Happy Friday and welcome back to This Week in Monetization. If you missed us last week, I hope you could console yourselves by knocking off work early. This week we’re looking at a food tech startup that’s hacking in-office catering, hackers offering a subscription service for hacking, and Ericsson heading up trials to help cars talk to stuff. (I couldn’t make the hacking thing work for that one. Cut me a break, it’s Friday!)
Creative corporate catering
The free catered lunch has become an expected perk for the Silicon Valley set. As far as I can tell, they are effective—everyone loves them, it keeps people in the office, and gets everyone together for lunch a few times a week. Though the love for free food inevitably turns to a bunch of ingrates grumbling about getting the same pizza and crappy lukewarm barbecue every week. Food tech startup Sifted is looking to change that with its “experiential lunch program” that provides chef-prepared cuisine that is whipped up right in your office—not lugged across town on a bicycle. Sifted claims that it will “partner with the fastest-growing companies and become an integral part of their culture” and “enrich team cultures and power innovation.” That’s an awful tall order to fill, but at least the poor facilities manager will be relieved of fielding complaints about cold Chinese food.
Hackers hacking subscription services for hackers
Most people pay good money for subscriptions that protect them from malware. A group of nefarious hackers have done quite the opposite by starting a subscription service selling spy tools, exploits for web browsers, routers, and smartphones, malicious code for operating systems, and even network information from Russian, Chinese, Iranian, and North Korean nuclear missile programs. On the surface, this is a real WTF NO WAY MAKE IT STOP kinda thing. But take into consideration that white-hat hackers and other good guys that protect us from digital danger will also have access to the same information. I would be exceptionally wary of providing them my credit card info for the subscription, though.
A conversation with cars
There was a time when cars only spoke to tell you “the door is ajar,” and used a little mechanical record player to repeat the annoying message. The conversations that autonomous vehicles need to have to safely shuttle snoozing passengers to their destinations are much more sophisticated, though. Autonomous cars must communicate with other vehicles, infrastructures, and other IoT-connected devices, and they need to do so quickly and reliably. That’s why Ericsson is leading a new connected car initiative in Europe focused on developing an overall 5G system architecture for end-to-end vehicle-to-everything (V2X) network connectivity. The initiative—called the 5GCAR Project—is one of 21 new projects selected to be part of phase two of the European Commission’s 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership. Autonomous cars will probably automatically close the doors instead of reminding you that they are in fact jars. But maybe the smooth driving will allow passengers to bring a Wi-Fi record player along to spin some vinyl!