Seeking Alpha
View as an RSS Feed

Bruce Krulwich  

View Bruce Krulwich's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest comments  |  Highest rated
  • Is Apple Ready To SLAM The World? [View article]
    I'm certainly not going to dismiss anyone's concerns about privacy and "big brother," but in general, Apple has always used technology innovation to enable 3rd party apps and profit from the "cool factor," but generally don't enter the advertising/services arenas themselves. Hopefully this will mean that the phone/OS itself will not be invasive, and users will have choice of what apps and services to install. Am I being too optimistic? Perhaps. But it's important to remember how each company profits, and Apple profits by selling devices that users find cool.
    May 15, 2014. 03:19 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Intel Joins The Indoor Location Chip Revolution [View article]
    @Michael from Redmond: There certainly is a lot of work in the indoor location area for industrial applications. Early on this was done with dedicated devices, but more and more on smartphones. Various companies are working on apps for warehouses, workforce management, and the like. That said, after all the success of social networking and media sharing and the like, it's hard not to see appeal for indoor location sharing, geotagging, friend finding, etc, not to mention shopping list navigation. The key here is that chips like Intel's (and Qualcomm's and Broadcom's) can make the ubiquitous, and leave it up to app developers to decide what to do with it, rather than requiring app developers to handle the location part as well.
    Mar 22, 2015. 07:02 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nokia Patent Portfolio An Untapped Goldmine [View article]
    Nokia's problem is not innovating, it's commercializing. And the patent process is created to protect innovators, not commercializers (for better or worse). Their innovation is both documented and demonstrated.

    An updated version of the indoor location research report mentioned above, covering research by all the major mobile companies and also start-ups, is available here:

    And a video showing Nokia's latest indoor location technology, in research form, is here:
    Aug 28, 2012. 01:36 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Google Growth Rates: How Mobile Kills the Model [View article]
    You missed the point of the company - Google's profit isn't from search, it's from advertising. As mobile users see mobile ads on the mobile versions of Google Maps, Google Docs, GMAIL, and more, and as they see mobile ads from Google in Android apps, Google makes the same money they do now on search. And Google + Admob (if approved) is a strong market leader ahead of all others.
    May 17, 2010. 03:42 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Apple Ready To SLAM The World? [View article]
    I'd like to elaborate on one point: Apple is not Google. And Google is not Apple.

    Google gives away software and services, including on devices, to make money on the indirect income of data aka ads. They are increasingly making money on software as well, such as Google Docs, but their general business model is to give it away and make money on the data.

    Apple, on the other hand, makes its money on devices. Virtually all the services that they offer, even including iTunes and App Store, is making a tiny percentage of their overall income which comes from device sales.

    While I'm contrasting, Amazon makes its money on book/media/etc sales, not so much on devices (Kindles) and not as much on data/ads (except for driving their own book/media sales).

    THE POINT IS that if Google offers a location-based service, there's no hiding the fact that they're trying to gather data for ads and other targeting. Yes, they'll give the ability to turn off the data gathering, but their aim is the data.

    BUT if Apple offers a location-based service, the best bet is that they're doing so to differentiate their devices. This includes enabling more powerful 3rd-party apps, to bring app developers back to iOS and away from Android.

    My conclusion from this is that while we always need to worry about what out location data is being used for, this is inherently less of a problem when it's Apple. Whatever they do, they'll do to maximize device sales, not secondary income, and they won't risk their device sales.

    Or do you all think I'm overly optimistic, or naïve?
    May 18, 2014. 04:23 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Apple Ready To SLAM The World? [View article]
    ITSRAININGINSIDE, I'm certainly sorry that you feel badly about what I've written, but I think the bulk of your comment is, with all due respect, off the mark.

    Yes, I'm an analyst who sells reports. The report I link to is 3 months old (not 36), and is the latest in a series of reports that is known and has been bought throughout the industry, primarily by R&D teams but also by BizDev teams.

    Out of the more than 100 start-up companies whose technology I've analyzed, I've spoken to the vast majority directly. (I've also spoken directly with R&D teams at most major mobile companies, who tend to be my customers.) One year or so SLAM was a far-out dream that nobody was close to, and in the past few months there are several (5-6) companies that have gotten very close. Some are intending it for standalone use, while others are using it to make fingerprint collection easier. But these start-ups are succeeding in getting SLAM working better than it has worked in the past. Several are planning to bring it to market soon. Based on these details from the industry, I took it upon myself to educate readers about this newly-close-to-market area.

    I write very clearly throughout the article that I am speculating about Apple's intentions. I'm speculating no more than dozens of articles do on a daily basis, in looking at Apple's actions and trying to guess what they're going to do. My speculation may be right and it may be wrong - time will tell. But speculations drive thinking.

    As a minor nitpick, in your commenting about the uselessness of SLAM mapping hallways, you're missing the value. If you don't know anything about a site, learning where the hallways are is useful. More importantly, if you also learn the Wi-Fi and cellular signals throughout the site, you can do a better and faster job of location positioning in the future, even without running SLAM.

    Bottom line, I don't think there's anything wrong with an educational article by an expert analyst that speculates about what companies will do. 12,000 readers know more now than they did a day ago about indoor location technologies, and will recognize SLAM if they come across references to it.

    For anybody who wants to know more about this area, you can click through to my past articles on Seeking Alpha, or alternatively to my own blog which contains numerous videos and explanations of a variety of technologies.
    May 16, 2014. 06:43 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can Nokia Benefit From Amazon's Newest Initiative? [View article]
    I think it's a fantastic thought exercise to consider what drone projects like Amazon's mean for mapping. But I think we have to think more deeply before reaching a conclusion about what system is better.

    First, Nokia may be the only mapping system to emphasize cross-loading of maps without data usage, but any map system can do caching. Google Maps supports pre-caching of map data in some regions in some cases. It's not a technical challenge to work off of maps in memory as opposed to over data connections.

    Second, and more importantly, drone navigation will have very little to do with road navigation. It will need to translate the customer's address into coordinates to fly to, but drones are not limited to roadways and they're not limited by any of the issues that come up in roadway navigation. Drone navigation will have a lot more to do with some new concept of drone flying rules, managing hundreds of drones to be sure they don't fly into each other, navigating along grids of some sort for optimal speed, sensors to sense upcoming birds or kites, and many other things that are not inherently part of road navigation.

    One could reach the conclusion that Google has the biggest head-start on drone nav, because of their work on automated-driving cars. But even the Google Cars have to deal with roadways.

    I'm now real curious where the technology will come from for managing drone flying of this sort. Some sort of grid geometry research? Circuit design research, routing wires along grids on a few layers? Somewhere out there there are probably algorithms that will relate.

    Thanks for raising the subject! Great article!
    Dec 4, 2013. 02:22 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple iBeacons Poised To Legitimize Hardware-Based Indoor Location [View article]
    Great comments everyone!

    One clarification - Apple HAS done work in showing people's locations on maps, including indoors. It's only iBeacons that are, so far, only for tracking proximity to specific places, but not for tracking specific locations as a device moves around.

    As for how Apple makes money from this, they could charge businesses when they use it, but more likely, they'll use it to enable iOS apps to be better, more location-based, than Android apps. If they enable higher quality apps, they'll attract both device buyers and app developers, and will profit from both.
    Nov 7, 2013. 04:56 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can Facebook Survive Changing Demographics? [View article]
    Teen usage is very fluid, and can change quickly. First, expect to see them moving to WhatsApp as it moves from abroad to the States.

    Second, the obvious open question is what Facebook may do to get back these users. Better support or dedicated mobile apps for common activities, like events, or groups, or product recommendations? They released a dedicated Messenger app, but it needs to be more usable.

    Especially with teens, every trend can change or be changed.
    Oct 27, 2013. 06:57 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Might Facebook's Oculus Be Going After Google Glass? [View article]
    Yes, you're right, and I made it clear in the article that I'm speculating regarding Oculus's moving towards non-VR use. The founder of Oculus has said very clearly that he believes in a SnowCrash-like future of VR-based on-line experiences, and that he believes that this would be a much more "social" on-line experience than currently. But again, I'm speculating that they may be planning to shift some of their work in the AR or HUD direction.
    Dec 30, 2014. 08:11 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Might Facebook's Oculus Be Going After Google Glass? [View article]
    This is a great point - Google has a lot of visual technology in a lot of different projects. I mentioned Tango, but their car has a lot, and they also have projects analyzing Street View images, and image search, and more. Most of all, they seem to have a way of migrating technologies from one use to another.
    Dec 25, 2014. 07:52 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Apple Ready To SLAM The World? [View article]
    iBeacons are great. I've written about them. But they detect and process proximity to a set of specific points, they don't determine location position as you move around.

    Do you use Waze or Google Maps as you drive around? Would you want to have your place on a map updated as you passed a significant point (say, important buildings), or do you like seeing yourself move around on the map as you drive, regardless of where you are?

    For business purposes, I think iBeacons are a huge part of the infrastructure. But there are still a lot of applications built on knowing where you are, not just if you're near a place that a site owner deems significant.
    May 15, 2014. 05:35 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Major Companies Poised To Bring GPS Indoors [View article]
    Hi @Alan1967 app developers have three choices. They can license software-based technology from one of the many start-ups in the area (, which primarily work based on Wi-Fi/BLE or sensor signals. They can develop their own technology inside their app, presumably based on Wi-Fi or sensor signals. Or they can wait for the underlying OS or device to give them indoor location.
    Mar 24, 2014. 02:06 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • WhatsApp And $19 Billion [View article]
    The price of Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp seems like desperation, but the logic of the acquisition is clear. Here's a SeekingAlpha article about the effect of WhatsApp on social networking from about 6 months ago:
    Feb 20, 2014. 07:53 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple iBeacons Poised To Legitimize Hardware-Based Indoor Location [View article]
    GlenTin, thanks for the comment. One question that to my knowledge is still open is how iOS and Android and other mobile OSs will implement BLE beacon detection and actions. Apple has invested considerably in their Core Location infrastructure, including GPS-based GeoFencing and now including iBeacons. This enables applications to define the geographic regions in which they will be invoked, and how they will be invoked. If done well, this is an amazing facility. But if done badly, it can drain a phone of power and CPU. This feature will be made or broken based on how well each OS implements it.
    Nov 13, 2013. 02:51 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment