The Signal, #7: IoT & advertising; Firefox OS; we’ve moved

Friends –

December has brought much-welcome precipitation to the Bay Area – including hail – but, lest we forget, our drought continues.  What is taken as basic in, say, Israel – desalination, drip irrigation and more – may yet find a home here in the Golden State. Drought watch chart below.

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Firefox OS

Like you, we saw the somewhat confusing press about Firefox OS. Dead? Not dead? Lots of analysis from media and, um, analysts. This video from Mozilla indicates it will continue as an OS for connected devices (like Tizen, like WebOS), but that they won’t distribute it through the carrier channel any more. We will add our reflections, having seen the flow and ebb of demos and hype and hope from close proximity, from the viewpoint of developers, carriers and handset makers.
Sandro: Firefox OS started from a hack – Boot2Gecko. A really cool hack, but perhaps an unnatural act –  forcing hardware to be directly addressed from a web view. A challenge if the goal is comparable performance as a smartphone running a native OS and native apps.
Jon: Remember Droid Does?  In fall 2009, Verizon, having picked Android as its horse to back as an iPhone alternative, ran its Droid Does campaign. Soon enough, Android itself became the second pillar in our current smartphone OS duopoly.  Firefox OS has never had a Droid Does (or Centrino) moment. No one stepped up to make it an inevitable choice for consumers.


Droid Does campaign, fall 2009.

Phil: There was the promise of the HTML5 app environment for Firefox OS to use consumer context to serve context-sensitive HTML5 apps, removing app clutter (and rendering moot “apps”.) Still a valid concept, in my view.

In the meantime, our smartphone OS duopoly continues.

How to convince consumers that home IoT devices are indeed spying on them

We recently visited a friend who is convinced her Nest thermostat is spying on her. Security on wearables is nascent at best, and a potential honeypot at worst. It was in that context that a succession of stories on how data aggregated by connected devices can be used, natch, for advertising got our attention. Of course it can – but, that doesn’t mean it should be.


This is a real quote from a real marketer. At the high level, the philosophy of reaching consumers—not individual devices—stays the same, but the application of cross-device is just growing like a virus into other places where it hadn’t existed before.”  Viruses in new places! Pass the Purell!


But ok. Maybe there *is* a NetZero-type business model for wearables. Subsidized or free device, in return for viewing ads and/or sharing your data with advertisers?  Amazon has done this with the lower-priced Kindles.


Meanwhile, our Phil wonders: what’s the ad blocker for IoT?


We’ve moved (again)

We’ve moved from WeWork Golden Gate to WeWork TransBay. Bye-bye, Tenderloin; hello, SoFiDi.  Come see us.


Happy winter solstice


from Team Blue Field

Team Publications
音楽ベンチャーが集結、米西海岸で技術サミット  (Japanese; Music Startups Gather at SF MusicTech Summit); Phil Keys, Nikkei Sangyo, 12/8/2015)
We are also active on Twitter.
Jon Metzler, Founder and President 
Phil Keys, Analyst
Sandro Olivieri, Product Strategist