Five Tech Developments Business Owners Need To Know About, Including Smart Homes And Google’s Incubator

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 – Peter Thiel and Mitt Romney Are Part of $100 Million Funding Round for a Company That Wants to Be the Apple of Smart Homes.

From Forbes.comBillionaire tech investor Peter Thiel is co-leading a $100 million investment in Provo, Utah-based smart home company Vivint , the company announced Wednesday. This is a personal investment from Thiel, who is best known for cofounding PayPal and his early investments in Facebook and Airbnb. Solamere Capital, a Boston-based private firm that counts former US presidential candidate Mitt Romney as a partner, was the other co-lead.

Why this is important for your business:

We’re familiar with drones, beacons, driverless cars and wearable devices. But the “smart home” industry is predicted to be huge in the next few years as more and more connected products come on the market. All technology needs services and Vivint is planning on being in the middle of this trend and is attracting some big-time investors. Businesses who make home-based products need to make sure their products are also connected so that they fit into this model.

2 – Apple And Twitter Confirm Bearish Outlook With Disappointing Earnings.

From Forbes.comHigh-end smartphone demand is slowing which will lead to margin pressure and lower shipments as inventories are reduced.

Why this is important for your business:

Don’t believe the headlines. Yes, Apple and Twitter reported disappointing earnings – missing revenue and profit forecasts. And yes, billions in market value were wiped off the Earth. But that was only disappointing to Wall Street. Apple still earned $10.5 billion this past quarter. Twitter is still losing money, but its loss narrowed. Both companies face challenges so if you play the markets you can have your concerns. But if your business relies on Apple technology or is very active on Twitter you can keep on doing business. Both companies are fine and should be fine for a long time.

3 – YouTube introduces six-second Bumper ads.

From TechCrunchYouTube announced a new ad format that’s all about brevity. In a blog post, Product Manager Zach Lupei said YouTube has been exploring formats that are better-suited for smartphone video watchers. Hence the creation of Bumper ads — video ads that are only six seconds long.

Why this is important for your business:

Here’s yet another interesting option if your business likes to use online advertising. I hate it that advertisers can now force us to watch even a six-second ad. But if you’re a business looking to stand out, it’s an enticing opportunity to consider.

4 – Google Is Building An In-House Startup Incubator, ‘Area 120.’

From PC MagazineAccording to multiple reports, Google is now creating its own in-house startup incubator called Area 120. Though its name sounds a little X-Files, how it works is pretty simple. Googlers who are looking to team up and launch a brand-new business can apply to join Area 120 by submitting a business plan to Google. If selected, the team will get to work on its idea full-time for a certain amount of time—and, no, we’re not sure what that means for a person’s actual job responsibilities during that time. Presumably, Google would be weighing the importance of one’s Google job versus the potential success (or interesting aspects of) one’s business plan.

Why this is important for your business:

If you’re a startup and think your product would appeal, Google is giving you a chance to take advantage of its in-house expertise and technology to develop your business. And bonus: I hear their cafeteria is amazing!

5 – Skype for Business hits the Mac in Preview mode.

From TechCrunchMicrosoft announced the launch of Skype for Business for Mac Preview  – the business-focused version of Skype’s communications services aimed at a commercial client base. I.T. administrators and individuals can sign up to test the new desktop software, which introduces features like Outlook integration, additional security, and calls that allow for up to 250 people versus Skype’s 25 max. However, Microsoft says invites will roll out first to I.T. admins before becoming more broadly available.

Why this is important for your business:

Living up to his promise, Satya Nadella is expanding all of Microsoft’s applications to platforms well beyond Windows. This is great news for businesses that rely on Mac or Android platforms that are using Office and want to take advantage of the expanded features that Skype for Business offers.

Oh, one other thing – Microsoft is also working with a bioscience company to store data in your DNA. We are definitely getting closer to The Matrix.

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