Rami Alkarmi builds lean startup Ecosystems

Geek. Investor. Growth Strategist.

A proud geek, investor, and widely recognized advisor and expert in strategy, lean startup ecosystems, business models, growth & distribution through big data and viral marketing, and corporate venturing.

In 2013, he founded Arcoten Holdings as his advising/investing vehicle where he partners with corporates, accelerators, and incubators to build lean startup ecosystems, and helps companies through providing expertise in growth, hands-on mentorship, access to capital, and helps companies iterate product and grow fast. From time to time, he also likes to build companies with friends and partners inside Arcoten.

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Apple is expected to introduce a new mobile payment service on Sept. 9, which is expected to be a standout feature in the new iPhone 6. But based on Nielsen data from July, which was charted for us by Statista, most people are using mobile payments by presenting a barcode or QR code on their smartphone, which is popular among ticketing agencies for transportation and sporting events.

While iPhones (and almost all other smartphones) are capable of presenting visible barcodes or QR codes, reports say Apple’s new mobile payments solution will leverage the company’s Touch ID security system, as well as a new near-field communication (NFC) chip, said to be exclusive to the next-generation iPhones, to pay for goods securely. According to Nielsen, 37% of mobile payment users have used NFC on their smartphones to pay for goods and services — but that could soon change if Apple finally includes NFC in one of its devices.


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More than a few people maintain that if we all knew everything about each other, the world would be a better place. The total transparency argument takes many forms, and shades of it can be seen in the surveillance policy and discourse that holds that “more information is always better than less information,” and information asymmetries should always be remedied by more disclosure and surveillance, not less.


iwatch todd hamilton gif

According to Re/code, Apple’s first wearable device will be shown off at the company’s Sept. 9 event, but it won’t be available to purchase until 2015.

There’s one very good reason for that, and it can be summed up in one word: Apps. 

When the iPhone first launched, many were skeptical of its high-end starting price of $500, particularly for an untested product with a measly 4 GB of storage space. Many are similarly skeptical of the iWatch’s alleged $400 price tag.

apple_iphone_sales_trend 4e6fa4c introThat phone was a success anyway, but iPhone sales didn’t really take off — or become the iPhone experience we’re all familiar with today — until the iPhone 3G, which was the first phone to ship with the iOS App Store.

The App Store, which first launched in an iTunes update in July 2008, answered the big unanswered question at the time: “What makes a smartphone so special?”

Third-party apps — software that allowed users to navigate their surroundings, order food, hail a cab, or read the news — made the iPhone into a monumental success. The iOS App Store inspired others like Google and Amazon to make their own stores, and the rest is history. 

Well, Apple is ready to launch another untested product — but like the iPhone and iPad, it will take time for developers to grasp and build apps specifically for the new screen and interface. 

Tim Cook Apple App Store

If Apple launched the iWatch in October, as earlier reports said it would, developers would only have about 30-50 days to reconfigure their apps for the iWatch or build new apps from scratch. That’s not a lot of time, especially since Apple will reportedly introduce two new iPhone screen sizes this year, which ought to send developers scrambling to optimize those apps. 

By pushing the release of the iWatch to 2015, developers will have more time to build apps first for the new iPhones, and then for the iWatch, which is expected to be closely tied to the iPhone anyway. Of course, development for the iWatch will really open up once it’s available to the public, so we might not see any boundary-pushing apps for some time. We’ll likely learn more about Apple’s timetable for the wrist wearable on Sept. 9. 

Nobody has seen the device yet, which might be called “iWatch” or “iBand,” but we have a pretty good idea of what it can do. Based on iOS 8, the company’s forthcoming software release for mobile devices, Apple’s rumored wearable will be able to talk to the company’s other gadgets — like iPhones, Mac computers and Apple TV — but also be able to control home electronics, and accurately measure your health for the sake of preventative care, among other features.

SEE ALSO: REPORT: The iWatch Might Cost $400

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Google announced today that Google Authorship will no longer impact search results. That means that if you have spent time building out your Google Plus profile in the hopes that it will move you and your content higher in search results, your efforts may have been in vain. Now I’m stretching


The University of Texas Police are investigating an unauthorized drone flight the home opener for the Texas Longhorns football team. This is pretty irresponsible behavior, and may violate existing laws and regulations.


Personal improvement educator Stephen Covey originally wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People back in 1989. Since that time his approach to attaining goals effectively has been reimagined and reinvented for an infinite variety of disciplines and behaviours — so why not big data analytics?


Journalists proclaiming the end of ‘gamers’ are wrong, but so are gamers. Everyone is wrong and here’s why.


Those hoping for a phablet-sized iPhone from Apple look to be in luck.

iPhone 6 Air Coque Grise 08

The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 was reportedly facing production issues, which might have forced Apple to release the handset at a later date, but the French publication Nowwhereelse (via BGR) just leaked a ton of new images (and even a video) of the rear shell of rumored device, suggesting mass production might be right around the corner.

iPhone 6 Air Coque Grise 02

As you can see from the images, which align with previous rumors and component leaks we’ve seen in the past, the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 features the same new antenna bands and cutouts we’ve seen for the smaller 4.7-inch iPhone, as well as the same placement for the new power button and elongated volume buttons.

iPhone 6 Air Coque Grise 09

The report also calls the device “iPhone Air,” a name that’s been rumored but largely ruled out by most tech news publications up to this point, considering a large iPhone would be presumably heavier and/or thicker than a 4.7-inch iPhone. It’s been previously reported that both new iPhones will feature the same thickness.

iPhone 6 Air Coque Grise 03

Apple is expected to debut both iPhones at its Sept. 9 event, which will also reportedly introduce the company’s wearable device for the first time. That wearable product, however, will likely launch in early 2015, whereas the phones are expected to release in mid-September.

Check out the video of the alleged 5.5-inch iPhone below.

SEE ALSO: There’s Mounting Evidence That Apple’s New iPhone Will Allow Us To Make Easy Mobile Payments

SEE ALSO: REPORT: The iWatch Might Cost $400

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Tim Cook iPhone

In two weeks, Apple is expected to announce the new iPhone 6 and release its latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 8.

And iPhone users are going to be blown away by a handful of apps that take full advantage of iOS 8’s new features, says Matt Johnston, chief marketing officer at app testing company Applause (formerly uTest). Applause is a Massachusetts-based startup that does crowdsourced testing of mobile apps for companies like Google, Microsoft, HBO, and Runkeeper.

Johnston says a lot of developers, particularly ones that write custom apps for enterprises like banks, media companies or retailers, are not jumping in to use the new features in iOS 8 just yet.

"A lot of them are standing back with the new stuff, and saying let’s hold off updating our apps for a month or a quarter," he told Business Insider. "But the people that forge ahead and use the new features and get it right, their apps are going to appear borderline magic to their users."

These new features will give iPhone/iPad users the ability to connect their apps together and with lots of devices: Mac computers and Apple TV, of course, but Johnston says iOS 8 will also introduce plenty of "Internet of Things" activities like making your phone talk seamlessly to your thermostat.

"There’s an amazing opportunity for app developers to differentiate themselves. A year from now, We’ll all be numb to it. We’ll think, of course this new app talks to Apple TV," Johnston says.

Three New iOS 8 Features That Will Blow Us All Away

There are three new features supplying the app magic for most third-party apps, he says.

1.  App Extensions, which will allow apps to work with one another and with all sorts of “Internet of Things” devices, sharing data between apps. (Android apps already share data in this way.)

extensibility 6

2. Continuity, which will let your iPhone/iPad work seamlessly with your Mac letting you send data and files from apps from one device to another.

WWDC3.  "Kits" specifically HealthKit, PhotoKit and HomeKit. 

HealthKit will connect iOS 8 to health devices and let them share data.


PhotoKit will let multiple apps work with photos and videos.


HomeKit is the Internet of Things tool for controlling connected devices in a user’s home.

iOS 8 Homekit

When developers do use Apple’s new kits, HealthKit and HomeKit are most popular, Johnston says.

Waiting For The New iPhone

One big reason more developers aren’t yet taking advantage of the new features in iOS 8 is that Apple is expected to launch new screen sizes and a new iWatch.

App developers don’t know how their apps will look or perform on these devices and want to wait to get their hands on one.

Thing is, they don’t have to do that. Apple has given developers a tool called “adaptive layout,” which will allow their app to work on any size iOS device, Johnston says.

But many don’t want to use adaptive layout. “Some of them think they can create richer or more robust apps without this adaptive layout template getting in the way,” he says.

Old Apps Won’t Crash

Matt Johnston, uTestProbably the best news with iOS 8 is that app developers are taking it seriously, from those that make consumer apps to those that write custom apps for companies like banks and retailers.

They have been updating, fixing and testing their apps to make sure they won’t crash if users install the new OS on their existing phones, he says.

When iOS 7 was released, Johnston sounded the alarm to Business Insider, saying too many developers were not doing enough to prevent these kinds of crashes on fledgling operating systems. He advised people to wait a few weeks before upgrading.

Not so this time.

"Companies are more proactive than they were with iOS 7. A lot of companies were rushing to us days before iOS 7, pulling their hair out. More of them are testing to make sure their existing app works with iOS 8 and will not break or crash or have issues," he says.

The upshot is: Johnston thinks people are going to love iOS 8, especially “in 3-6 months when more apps are taking advantage of Healthkit or Homekit or extensions, and apps are talking to one another. It enables amazing things,” he says.

SEE ALSO: Here’s Everything We Know About The iPhone 6

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PS4 dashboards are about to get a lot more customizable. Sony has just announced that the PS4 will follow in the footsteps of the Vita by adding custom themes to the console’s Dashboard. The reveal showcased a few animated themes featuring Japanese PlayStation characters Toro and Kuro. Switching through the menus changes the background where the characters reside.


ShoreHow are you feeling today? Now someone else wearing Google Glass can answer that question for you.

The Shore Human Emotion Detector (SHORE), can detect basic emotions, someone’s gender and predict how old you are in real time. The app was developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits in Germany.

In an attempt to sidestep any privacy concerns surrounding the app, the developers have promised not send any images or data to the cloud. SHORE also prohibits you from being able to find out anyone’s identity through it.

The app can gauge whether someone is angry, happy, sad or surprised. The product specifications on the official site say that the app has a 94.3% detection rate for the gender of the face you are looking at. The technology uses a database of more than 10,000 annotated faces as its reference point for identifying real ones. The Fraunhofer Institute told CNET last week that the software took “years” to develop.

Watch a demonstration of how SHORE technology works below.

SHORE has the potential to help people with sensory processing disorders such a face blindness recognize who they are speaking to. Another potential use is to help people with autism tell what emotion the person they are spending time with is projecting.

CNET speculated on why the app isn’t available for downloadIt’s not clear if Fraunhofer has built it into a soon-to-be-available app, or if Fraunhofer is waiting to pair the tech with an app partner. Still, the SHORE app charts a less-traveled path through privacy concerns of facial recognition so that it can still be used to help people who need it.”

SEE ALSO: Google May Be Working On A Way To Make Google Glass Actually Look Normal

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OK, I’ve just done a quick poll around the office and overwhelmingly the feeling is that I should stay fully clothed in any photo session. And people don’t much want those photos either, which is fine by me, if a little hurtful (I work from home so this is basically my wife and daughter’s opinion).


Nigeria’s wealthiest woman, Folorunsho Alakija, has disclosed that she did not attend a University, insisting that a formal education is not a requisite for success in life.



Home automation has been a hot topic in the tech industry lately.

Apple recently unveiled its new platform for connected appliances called HomeKit, and this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was filled with household gadgets that you can control using your smartphone.

Playtabase, a startup created by students from the University of Minnesota in 2012, takes a different approach to home automation than most.

Rather than taking out your phone to switch off your lights, Playtabase’s Reemo wristband allows you to control objects in your home by simply pointing at them.

Playtabase isn’t the only company experimenting with gesture control technology for home automation. PointGrab unveiled its camera-based gesture solution PointSwitch at CES in January, which allows you to turn off your lights with gestures, while the Myo armband allows you to control your home electronics with Jedi-like gestures.

Some of these smart home solutions, however, can be rather difficult to actually use. Often times, you need to point at a very specific area multiple times to carry out a command — negating the convenience behind the technology.

Playtabase claims that the Reemo, however, is different.

"This is something that’s going to be so easy my 85-year-old grandmother can strap on and use it," Playtabase CEO Muhammad Abdurrahman told Business Insider.

The concept certainly sounds simple. The wristband is able to control various household objects through a smart plug, which communicates with both the bracelet and the objects its connected to.

Once the wristband is connected to the smart plug, you can control appliances by pointing at them and using simple gestures. For example, to turn on a coffee pot, you could point at the coffee pot and wave toward you as if you’re telling someone “Come here.” 


"We focused on making our gesture set small and memorable," Abdurrahman said.

The Reemo will work with both “smart” and standard home appliances, and you only need one plug to power multiple devices. The Reemo comes with a set of small checker-sized air receivers that you can stick on any object you want to use with the bracelet. These air receivers pick up signals from your wristband and the smart plug to interpret your gestures. 

The company will be launching an Indiegogo campaign this week to raise $50,000 for the Reemo, and was recently selected to join Microsoft’s Ventures Accelerator.

The Reemo isn’t meant to be a techie device for early adopters, however. Abdurrahman said it’s intended to help the elderly easily control the appliances in their homes.

"It has to be really simple," Abdurrahman said. "Simply pointing at the things around you would make it accessible to people in a way that it hasn’t been before." 

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