Very interesting. I wonder who really benefits the most from this and therefore who should pay for it. To me, it seems like the distributor and the manufacturer may save the most amount of money by having a much leaner in stock inventory and being better able to manage their production cycles. Therefore, if I were selling this product, I would consider going straight to the distributor and integrating into their options – the distributors could then push the technology down to the retailers to improve their operations too.
This is really interesting. I could see a number of different uses of technology in a warehousing set up that inherently compete with each other. The one discussed above is to provide technology to the floor workers in order to improve their work efficiency. Another approach I could see is to use technology to replace the workers and automate the warehouse. While the DHL approach may cost less up front than an automated warehouse, the automated warehouse may have lower operating costs.
I have seen that FedEx seems to be investing heavily in the automated warehouse (http://www.computerworld.com/article/2549973/enterprise-architecture/extreme-automation–fedex-ground-hubs-speed-deliveries.html) and I wonder if DHL’s investments in technology may actually put them behind.
As Ellyn mentioned above, the amount of data that Amazon could potentially have is intense. But I wonder what the consumer response might be if they were found to be using data about news reading habits to help improve profit at Amazon.com. Some users may not care, especially if it improves their shopping and news experience. But I imagine there will be some negative perceptions of this and I think that Amazon should try to be subtle with this and avoid overt use of additional data that people may not have intended to share with Amazon.
I wonder if additional cost savings and efficiency improvements could be realized beyond just driving more hours on a single truck and not paying a driver. Specifically, I think that a computer driver could completely change the way that trucks are driven that could further help everyone. For example, if multiple trucks could electronically communicate together they could potentially drive in a very close pack to reduce the average wind resistance. In addition, the trucks could be used for the public good by being used as mobile data centers that could relay information to other self driving cars on the road – such as road conditions, traffic, etc.
Dow seems to be very well positioned to lead the market when it comes to desalination (particularly reverse osmosis) technology. It will be really interesting to see what happens with the Carlsbad plant to figure out if this is a sustainable model. It makes me wonder what causes the costs of the plants to be so high, is it primarily driven by the filter material or is it driven by the energy required to force it through the material. Both of which seem to be helped by the advances in nano-filters. I hope that the public sector continues to invest in this infrastructure such that it continues to drive companies like Dow to invest in R&D that could ultimately make this technology competitive with basic water treatment facilities.
This is an interesting view into some of the nuanced hurdles that arise whenever people try to combat larger global issues, like climate change and sustainable agriculture. I feel like this can’t begin with a top down imposition of rules by Unga – it’s hard to convince someone to give up short term gains for uncertain long term gaines. I think they have to work with the farmers to get them to move towards these more sustainable farming practices. I wonder if there are NGOs or charities that could come in really handy in this situation, that may have a mission for increasing sustainable agriculture, improving conditions in emerging African communities, and/or combating the real world challenges of climate change. I think any help they could receive just to get started towards sustainability will go a long way to maintaining it and building it within neighboring communities (once the farmers, the companies, and the NGOs/Charities can see the results).
This seems like it could be a huge opportunity for the shipping industry. I hope that it economically makes sense, given that an ice breaking ship is likely more expensive to build and to operate. I wonder if shipping companies could scale this and actually make a dent in the total carbon output of the fleet. I’m not sure how much cargo would benefit from this, but it seems like it would be a lot of bulk materials and maybe even some north US or northern Europe cargo.
They could potentially scale this operating model by having multiple standard cargo ships caravan behind an ice breaking one. In addition, they could just use this boat for what it is good at and just do the arctic journey, dropping off it’s cargo in Alaska and then having a standard container ship continuing the journey to China.
Nice write up. It’s really interesting hearing about the challenges facing hydro power – I had thought of hydro power as a clean energy source but didn’t realize how susceptible it was to climate change and maybe even exacerbates some of the effects (like the flooding you mentioned above). China is facing similar challenges with the three gorges and other dams (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/30/world/asia/chinese-report-on-climate-change-depicts-somber-scenarios.html).
I wonder if there are technological or analytical tools that may help optimize dam operations that could help minimize the effect of any shortages or floods.
While I am not sure about the feasibility of this project, I really like the thinking. I believe that the current practices are not working and people need to start looking outside the box for real solutions.
At this point in time, I don’t think it makes sense for Exxon to go down this path. I’m not sure wind turbines strategically makes sense for Exxon when they could just buy carbon credits from wind turbine operators without adding an unrelated business to their portfolio. In addition, it’s not clear that it’s economically responsible to build that many wind turbines (otherwise other companies would already be building them). Without a change in government regulations (increase carbon taxes or reduce reliance on carbon based energy sources), it might not make sense anytime soon.
That being said, Exxon should definitely be ready in case government regulations do change, otherwise they could get left behind.