Darren Woodson finds faux NFT answer

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Darren Woodson, a former security and real estate expert from Dallas Cowboy, launched Dallas-based company CounterFind’s counterfeit NFT (non-fungible token) solution – a technology that identifies and removes counterfeit NFTs and NFT creators using it Trademark, copyright or publicity rights control allows their brands to be replicated without hesitation. CounterFind has already removed more than 500 fake NFTs worth more than $400 million.

California-based BEN Group, which represents the estates of Albert Einstein and Steve McQueen, is among those using CounterFind, and Woodson says he’s already partnered with entertainment, music and sports brands, including the University of Southern California .

“CounterFind is leading the way in creating a safer, more reliable space for developers and consumers to buy authentic NFTs,” says Woodson. “As a former professional athlete, I know firsthand how important it is to protect your brand in every way.”

Fireside Pies provides robotic servers

Robot servers could be the future of restaurants.
Fireplace Cake

In the wake of staff shortages in the catering industry, Fireside Pies has turned to a robot. The robot, named Tray, was developed by Bear Robotics with offices in Addison to help serve tables. Tray is operational at Fireside’s Grapevine facility and will be deployed at the brand’s Lake Highlands facility in early June.

Prior to the pandemic, Fireside Pies had 50 front-of-house employees at its Grapevine location, 30 at Lake Highlands and 12 at Henderson. Today the company employs 20, 12 and 6 people respectively.

“When we first started looking into this possibility, we realized that just a single robot would take a lot of the stress and pressure off employees who would be doing the mundane tasks like serving food or setting tables. Now they can spend more time at their tables,” Fireside Pies director of operations Joe Bozarth told D CEO.

The tray can hold up to 400 pounds or five pizzas at a time, but doesn’t serve drinks.

The CEO of D recently spoke to Bozarth about how robots fit into the future of the restaurant business.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

D Managing Director: Will this technology soon be used in all restaurants across the country?

BOZARTH: “I can imagine it taking on certain types of concepts just for the sake of simplicity. You don’t have to worry about the robot calling in sick: it will always be there. This technology is very consistent for concepts like ours. I think it’s more of a very cool tool to have and use, but it would never fully integrate into our operations. I think I definitely see the future in counter-service, self-service restaurants where you could load them up and shoot them at the tables. I think the way we’re using the robot for a full-service restaurant — just the food or the bus transportation — other companies will probably start using this and see the cost-efficiency of it.”

D Managing Director: Is this a short-term fix for restaurants during staffing shortages, or a long-term fix?

BOZARTH: “We were so limited by the amount of staff we had and we knew we were losing revenue and we just couldn’t sustain that. So this robot helped take the pressure off. But now, as we ramp up staff over the next year, we’ll still be using the robot at the same capacity. It just made everyone’s job a little bit easier. The job trend has hurt us, but honestly it has helped all of us grow as leaders and operators to realize that we may not need as many employees as we used to. Maybe we can do it with the smaller, leaner, leaner staff. Instead of having to hire two different people to fill that position on busy shifts, we can now just let the robot do it.”

D Managing Director: Will there ever be a time when waiters and waitresses are obsolete?

BOZARTH: “I think people still need the human experience. When people go out to eat, a lot of people talk about the food, but really it’s the service that brings them back or creates that love affair or passion with the restaurant chains. I can tell you when we talk to our guests, they love the robot. But if they can’t come in and see their favorite server, bartender, host or one of our chefs, I think that would cause them to lose their connection to our brand. If we lost that bond as an industry, I think restaurants would be soulless.”

Nokia opens Cybersecurity Testing Lab AStaR

Nokia has opened the first end-to-end cybersecurity testing lab in Dallas to test Nokia and partner products against high-threat cybersecurity attacks on 5G networks. With the lab called AStaR (Advanced Security Testing and Research), Nokia will focus primarily on ensuring that 5G networks, hardware, applications and associated software can withstand real-world threats.

5G will enable myriad new services for consumers, government and businesses, and the industry must be extremely vigilant to ensure these 5G ecosystems are secure,” said Nishant Batra, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer at Nokia. “To demonstrate our leadership and commitment to security, Nokia will be the first company to inaugurate a laboratory in the United States with a unique mission to identify and prevent cybersecurity attacks. The AStaR lab will be an ideal proving ground to evaluate security in the larger context of network usage and abuse scenarios.”

With the widespread deployment of 5G, the attack possibilities will continue to increase. The tests will allow Nokia to present the results to other cybersecurity experts to help close the loop on the attacks. The lab is located on the Nokia headquarters campus in Dallas, west of Valley Ranch, and is staffed by US-based cybersecurity experts.

Dak Prescott-backed startup OxeFit is expanding

With more than $35 million in its pocket, Dallas-based Oxefit — an AI-powered home workout system — has announced new investments from PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson and NFL All Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey. It’s already being endorsed by Dallas sports stars like Dak Prescott, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant and Blake Jarwin.

OxeFit’s resistance-based strength training tracks the user’s movement to provide feedback, adjust training, and assess goal. The first product, XP1, was released in April 2021. Since then, the company has launched another similar product.

“We appreciate the support of the professional athlete community,” Rab Shanableh, co-founder and CEO of OxeFit, said in a statement. “The addition of Dustin and Jalen to our investment team validates the need – and excitement – ​​for smarter, more diverse home fitness systems. From day one, we have been committed to bringing professional training into consumer homes in incredibly unique ways.”

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Ben Swager is Associate Editor of D CEO, D Magazine’s business publication. Ben manages the Dallas 500…

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