-edge software to the world. From healthcare apps to text books, it’s all on your smartphone or tablet.

The book is a fast and compelling read. If you want to take a look for yourself, you can find “The Mobile Wave” on Amazon.com.

(As befits the topic, I read Saylor’s book on my iPad…)

Intrigued by what he had to say, I got in touch with Saylor by phone, and we chatted for nearly an hour.

Some may find his comments controversial. After all, it’s the “in” thing these days to bash America as a once-great nation losing its technical lead to China and India.

But Saylor disagrees. He believes mobile software and the wireless Web are major trends that will give the U.S. its high-tech rebirth and bring billions out of poverty in the Third World at the same time.

Here’s how he sees it…

Five New Brain Secrets You Must Know

3 | By Michael A. Robinson

It’s the most complex organ on earth – the human brain.

And our understanding of how it works is about to reach critical mass.

Our knowledge of the human brain grows by leaps and bounds almost every week. In just the last two weeks, researchers have made several new breakthroughs crucial to learning more about diseases that can cause mental illness or kill us outright.

I predict that in the near future our knowledge will become so complete we will find cures for such deadly diseases as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The same holds for depression and schizophrenia.

And that’s one of the key benefits of living in the Era of Radical Change. What was a deep mystery about the brain (and other areas) just a few months ago is now much better understood.

Of course, the pace of change is nothing short of amazing. Consider that as I was preparing this report on five new brain secrets, I came across two more brand-new advances in brain science. Each one holds great promise in our drive to live, longer, healthier, and smarter lives.

Take a look…

Five Biotech Firms That Will Change the World

0 | By Michael A. Robinson

The biotech industry is getting ready to transform the human race as we know it.

It will help us cure cancer, rid us of the scourge of Alzheimer’s, and make 100-year life spans routine. Not only that, but we will lead much healthier and more intelligent lives as a result.

I’ve followed this field for more than 20 years and have never seen so many advances coming so quickly.

Of course, a big part of that stems from the fact that we have passed the tipping point in other forms of cutting-edge tech the biosciences have adopted — faster computers, better sensors and tiny digital circuits.

And now that we have a complete map of the human genome, biotech has reached critical mass. Add it all up and you have an unending series of advances that will redefine life in the Era of Radical Change.

To help make sense of the profound impact this will have on our lives, I have compiled a list of five firms that are pushing biotech into new realms.

Each has accomplished a major breakthrough. Take a look…

Q&A with Michael

0 | By Michael A. Robinson

I’m writing today to thank you for helping to make Era of Radical Change so successful.

We launched just four months ago, and already, some 72,000 people are taking part.

As a group, you readers are smart and savvy. You ask probing questions about high-tech breakthroughs and offer a wide range of insights from your own lives. So far columns have drawn hundreds of comments from readers like you, and I have to say, I’m impressed with the quality of these responses.

I don’t have time to respond to every post, but I do read everything you write, whether on our website or by email. And I do want to let you know where I stand on some of these key issues you’re bringing up.

With that in mind, I’d like to devote today’s column to acknowledge the great reader feedback I’ve received. So, that’s what I’m doing today, and I plan to use this format a few times each year to keep in contact with the great, solid community that is developing here.

Now then, before I take a look at some specific reader comments, I’d like to address an item that’s come up several times in the last few weeks.

Many readers have written to my publisher, Money Map Press, asking for permission to run all or a portion of my columns. They would like to either post these pieces to their blogs or to their Facebook pages.

My broad answer is yes, you can forward these emails to friends and family. You also can post all or portions of what I’ve written to your blogs, as well as sending links via your Twitter account. In fact, I encourage you to. All I ask is that you credit the comments to me and/or the Era of Radical Change.

I founded this service to help average investors make sense of the huge pace of change that is disrupting our lives. The more we understand about these big trends and the impact they will have on the world around us, the better our odds are of profiting from them.

So if you know someone who could benefit from these insights, please feel free to share this information with them. Based on the high quality of reader feedback I’ve gotten, my gut tells me folks in your social network will really enjoy knowing more about the Era of Radical Change. I hope we can all help each other find the best ways to profit from all these profoundly important new technologies.

Okay, let’s get started…

Three New Alzheimer’s Breakthroughs

15 | By Michael A. Robinson

We got news last week from Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) about their clinical trials for what many hoped would become a knockout Alzheimer’s drug.

The compound would have become the first to fully address the steady decline in memory the disease causes. But new tests showed the drug simply didn’t work.

No doubt this was a setback for the firms, who sunk millions of dollars into developing the drug. And it’s truly disappointing for millions of current Alzheimer’s patients and their families.

But I don’t think we should be worried.

As I see it, this is a setback, not a fatal flaw. Remember, no road to victory follows a straight path.

And this field is moving so quickly that a new drug – or novel therapy – could come along any day now to provide relief to the five million Americans who have this disease closely associated with aging.

After all, we are living in the Era of Radical Change, a period like none we’ve seen before. We see hundreds of important breakthroughs in high tech and biosciences every year. The pace of change comes so fast no one person on earth can begin to understand what it all means.

But I do know this.

Some of the brightest minds in the world are working to combat the memory loss and dementia brought on by Alzheimer’s, as well as to find an outright cure.

I’ve been interested in this field for more than 30 years since I took a class on aging while getting my honors economics degree. And in just the last few weeks alone, I’ve read about several exciting new finds.

Let’s take a look…

How Bionic Eyes Will Help End Blindness

7 | By Michael A. Robinson

Last Friday I told you the day of bionic humans is at hand.

You Era readers had a very strong reaction to that!

Some of you were excited by the possibilities. Take Matt:

“As someone who has bounced back from a severe head injury 25 years ago to do things the brain injury rehab team told me would simply not be possible – complete my bachelor’s degree as well as a master’s, get married, and subsequently raise a son on my own as a single parent, etc. – I am especially excited about the possibilities at the juncture of neurological research, computing technology, and prosthetics. I will be overjoyed when the day comes that I can once again use both my hands to type 100 words/minute with few to no mistakes, like I could when I first learned to type on an electric typewriter, nearly 40 years ago.”

On the other hand, several of you thought it sounded like a nightmare. Here’s what Claire had to say:

“Transhumanism is a dark future that is presented as wonderful, but which will alienate those who embrace it from their humanity… Not for me, I would rather remain human.”

Either way, it seems bionic tech is actually moving faster than I thought…

You may recall that I cited two examples of future devices to enhance your eyes. One is a pair of contact lenses, and the other is an implant that would go in your retina. Both could access the wireless Web to keep you connected to the world’s vast database of knowledge, wherever you are.

Well, it’s come out that at least two companies hope to start selling bionic eyes in the U.S. within the next 16 months.

Neither of these designs is made to surf the Web. Instead, these cutting-edge breakthroughs could help millions of blind or visually impaired people to see again.

Take a look…

Renowned Tech Expert Vivek Wadhwa Explains Our Bionic Future

19 | By Michael A. Robinson

Get ready for bionic humans.

They’ll be faster, stronger, and much smarter than we are today. They’ll wear exoskeletons made of smart materials, complete with onboard computing.

Part of their enhanced IQs may come from implants in their eyes that automatically access the wireless Web.

Not only that, these connected people will be largely free from disease and hunger, too. The human race will have plenty of food, water, and medicine to go around in a world teeming with an estimated 10 billion people by the end of this century.

Hard to believe, I know.

But my source is one of the world’s foremost experts on the future of high tech and how it will affect mankind…

I was lucky to get a chance to chat with Vivek Wadhwa for nearly half an hour by phone this week. After all, Wadhwa is in high demand these days for his writings and lectures about the future.

He holds posts at both Duke and Stanford universities. But in tech circles, he is arguably best known as the Vice President of Academics and Innovation at Singularity University. It’s a school based in Silicon Valley focused on the impact of radical new tech. Some of the nation’s great thinkers and entrepreneurs go there to gain new insights.

Wadhwa is also a trusted advisor to several governments, and his columns have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

I think you’ll like what he had to tell me…