The Skinny

The Skinny

WRAL TechWire Publisher and Editor Rick Smith dishes out tidbits from the local technology sector.

Updated 12:43 p.m. yesterday

Premium Lock New NC IDEA leader: Change to foundation offers many benefits

The economic development group NC IDEA will undergo a major transition under its new CEO Thom Ruhe, evolving into a private foundation. While the Durham-based group will continue to offer hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants annually to startups, its mission will broaden with the goal of boosting entrepreneurship, Ruhe tells WRAL TechWire in the first of a three-part Q&A.

Thom Ruhe Thom Ruhe

Updated 8:22 a.m. Tuesday

Jobless future? NC Science and Math robotics team remains gung ho

Amid the doom and gloom about a possible jobless future due to technology automation and robotics, a team of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics - The Zebracorns - remain excited about the future.

Updated 6:48 a.m. Monday

Premium Lock How can workers avoid becoming obsolete? A Q&A with Dr. Mike Walden

Is there a "Moore's Law" for technology-related job losses? Just as decades ago what came to be known as Moore's law forecast ever-increases in computer chip processing power, a new "law" has emerged: The faster technology develops, the more traditional jobs are lost. In a Q&A, NCSU Economist Mike Walden talks about the "jobless future" and how workers can avoid becoming obsolete.

Mike Walden Mike Walden

Updated 6:43 a.m. Monday

Raleigh forum's focus: How can NC deal with threat of jobless future?

Is a jobless future coming for North Carolina? As robotics, artificial intelligence and technology continue to evolve at a rapid rate, North Carolina faces a staggering 50 percent loss of jobs in the coming decades, according to an NCSU study. How can the state prevent such a debacle is the topic of a major forum in Raleigh.

Future Work Future Work

Updated February 6

At Super Bowl, Lenovo will power NFL's tech lineup

Lenovo won't be running a multi-million-dollar ad Sunday night, but the world's No. 1 PC manufacturer is the NFL's "official computer provider" and thus will be a major technology player in Super Bowl 50's delivery. For example, if a player is injured a Lenovo Workstation will be used to help analyze what happened. And there's much more as the NFL notes in a case study.

Updated February 5

Premium Lock Startup SoloPro kicks off real estate revolution with own Super Bowl blitz

SoloPro, a fast-growing startup in Durham that is seeking to "revolutionize" the real estate industry by replacing sales commissions with flat fees, is investing "six figures" in an advertising blitz across triangle media. Seeking to cash in on Super Bowl 50 mania, SoloPro's CEO wants to "increase awareness" with what is an expensive buy for a startup.

A still image from SoloPro's ad A still image from SoloPro's ad

Updated February 4

Amazon launches one-hour delivery service in Raleigh

Amazon Prime Now delivery service Want something like paper towels or milk or even a new computer? Don't want to leave the house but still want to get that shopping item in an hour? You can now. Amazon on Thursday launched its "Prime Now" service in Raleigh.

Updated February 4

Frontier: 'We applaud' ConnectHome net plan, touts own efforts

Frontier Communications Frontier Communications offers praise for the ConnectHome plan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which includes a partnership with Google Fiber. But Frontier, which provides services in the Durham area, points out its own efforts to expand broadband access.

February 3

AT&T applauds Google Fiber's 'free' offer to community centers, notes its own efforts to bridge 'digital divide'

AT&T GigaPower     While praising Google Fiber's announced plans Wednesday to offer free ultra-fast Internet access to public housing communities, AT&T notes it is already doing so at several Triangle and Triad locations. And a new program for discounted access is coming.

Updated February 6

Google Fiber promises free ultra-fast Internet access to public housing

Google Fiber, which is in the process of deploying in the Triangle, is promising free ultra-fast Internet access to all public housing properties in cities where it offers service. The aim is to deliver the fast Internet "to those who need it most," a Google executive says. Google says it is doing so "voluntarily."

Connecting in Kansas City Connecting in Kansas City

Updated February 4

SAS drives revenue to 40th straight record: $3.16B

Driven by increased sales globally, a surge in new customers and a near 10 percent increase in R&D spending to develop new products, Cary-based SAS set a record for revenue in 2015 at $3.16 billion. Revenues grew 2.3 percent despite a strong U.S. dollar as the privately held firm also stretched its streak of never losing money. The good news means SAS is adding jobs.

Tracking SAS financials Tracking SAS financials

Updated February 2

Report: NC faces 'at least' 70% loss of jobs in 39 categories

Jobs        Automation threatens more than 700,00 jobs in North Carolina spread across 39 job categories, according to a recent NCSU study. Additional analysis shows that another 1 million jobs are threatened by off-shoring. To help document the threats posed, the Institute for Emerging Issues releases a new suite of tools called the "Future Work Disruption Index."

Updated February 1

Premium Lock How can cities best deal with rise of robot workers?

Four-in-10 of you working in Raleigh right now could lose your job to a robot. Yet a new study says Raleigh is well positioned as a job market where the rapidly approaching tsunami of robotic workers as replacements for humans sweeps worldwide compared to others. And Greensboro is among the most vulnerable. So what are cities supposed to do? Th e study's authors recommend ideas. It's time for "battle speed" to deal with the challenges of "Meet Robbie, my replacement."

Pepper, the robot companion Pepper, the robot companion

Updated February 3

Cam and the Selfies: A mobile data record for Panther fans

Here's a snapshot of just how wildly popular social media is becoming at sporting events: Cam Newton and the NFC Panthers generate a record buzz in championship game. Yes, Cam's enthusiasm is infectious. My, how the sports experience is changing - in the stadium and at home.

January 29

Premium Lock FCC on broadband: 'More work' needed; trade group calls report 'ludicrous'

Fiber optic network                     The FCC says in an annual report on broadband that a "persistent digital divide" remains and that it intends to "accelerate" deployment through a variety of means. A trade group representing Internet providers such as AT&T and Verizon dismissed the report, calling it a "cynical, fact-starved exercise."

Updated January 28

Premium Lock Grim stats show how badly Lenovo smartphone biz is struggling

If you want to understand why Lenovo is turning its smartphone business inside out - from dropping the Motorola name to gutting Motorola's headquarters through layoffs to management changes - then check out the latest global statistics from IDC. They aren't good for Lenovo.

Motorola's Lenovo banner   Motorola's Lenovo banner

Updated January 28

Premium Lock FCC could take 'immediate action' to speed up broadband

The FCC is scheduled to unveil a new report today about the availability of broadband. But it's also likely to create more tension between the industry and the agency which already are fighting in court over "net neutrality" and Internet regulation.

Tom Wheeler    Tom Wheeler

Updated January 27

'Watching IBM:' Former union group launches already fiesty Facebook page

Alliance@IBM - the effort to unionize IBMers - is closing down. But a new Facebook page titled "Watching IBM" organized by long-time Big Blue workers Lee Conrad vows to "fulfill the information gathering and dissemination that the Alliance did." Among the first posts: A reiteration of a report that another round of layoffs is about to hit the tech giant.

Watching IBM Watching IBM

January 27

Premium Lock Triangle entrepreneurs slightly more optimistic entering '16

Economy A new quarterly survey of Triangle entrepreneurs finds that they are more optimistic about sales, spending and employment growth entering 2016 than they were in the previous two quarters. But the overall sentiment is still lower than the previous three.

Updated January 27

Premium Lock Report: Among 'Best of the Rest,' Triangle is No. 1 in startup deals

A new report from a Silicon Valley startup that focuses on in-depth analysis of venture capital and angel funding says that the Raleigh/Triangle market is No. 1 in startup deals over the past year among markets outside of the Valley, Boston and New York. The report examines the "Best of the Rest" in numerous categories, and the Triangle does very, very well.

Raleigh's growing skyline  Raleigh's growing skyline