Killer Innovations with Phil McKinney
An award-winning podcast and nationally syndicated radio show that looks at the innovations that are changing our lives and how their innovators used creativity and design to take their raw idea and create game-changing products or services. Phil McKinney, retired CTO of HP and the creator, and host of Killer Innovations has been credited with forming and leading multiple teams that FastCompany and BusinessWeek list as one of the “50 Most Innovative”. His recognition includes Vanity Fair naming him the “The Innovation Guru”, MSNBC and Fox Business calling him "The Gadget Guy" and the San Jose Mercury News dubbing him the "chief seer".

Today's guest is one that I had the privilege of working alongside during my time at HP. Luca Di Fiore, Head of Products at Xtreme Performance Gear, joins us here at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020, to discuss some game-changing innovation efforts. On this week's show, we will discuss gaming tech innovation and the latest at Xtreme Performance Gear (XPG).

XPG

During my time at HP, I worked alongside Luca in the Innovation Program Office. Luca leads the effort for the carbon fiber laptop known as the Voodoo Envy. He went on to work for Razer, leading the VR efforts over there. Luca says after working on some award-winning products at Razer, he moved on to a new venture known as XPG by ADATA, a memory company. XPG had an exciting plan to push into gaming. Given an innovation budget, Luca has the freedom to innovate. Why would a memory company want to get into gaming? Luca says it's more evident than it looks. The connection is very simple. Memory is the one part that you can really push through the next level with gaming. XPG was able to assemble a team of people passionate about gaming tech innovation from different companies such as Razer, HyperX, Corsair, etc. How big is the group? Luca says he has three teams working in product management, marketing, and RND, totaling almost thirty people. In less than eleven months, we've managed to launch short of twenty products with a relatively low budget. Luca says most of his team is in Taipei, Taiwan, a hub of competitive gaming.

New Products

With XPG, you guys have made a ton of announcements recently. Can you give us the rundown? Luca says the big announcements here at CES are called "Invasion has Begun" and the fact that XPG entered into systems. There aren't many gaming companies that can do accessories, peripherals, and systems at the same time, so this is big for us.

On top of that, we announced a new gaming laptop and a partnership with intel. We also partnered with a U.S startup called Pixeldisplay to create one of the most innovative gaming tech monitors in the market. We looked at how much time tech enthusiasts spend on their monitor and wanted to find a way to preserve their eyesight. We've implemented Pixeldisplay's technology, which offers a better quality of the image that doesn't filter out the blue color, but just the harmful blue LED properties. How big is this display? Luca says it's the same size as any other display with the difference that it does not ship with a stand. On the peripheral side, we have brought in our innovation spearhead called XPG Headshot. In developing this product, we asked the question of how to create an ultra-lightweight mouse. We used 3D printing to create a nicely structured mouse built into one place.

Product Customization

Typically, with mice today, there is a universal set of hand sizes, such as small, medium, and large. With 3D printing, do you customize the mice at XPG? We built this AI application to help in the customization of the mouse. We use an AI algorithm to take a picture of your hand and modify it based on the specific dimension. We even let you choose your grip style and personalize the mouse specifically for your needs. Scalability isn't a problem because our gaming tech innovation allows us to build anywhere in the world with these 3D printers.

What are some other announcements from XPG? We are sponsoring an ESL tournament in Bangkok, Thailand, and we brought a 24-karat gold keyboard, worth $10,000 as the prize. We also have a laptop collaboration with Intel. It is a gaming laptop with a 15" display and is available to ship in Taiwan and Latin America, acting almost like a field trial for the future U.S market.

Idea to Product

Many listeners of the show have ideas. They've come up with but no expertise on how to turn them into a product. What advice would you give to an entrepreneur with a fresh idea? Luca says the first rule of thumb is to do great prototypes and make them as functional as possible. For example, my monitors had a prototype that could turn around in a month's time frame. We have a lot of prototyping housing in Asia, specifically Taiwan, due to the cost-effectiveness of the area. The area also has a lot of companies that help with startups. Having a prototype will get you started in creating your gaming tech innovation products or any other product types.

About our Guest: Luca Di Fiore

Luca Di Fiore is the Head of Products at Xtreme Performance Gear (XPG) at ADATA. Luca is a bleeding-edge technologist with an international mindset and years of experience innovating and solving problems within the ICT industry, looking to make a difference in people's lives through new human-machine paradigms. His previous experience includes Director of R&D at Razer, and Senior R&D Manager, CTO Office-Innovation Programs at Hewlett-Packard.

Let's connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don't forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

 

Direct download: Bringing_the_Game_to_Gaming_Tech_Innovation_CES2020.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Today’s guest is no stranger to the Killer Innovations Show. John Osborne II, Chairman of the Board of the Zigbee Alliance and General – Manager of Leedarson North America, joins us at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). On this week’s show, we will discuss the growth of IoT devices and the trend of consolidation within IoT. 

 

The Zigbee Alliance 

With the recent scale-up of the device connectivity arena, what’s Zigbee been up to? John says that Zigbee has formed together with Apple, Google, and Amazon, to drive the industry into a common direction. If we can accomplish what we are trying to do with the big four, it will drive the industry towards consolidation. Consumers can go to stores and buy the product they want rather than focusing on specific brands. We don’t want this to be just another standard. Instead, we want to take the top existing technologies and put them together. We’ve seen more and more large companies desiring consolidation.

 

LEEDARSON and IoT

I get a lot of inquiries from listeners on the show with ideas for IoT devices. With your experience, what advice would you give to someone with these ideas? The company I work for, LEEDARSON, specializes in that. Whether one comes with a design ready to be built, or they have an idea, we can walk them through it. We try to educate, as well as walk them through the design process, and occasionally do real-time iterations. We’re happy to help whether they’re a multi-billion-dollar company or someone new to the industry. Sometimes people come in with similar ideas for devices that we already have. We’ll modify their idea, make it compliant, package it, and ship it to them. Others come in with great ideas about different devices, and we’ll test them and possibly do a joint development. We don’t strictly manufacture. We are involved in many different things.

 

Advancing IoT Products

What unique applications of IoT have you seen? John says there are very few significant new ideas. It’s mostly the same products being improved over time. The most changes we’ve seen are on the AI side. We’re trying to get the end device smart enough to operate without the cloud. Recently, I’ve seen some cool new things in the lighting arena. Lighting has been recently tied to entertainment. If you’re playing Fortnite, you want the room around you to emulate what is happening. However, this can often be tricky. In the case of many IoT devices, there is a cost lift to each of these modified products. What is that cost lift? John says people want more functionality at a lower price. For example, people are willing to pay about $5 premium on a smart bulb. That is a target we are all shooting for. Today, it is at around $10 premium. What are the other barriers holding people from buying IoT devices? Most people won’t just throw away their already purchased light bulbs. LED bulbs last a long time, so people get comfortable with them. We need to figure out how to incentivize people to swap out a good bulb for something more connected. 

 

Increasing Consolidation

As Chairman of Zigbee, what else have you been working on? Part of what we have been dealing with is whether we’re a technology or an alliance. We may be changing the name soon. We’ve been partnering with different entities and working to put our differences aside to reach common goals. We have also been working on consolidating internal protocols to gain more flexibility. Some massive changes are coming for Zigbee. With all these groups newly combining, do you see this continuing over the next 4-5 years? These organizations have assigned full-time resources into it, as it is essential to them. I believe we will see this consolidation grow a lot over the next couple of years.

 

If you want to keep up with Zigbee Alliance, check out their website here. Follow John on his Linkedin here and his website here

 

About our Guest: John Osborne II

John Osborne is currently General Manager at LEEDARSON North America and Chairman of the Board of the Zigbee Alliance. In these capacities, he helps educate and grow the IoT market globally. LEEDARSON is a global provider in traditional and connected lighting and sensors. The Zigbee Alliance is the premier Internet of Things (IoT) standards development organization since 2002. John has extensive experience in new product development, rapid product commercialization, systems innovations, and operations improvement. He has demonstrated the ability to manage and inspire multi-cultural, internal-external teams. He is a skilled communicator and presenter and has a sound background in budgeting, resource allocation, and operations efficiency.

 

 

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

 

ES2020 Guest: John E. Osborne II S15 Ep50

Direct download: Where_is_Iot_Going_CES2020.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:00am PST

This year at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 (CES), we were joined by another groundbreaking innovation group. E-Novia is an innovation company that inserts robotics and AI into everything they do. Our guests include Ivo Boniolo, Chief Innovation Officer and co-founder of E-Novia, Fabio Todeschini from BluBrake, Roberto Rossi from Smart Robots, and Patrizia Casali from Wahu, all enterprises of E-Novia. We will discuss E-Novia’s product lines and how they are infusing robotics and AI throughout various enterprises.  

 

E-Novia

 Ivo says that E-Novia came from the desire to bring robotics and AI to Italy’s most recognized fields. E-Novia collaborates with local universities to find and develop products that will have success in the marketplace. Currently, E-Novia has 30 enterprises in their group, while only being a company for five years. Ivo says E-Novia is currently in the process of an IPO to increase capital and qualify its unique model. What is the scale of E-Novia’s enterprises? E-Novia has enterprises that are in every stage, some early, in the middle, and some more advanced. With the huge design market in Milan, E-Novia has been working to create design products infused with robotics. We seek to create products that will welcome and interest the users. How has E-Novia been funded so far? Ivo says that E-Novia has been funded by an Italian family in the Manufacturing Industry as well as through fundraising. We have been working on growing our international relations, as we have a subsidiary in San Francisco, CA, and are currently opening an office in Japan.

 

BluBrake

We are now joined by Fabio Todeschini of BluBrake, an enterprise of E-Novia that develops Antilock Brake Systems (ABS) for e-bikes. Why do e-bikes need ABS technology? Fabio says that the e-bike market is growing a lot. The way we use bikes has changed from strictly cyclists using them to commuters using them as well. Many people using these e-bikes are unfamiliar with how to use them, causing accidents. People panic brake which cause the majority of e-bike accidents. Is Bluebrake’s product being used by bike manufacturers today? Fabio says it is available in Europe and they are working on making it available in the U.S. What is the incremental increase in the cost of adding this product to an e-bike? Around $500 additionally, which has been positive due to our high-end target-market. Are there others out there doing this? Fabio says there one competitor is Bosch, but Blubrake’s product is a bit different that its competitor. With all this traction, what’s next for Blubrake? Fabio says they are in the scale-up phase and wish to expand into the U.S, as they already have customers in Europe. As far as product expansion, Blubrake has a potential interest in motorcycle, scooters, and car braking systems. 

 

Smart Robots

We are now joined by Roberto Rossi from Smart Robots, a system used to support production line operators in factories. Smart Robots emphasize making the human the center of the production process. What does this collaborative robotics really mean? Smart robots put humans first and support them with their two configurations. One guides humans during manual operations to eliminate errors by suggesting feedback. The other configuration works as a co-worker alongside the human. How do you get the workers to accept the robots as a tool? Roberto says that it is a step by step process. You introduce the robot to the workers and they get acquainted with it over time. Eventually, they come to appreciate the robot's help and treat it as a colleague. Where can these robots be useful? Roberto says that there is a lot of interest in different sectors of manufacturing. Wide goods productions such as washing machines and automobiles can use them due to their need of human and digital assistance. Complete automation is an old approach and human use in manufacturing is coming back. What’s next for Smart Robots? We have a big surprise coming into the safety realm of the manufacturing process. Many conditions in manufacturing need extra safety to keep workers protected. Our new product will aid in the safety of these workers. 

 

Wahu

Now joining us is Patrizia Casali of Wahu, a company that offers a shoe sole with the capability to adapt to ground features and environmental conditions. Why is having a sole that changes so important? Patrizia says that if someone wants to go hiking or play golf, they need to use different types of shoes. With this technology, you use the same shoes and they adapt to your environment. How do the shoes auto-detect what’s underneath them? Inside the sole, there is an electronic board with sensors and actuators that take data and analyze it. We offer a lot of different customization options that the user may choose from. 

 

About our Guest: Ivo Boniolo

Ivo Boniolo is a co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of E-Novia, an innovative group that infuses robotics and AI into their ventures. Ivo studied at schools such as the Politecnico di Milano, the Politecnico di Torino, and Alta Scuola Politecnica. The experience gained from his schooling added to his skills in innovation, management, and invention. During his ten years with the E-Novia group, he has spent his time transferring his technical and innovation knowledge and experience to the growth of E-Novia’s many enterprises. 

 

About our Guest: Fabio Todeschini

Fabio Todeschini is from BluBrake, an enterprise of E-Novia. Fabio has a Ph.D. in engineering. He has experience in working on Antilock Brake Systems (ABS) for motorcycles. Fabio has taken his experience in ABS and applied it to e-bikes, the product line of BluBrake. 

 

About our Guest: Roberto Rossi

Roberto Rossi is from Smart Robots, another innovative enterprise of E-Novia. Roberto has a Ph.D. in robotics. After receiving his Ph.D., he helped start Smart Robots, which aids humans in the goods manufacturing process. 

 

About our Guest: Patrizia Casali

Patrizia Casali is from Wahu, a company that offers a shoe with a unique sole that adapts to different environments. Patrizia is a biomedical engineer who joined E-Novia to work on innovation after receiving her master’s degree.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about E-Novia and its enterprises, check out their website here

 

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

Direct download: Innovating_Across_Enterprises_CES2020.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Two outstanding guests joined us while we were at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 (CES). Bob O’Donnell, the President, Founder, and Chief Analyst at TECHnalysis Research, and Greg Johnston from Manta5, a company that offers the world’s first Hydrofoil Bike that replicates the cycling experience on the water. This week on Killer Innovations, we will discuss CES, the PC industry, and Manta5’s new game-changing product.

 

Standing Out at CES

With the size and noise of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), how do companies attract attention? Bob says that flashy press conferences are the key to getting noticed. Panasonic brought out Michael Phelps and showcased Star Wars characters to broadcast their work with Walt Disney Imagineering. Sony rolled out a car prototype known as the Vison-S during a press conference to promote the component technologies they are producing for the automotive industry. Having something that stands out is vital to gaining attention at an event like CES.

 

PC Growth

Bob and I had the pleasure of growing up together. We reconnected many years later through the PC industry. Bob has been a follower and influencer of the PC industry for a long time. With talk about PCs being dead, Bob shared some thoughts on the matter. The PC market has never reached its height. Still very much alive and kicking today, PCs have proved to be relevant even in the days of smartphones. The capabilities offered from PCs such as a larger screen and a physical keyboard are incredibly important. We saw some of the most significant innovations of PCs have been in recent times. AMD came out with their Ryzen 4000 Series parts for desktop and laptops based on their Zen 2 Core. Intel just debuted Tiger Lake, their next-generation intel core processor. On top of that, these guys are also exploring AI and 5G within the PC realm. That is why I partly believe we are in a real renaissance era of the PC market.

If you want to follow Bob’s endeavors, check out his recently started Forbes column here. He writes for Tech.pinions and has the Tech.pinions podcast, so check that out here. If you want to dig in, go to Bob’s website here.

 

Manta5

Here at CES, you will see just about anything and everything under the sun. Joining us is New Zealander Greg Johnston, CEO of Manta5, a company with a unique product. What is Manta5, you might ask? Greg says that Manta5 is the “brain-child” of its founder Guy Howard-Willis, an avid cyclist who had the dream of cycling on the water. Years later, that dream came true when Manta5 created the world’s first Hydrofoil Bike on water. The bike itself has two wings and a propeller, and while the user peddles, the cycle planes on the water.

 

Idea to Product

As an innovator, I know how hard it is to translate an idea into a product. How was the process of turning this idea into a product? Greg said there wasn’t much to go off at first, so they started with a bike frame and a propeller. We used a private pool and experimented with heaps of different prototypes trying to develop the hydrofoils. Once we nailed the rider position relative to the foils, we received a grant from Callaghan to develop the propeller and foils with an engineer. How long was the time frame for this process? It took about seven years to get the product out, and the product has been on the market for about a year now. It is a customized product except for the handlebars, the seat, and the pedals. What was the feedback on the product? Greg says the feedback has been overwhelming. We created an unboxing experience to deliver directly to the customer which they loved.

 

Growing Manta5

What was the learning process for the company with the blow-up of the product? Going from creating a prototype, to designing the product, to producing it on a scale has been a significant challenge. We’ve grown our design team as well as our production and engineering team over time. We’ve also been developing our relationships with suppliers for when we are ready to mass-produce these products. How did you guys catch the attention of manufacturers with this product? Greg says that Manta5 worked with an agent in Taiwan who knew their founders. Building relationships is everything. If manufacturers like you as a person and your vision as a company, that is huge.

 

Vision for the Future

What’s next for Manta5? The vision is to become cycling’s new frontier. We want to create a range of new products in biking while cultivating a sport through our product. When it comes to any game-changing product, copycats always arise. How will Manta5 deal with copycat products? We at Manta5 place importance on establishing ourselves as the leader in Hydrofoil Biking. We support other brands that may pop up in the future, as we want to cultivate a sport out of Hydrofoil Biking.

Follow Manta5 and check out the world’s first Hydrofoil Bike, view their website here, and check out their Facebook here.

 

About our Guest: Bob O’Donnell

Bob O’Donnell is the President, Founder, and Chief Analyst of TECHnalysi Research. The firm's research and O’Donnell’s opinions are also regularly used by major media outlets, including Bloomberg TV, CNBC, CNN, Investor's Business Daily, the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance, and more. O'Donnell writes regular columns for USAToday and Forbes, as well as a weekly blog for Tech.pinions.com published on TechSpot, SeekingAlpha, and LinkedIn. Before founding TECHnalysis Research, Bob served as Program Vice President, Clients and Displays for industry research firm IDC. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

 

About our Guest: Greg Johnston

Greg Johnston is the CEO of Manta5, the creator of the world’s first Hydrofoil Bike, that replicates the cycling experience on the water. Greg is a driven entrepreneur who’s passionate about high growth startups and innovative social enterprise. He’s currently working alongside the original Torpedo7 founders to commercialize the Manta5 Hydrofoil Bike. Greg enjoys being a part of the Waikato startup and business scene. He’s always keen to meet new people, help connect others, and find ways to collaborate.

 

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation

Direct download: Renaissance_Era_in_Innovation_CES2020.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:00am PST