Exotechs Store https://exotechs.com Discount Shop Badalona Wed, 12 Dec 2018 23:30:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.8 How Kids’ Sports Became a $15 Billion Industry https://exotechs.com/how-kids-sports-became-a-15-billion-industry/ Sat, 26 Aug 2017 12:50:47 +0000 https://exotechs.com/?p=1305 Joey Erace knocks pitch after pitch into the netting of his $15,000 backyard batting cage, the pings from his metal bat filling the air in the south New Jersey cul-de-sac. His private hitting coach, who’s charging $100 for this hour-long session, tells Joey to shorten his stride. He’s accustomed to such focused instruction: the evening …]]>

Joey Erace knocks pitch after pitch into the netting of his $15,000 backyard batting cage, the pings from his metal bat filling the air in the south New Jersey cul-de-sac. His private hitting coach, who’s charging $100 for this hour-long session, tells Joey to shorten his stride. He’s accustomed to such focused instruction: the evening batting practice followed a one-on-one fielding lesson in Philadelphia earlier in the day, which cost another $100.

Relentless training is essential for a top player who suits up for nationally ranked teams based in Texas and California, thousands of miles from home. But Joey has talents that scouts covet, including lightning quickness with a rare knack for making slight adjustments at the plate–lowering a shoulder angle, turning a hip–to drive the ball. “He has a real swagger,” says Joey’s hitting coach, Dan Hennigan, a former minor leaguer. “As long as he keeps putting in this work, he’s going to be a really, really solid baseball player at a really, really high level.”

Already, Joey has a neon-ready nickname–Joey Baseball–and more than 24,000 followers on Instagram. Jewelry and apparel companies have asked him to hawk their stuff. On a rare family vacation in Florida, a boy approached Joey in a restaurant and asked for his autograph. But Joey Baseball has yet to learn cursive. He is, after all, only 10 years old. They snapped a picture instead.

Joey Erace is an extreme example of what has become a new reality for America’s aspiring young athletes and their families. Across the nation, kids of all skill levels, in virtually every team sport, are getting swept up by a youth-sports economy that increasingly resembles the pros at increasingly early ages. Neighborhood Little Leagues, town soccer associations and church basketball squads that bonded kids in a community–and didn’t cost as much as a rent check–have largely lost their luster. Little League participation, for example, is down 20% from its turn-of-the-century peak. These local leagues have been nudged aside by private club teams, a loosely governed constellation that includes everything from development academies affiliated with professional sports franchises to regional squads run by moonlighting coaches with little experience. The most competitive teams vie for talent and travel to national tournaments. Others are elite in name only, siphoning expensive participation fees from parents of kids with little hope of making the high school varsity, let alone the pros.

The cost for parents is steep. At the high end, families can spend more than 10% of their income on registration fees, travel, camps and equipment. Joe Erace, who owns a salon and spas in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, says Joey’s budding baseball career has cost north of $30,000. A volleyball dad from upstate New York spent $20,000 one year on his daughter’s club team, including plenty on gas: up to four nights a week she commuted 2½ hours round-trip for practice, not getting home until 11:30 p.m. That pales beside one Springfield, Mo., mom, who this summer regularly made a seven-hour round-trip journey to ferry her 10- and 11-year-old sons to travel basketball practice. Others hand their children over entirely. A family from Ottawa sent their 13-year-old to New Jersey for a year, to increase his ice time on the travel hockey circuit. A sponsor paid the teen’s $25,000 private-school tuition. This summer, 10 boys from across the U.S. stayed with host families in order to play for a St. Louis–based travel baseball club.

“It’s definitely taken over everything,” says Magali Sanchez, a legal records clerk from San Diego whose daughter Melanie Barcenas, 9, and son Xzavier Barcenas, 8, play travel soccer. To help pay for their fees, Sanchez’s husband Carlos, a gas-station attendant, will spend 12 hours on a Saturday carting supplies at tournaments. Practice and tournaments overtake nights and weekends like kudzu–Sanchez says they often have to skip family weddings and kids’ birthday parties. “This sports lifestyle is crazy,” she says. “But they’re your kids. You do anything for them.”

A range of private businesses are mining this deep, do-anything parental love. The U.S. youth-sports economy–which includes everything from travel to private coaching to apps that organize leagues and livestream games–is now a $15.3 billion market, according to WinterGreen Research, a private firm that tracks the industry. And the pot is rapidly getting bigger. According to figures that WinterGreen provided exclusively to TIME, the nation’s youth-sports industry has grown by 55% since 2010.

The numbers have been catnip for investors. A top NBA star and the billionaire owner of the NFL’s most valuable team own equity in youth-sports startups. Major media and retail companies are investing in technology that manages peewee schedules. And municipalities that once vied for minor-league teams are now banking on youth sports to boost local economies, issuing bonds for lavish complexes that they hope will lure glove-toting tykes and their families.

There are upsides to the frenzy. Some kids thrive off intense competition, and the best players receive an unprecedented level of coaching and training. The travel circuit can also bring people of different backgrounds together in a way that local leagues by definition do not.

But as community-based teams give way to a more mercenary approach, it’s worth asking what’s lost in the process. Already, there are worrying signs. A growing body of research shows that intense early specialization in a single sport increases the risk of injury, burnout and depression. Fees and travel costs are pricing out lower-income families. Some kids who don’t show talent at a young age are discouraged from ever participating in organized sports. Those who do often chase scholarships they have a minuscule chance of earning.

“For better or worse, youth sports is being privatized,” says Jordan Fliegel, an entrepreneur who has capitalized on the shift. Whatever the answer is, the transition has been seismic, with implications for small towns, big businesses and millions of families.

The United States Specialty Sports Association, or USSSA, is a nonprofit with 501(c)(4) status, a designation for organizations that promote social welfare. According to its most recent available IRS filings, it generated $13.7 million in revenue in 2015, and the CEO received $831,200 in compensation. The group holds tournaments across the nation, and it ranks youth teams in basketball, baseball and softball. The softball rankings begin with teams age 6 and under. Baseball starts at age 4.

Entering June, Joey Erace’s Dallas-area team, the Texas Bombers, was third in the USSSA’s 10-and-under baseball power ranking. The Alamo (Texas) Drillers were No. 1. This summer, Luke Martinez, 10, played second base for the Drillers. His family lives in a well-appointed mobile home in south San Antonio. Luke’s mom Nalone cooks for a food truck. Luke’s dad Jerry is a logistics coordinator at a printer and copier company. He works overtime whenever possible to save for Luke’s frequent overnight trips across Texas and to Louisiana, North Carolina and Florida. The family has skipped car payments and put off home repairs to help.

Like millions of sports parents, the Martinezes hope that Luke’s quick bat will lead to a college scholarship. There may be no single factor driving the professionalization of youth sports more than the dream of free college. With the cost of higher education skyrocketing–and athletic-department budgets swelling–NCAA schools now hand out $3 billion in scholarships a year. “That’s a lot of chum to throw into youth sports,” says Tom Farrey, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society program. “It makes the fish a little bit crazy.”

The odds are not in anyone’s favor. Only 2% of high school athletes go on to play at the top level of college sports, the NCAA’s Division I. For most, a savings account makes more sense than private coaching. “I’ve seen parents spend a couple of hundred thousand dollars pursuing a college scholarship,” says Travis Dorsch, founding director of the Families in Sport Lab at Utah State University. “They could have set it aside for the damn college.”

Still, the scholarship chase trickles down to every level. College coaches are now courting middle-schoolers, and competitive high school teams scout the club ranks. In some places, travel teams have supplanted high school squads as the priority for top players. Kids learn early that it’s imperative to attend travel tournaments–and impress. Katherine Sinclair, 12, has played basketball games in Philadelphia and New York City on the same day, but she embraces the grind. “I don’t have that long until I’m in eighth grade,” she says. “That’s when college scouts start looking at me. It’s when I have to work my butt off.”

]]> Tennis Star Garbiñe Muguruza, on Whether She’s the U.S. Open Favorite https://exotechs.com/tennis-star-garbine-muguruza-on-whether-shes-the-u-s-open-favorite/ Sat, 26 Aug 2017 12:40:45 +0000 https://exotechs.com/?p=1297 You’re 23 and have won two Grand Slam titles in two seasons. Serena Williams is taking a break for her pregnancy and nearing the end of her career. Is this your moment?   That’s what everybody’s thinking. But it’s not easy. The more you win, the more expectations people have–they see you as a possible champion everywhere …]]>

You’re 23 and have won two Grand Slam titles in two seasons. Serena Williams is taking a break for her pregnancy and nearing the end of her career. Is this your moment?

That’s what everybody’s thinking. But it’s not easy. The more you win, the more expectations people have–they see you as a possible champion everywhere you go. You realize everyone’s watching you and expecting you to win. It’s hard.

You beat Venus Williams in the Wimbledon final in July and Serena in last year’s French Open final. So what’s the secret to taking down the Williams sisters?

[Laughs.] There’s no secret. Just go out there without fear. Yeah, you’re playing one of the greatest tennis players. But don’t feel like you’re not free. You have to focus on the game and forget about the crowd, the match, the opponent. It’s a lot of work to prepare. Once you go out on the court, you have to feel that you did everything you could to be ready.

Has life changed since you won Wimbledon?

The more you’re holding big trophies, the more people recognize you. The good thing is, I play with a visor. When I’m on the street wearing jeans, people are looking at me, doubting. They stare at me and they don’t know. It’s funny. Sometimes I look at them and I’m like, “Why are you staring at me?”

You were born in Venezuela and moved to Spain when you were 6. But people have said you play like you’re Russian. What does that mean?

Women from Eastern Europe and Russia, they’re taller and they hit hard and they’re very aggressive. Spain is completely different. I’m tall [6 ft.] and have long arms and hit the ball hard. So they were calling me the Spanish Russian because they didn’t understand why I was playing like that.

This opinion is hard, because I feel like no matter what people say, it’s going to be misunderstood. I understand when they say the men’s final is going to attract more people, and maybe a women’s match is not as full. But I think that more and more, it’s getting equal.

Serena Williams won the Australian Open this year while almost eight weeks pregnant. Do you picture yourself playing a tournament while carrying a child?

No. That was very impressive. I think the day I want to become a mom and have a family, I will stop tennis. I don’t think I will handle both things at the same time.

The U.S. Open begins in late August. What’s the most difficult aspect of the tournament?

I never really do well in the U.S. Open. There is something that is not clicking. I don’t know what it is. And every time I go there, I’m excited. I love the city. With New York, I feel two things: I’m very happy when I get there, and I’m very happy when I leave.

So are you the favorite?

Oh my goodness. No, not really. People say the last champion’s going to win the next tournament. It’s the classic way to see it. And it never happens.

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N.Y.C.F.C. Clinches Season Series With Red Bulls, but Takes Some Barbs https://exotechs.com/n-y-c-f-c-clinches-season-series-with-red-bulls-but-takes-some-barbs/ Sat, 26 Aug 2017 12:35:42 +0000 https://exotechs.com/?p=1290 He awoke in Manhattan to the announcement that — four months before his 36th birthday — he had been recalled by Spain’s national team for the first time since the 2014 World Cup. Hours later, he helped produce a goal for his club, New York City F.C., with a silky one-touch assist. That the night …]]>

He awoke in Manhattan to the announcement that — four months before his 36th birthday — he had been recalled by Spain’s national team for the first time since the 2014 World Cup. Hours later, he helped produce a goal for his club, New York City F.C., with a silky one-touch assist.

That the night ended somewhat imperfectly — with a 1-1 tie for N.Y.C.F.C. against its archrival Red Bulls — could hardly dim Villa’s pride. His assist on Maxi Moralez’s 56th-minute goal, which completed an intricate exchange at the top of the penalty area, had delivered yet another highlight in a day of them.

“I’m moved,” Villa wrote in Spanish on his social media accounts, referring to the call-up. “Thanks to all who have faith in me and gave me this opportunity to wear this jersey again.”

Friday’s tie gave N.Y.C.F.C. its first season-series victory in its rivalry with the Red Bulls. The Red Bulls had blistered their local rival in the first two seasons N.Y.C.F.C.’s existence, winning five of six games by a combined score of 18-5.

But N.Y.C.F.C. cruised to a victory in the first meeting this season, winning by 2-0 at Red Bull Arena in June, and won a tighter rematch, 3-2, at Yankee Stadium three weeks ago. On Friday, it solidified its playoff position, and its hold on second place in the Eastern Conference.

The Red Bulls contented themselves with a Gonzalo Veron penalty kick in the 70th minute to equalize and with a series of digs about their rival’s long — and to date fruitless — search for a stadium to call their own.

Most of the trolling was a response to N.Y.C.F.C.’s announcement earlier this week that it would move a Sept. 23 home game against Houston to Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. The change was required when the Yankees announced a makeup game for Sept. 25 at the stadium; because it takes 72 hours to switch the playing surface at Yankee Stadium from soccer to baseball, or vice versa, the soccer game lost out.

So some Red Bulls fans turned up Friday wearing the green jerseys of the long-defunct Hartford Whalers of the N.H.L., and the team posted Hartford sports trivia on the Red Bull Arena video boards. The most comical moment came moments before the teams took the field, when the Whalers’ theme song, “Brass Bonanza,” was blasted over the stadium loudspeakers.

Someone even managed to get the old Whalers mascot, Pucky the Whale, to turn up. A seven-foot green whale in a hockey jersey, Pucky spent the first half in the front row of the Red Bulls’ supporters section, which had created its own pregame display mocking N.Y.C.F.C.: a giant banner listed the many discarded options in its three-plus-year stadium hunt.

The Red Bulls and N.Y.C.F.C. both will not play again for more than a week, during the coming FIFA international break. Villa will join Coach Julen Lopetegui’s 26-man Spain team for World Cup qualifiers at home to Italy next Saturday and at Liechtenstein on Sept. 5.

It was a chance he probably thought would never come again. Villa, a veteran of three World Cups, including Spain’s triumph in 2010 in South Africa, had briefly retired from the national team in 2014. But as his play in Major League Soccer revived him, he once again opened the door to a return, and a chance to add to his 97 international appearances.

He is the first player from M.L.S. to be called up by Spain.

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Hamstring Injury May End Yoenis Cespedes’s Season https://exotechs.com/hamstring-injury-may-end-yoenis-cespedess-season/ Sat, 26 Aug 2017 12:29:36 +0000 https://exotechs.com/?p=1277

As if this Mets year of disappointment and misery had not brought enough lows, the team lost starter Steven Matz and outfielder Michael Conforto to season-ending injuries this week. And on Friday, Yoenis Cespedes re-entered the long list of the infirm with a leg injury that put the rest of his season in jeopardy.

Cespedes pulled up lame after rounding third base in the first inning of Friday’s 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals. He hobbled off the field, unable to put full weight on his right leg.

Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson said Cespedes would head to the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, noting that it was similar in severity and location to the left hamstring strain that cost Cespedes six weeks earlier in the season.

“I wouldn’t necessarily expect it to be as long, but we don’t have much time the rest of the season,” Alderson said. “I’m very disappointed, but that’s what we have.

Cespedes’s leg injury merely continued a parade of ailments that, coupled with poor performances on the field, have wrecked the team’s playoff hopes and raised questions about the Mets’ handling of injuries.

Jacob deGrom, the only one of the Mets’ seven starters who has not spent time on the disabled list this season, has been the lone standout. He proved it yet again on Friday, allowing one run and striking out 10 over seven and two-thirds innings, even with a sore right foot.

Cespedes had been heating up recently after a slow return offensively from his previous leg injury. He walked in his first plate appearance on Friday, but the trip around the bases hurt him. Running, a basic requirement in baseball, has sometimes been a risky proposition for Cespedes this season.

“When I felt the best I had all season, it happened again,” he said.

Cespedes has a history of leg problems, and this season has done little to change that. Cespedes, who is in the first year of his $110 million contract, spent the off-season trying to better prepare his legs to avoid injury, yet he sustained one in the first month of the season.

While Cespedes was in Florida recovering from his injury, the Mets told him he needed to alter his conditioning to add more pregame stretching, running and water consumption, all of which were lacking. They hoped that would help prevent injury, yet another one occurred on Friday.

This is at least the fourth time Cespedes has been on the disabled list for a leg injury since he first reached the major leagues in 2012. (And that does not include other games missed for leg injury flare-ups.)

Cespedes said he hoped to return this season, but would not if he was not 100 percent. He admitted he has been thinking about what alterations he will make to his training program to avoid more leg injuries.

He said that does not mean he will stop his off-season workouts with Mike Barwis, who oversees the Mets’ strength and conditioning program, but “what I’ll do is change part of the training.”

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Not Even the Mighty Dodgers Intimidate the Revitalized Cubs https://exotechs.com/not-even-the-mighty-dodgers-intimidate-the-revitalized-cubs/ Sat, 26 Aug 2017 12:20:31 +0000 https://exotechs.com/?p=1267 Joe Maddon is using a new shampoo. It is designed to reduce the gray in his hair, and after just four or five applications, it is working. Before long, said Maddon, the manager of the Chicago Cubs, he might even try frosted highlights. For now, though, he is happy with a shade he calls blue steel. …]]>

Joe Maddon is using a new shampoo. It is designed to reduce the gray in his hair, and after just four or five applications, it is working. Before long, said Maddon, the manager of the Chicago Cubs, he might even try frosted highlights. For now, though, he is happy with a shade he calls blue steel.

You might think Maddon would be superstitious, and would do everything possible to preserve what worked in 2016, when the Cubs won their first World Series in more than a century. But that is not his style.

“See, that’s exactly wrong,” Maddon said. “You should never do that. It’s almost a bizarro world — everything’s, like, almost the opposite. It’s George Costanza at his best.”

Then again, George went from loser to winner on “Seinfeld,” and the Cubs want to stay on top. But they are, indeed, following a different path to glory. Last year’s Cubs ran away with the National League Central, posting the best record in the majors at 103-58. These Cubs staggered into the All-Star break at 43-45, five and a half games behind Milwaukee.

“Baseball’s a weird game,” said Kyle Schwarber, the Cubs’ left fielder. “It’ll do things to you.”

It chewed up Schwarber early this season, spitting him back to the minors with a .170 average in June. It also crowned a new superteam: the Los Angeles Dodgers, who sprinted to 90 victories before any other team had 78. And the Cubs are just fine with that.

Asked if he paid attention to the Dodgers’ torrid pace, Maddon said he did. Then, without prompting, he looked ahead to October.

“Listen, I’m very confident playing against them, too — absolutely,” he said. “As we continue to get well, we need to finish this off strongly, which we’re very capable of doing. But I like the way we match against them — a lot, not a little bit.”

The Cubs have the worst record of any first place team, at 68-59 after falling to the Phillies, 7-1, at Citizens Bank Park on Friday. But they had gained eight and a half games on the Brewers since the break, and led the division by three games before Friday.

All of the Cubs except the closer, Wade Davis, were off for the break. Davis was the Cubs’ only All-Star, a stinging indictment of their dreary start. But over the break, they acquired starter Jose Quintana from the White Sox for four prospects, and the stabilized rotation has helped the Cubs go 25-14 since the break. Their starters are 19-6 with a 3.42 earned run average in that stretch, with Mike Montgomery filling in for the injured Jon Lester.

“They’ve been very consistent,” said Alex Avila, the veteran catcher acquired in a trade with Detroit on July 31. “That’s why they got off to a great start after the break, and why we’ve been able to continue that play, because we’re getting an opportunity from the beginning to win the game with quality pitching.”

The Cubs have also hit better, scoring the most runs in the majors since the break (222 — or 5.8 per game — through Thursday). They expect shortstop Addison Russell (foot) and catcher Willson Contreras (hamstring) back in September.

The Dodgers, who are a mind-bending 55-11 since early June, are probably not too worried. But the Cubs did beat them in a six-game N.L. Championship Series last fall, and a healthy roster — with Quintana in the rotation, Davis replacing Aroldis Chapman as closer, and a few other new players, like Ian Happ (19 homers) — could be imposing.

As it stands now, the Cubs would face the Washington Nationals in the division series, with the Dodgers getting the wild-card winner. Maddon eagerly peeked past the first round to an N.L.C.S. rematch.

“Absolutely want it, totally want it, nothing would make me happier than that,” he said. “That’s not to denigrate other teams that potentially could get in here. But for us, I’ve always been about ‘you want to beat the best to be the best.’ They’re the best right now, and you’ve got to go through that group. I’m looking forward to that moment where I feel like we’re clicking on all cylinders again. We’re getting closer to it — and when you get to that point, bring on all comers.”

The Cubs beat the Dodgers in two of three games at Wrigley Field in April, when the Cubs raised their championship banner and received their rings. When the teams met again in Los Angeles in May, the Dodgers swept the Cubs, who then were swept in San Diego.

Maddon said that was part of the Cubs’ “malaise,” and dismissed their first half as the “typical World Series hangover.” Just one of the six champions that preceded the Cubs even qualified for the playoffs the next season, so maybe it should not have been surprising.

Now, though, the Cubs clearly expect a chance to repeat, and Maddon said he was periodically resting his regulars before the adrenaline rush of September. Then comes October, and third baseman Kris Bryant said he would not mind being an underdog to the Dodgers.

“Nobody cares about that — I know we don’t — just because it doesn’t matter who the favorite is,” Bryant said. “We were the favorite last year and we won, but usually it doesn’t happen that way. So you never know. They’re having a great season — 90 wins is really impressive. They might even break the record the Mariners set.”

Left unsaid was what happened to the 2001 Mariners after they tied the major league record for regular-season victories with 116: They lost in the American League Championship Series to the Yankees, the defending World Series champions.

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Last Words: Mayweather, McGregor Exchange Final Barbs After Successful Weigh-In https://exotechs.com/last-words-mayweather-mcgregor-exchange-final-barbs-after-successful-weigh-in/ Sat, 26 Aug 2017 12:15:17 +0000 https://exotechs.com/?p=1260 Saturday’s “The Money Fight” boxing showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor is official. Mayweather and McGregor both made weight at Friday’s weigh-in, with the undefeated multi-time boxing champion tipping the scale at 149.5 pounds while the UFC Lightweight titleholder came in at 153 pounds, just under the 154-pound limit.After several weeks of build and …]]>

Saturday’s “The Money Fight” boxing showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor is official.

Mayweather and McGregor both made weight at Friday’s weigh-in, with the undefeated multi-time boxing champion tipping the scale at 149.5 pounds while the UFC Lightweight titleholder came in at 153 pounds, just under the 154-pound limit.After several weeks of build and six intense face-offs, Mayweather and McGregor traded some final words following the weigh-in.

Mayweather plans to retire from competition after the fight, but boldly claimed he’s not going to be the only to hang up the gloves after he’s done with the Irishman.

“I’ve been here before, I know what it takes when it’s a fight of this magnitude,” Mayweather said following weigh-in. “It won’t go the distance. Mark my words. … This will be Conor McGregor’s last fight also.”

As far as McGregor, his demeanor is as calm as ever heading into the foreign territory of his first professional boxing match. “The Notorious” hasn’t shown a single moment of self-doubt since the Mayweather fight was announced, and after seeing his opponent face-to-face for the final time, his faith in victory is stronger than ever before.

“He looks like shit – you know that,” McGregor said. “He looks blown out, full of water. He’s not going to keep my pace. Trust me on that. That’s the worst shape I’ve ever seen him. … I’m going to breeze though him. Trust me on that. … He’s over there twiddling his thumbs. I see a man afraid.”

Mayweather meets McGregor at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The scheduled 12-round bout airs on pay-per-view for a high-definition price tag of $99.55.

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6 Things to Expect from the Internet of Things in 2017 https://exotechs.com/6-things-to-expect-from-the-internet-of-things-in-2017/ Sat, 26 Aug 2017 12:11:20 +0000 https://exotechs.com/?p=1251 The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to change dramatically in 2017, mainly with wearable technology, improved consumer experiences, and digital marketing. Brands need to implement changes to remain competitive in their respective industries. Below are some of the most important changes expected from the IoT in 2017. Completely Upgraded IoT Systems Every aspect of …]]>

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to change dramatically in 2017, mainly with wearable technology, improved consumer experiences, and digital marketing. Brands need to implement changes to remain competitive in their respective industries. Below are some of the most important changes expected from the IoT in 2017.

Completely Upgraded IoT Systems

Every aspect of a company’s IoT system needs to be integrated and working together. This includes connections, data, devices, and processes. Perhaps one of the most important of the three trends to watch in the IoT is upgraded systems. Companies are expected to integrate more artificial intelligence into data collection processes and to automate some processes.

The new and upgraded systems need to have the right professionals behind the programs coding and writing processes as well. Old codes and practices are too easy to breach. Upgraded systems need to be impenetrable for increased security.

Advanced IoT Wearable Devices

Wearable technology helps provide data to device manufacturers, software developers, app developers, and marketing departments. By 2020, 51-percent of marketers expect the IoT to revolutionize the entire marketing landscape. The use of artificial intelligence, multiple brand personas, and specific data picking processes will help brands analyze consumer behavior, which will help with brand/consumer interaction and help consumers make informed buying decisions.

Wearable devices are expected to get smarter and be able to process more data. This will increase the overall capabilities of wearable devices making them a more practical piece of technology to own.

Changes in IoT Networks

A larger focus will be put on short-range IoT networks rather than wide-area networks. This is due to cell phone and smaller Internet providers, including Wi-Fi Internet service providers, being unable to provide consumers with a suitable combination of tech features for the cost of the service. Short-range networks are expected to dominate over wide-area networks through 2025.

Wide-range networks tend to provide low bandwidth, meaning that the connections are slower and less reliable. Connection speed and strength are important to businesspersons handling business on the go.

Target Data Retrieval

Data retrieval and analysis are expected to lead to the creation of entirely new and unique algorithms. Brands will determine what specific information they need to receive from consumers and will create a brand-specific algorithm to retrieve that data. Brands relying heavily on marketing should include IoT security advancement in their annual marketing strategy budget.

Real-Time Data Collection

Real-time data collection will become a priority in 2017. Consumers want answers to everything and access to everything right now, not later. This means that companies must be able to obtain and analyze data in real-time to react appropriately. Companies can, however, create the base for advertisements, product releases, and web content ahead of time so that only a few minor adjustments are required to release or schedule publishing of new content/marketing ads. Also, published content should be optimized for search engines so they’re easily discoverable by consumers.

Increased Security Procedures

Nestled high in the top 10 Internet of Things technologies for 2017 is security procedures, which are significantly important. Brands are expected to create in-house positions for security for brand-specific programs, hardware, and servers rather than hiring a third-party company. Focus will be on creating stronger program designs, test hacking their own systems, and ensuring that consumer information is kept secure.

Final Thoughts

Integrating a complete cloud network system increases brand specific IoT, in regards to increased efficiency and productivity. It is important for businesses to select secure servers, control access to company documents, and develop a system that auto-collects data for quick processing. Artificial intelligence and automation of time-consuming tasks help improve brand function, target marketing, consumer experience, and brand approachability — all of which comes from data and processes from using the Internet of Things.

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The Internet transforms modern life https://exotechs.com/the-internet-transforms-modern-life/ Sat, 26 Aug 2017 12:02:58 +0000 https://exotechs.com/?p=1240 Most people had to call the bank to check their balances. Or inquire in person, or wait for a paper statement to arrive in the mail. Baseball box scores were found in the newspaper. Weather forecasts came over the phone from the weather bureau, or on TV. Back then, most Americans still had to lick …]]>

Most people had to call the bank to check their balances. Or inquire in person, or wait for a paper statement to arrive in the mail. Baseball box scores were found in the newspaper. Weather forecasts came over the phone from the weather bureau, or on TV.

Back then, most Americans still had to lick a stamp to send mail.

Then along came an experimental browser called Mosaic, followed by an improved browser from Netscape. And if you had a computer, you discovered a new way to this cool, new thing called the World Wide Web.

Mosaic and Netscape were the first popular connection to what came to be called the information superhighway and followed the first browser by Tim Berners-Lee called WorldWideWeb.

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, fewer than one in seven Americans were online in 1995. Today, the majority of Americans are surfing the Web, exchanging e-mail, reading bank statements and ball scores, checking the weather. Today, Pew says, two out of every three Americans spend time online.

The World Wide Web has transformed the way people live, work and play. People can play travel agent and book all the elements of a vacation online. They can arrange for their bills to be paid automatically while they are gone. They can put a hold on mail delivery, find directions to tourist attractions and get a long-term weather forecast before they pack.

Even on vacation, they can log onto the Web to keep up with news from their hometown paper or TV station, and stay connected with friends and family. In its first decade, the Web altered the pace of popular culture. It made distance less daunting, rendered information instantly accessible and revolutionized communication.

Googling and blogging

In the mid-1990s, the top three Web sites were AOL, Netscape and WebCrawler (which was a search engine owned by AOL), according to Internet research measurement company comScore Media Metrix. Each had an audience of 4 million to 6 million people per month.

Today, the audience for the Web numbers more than one billion and is growing.

“People are being much more customized in the type of content that they want to see and consume [online],” said Peter Daboll, president of comScore Media Metrix. “Also, there are the communication advances where it is easier to communicate and stay online. And they are just having more of their needs filled, whether it’s travel, shopping and all these other activities that didn’t exist to the same degree in the early days of the Web.”

The Web has added plenty of words to our lexicon, although some have yet to make the dictionary. If you had talked about Googling or blogging 10 years ago, you might have had a lot of listeners scratching their heads.

But like any youngster, the Web still has some growing to do. For all its uses, most people still go to the Internet primarily for e-mail. According to Pew surveys, 58 million Americans sent e-mail each day in December 2004, while 35 million used the Web to get news.

Many of those online users are irked by spam — unsolicited offers for everything from lower mortgage rates to pornography, pharmaceuticals and pitches to help a Nigerian launder millions of dollars.

Congress passed an antispam law in November 2003, with the backing of several of the biggest Internet companies. Spammers seem undeterred and San Francisco-based Ferris Research estimates the time lost by employees dodging spam will cost U.S. businesses $17 billion in 2005.

Another e-mail problem is phishing, the fake e-mail that looks like it is from a legitimate source. The bogus e-mail is designed to get the reader to divulge personal information, often a credit card number

Broadband ‘has changed everything’

E-mail is a one-way media; you send an e-mail and wait for a response. Steve Outing, a senior editor at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and an interactive media columnist for Editor and Publisher, says the Web has evolved into an interactive forum where users can converse through chat rooms and instant messaging. It has also become participatory through the advent of blogs — online journals or columns — he said.

“We’ve come a long ways, but we still have a ways to go,” he said.

In the early days of the Web, many news sites were little more than a collection of links to stories by The Associated Press and a few pieces of content repurposed from the newspaper or TV station. If you were lucky, there might be a photo in the story. With so many people using the Web today for news, TV networks, newspapers and magazines have been increasing the types of content they make available on the Web.

“Rich media and multimedia content are much more popular,” Outing said. “Media companies are more willing to put in the money to produce it. They recognize that people can now use it.”

Some media companies have been slow embrace the Web, he said, and in the meantime, they have found themselves facing increased competition from entrepreneurial sites, like craigslist.org, which is a popular bulletin board featuring free classifieds.

The biggest change has been effected by broadband, Outing said.

“In the past four or five years, the penetration of broadband has changed everything,” he said. “The computer is always on and the information is always there.”

There are 10 times more broadband users today than there were in June 2000, according to Pew.

The Internet generation

Daboll, of Media Matrix, said broadband outnumbers dial-up as the connection of choice among people who log on from home.

Just a few years ago, the move from a 28.8k modem to 56k was enough to make many users ecstatic. These days many DSL and cable connections are up to 70 times faster than the old dial-up. The faster Web makes it much easier for people to watch video, listen to audio and share files.

The Web is changing the way people communicate, Daboll said. He pointed to the “Internet generation,” teenagers who have grown as the Web as grown. One of their favorite tools is instant messaging, he said.

But the Internet isn’t an orderly environment for the person who wants to pay bills, watch the latest music or take a virtual college class. It also can be a tempest. There are bad people out there — hackers, pedophiles and thieves.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, 1 in 25 adults was a victim of identity theft in 2003 and the number of people affected online continues to increase.

But the Web can also help combat ID theft. An FTC booklet with tips to prevent or deal with ID theft is accessible on the department’s Web site. The agency says it has received more than 1.8 million visits.

And there’s plain old fraud. The FTC said slightly more than half of the fraud-related claims it received in 2004 were Internet related, and many of the deceptions involved individuals or companies that used e-mail or a Web site.

Internet users are also vulnerable to spyware, computer viruses and annoying forms of advertising.

Advertisers are changing, too, trying to figure out how to best use the Web. JupiterResearch projects that Internet advertising will grow 27 percent, to $10.7 billion, in 2005.

The increase in demands of the Web has even affected the way Media Matrix serves its clients, generally companies looking to best place their advertisements.

“The nature of what we do has changed from ratings and ranking to more broadly covering what goes on the Web,” Daboll said. “Looking at actual number or searches and looking at actual expenditures by household by category — for instance money spent on travel sites versus retail sites.”

A decade from now, who knows what statistics and functions they’ll be measuring.

After all, 10 years ago, few people imagined it wouldn’t be long before you’d be able get a satellite picture of a city a continent away or read the local news from three time zones away or even order pizza without talking to the folks a few blocks away.

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Showing the Algorithms Behind New York City Services https://exotechs.com/showing-the-algorithms-behind-new-york-city-services/ Sat, 26 Aug 2017 11:32:03 +0000 https://exotechs.com/?p=1232 Let us say that James Vacca is not necessarily the first person you’d think would begin a deeply necessary revolution to peel away some of the secrecy around technology that shapes government decisions. In the 1980s, Mr. Vacca admitted, he told an aide that it would be a waste of money to replace office typewriters with word …]]>

Let us say that James Vacca is not necessarily the first person you’d think would begin a deeply necessary revolution to peel away some of the secrecy around technology that shapes government decisions. In the 1980s, Mr. Vacca admitted, he told an aide that it would be a waste of money to replace office typewriters with word processors.

Yet on Thursday, Mr. Vacca, 62, a Democratic City Council member from the Bronx, introduced a bill that would require the city to make public the computer instructions that are used, invisibly, in all kinds of government decision-making. Experts say that few, if any, major cities in the United States require transparency for those computer instructions, or algorithms.

If the principles in Mr. Vacca’s bill become law, it could turn out be as important to public society in the city and around the country as the smoking ban signed into law by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2002.

“I think I’m on to something that many people have spoken about, but have been unable to get their hands around,” Mr. Vacca, chairman of the council’s technology committee, said. “I’m trying to get my hands around something that affects millions of New Yorkers every day.”

In commercial life, algorithms help businesses use data collected from our digital footprints — information that is revealed from a search on the web, the use of an app, a subscription to a particular music service, shopping habits and so on. Algorithms can take into account the kind of phone you use or your ZIP code before you see a price while shopping online, as investigative journalists reported last year for ProPublica.

Governments also have access to oceans of data. Algorithms can decide where kids go to school, how often garbage is picked up, which police precincts get the most officers, where building code inspections should be targeted, and even what metrics are used to rate a teacher.

Mr. Vacca, who represents the East Bronx, said a mother might come to him when the Education Department’s algorithm sends her son to a distant high school.

She may say, “‘This school is his seventh choice. I work two jobs — how does he get to this school that he was assigned to when I can’t drive him?’” Mr. Vacca said.

Andrew Nicklin, who ran open data projects for the city and state and is now at Johns Hopkins University, said experts were still learning how algorithms affect society.

“New York City’s attempt to increase transparency is noble,” Mr. Nicklin said.

Naked algorithms are just bunches of code, and even experts can find it challenging to discern what values they express. So researchers are discussing ways to include public participation before they are written. “We can formalize certain notions of fairness and nondiscrimination, affirmatively, at the outset,” said Solon Barocas, a professor of information science at Cornell University.

At their most powerful, algorithms can decide an individual’s liberty, as when they are used by the criminal justice system to predict future criminality. ProPublica reporters examined the risk scores of 7,000 peopleassigned by a private company’s algorithm. The recidivism rankings were wrong about 40 percent of the time, with blacks more likely to be falsely rated as future criminals at almost twice the rate of whites, according to Julia Angwin, who led the investigation.

In testimony to a committee of the European Parliament, Danah Boyd, a principal researcher at Microsoft and the founder of the think tank Data & Society, cited a scheduling algorithm for big retailers that was designed to spread workers out as widely as possible — without taking into account the need for predictable work hours to take care of children, for instance, or the burden of double shifts. If programmers “don’t have clear direction, they’re going to build something that affects peoples’ lives in unexpected ways,” Ms. Boyd said.

Because some algorithms used by the city are leased from private companies, Mr. Vacca’s bill would require them to be available for “algorithmic audits.” These would allow the public to submit test data to see how the algorithm handles it. One analysis of the city’s teacher rating algorithm in 2009 and 2010 found a pattern of bizarre results, like an individual teacher who scored 97 in teaching sixth-grade math but only a 6 for seventh graders.

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SXSW 2017: If the Internet Has a Kill Switch, We Are It https://exotechs.com/sxsw-2017-if-the-internet-has-a-kill-switch-we-are-it/ Sat, 26 Aug 2017 11:24:33 +0000 https://exotechs.com/?p=1222 If you’ve ever wondered whether there is a single point of failure that could take the entire Internet down in one fell swoop, rest assured: experts (at least, experts participating in a panel discussion here at South by Southwest) say there is no such thing. But even though the Internet does not possess a “kill switch”, so to speak, it does have …]]>

If you’ve ever wondered whether there is a single point of failure that could take the entire Internet down in one fell swoop, rest assured: experts (at least, experts participating in a panel discussion here at South by Southwest) say there is no such thing.

But even though the Internet does not possess a “kill switch”, so to speak, it does have plenty of vulnerabilities and limitations. Outages are commonplace, security is a perennial struggle, and governments can (and do) shut down access to specific services or even the entire Internet.

On Friday, the panel highlighted a range of limitations that still plague this network of networks and called for technically-minded people to participate in organizations such as ICANN to help improve resiliency, security, and connectivity.

Two recent events highlight some of the issues we face. In October, a botnet disrupted access to a range of services including Twitter and Netflix through distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on the Managed Domain Name System of internet services company Dyn. And just last week, an improperly inputted command took down a number of Amazon’s widely used AWS services.

As our networks grow with the Internet of Things, we could find ourselves more vulnerable to DDoS attacks, said Shane Tews of the American Enterprise Institute. “If we don’t have a good concept of how we’re going to be able to manage that traffic for good or for bad, that has to ability of being Dyn 100x,” Tews said. “There are people who do think that it was really just a shot across the bow as to what could be coming.”

Tews noted that there are changes afoot to try to make the system more secure. In 2010, the Domain Name System Security Extensions system was deployed. “The idea of domain name security…is basically to put a lock on a system that’s always been wide open,” Tews said, a holdover from the early days of the Internet when everyone knew one another. The master key for this system will be “rolled over”, or changed, for the first time in October.

“There are certain components of internet infrastructure that are not as resilient as others,” said Christian Dawson, executive director of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition, or i2Coalition. But he said challenges like attacks only serve to make the system more robust: “I don’t think it’s getting more risky. I think when people figure out how to push the right buttons to bring certain components down, it just makes us better at…realizing that taking the steps to get more resilience are necessary.”

The greatest stresses to the system are policies not technology, he said: “My issue always come down to the people, and that’s why we’re heavily involved in internet governance issues, making sure the right people are at the table so that people don’t make the wrong decisions because they don’t have the right information.”

“Almost all the challenges to the Internet are human,” Tews said, highlighting a YouTube censorship order in Pakistan in 2008 that ended up stretching well past the country’s borders.

The idea of vulnerability at the human level was echoed by Matt Perault, head of global policy development at Facebook. Perault started at the company the week that Egypt turned off access to the Internet for five days.

Recently, he said, such large-scale shutdowns seem to be less frequent, but in their place are smaller-scale “blocks”, such as shutting down access in a particular region of India while students there are taking exams.

This sort of interference doesn’t garner the headlines that Egypt’s shutdown did. But it adds up. A report (pdf) from the Brookings Institution last year that highlighted 81 short-term shutdowns between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 concluded the outages together cost upwards of US $2.4 billion in gross domestic product.

“My main concern right now is [that we are] moving toward a world where there [are] increasingly sophisticated small-scale blocks,” Perault said. “I would assume that the thing we would be most scared of would be a government being able to turn off your access to one particular product for 15 minutes. Because the ability to do that on a large scale might impose enough friction into your ability to access certain services that it would change your relationship to the Internet, and it would be very hard to diagnose.”

Countries that do not make access to the Internet a priority are also a limitation, Tews said. “Even though it’s not a kill switch, it’s certainly a killjoy.”

Then there is the power sovereign countries can exercise to hinder, prevent, or monitor the exchange of information. “There’s been a lot of talk of Internet fragmentation,” said Christopher Mondini of ICANN. But he said even restrictive countries and governments agree “that the Internet should remain an interconnected system with just one addressing system, and that a platform of ICANN and its multi-stakeholder discussion should be supported to maintain the interconnectivity of all of the networks.”

Mondini said there are a number of organizations, such as the Internet Society and its Internet Engineering Task Force as well as network operator groups, by which individuals can participate in setting the Internet’s path going forward: “You can find your people, and you can get involved and shape the future of the Internet, which is pretty exciting.”

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