I agree with your assessment that assumption of data privacy in this day and age is at best naive; however, I would argue that the items you point out as “ethical concerns” are the primary reasons a company like Aetna would pursue this kind of partnership and innovation. Aetna can learn more about the risk profiles of the pools of patients it is insuring, thus allowing it to charge premiums most in line with the predicted costs of coverage. I also disagree that consolidation between payors and providers implies an ethical concern. I think that in the healthcare industry, maximum transparency and alignment of incentives will result in the most utilitarian outcomes. Especially when it comes to HMOs, I think that aligning payor and provider incentives encourages preventative health programs, prevents unnecessary procedures and treatments, and reduces total costs in the system.
One point of Bayh-Dole that I think is particularly interesting and relevant to your article is that of march-in rights. These rights are particularly applicable to your article in that the assignee is required to “take within a reasonable time, effective steps to achieve practical application of the subject invention in such field of use” (source: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44597.pdf). Although the government has never actually used these march-in rights under Bayh-Dole, your suggestion of creating an easier interface for entrepreneurs to find Harvard-owned IP could address this requirement were march-in to become a concern.
As you mentioned, Zara in particular is able to dominate the fast-fashion market through a) speed to shelves and b) low costs. I agree with your assessment that digitization (especially blockchain technology and IoT / RFID) will improve their cost structure. The inventory management and stocking issues you mention are particularly interesting to me. I wonder if Zara could use these tools to predict trends, as Gap was considering in our marketing case. Specifically, could Zara apply advanced analytics to the sales and inventory data they can receive instantaneously in order to predict trends and capitalize on popularity of certain design features? The fact that Zara can get new designs on shelves so quickly means that they could produce multiple lines within the lifetime of a given trend, making this kind of data more powerful for them than for a slower-turn company like Gap.
Further, Zara could use data on what customers are searching in the app to inform which types of products they should develop next. For example, if many customers are searching for a “tulle midi skirt” and the results come up empty, Zara would know to design this item and get it into stores as soon as possible. Zara could also aggregate this kind of information with location data of app users to predict where to ship what volume of merchandise.
Wow — I love this article and the two points made above. I think Trevor brings up a good point that there are two primary issues that Bombardier is facing: (1) massive cost overruns and (2) isolationist tariffs. Based on our Boeing case in accounting, it sounds like the former is fairly common in the airline industry; the latter is potentially more concerning. I think the deal with Airbus was brilliant; as Trevor pointed out, the administration can hardly complain about companies creating jobs in the U.S. That being said, this may set a precedent that could hamstring both Airbus and Bombardier in the future — will every craft sold to a U.S. carrier have to me manufactured in the U.S.? I also wonder if this forced partnership with Airbus will eventually result in Bombardier being acquired entirely by Airbus, rather than shaking up the long-standing duopoly in aircraft manufacturing.
I have to agree with DR and Eric on this one — It seems to me that this drone-delivery race is basically a publicity stunt at this point. At least in the U.S., I find it hard to believe that the unreliability and regulatory uncertainty associated with drones will be less expensive than human drivers (who can basically be paid as Uber drivers / ICs and use their own vehicles) in the next 5 years. Case in point: Domino’s pizza delivery robot in Germany: “For now, the robotic deliveries will only be available within a mile radius of select Domino’s locations. And though Starship’s bots can rove around on sidewalks autonomously, for now the machines will be accompanied by a human to monitor in case something goes wrong.” (source: https://www.recode.net/2017/3/29/15100748/dominos-deliver-pizza-robots-germany-starship)
I agree with Ben that the use-case in rural Africa makes a lot of sense, but it’s hard to see this being applied in more densely-populated regions. Hey, maybe one day Zalora Philippines could use drones to make their model more profitable!
I fully agree with Abdoulaye’s point that creating a singular supply chain across so many small actors with limited digitization is very impressive. (I also feel a bit sorry for the U.S. cows who are producing so much milk!) It seems to me that there are four primary problems here:
1. Low yield
2. Poor quality yield
3. Inability to detect disease in milk (and perhaps no incentive of farmers to tell Hatsun that the milk came from a sick cow)
4. Frequent outages of refrigerators (and perhaps perverse incentives of milk centers to turn off electricity)
As you point out, it seems like Hatsun is already implementing IoT to address items 3 and 4, but there are major gains to be made by addressing items 1 and 2. My understanding is that the best way to increase yield is through close management of dairy cows’ estrous cycles through artificial insemination. While I agree that Stellapps’ Activity Meter could provide Hatsun with data of when the farmers’ cows are in estrus, they would still need to provide artificial insemination services to the farmers. Based on the physical dispersion and low concentration of the herds, I worry that this could become cost prohibitive.
This suit immediately calls to mind the AOL-Time Warner merger in 2000 — at that point in time, AOL was the U.S.’s top internet service provider (source: http://money.cnn.com/2000/01/10/deals/aol_warner/). The difference is that this merger was allowed to move forward, although it arguably posed the same risks to competitors and customers as the proposed AT&T-TW merger does. The fact that the DOJ is taking a more active role in this case reflects just how much larger a piece of our lives and our economy internet and digital media is today, nearly 18 years later. Another interesting lesson the AOL-Time Warner case can provide when analyzing this latest merger attempt is that ultimately, the AOL merger failed and many of the expected synergies never materialized.
However, as Barry Volpert mentioned to our class, “content is king” now — as your Exhibit 2 shows, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are all investing in the content creation business now. Arguably, apps / distribution in digital media is now commoditized and content is the only real differentiator to encourage subscribers to utilize one distributor over another. This is probably one reason why AT&T is pursuing the merger. However, to your point and HJ’s point above, there are probably more efficient ways to employ this capital and to create content for proprietary distribution.