What the utility of the future looks like


As utility industry trade show DistribuTECH wrapped up last Thursday, attendees got a peek at not only new product offerings — from smart thermostats to software platforms that manage smart meter data — but also the potential for what a utility of the future might look like.

In a Pike Research webinar held at the event, Andres Carvallo, the chief strategy officer of smart grid network software provider Proximetry, noted that the smart grid has “reached the teenage years” and is “still evolving.” As it grows up and reaches its full potential, I’ve put together five important ways in which how we interact with our utility can be revolutionized and why they matter.

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Bronfman: Spotify is a real and growing revenue stream


Warner Music Group Chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr. is a big fan of Spotify. In fact, at the D:Dive Into Media conference, the music mogul touted the music streaming service as a complementary service on top of other sales channels.

In what is likely his final interview before leaving Warner Music, Bronfman defended Spotify’s ability to drive more value for artists and labels. “Everywhere we look, Spotify is incrementally positive,” Bronfman said. Later in the discussion he noted that the streaming music startup is “a real and growing revenue stream.”

That said, Bronfman noted that part of the success comes from a deal that Warner Music helped to negotiate that passed on more value to labels and artists. “They have Warner Music to thank for a much better economic deal. We insisted on a much stronger deal and refused to sign unless we got that deal,” he said.

In addition to…

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Announcing a global talent search for TED2013 speakers

TED Blog

UPDATE: Get details on online signups for events near you: list of opening dates for TED2013 auditions.

The best moments at TED have often come from unexpected places. But this year, we’re pushing that to an entirely new level. We’re staging a global talent search to bring together the most remarkable lineup in TED’s history. A series of public talent searches in cities around the world will reveal voices, talents and ideas that delight and surprise. As a result, at least half of our TED2013 program will literally be crowd-sourced through what we’re calling the TED2013 Worldwide Talent Search.

Public events will be happening in 14 countries on six continents — in Amsterdam, Bangalore, Doha, Johannesburg, London, Nairobi, New York, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo, Tunis and Vancouver — between April and June 2012. The talent searches will be official TED events, and we’ve tapped local TEDx organizers…

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An iPhone case with a little something extra: insurance


Being the resident “extreme” iPhone (s aapl) case enthusiast (and also the klutz who drops his phone most often), I was intrigued by the new cellhelmet Kickstarter project. This $44.99 case combines svelte design with protection against drops, but bundles it with an actual insurance policy that replaces your iPhone if damaged while in the case.

The case in and of itself isn’t magical, and according to David Artuso of cellhelmet creator cellpig.com, the case isn’t “superman.” The design has angled edges to protect against drops, and a choice of six different colored backplate shields to protect the glass, providing great protection without the bloat of other solutions.

What sets the cellhelmet apart is the bundled insurance policy, administered by Global Warranty Group. Should the iPhone break while in the case, a $50 handling fee covers any repairs required, or complete replacement if necessary. I’ve written about iPhone insurance

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