Twitter Forefather Leaves, Aims to Disrupt Banking Next

first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#mobile#NYT#web The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Imagine a Web-based bank that lets you deposit checks by simply photographing them with its mobile app. It lets you make cash withdrawals from ATMs all over the country at no cost, sometimes even reimbursing you for fees you get charged by other companies. As a social Web application, the bank offers you all kinds of recommendations and value-added services based on analyzing your private data.Does that sound crazy? Perhaps no more crazy than an empty box labeled “What are you doing?” sounded three years ago when software developer Alex Payne joined Twitter as its API lead, the position responsible for helping birth the famous ecosystem of outside developers building apps on top of Twitter. Today Payne announced that he’s leaving Twitter to co-found an online banking startup with just such a vision, called BankSimple. BankSimple plans to launch to the public later this year; its website is currently down due to overwhelming interest after Payne’s announcement.Financial Industry DisruptionAfter Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey shifted his focus to Square, Payne becomes at least the second micro-messaging forefather to shift gears into the financial tech market.BankSimple says it will be “an easy, intuitive, and social bank for people who appreciate simple online services.” The company emphasizes its lack of fees, saying that other banks grew greedy when they moved beyond making money from interest on deposits. The company says it will offer a mobile application to deposit checks by uploading a photo. Such practices are likely to become more common in the future – but they still feel very futuristic. (Readers have pointed out that the United Services Automobile Association’s bank does this already.) Intuit is developing software to prepare simple tax filings by mobile photo upload, for example. Banking and personal finance are sectors expected to see major disruption in coming years, thanks largely to developments on the Internet.Analyst firm Gartner said last month that traditional online banking faces a serious challenge from a new class of service providers focused on more advanced financial operations than mere transactions. “Most bank offerings have limited forecasting and analytical tools and don’t cleanly support multiple bank relationships,” Gartner’s Douglas McKibben wrote. Traditional banks need “a wake-up call,” McKibben wrote, “regarding the need for responsive, personalized customer applications.” “In the longer term, the concept of a proprietary online commercial banking platform will be obsolete,” McKibben wrote in a report with Stessa Cohen, “and banks will only orchestrate and not control access to services and information.” Those conditions appear to be exactly where BankSimple is aimed.Payne says the other BankSimple founders live in New York, but that he will remain in Portland, Oregon, where he is currently relocating to. In addition to co-founding the company, he will be its Chief Product & Technology Officer. “In a nutshell,” he wrote on his personal blog, “I’m going to make sure we build something that’s simple, beautiful, and works really really well.”Payne’s co-founders include Josh Reich, who previously worked on the very-heady Web-user-data futures-market startup Root Markets, led by serial entrepreuer Seth Goldstein. Goldstein once said Reich had a “beautiful mind.” Reich and Payne are joined by Shamir Karkal, an MBA most recently at McKinsey.Photo by Dave Fayram. marshall kirkpatricklast_img read more

R-10 Vacuum-Insulated Glazing

first_imgFor twenty years or so, companies like Pilkington (Spacia) have been cranking out R-5ish (center-of-glass) vacuum-insulated glazing (VIG). The attraction of glazing units with a very thin profile, relatively low weight, and a high level of performance is strong, particularly for retrofit applications. But it sure seems as though we have been promised commercially available VIG with double that thermal performance for more than 10 years now. (See Images #1 and #2 in the Gallery, as well as this 2009 blog post by Alex Wilson.) The technological challenges for this level of performance have been significant, and so have costs. My good friend and colleague, Charlie Curcija — senior researcher in the glazing program at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab — is the guy I always go to for the latest and greatest news on high performance glazing. He says we very well could be there:RELATED ARTICLESVacuum-Insulated Windows‘Superwindows’ to the Rescue?Report from the International Builders’ ShowDoes Vacuum Insulation Make Sense? “The breakthroughs required for R-10+ VIG were in three areas: One, producing uniformly flat tempered glass (this is important for pillars to stay where they are supposed to); Two, having temperable low-e (Guardian was one of first companies, if not the first to develop temperable low-e); and Three, developing a low-temperature edge sealing process, so that glass does not de-temper.” According to Curcija, who recently returned from Asia, there are about seven or so Chinese companies that are producing VIG in the R-10+ range (center-of-glass) and just one being produced in the U.S. (by Michigan-based Guardian Glass). Guardian just did a big press event at an AIA conference for their two commercially available VIG products. And then there is Florida-based VIG Technologies, a company that uses LandGlass VIG from China. So, we’re are all set and just need to talk about pricing, right? Are the products even available? Not so fast; both Guardian and VIG Technologies are still very tight-mouthed about the major U.S. window manufacturers they claim to be working with. Apparently, you can’t order product from either of these VIG producers or any window manufacturers to date. There are real VIG installations in the U.S.: VIG Technologies has units installed at Viracon headquarters in Minnesota (Viracon is the largest glazing manufacturer in the U.S.) and Guardian has some of their units installed as retrofits at Eastern Michigan University (see Images #3 and #4 in the Gallery). By all reports, these units are performing really well. Curcija observed the Viracon units on a cold winter day and said that the units looked great and the thermal comfort near the units was impressive. Robert Densic, Eastern Michigan University’s manager for planning and design, is working on some initial Guardian Glass installations as a proof-of-concept project for much broader applications of  VIG products across the campus. So, what is the hold up? A lack of industrial capacity One trusted window industry source told me this: it’s really hard to focus on and marshal resources for new high-performance glazing when the industry is as stoked as it is right now. Charlie Boyer, vice president of research & development for Viracon, backed that up. He said, “We are very interested in this technology but we simply don’t have the capacity right now and are not quite ready to make the very substantial investment required to set up a whole new facility for VIG.” Additionally, when I asked Guardian Glass some very pointed questions about commercialization, one of their written responses was: “The Guardian Vacuum IG team is focused on multiple industries, with commercial refrigeration leading the way. We have partnered with Anthony International, the leader in the refrigeration door industry.” Huh? Refrigerator doors? Another trusted industry source told me this: no one in the window/glazing industry has seen any third-party certified laboratory testing of the new VIG product using the industry standard, ASTM E2190, “Standard Specification for Insulating Glass Unit Performance and Evaluation.” This testing includes temperature extremes and accelerated aging/weathering testing.  (For more information on this standard, including descriptions of specific tests, see “Certification and Testing for Insulated Class units.”) A new standard If you lose the vacuum seal on these IGUs, the thermal performance does not fade — it crashes. There is a new standard being developed specifically for stress-testing VIG:  ISO/DIS 19916-1, “Glass in building—vacuum insulating glass – Part 1: Basic specification of products and evaluation methods for thermal and sound insulating performance.” Rob Tenent of the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) is gearing up for a project looking into the specific stress testing needs of VIG, working with Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (LBNL). Frankly, no one seems to know, or is willing to state, whether these new VIGs require stress testing tuned to their performance or properties. But that is exactly what this NREL/LBNL project is about. The refrigerator door market All of this concern could be one of the reasons that Guardian Glass is focusing on the refrigerator door market: While the temperature difference from inside to outside the refrigeration units is large, it represents a fairly steady delta-T. I am not saying that the VIG seals or long-term performance are suspect; I am saying that no one seems to know or be willing to talk openly on this issue, and it is really important. How much do these IGUs cost? What about costs? Not surprisingly, it’s impossible to get this sort of information from VIG Technologies or Guardian Glass at this point. But here is what Curcija learned while in Asia: Chinese VIG producers gave manufacturing costs of up to 1,500 Yuan/m2. Using $1 = 6.7 yuan and roughly 10 sf/m2, that equates to $22 per square foot. In the U.S., it’s typical to multiply manufacturing cost by 3 to get the consumer price (glazing installed in a window), which would mean $66/s.f. for consumer buying windows with VIG. Note that this price does not include any tariffs. For comparison purposes, standard double-glazed IGU in the U.S. is about $10/s.f. retail, with Passive House triple-glazed windows in the range of $30 – $70/s.f. New VIG from Guardian Glass (made in the U.S.) and VIG Technologies (made in China) are poised to make serious inroads into the high-performance glazing market in the U.S. They are not cheap, but if their long-term thermal performance can be verified, they may very well be worth the cost.   In addition to acting as GBA’s technical director, Peter Yost is the Vice President for Technical Services at BuildingGreen in Brattleboro, Vermont. He has been building, researching, teaching, writing, and consulting on high-performance homes for more than twenty years. An experienced trainer and consultant, he’s been recognized as NAHB Educator of the Year. Do you have a building science puzzle? Contact Pete here. You can also sign up for BuildingGreen’s email newsletter to get a free report on insulation, as well as regular posts from Peter.last_img read more

Buddhadeb out of CPI (M) Bengal State Committee

first_imgTwenty senior leaders — including former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee — have been “released” from the West Bengal State Committee of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Thursday. As many as 17 new members are inducted into the 80-member Committee. The youngest member of the State Committee is Madhuja Sen Roy (33) while the seniormost is Biman Basu (77), a Politburo member. The seniormost leaders, including Mr. Bhattacharjee, have been accommodated as special invitees, party’s State Secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said after the 4-day-long triennial State conference.Mr. Bhattacharjee participated in a couple of sessions of the State conference and was repeatedly requested by party’s senior leadership to stay in the State Committee. “But once he takes a decision, it is very difficult to make him change his mind. He wanted the State Committee to release him. We resisted but, finally, we had to release him owing to health-related issues,” he said. Besides Mr. Bhattacharjee, the senior leaders who are now out of the State Committee but accommodated as special invitees are: Shyamal Chakraborty, Madan Ghosh, Dipak Sarkar, Basudeb Acharya, Kanti Ganguly, Asim Dasgupta and Nirupam Sen. New team The upper age limit of the State Committee members is fixed at 75 years. “Only in the case of Biman Basu, the rule has been relaxed by the Committee as he is more youthful than the younger leaders,” Mr. Mishra said. He said the party at the State level has followed its policy to develop a team of “youth, middle-aged and senior members”.last_img read more

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Chris Gayle first batsman to complete 10,000 runs in T20 cricket

first_imgWest Indies superstar Chris Gayle added another milestone to his name as he became the first batsman to reach 10,000 runs in T20 cricket.Gayle, who required just 3 runs to reach the magical figure before the start of the match against the Gujarat Lions, did so by hitting Basil Thampi for a single off the third ball of the fourth over. (More IPL News)10000 T20 runs for Chris Gayle…. first to do so in this format!Scored most runs for….3283* RCB1519 WI1452 Jamaica Tallawahs#GLvRCB- Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) April 18, 2017Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who plays for Gujarat Lions in the IPL, is second in the list of batsmen with most T20 runs. McCullum has 7,524 runs.Prior to this match, he had played 289 T20s, scoring 9997 runs at an average of 40.47 and a strike rate of 149.20. He has scored 18 centuries and 60 fifties with his highest being 175* against the Pune Warriors India back in Indian Premier League 2013. Follow live Updates here Earlier, Gayle was made to wait in order to reach the landmark as he was dropped in favour of Shane Watson against Pune. He was also left out against Kings XI Punjab in favour of the returning of AB de Villiers. (Sourav Ganguly, Michael Clarke pick their XIs for India Today)However, Gayle was included in the playing XI for the match against Gujarat Lions in place of de Villiers, who missed the clash due to injury. The towering Jamaican had not been in decent touch coming into the match as he just scored 22 (Mumbai Indians), 6 (Delhi Daredevils) and 32 (Sunrisers Hyderabad) in his three matches.advertisementHowever, he displayed some finesse of his old self during this innings against Rising Pune Supergiant, a team he was playing against for the first time.Gayle, who has been out of the West Indies team for a while now, participates in different T20 competitions around the world like the Pakistan Super League, Bangladesh Premier League, Caribbean Premier League, Indian Premier League and the Big Bash League in Australia.Gayle was expected to reach the milestone in the game against Mumbai Indians, but came up short after being caught behind by Parthiv Patel off a Hardik Pandya bouncer.In RCB’s home game on April 14, expectations were high from Gayle but he fell short of the milestone by 3 runs.last_img read more