This is a great post Ranj! I have to agree with you that the hospitality industry is much behind on the curve of digitization. Having worked first hand on implementing a CRM tool for Starwood hotels, I can completely understand how technology is viewed by this industry. As you can imagine, with the arrival of keyless check in or robots to deliver room service or deliver your luggage, a lot of hotel jobs are at risk. One may argue that the core strength of a hospitality business is in the high touch personalized service and hence those jobs are here to stay. However in my view, I don’t think that a lot of people will necessarily lose their jobs but in fact there will likely be a change in the nature of some jobs. The jury is still out and only time will tell.
Thanks for writing about this Amanda! This is a topic that is extremely dear to me and it is great to see how drones can be used for such a noble purpose. I wanted to add another angle to the topic of digitization and conservation. I think that a more connected world drives tourism for a myriad of reasons and one such such I have often found is eco tourism. With Eco tourism, the locals are incentivized to protect wildlife which would otherwise become targets for poaching. There is an interesting article here – http://africageographic.com/blog/richard-branson-believes-big-game-worth-alive/ where even the likes of Richard Branson have commented that wildlife while it is alive and can attract tourism, is worth more alive. I think more connected world gives us the platform to educate and broadcast such messages, attracts more tourism and helps drive initiatives that ensure greater good.
This is an interesting post Danny! Products that cater to smart homes have already appeared on the market and are here to stay. While this Philips Hue bulb is a great product, I agree with Hugo and don’t find this extremely useful for a $200 price. At that price range I have seen a bunch of other smart home items such as Google home which is a voice activated speaker assistant that is available for $130 and offers a much wider range of services https://madeby.google.com/home/. I wonder what the exact motivation behind creating Philips Hues was other than the fact that you can change the colors through your smartphone. In fact you have products that allow you to control your heating / lighting / security from your smartphone and are available at a much better price range. Philips should focus more on ensuring that the newer bulbs technology is in fact more energy efficient while appealing to consumer tastes.
Thanks for a great post Nikki! My experience at the Dubai airport has been fantastic and your post helps me understand the reason behind it so thank you!
On a related note, I wanted to share about how Singapore’s Changi airport has managed to deliver the best customer experience for several years in a row (http://www.worldairportawards.com/main/2016_airportawards_announced.html). In my experience, Singapore airport has allowed me to reach my gate within 5 minutes of reaching the airport because they are operationally superior than other airports. They have decentralized their security checking process, which is usually the bottleneck, and moved it to each individual boarding gate. While this increases the number of staff required for security checking, overall security goes up (given you are checked just before boarding the plane) and overall time to the gate is reduced. I hope to see more airports take inspiration from this process.
JJCW, this is a great (and hilarious!) take on a serious issue that Fonterra seems to be facing. In fact New Zealand as a country that is heavily relying on agriculture and tourism is bound to be greatly affected by climate change, despite making every effort possible to protect themselves against it. This is the paradox of climate change- you are not necessarily ‘reaping’ what you ‘sow’ , and while other countries such as China and the US are one of the greatest contributors to the worsening environmental conditions, they will not necessarily be affected by their own (mis)actions. Luckily the global community is not keeping quiet about this and there has been a lot of effort especially by world organizations such as United Nations to come up with a few key Global Goals, where 7 of 17 goals are related to Environment and Sustainability – http://www.globalgoals.org/. By defining these goals and by putting aggressive targets against them, I am hopeful that we will be able to rally global support to combat the effects of climate change.
Pallavi, thanks for your insightful post on Tesla! Tesla is indeed a role model for all technology and environmental businesses and there is a lot to learn from them on how to make environmental consciousness look ‘cool’. Very few companies have been able to drive home the fact that speed and sustainability can coexist. We have also seen the rise of Formula E racing concept which was conceived in 2012 and has already garnered quite a fan base (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formula_E). What is even more exciting is that Tesla’s Elon Musk is moving beyond automobiles and is also trying to come up with Hyperloop which is planned to be high speed transportation of passengers and goods in partially evacuated tubes, that uses clean energy as its primary source which may change the future of the transportation industry. Companies such as these give me hope that we may be able to mitigate or even reverse the effects of global warming.
This is a very interesting concept and thanks for sharing it. I certainly believe that solar is the best form of energy from all the alternatives we have at the moment – from its wide-spread availability, to its efficacy and its effect on the environment. Economics of Solar power solutions have been turning favorable over time with installed solar costs dropping by over 70% in the last 7 years (https://cleantechnica.com/2015/09/30/average-utility-scale-solar-price-in-u-s-falls-to-5%C2%A2kwh/). With this, SunCulture seems to be well positioned by creating such innovative products that not only save water in the process, but also improve the overall productivity of agriculture. Most agricultural countries are naturally blessed with sunlight and AgroSolar Irrigation Kit™ can prove to be a very effective solution to the increasing food crisis.
Thank you for the post Amanda. Indeed we take constant source of electricity for granted, even at HBS, and I certainly see opportunities for all of us to improve on that. In my opinion, electricity should not be made ‘free’ or be included as a flat fee in the monthly rent. This masks the estimates of an average usage per room / per house and does not drive any change of behaviors from the student community towards being more eco-friendly. Taking some lessons from our FRC Activity based costing / pricing, I think there is opportunity to convert our energy bills to those based on actual usage, which will likely encourage the student community to be more conscious. The same argument holds true for water consumption and I am glad to see Harvard university as a whole taking some action on this – https://green.harvard.edu/campaign/our-plan and laying out a few key goals on energy and water consumption.
This is an interesting question that you pose and in my opinion, I think there is a huge opportunity for Indian Railways to play their part in sustainability. Taking from RG’s comment, I think Indian Railways should further expand and improve their network which will go a long way in promoting a better mode of transport. Taking the example of Mumbai, it is clear that the railways play a pivotal role in mobilizing the 20 million odd people of the city every day. While trains are still considered the most on time and reliable mode of transport in Mumbai, they are always running over their loading capacity, thereby making the experience extremely uncomfortable which leads to locals opting for road transport. By investing in better railways infrastructure (and better public transport system), the city will reap huge benefits of added convenience, reduced congestion and improved environment.