Cheaper fuel would seem like a godsend for businesses in the transportation world. But even with gasoline and diesel at multiyear lows for this time of the year, low prices are a mixed blessing. Also in this issue: An early note for propane customers who are already thinking ahead to next winter.
An update on superthin batteries, the rising use of robots for household chores, a new transatlantic cable for social media and cloud computing, and more.
Large, powerful batteries are going to be popping up in new places in coming years. They’ll be especially prevalent in the electric industry, as utilities and other companies use huge battery banks to help stabilize the electric grid and homeowners start pairing rooftop solar systems with batteries to store excess energy from the sun for nighttime use. Meanwhile, one company is essentially betting its future on being able to produce large batteries cheaply enough to power millions of electric cars.
New blazing-fast Wi-Fi will usher in a cordless future. Plus, what to expect from upcoming cable regulation, state planning for cyber disruptions and Apple’s billion-dollar bet on Chinese ride sharing.
The next month or two figure to be an extremely bumpy period for the oil market. Predicting what the price of crude will do any given day will be even harder than usual. The only thing you can count on is plenty of volatility. Traders are digesting worries about real or potential shutdowns of oil production on four continents, even as the global economy shows signs of slowing, which could dent oil demand. But when the dust clears, we suspect the price of a barrel of oil this summer won’t be radically different from today’s level.
In this issue: China’s plan to build its own chip industry. What’s next for mobile laser technology? Big bets on smart cities. Drone consultants. The birth of quantum cloud computing. How to make your older car smarter and safer.
Two weeks ago, we sat down to talk energy with Jason Schenker, president and chief economist of Prestige Economics in Austin, Texas. He specializes in commodity markets and is known for the accuracy of his price forecasts, so when he talks about what’s ahead for oil and natural gas, it pays to take note. Here are highlights of our conversation, lightly edited for clarity.
Innovators of artificial intelligence are picking up their pace. What’s next for chip giant Intel? Satellite technology for beaming Internet service worldwide. Business uses for chatbots. Virtual reality and roller coasters. New anti-drone technology.
Oil exporters’ hopes for a freeze in crude production melted in the Doha sun this past weekend. And for the coal industry, a glimmer of hope amid recent news of sliding demand and bankrupt mining giants.
Microdrones. Drone safety concerns. What’s ahead for Apple. Encrypted consumer apps. Help with comparing Internet service. Domino’s pizza-ordering app. Gains in researching artificial intelligence.