Podcast: What the Heck is blockchain?

I had the pleasure of being a part of the Thomson Reuters Innovation Podcast series recently.  This was a discussion about blockchain.  In this talk with Katherine Manuel, Senior Vice President of Innovation in Strategy/Business Development, Jordan Kleinsmith – Director, Innovation in Strategy/Business Development and Sam Chadwick – Director of Strategy in Innovation and Blockchain in Strategy/Business Development.

For an in-depth read, check out more insights at: https://www.thomsonreuters.com/en/reports/blockchain.html

Listen to the Podcast on blockchain here.

 

Podcast: The Legal Impact of Autonomous Vehicles (Part 2) with Phil Yannella of Ballard Spahr

Originally published in the Legal Executive Institute.

By Joseph Raczynski, Gregg Wirth, and Phil Yannella

In the second of our podcasts on autonomous vehicles, I speak to Phil Yannella, the co-practice leader of Ballard Spahr’s Privacy and Data Security Group, about security and regulatory issues around driverless vehicles.

 

yannella_philip-300x300

Phil Yannella of Ballard Spahr

In his capacity at the firm, Phil advises clients on the transfer, storage, and use of digital information, and has advised automobile companies on compliance with evolving cybersecurity and data privacy standards.

In the podcast, the pair discuss security issues, such the potential for hacking and data theft of driverless cars and trucks, as well as the state of the regulatory environment for this new technology both here in the U.S. and around the world.

Podcast: The Legal Implications of Driverless Car Technology with Akerman’s Gail Gottehrer (Part 2)

Originally published in the Legal Executive Institute.

By Joseph Raczynski, Gregg Wirth, and Gail Gottehrer

In a new two-part Thomson Reuters’ Legal Executive Institute podcast, Joe Raczynski, Legal Technologist and Futurist with Thomson Reuters Legal, discusses the hot topic of driverless car technology and its impact on the legal industry with attorney Gail Gottehrer, partner at Akerman LLP.

In part 2, (available below) Joe and Gail will discuss the opportunities for law firms in this evolving area. For example, law firms focusing on driverless cars can advise clients about various issues including: (i) changes in insurance coverage models; (ii) regulatory changes in affected industries, (iii) workforce/employment issues, (iv) data privacy and security issues, and (v) anticipating potential use of data in litigation.

Emerging Technology in the Legal Industry (Video)

By Joseph Raczynski

In this Vlog, learn about Emerging Technology in the Legal industry. I focus on the impact of the Trinity of Forces (Cloud, Infinite Processing Power and AI) on Emerging Technology in the Legal industry. The Emerging Technologies discussed are: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Analytics, VR/MR/AR (Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality) and VPAs (Virtual Personal Assistants) or Bots.

Blockchain Explained (59 mins)

By Joseph Raczynski

This is a talk that I gave recently about Blockchain technology based on my engagement and understanding of the technology since Bitcoin circa 2011. I preface this with how technology is having an impact on all of our lives – exponentially. It serves as a complete overview of what Blockchain technology is today and what we might be able to expect from it going forward. I touch on legal’s impact. This goes through the history and use cases of the technology. Various slides are credited to Joe Guagliardo.

Is Virtual Reality Finally Ready for Business Use?

Originally published on Practice Innovations

By Joseph Raczynski

“It’s like dreaming with your eyes open”VR Developer

We are rapidly entering a time where space – the distance between people – will have little relevance. Even at this moment, distance is verging on extraneous. A news story breaks in Tokyo and seconds later a goat herder on the Serengeti in Africa can view it on his mobile device. The speed of communication and information dissemination is bridging communication gaps that existed for eternity. The next evolution will allow people to interact with others unlike ever before. Virtual Reality (VR) is this emerging technology ushering us into this new realm. We will delve into VR momentarily, but first we need to understand its underpinnings of why now.

How did we get here?

We are experiencing an era of exponential growth in several key technological spheres. I call this the Trinity of Forces: processing speed, memory, and AI. The first force states that computer processing speeds are growing exponentially. Known as Moore’s Law, the concept is that computer chip speed doubles every 12-18 months. This is significant. Think of it this way, the $1,000 computer you purchased in 2001 had the processing power of a gnat’s brain. In 2010, that new $1,000 computer processed as fast as a mouse brain. In 2024 it will process as fast as the human brain. Roughly by 2040 that $1,000 computer you buy from Amazon.com will process as fast as the collective brains of all of humankind. This is exponential growth of processing power.

The second of the trinity is the exponential growth of memory. Cloud computing has become cheaper and more easily accessible than ever before. In fact, we are at a point where infinite memory will almost be free. Viewing the graphic you can gauge the direction we are headed. In 1956 a memory device the size of a closet had 5MB and cost $120,000. Fast forward to 2005 and 128 MB totaled $99, but then in 2014 we were able to jump to 128 GB priced at $99. This is exponential growth of memory.

The third force of the trinity is Artificial Intelligence (AI), that is, the creation of code-based algorithms which are adaptive and able to evolve rapidly (i.e. computers teaching themselves to learn).

When weaving these three elements together you have a platform for technology to thrive in an explosive fashion.

The Year of VR

VR is a slice of sci-fi we have been anticipating for decades. Incubating in a state of inertia, it has been waiting to leverage the Trinity of Forces to rise. Widely discussed, 2016 is the year of VR. Virtual Reality in all of its forms is reliant on technology becoming faster, smaller, and more adaptive, which is happening all around us right now and is pivotal to understanding the business evolution for VR.

The Nomenclature of VR

  • Virtual Reality (VR)—typically refers to computer technologies that use software to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that replicate a real environment1 using something over the eyes and ears to view and hear. No question VR is the term that gets bantered about most frequently, however there are two other terms that are integral.
  • Augmented Reality (AR)—essentially uses a device over your eyes and layers digital information on top of what you see in front of you. This could be text on top of what you are looking at (a text message that just came in) or notifications popping up on your viewing lens as you walk down the street—perhaps 30 percent off if you walk into Starbucks immediately.
  • Mixed Reality (MR)—is the newbie of the trifecta and some industry experts believe it has the most potential for adoption. MR is a newly minted phrase that mixes the best of VR and AR into one package. This medium places extremely realistic imagery over and around what you currently see with your eyes. The largest player in the VR space is Magic Leap, more on that in a moment.

Virtual Reality Emerging All Around Us

The aforementioned advancements in tech are leading us directly to the virtual door of VR for the enterprise. The investment in this space is moving forward faster than ever. In fact, according to Digi-Capital, who tracks this space, “almost $1.2 billion was invested in the first quarter of this year alone, with around $800 million going into Magic Leap. To put this in perspective, $1.2 billion dollars is 25x the level of AR/VR investment 2 years ago in Q2 2014.” 2 Initially, many of the dollars are being spent on building out platforms. In addition, the gaming sector is certainly ahead of the curve on investment. Microsoft built the HaloLens which is one of the best examples of Mixed Reality in the market. HaloLens helps with a mundane task where we all might find ourselves needing assistance. For example, a pipe under the kitchen sink is cracked and needs to be replaced. Donning the HaloLens, you open the cabinet door to see the ailing pipe next to your disposal. The HaloLens kicks in and layers graphics on top of the real pipe with arrows and directions for how to dismantle the pipes with the proper plumber’s wrench. The Lens helps you through each step, offering guidance on how to fix the broken pipe. This technology can be envisioned in a myriad of ways to help in the enterprise.

There are several companies that have received the largest investments in this space. Most notably is Oculus ($2 billion) who has partnered up with Facebook to introduce VR to the masses. There is little question Mark Zuckerberg predicts his company will be virtual reality based. Have you seen 360 degree pictures or videos on Facebook recently?

A little known company Magic Leap ($4.5 billion) is the best funded. This quiet startup based out of sandy Ft. Lauderdale is making major waves in the industry. Remaining under radar, they coined the term Mixed Reality (MR). Checkout the video which shows what their lenses could do in the near future: (VIDEO). Aside from these companies, other names of note include Blippar ($1.5 billion) and Mindmaze ($1 billion).3

The Reality of VR in the Enterprise—the Forming of an Experience

Google Smart Contact Lens

The enterprise is probably five years from adoption of VR or honestly, MR. One of the first uses will undoubtedly be connecting people from around the world in one location. Imagine your team of four people needing to meet to discuss a project, Donna in London, Isabelle in Jakarta, Atif in Pakistan, and Neal in South Africa. Currently you could conduct a conference call, WebEx, GoToMeeting, or the best option, a Cisco Telepresence meeting. Soon you will be able to connect to all four people using a set of spectacles. Choose your location for the meeting, the surface of the moon, Amazon rainforest, or sitting on a coral reef. Using glasses you can see each person, as if they were with you. Read their gestures, hear the intonations and feel tactile feedback with devices held in your hands while experiencing what it feels like to be in the Amazon.

Another impact on the enterprise will be the eventual disappearance of computer screens, monitors and even mobile phones as we use them now. Instead the lenses we wear will display all of the information for our eyes to read and interpret. Picture sitting at a desk with a large wall near you. Your lenses project multiple screens into your eyes which you interpret as on the walls, email, a video chat, your kids photos on one side, and perhaps a document you are writing. MR allows for people to interact with their tangible physical environment, adding a layer of realistic information on top. One day soon you will not be able to tell the difference between reality and VR/AR/MR with the advances in vision displays and tactile sensors. Google is another company in this space. It recently patented contact lenses with the ability to take pictures of the user’s field of vision.

The key to this evolution in for businesses is shrinking technology. Currently the stigma of wearing a large boxy contraption over the eyes is not palatable for work. That said, as we inch closer to VR, one of the reasons 2016 has become the year of VR is due to better screens on mobile devices (true HD video), which can be slid into a headset to interpret. Quite simply the headsets we see on the market now, like the Samsung Gear VR by Oculus, have two magnifying glasses an inch from your phone, powered by software that splits your screen into two related, but slightly different perspectives of what you are seeing. Combine that with the internal accelerometer and gyroscope that all phones have currently and the device knows when you are moving your head so that the screen can react to the motion. You feel like you are seeing something first hand.

Amazing times are ahead with VR/AR/MR. The enterprise will be forever altered by this form of information delivery. As an aside, I would encourage you to dip your toe into this space if you have not already done so. For $2.85 Google Cardboard is a device which allows you to turn your iPhone or Android into VR. There is truly no way to explain it better than experiencing the technology for yourself and, because it is so inexpensive, it is worth the effort. With this experience you can begin to see the transformative affect that VR will have on the enterprise.

Mixed Reality Video

Sources

1. “Virtual Reality,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_reality

2. “AR/VR investment hits $1.7 billion in last 12 months,” Digi-Capital, April 2016, Click here

3. Ibid.

Images

1. Somack Holidays, http://www.somak.com/tanzania/arusha

2. Wikimedia Commons, Click here

3. PC World, Click here

4. Forbes, Click here

5. Joseph Raczynski – Magic Leap, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPLKL_B1gGA

Thomson Reuters Innovation Lab at Communitech – Kitchener, Canada

By Joseph Raczynski

Visit to the Communitech Innovation Lab near Waterloo Canada to see the Thomson Reuters Innovation Lab. In addition, a group of customers and TR employees went through a Design Thinking Workshop. Other companies at the location include; Google, GM, TD Bank, Canon, Deloitte, Fairfax Financial, Manulife.  Special thanks to Brian Zubert for all of his hospitality and education during the day.

360 Video: Design Thinking Workshop – Thomson Reuters Innovation Lab at Communitech

By Joseph Raczynski

360 Degree Video of a Design Thinking Workshop at Communitech, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Led by Dave Inglis we start down the path of a Design Thinking Workshop with Alston & Bird. Shot with the #SamsungGear360.

*With 360 Video you can move the video around to whichever view you would like at any point. Please click and hold the video and move the screen around in any direction.