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On November 20, 2016, Nikki commented on Drones to the rescue! :

Great Article, Chantal! My only concern with providing medical services via drones is that it is currently, drones are highly unregulated. I could see pharmaceutical companies in the US abusing this system to conduct clinical trials on local populations. They could fly in medical drugs in equipment to rural areas where people need critical care and would have no option but to use the provided equipment. Alternatively, medicines could be brought in disguised as “preventive care”. Drone technology for medical care has enormous potential. In cities like Accra and Lagos where there is gridlocked traffic where even ambulances can’t pass through, a drone with refrigeration capabilities could be the difference between life and death if someone is in urgent need of a blood supply.

On November 20, 2016, Nikki commented on Stripe Emerges from Global E-Commerce and Mobile Boom :

Great write up on Stripe, Pallavi! They definitely provide a great payment gateway service that would compliment the SMEs we had read about in the Li and Fung Internet Issues case. The main problem I see in their model is underwriting debt for SMEs business. By facilitating payments and payments they incur a risk that most banks have the capital to take on. With offices in the US and a few in Europe, they need to grow their team to be able to service the large undeserved e-commerce websites in the Middle East and Africa and Asia. Overall Stripe is great disruptive digital technology.

On November 20, 2016, Nikki commented on Digitizing the globe one pixel at a time – Google Maps :

Aayesha! This is a great topic and article! When I first started driving I would frequently use “Map Quest” and print out directions before going to my destination. GPS companies like Garmin that allowed you to map in your car killed the business for map quest. Now, Google Maps is making in car satellite devices like Garmin more obsolete, since people are commuting more on foot, and the maps on your phone are more accurate and easier to use. Although Google is large player in the mapping space, I wonder if the increased accessibility of drone and satellite technologies, would provide alternatives to Google Maps in the future. Uber is investing $500M in its own mapping technology to reduce reliance on Google Maps. You can read more in the following article

On November 20, 2016, Nikki commented on Waze: Paving the Future of Digital Mapping :

Great post, Raphi! With any product that relies heavily on crowd sourced information, you would need to depend heavily on the credibility of the individuals providing the inputs. I could see this system being abused in several different ways. Firstly, individuals in residential areas can miss report on traffic accidents so they don’t have congestion from cars who are rerouting themselves to avoid traffic. Secondly, police officers can miss report areas where they are stationed so that drivers may driver slower that posted to avoid being stopped or fine. Overall I think Waze is a great tool to get realtime traffic reporting that is not captured by Google map technology.

On November 20, 2016, Nikki commented on Payments in Africa’s largest market :

Hi TOM Challenged! I loved this article! One of the most impressive aspects of Interswitch’s business model is that they were able to aggregate close to 3,000+ billers onto the QucikTeller platform. In the US, most bills (utilities, cable, phone etc), are paid directly through payment pages on websites of the respective companies or online banking, this ability was not available for many merchants in Nigeria. With a 160+ million person population, long queues to pay in person and traffic made QuickTeller the “one-stop” shop to pay for bills and services. Interswitch was able to establish relationships with most banking players in the market because it was a competitive advantage to allow your customers to be able to pay using this platform. They also have a flat fee structure. For example the merchants may be charged $1 per transaction which is split between Interswitch and the participating bank. When using card schemes like Visa and Mastercard usually the merchants are charged anywwhere from 2-5% by the bank that is managing the merchant’s check-out page.

Very interesting article, Ginger! I would be curious to know your perspective on whether or not pharmaceutical companies can play a larger role in preventative care, versus the use of mosquito nets.

On November 7, 2016, Nikki commented on Green Aviation at Airbus :

Great piece, Stefan! With the low current oil prices, there seems to be fewer incentives motivating Airbus and other air craft carriers to move to more energy efficient technology

On November 7, 2016, Nikki commented on Tesla: Leading The Charge Toward A More Sustainable Future :

Great article, Raphi! I initially was skeptical of Tesla’s position as a company that wants to have a large scale impact on making people more energy efficient. There Tesla models have a very high price point, and are notorious for having a wait list due to its high demand. I now recognize that Tesla is building demand for more electric cars by having a strong design and performance (many people argue that Prius was lacking in performance). In addition to solar panels (Solar City project), Tesla is also designing energy efficient batteries that can be used within a home.

Great article, Dan. I find it interesting that cities that will be most negatively impacted by climate change–coastal, and arid cities–do little to draw attention to the issue because of the short term economic impacts. In the case of Miami, Latin American’s who are investing in real estate will carry the financial burden of the collapsed real estate market. This article reminded me of how climate change will impact Dubai. Many scientists suggest that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be uninhabitable by 2090 or 2100, due to climate change. Ironically, Abu Dhabi, the capital city of UAE generates most of its revenues through oil, while oil consumption is a leading contributor to global warming. Dubai, the business capital of UAE, has made substantial investments in infrastructure to attract international businesses and real estate investors, even though the long term outlook does does not look promising. Additionally, due to the abundant oil supply, the city does not take steps to ensure energy efficient practices. As a result there is wide spread constant air conditioning across commercial and residential buildings during the summer month, and even an indoor ski slope in one of the malls!

On November 7, 2016, Nikki commented on Can ThinkEco Help Users Reduce their Electric Consumption? :

Excellent post, Laura! I think individuals can take steps to curb climate change, by taking actions that are more energy efficient. Thinkeco is a company that help individuals monitor electricity use in their home. Awareness is a great first step in reducing usage. Hopefully Thinkeco can work on the hardware and software issues so that they can scale their product across the US. Implementing a similar technology in cars to track CO2 emissions could be another way to limit unnecessary use of cars.