Grayson Brulte

Grayson Brulte

@gbrulte | @gbrulte

Grayson Brulte is an Innovation Strategist and Co-Founder of Brulte & Company.

Grayson Brulte is an Innovation Strategist and Co-Founder of Brulte & Company. As an innovation strategist and strategic advisor, Grayson builds trusted relationships with organizations, working together with internal teams to prepare clients for what’s next.

From developing strategies for autonomous vehicle programs to helping companies become the go-to resource for technology innovation, Grayson empowers clients with the foresight and intelligence to take on the world’s biggest challenges.

Sharing his insights into what’s next, Grayson hosts The Road To Autonomy Podcast and the SAE International Tomorrow Today Podcast, where he interviews high-caliber guests and leaders across industries, sharing his own unique perspective to deliver one-of-a-kind discussions.

Harnessing his in-depth knowledge of diverse markets, economics, politics, and technology, he and the guests tackle topics from autonomous vehicles and mobility trends to the financial effects of innovative breakthroughs and their impact on society.

Grayson understands the intricate relationship between politics and innovation, expertly navigating between these worlds and facilitating the impactful conversations between the two. Grayson has enabled forward momentum and transformation from a city to a national level.

As a former Co-Chair of the City of Beverly Hills Mayor's Autonomous Vehicle Task Force and member of the city’s Smart City/Technology Committee, he helped Beverly Hills become one of America’s digital capitals chosen by Google.

His perspective, insights, and opinions are utilized and shared by leading organizations and publications throughout the market.

Grayson’s comments and opinions have appeared in numerous publications, including: The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg, CNN, Forbes, The Hollywood Reporter, and Reuters.

For speaking engagements, editorials and media enquiries please email [email protected].

Wi-Fi Opens New Distribution Opportunities

With the rapid growth of global WiFi hotspots comes an opportunity to take a step back and rethink what WiFi does and what it can do in the future.

A lot has changed since 1999, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was the top grossing movie of the year with over $924 million in global revenue. The Backstreet Boys were on top of the charts with their Millennium album that sold over 11 million copies, and Excite CEO George Bell made one of the worst investment mistakes in history when he failed to buy Google for $750,000. In August of that year, the term WiFi was used commercially for the first time in history. The inaction of George Bell to acquire Google and the introduction of the term WiFi would end up changing the technology landscape forever.

Fast forward fifteen years later and it’s 2014 and Google has a market cap of $369.26 billion. The Walt Disney Company now owns the rights to Star Wars after buying Lucasfilm for $4 billion, and global WiFi hotspots are projected to grow to 7.1 million by 2015.

With the rapid growth of global WiFi hotspots comes an opportunity to take a step back and rethink what WiFi does and what it can do in the future.

A WiFi network currently creates value for individuals by allowing them to connect to the internet from a mobile device without having to pay for a data plan. In the future, a WiFi network will become a distribution platform for brands and content owners alike that creates value for users of the network. In London, MasterCard has partnered with public WiFi provider The Cloud to offer free WiFi access for MasterCard card members at over 22,000 hotspots. MasterCard is using the WiFi promotion to build brand awareness for their MasterCard Priceless Cities campaign.

Right now, free WiFi is only available to MasterCard cardholders who download the MasterCard Priceless London WiFi app prior to connecting to the free network. MasterCard has the right idea in mind, but in my opinion they didn’t completely think through the large opportunity presented in front of them. Yes, MasterCard is creating value for cardholders, but they are also creating friction by requiring users to download the MasterCard Priceless London WiFi app prior to traveling in order to connect to the network. This friction filled experience devalues the value proposition.

To truly execute a frictionless branded WiFi experience, brands have to take one step back and ask themselves;

Does this only benefit our brand or does it create value for our customers too?

If the answer only benefits the brands then the campaign was a non-starter. If the answer is this creates value and I would want to use this, then it’s a win for the brand and the user.

In Italy, Italian lawmakers have put forward a proposal to develop and launch a free WiFi network in thousands of public places. When Italian lawmakers start to think through the free WiFi proposal, they shouldn’t lose sight of the cultural importance of Italy and what WiFi can do to enhance the cultural experience for tourists. Sergio Boccadutri, a member of the ruling Democratic Party and sponsor of the proposal recently said, “Free WiFi would have a big cultural impact and help the economy recover, starting from industries such as tourism.”

While Mr. Boccadutri is correct, lawmakers must not get lost in the details of developing and launching a free WiFi network. Instead they should outsource this proposal to a firm with a proven track record of developing frictionless software that lives on top of WiFi networks. The software layer on top of the network will provide the true value to tourists in Italy, as it would grant them access to geo-targeted content based on their location that might be of interest to them from an Italian cultural perspective.

The operators of the WiFi network would then be able to offer value added services such as private tours and fast passes for museums. The data gathered from WiFi networks can create tremendous value for those individuals who choose to interact with the network. In Austin (TX), travelers waiting in the security line at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport are now told how long the wait is in real-time on screens thanks in-part to data gathered from the WiFi network.

As more users start to connect to WiFi networks and brands such as MasterCard, governments such as Italy and airports such the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport start to use WiFi as a value added services, individuals benefit too. While individuals benefit from the increase in free WiFi access, this creates a business opportunity for brands and content owners to distribute their unique content over a global network that supports Passpoint to a highly targeted audience.

Imagine you take your family to Walt Disney World Resort and after a long day, your child is tired and ready for a nap. You put him or her in the stroller, pull out the iPad and connect to Disney Guest WiFi before handing it over to your child.

When you connect to Disney Guest WiFi, Disney knows that you are in the Magic Kingdom in Adventureland, based on your location and offers up complimentary hyper-targeted Disney content such as the Swiss Family Robinson movie.

You click play, hand the iPad over to your child to watch the movie and you enjoy the park.

Wi-Fi Opens New Distribution Opportunities is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on SocialSign.in.

Creating Value at High Internet Speeds

It has been 66 years since John Walson Sr. invented cable TV in America. Today, about 100 million U.S. households pay for TV, according to research firm SNL Kagan, or approximately 85 percent of all households in the country.

Despite such penetration, the pay TV market is actually in decline, experiencing its first full-year drop in subscribers last year amid competition from satellite and mobile. To capture new subscribers and stop losses from cord-cutters, cable and telecom companies should rethink their business models and focus on building frictionless user experiences that create value for customers.

The answer may be found online. Only 70 percent of American households have an active high-speed Internet connection at home, according to Pew Research. Meanwhile, 93 percent of all American households have access to broadband Internet, according to an NCTA analysis of SNL Kagan and Census Bureau estimates. That gap points to potential for growth.

In the early days of cable, value was created through providing hundreds of channels in the comfort of your home. Today, cable TV is not the value — the value is high-speed Internet access. While broadband speeds have increased for consumers, and revenue has increased for cable and telecom providers, the value of the service has not kept pace.

Value for subscribers can be created by boosting broadband speeds and offering value-added services to the network infrastructure — an emerging business opportunity that cable and telecom companies in the U.K. are starting to explore.

In the U.K., BT has strategically decided to offer complimentary access to BT Sport for free to all existing broadband customers, in order to gain new subscribers and market share. BT has about a 31 percent market share of the broadband market, which totals more than 22 million broadband subscribers, or 78 percent of all households.

Not to be outdone, Virgin Media, with about a 20 percent market share, has focused on complementary international Wi-Fi access for subscribers. Through a Wi-Fi sharing access agreement with Comcast, Virgin Media subscribers will be able to access Comcast’s Wi-Fi network when they travel to the U.S. Comcast is on track to have more than 8 million Wi-Fi hotspots live by January 2015.

Over in France, Bouygues Telecom — whose 2 million customers translates into about an 8 percent market share — recently announced a deal to give subscribers access to Netflix through their set-top TV boxes.Bouygues made the strategic and symbolic move to embrace Netflix, while creating value for their subscribers. After the deal, Bouygues Chairman Olivier Roussat said, “We intend to continue enhancing our offer so that customers can enjoy the best innovative content.”

As Roussat and his counterparts in Europe explore new business opportunities, U.S. executives are starting to take notice. Time Warner has just announced that HBO would unbundle HBO and offer it as a stand-alone service. “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO,” said Richard Plepler, chairman and chief executive of HBO, in announcing the move.

As the price of broadband Internet access continues to rise, cable and telecom executives in the U.S. would be smart to follow the lead of their European counterparts and create value for subscribers by offering complimentary value-added services before Apple CEO Tim Cook does it for them.

Cook recently described the current state of TV as “stuck back in the 70s.” Cable and telecom executives should consider the Cook’s statement a shot across the bow. To anticipate a potential move by Apple into the TV business, they should double down on innovation that creates value for subscribers.

For inspiration on the future of TV, look to Europe. The TV/broadband relationship is changing to the benefit of consumers. Cable and telecom companies who put their subscribers first and create value through complementary value-added services will likely be the ultimate winners, and in turn gain revenue and market share.

Creating Value at High Internet Speeds is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on General Electric Reports.

Moving Towards a Frictionless Payment Experience

As a society, our payment habits are once again changing as individuals become more comfortable with new technologies that no longer require taking their credit card out to buy goods and services.

We have come a long way since science fiction writer Edward Bellamy first wrote about the credit card concept in his 1887 novel, “Looking Backward.” While Bellamy only wrote about the idea in his forward-thinking novel, Frank McNamara, co-founder of Diners Club, was actually the first to use a “small cardboard card” to pay for dinner in 1950.

That night would turn out to change financial services forever, ushering in the beginning of the modern credit card era. Eight years later, American Express CEO Ralph Reed launched a charge card that the company was able to successfully build and scale, thanks in part to the success of its pre-existing financial services businesses. Around the same time, Joseph Williams was developing the first all-purpose credit card for Bank of America — BankAmericard — which would later evolve into Visa.

Just as forward-looking entrepreneurs and executives such as McNamara, Reed and Williams helped created the modern-day credit card system, we are now going through a new cycle of innovation. While the names of the individuals who are changing the payments industry today are different, what they have in common is a desire to create a better way to pay for goods and services.

Could the next 10 years usher in the next revolution in payments, similar to the way the 50s and 60s gave us American Express and Visa? Yes. The introduction of technologies such as PayPal, Square, Amazon Payments, Google Wallet, Facebook, Apple, Stripe and Alibaba are just the tip of the iceberg.

Square changed the way we pay for goods at small and medium-sized businesses by making it cheaper and easier to accept payments. Square’s ability to design a beautiful product and user experience is helping society move towards a frictionless payment experience.

Google is also trying to move us towards a frictionless experience with Google Wallet’s near-field communication (NFC) payment technology. While paying for goods in a store with a smartphone is innovative, it is not a truly frictionless experience. Consumers still have to reach for the smartphone in their pocket or purse, similarly to the way they would reach for their plastic credit card.

The current CEO of American Express, Ken Chenault, recently summed up his thoughts on digital wallets by saying “I’m going to tap to pay? What’s the friction that it’s really solving? What are the benefits that I’m getting? How is that helping me in my shopping journey? At the end of the day, the failure of wallets was not being focused enough on customer needs.”

Chenault has changed the perception of the brand by partnering with the best young startups to create exceptional value for card members. He predicts there will only be five platforms that matter to the future of payments — Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Alibaba — and that American Express will be embedded in all of them.

In Spain, CaixaBank has out-innovated Google for the time being by partnering with Visa to introduce the first Visa contactless wristband. The wristband eliminates the friction of paying for goods while increasing the customer’s experience. Barcelona-based CaixaBank has a long history of innovation, as the first European bank to launch a large-scale contactless card payment system in 2011.

While this move by CaixaBank and Visa was extremely smart, it is only the first step towards a truly frictionless payment experience. As Visa’s contactless wristband technology evolves and matures, I expect to see Visa follow its historic growth path by partnering with existing businesses.

MasterCard isn’t sitting still, as CEO Ajay Banga has transformed the company from a global payments company into a technology company with remarkable track record of growth. While still COO, Banga launched MasterCard Labs in 2010 with the goal of developing innovative new technologies. MasterCard’s PayPass, a contactless technology currently used by more than 2 million merchants in 63 countries.

As Visa and MasterCard move into the contactless payments technology, there is a sleeping giant that will soon be awakened — Apple. While there has been much speculation about the iWatch, there has been little if any talk of the device’s potential to change the payment industry by introducing a frictionless contactless payment system to the masses.

Apple has north of 800 million credit cards on file through iTunes, which could instantly make the iWatch a game changer if Apple offers payment capabilities. An iWatch could very well eliminate the need to carry a plastic credit card by simplifying the process of paying for goods and services.

Tap and go, without having to remove your smartphone from your pocket or purse. This is the future of a frictionless payment experience. A customer-first approach to payments that is simple, secure and easy to use is coming.

While this is the future of paying for goods and services without friction, this major change in consumer habit will not occur overnight. Instead, it will take years to fully mature until society as a whole is comfortable with a contactless payment system that is embedded into existing devices such as a watch or bracelet.

This new payment system will eliminate the friction of having to think twice about paying for goods or services.

Moving Towards a Frictionless Payment Experience is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on General Electric Reports.

Today We Are Data Collectors. Tomorrow We Are Possibly Healthier.

Today we are collectors of our personal health data. Tomorrow we are possibly healthier thanks in part to data gathered by wearable devices and sensors in our clothing and upon our bodies.

Your pulse might be 72, your respiratory rate 16, and you might have walked a total number of 5,550 steps so far today but the day isn’t over yet. While these numbers might not mean much to you today, they will tomorrow as doctors fundamentally re-approach the way they practice medicine.

As doctors begin to embrace wearable technology and reconsider the way they have traditionally practiced medicine, we must be careful not to misinterpret the data. If the data gathered from a wearable device is misinterpreted, the doctor could inadvertently offer a misleading and possibly incorrect course of action.

The same misinterpretation could be attributed to the financial markets. For example, if every single United States citizen stopped looking for work then the unemployment rate would be effectively less than 1%. While the markets would cheer and stocks would roar, this false understanding of the data would create an artificial bubble in the market which could then inflate prices before leading us into a deep recession.

While free markets can recover from the misinterpretation of data, a human being cannot. If data is profoundly misinterpreted by a doctor then the patient could suffer through any number of unnecessary treatments . Who would be to blame? The doctor or the data?

The doctor would be to blame, not the data as it is the doctor who misinterpreted the collected information. In order to avoid these catastrophic events in the future, doctors will need to fundamentally rethink and re-approach the way that they practice medicine.

It will be the forward thinking doctors who embrace a new way of practicing medicine and move to a concierge business model who will prosper in this new marketplace. These doctors will be able to hire the best engineers, data scientists, customer service specialists and forward-thinking physicians. These practices will be able to actively explore new ideas, study massive amounts of data, and embrace innovation with the goal of creating a healthier you.

While wearable technology might not make you healthier, it will force Doctors to fundamentally re-approach the way in which they currently practice medicine.

Today We Are Data Collectors. Tomorrow We Are Possibly Healthier. is an article co-written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte and Dr. Peter D. Weiss, M.D. F.A.C.O.G, Co-Founder of Rodeo Drive Women’s Health Clinic and a former National Health Care Adviser to Senator John McCain’s Presidential Campaign in 2008.

Wearable Technology and the CEO’s Health

We risk creating undue fear amongst shareholders of companies whose CEOs share wearable health data with their friends by email, social media or on a closed platform.

In Andrew Hill’s July 7th column “Beware what wearable technology tells the market about CEO health” published in the Financial Times, Mr. Hill touches on the sensitive topic of disclosure and the CEO’s health.

Mr. Hill’s well written column was a stark reminder that we are jumping to incorrect conclusions about ​the current functionality of wearable technology and our health.

Today, wearable health technology does not provide actionable data that a physician can use to benefit the care of his or her patient​.

In the future, as wearable technology evolves and becomes “smarter”, physicians will be able to act upon the data gathered as it will be more reliable.

We risk creating undue fear amongst shareholders of companies whose CEOs share wearable health data with their friends by email, social media or on a closed platform.

​This data could misinterpreted by shareholders either in a positive or negative sense which could falsely send a company’s share price up or down depending on how the data is interpreted.

Most shareholders today will not understand the data gathered by wearable health devices which will cause them to misunderstand the health of the CEO and misinterpret the overall health of the company.

As we move towards a society in which wearable health technology is commonplace, we must not be drawn in by the temptations of gamification.

We must proceed with caution all without losing sight of the future and the positive impact that wearable health technology will have on our health.

Wearable Technology and the CEO’s Health is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte and Dr. Peter D. Weiss, M.D. F.A.C.O.G, Co-Founder of Rodeo Drive Women’s Health Clinic and a former National Health Care Adviser to Senator John McCain’s Presidential Campaign in 2008.