Super interesting read, Caroline! Beyond the first frontier of lowering cost of healthcare for people that already have access, I think there is incredible potential for telemedicine to bring healthcare to people in remote areas, particularly in the developing world, who would otherwise not have access to specialists. Of course, there are many infrastructure issues to overcome before this becomes a truly revolutionary solution, but given advances in other technology (including 3D printing which would allow remote printing of, for example, custom prostheses), telemedicine has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for millions of people around the globe.
I totally agree with your comment that “HMH needs to signal to its customer that the true value proposition of the products is the functionality of its platform, rather than being the fastest or most tech-enabled software”. There are a couple of major challenges that education companies face during the transition into the digital world: (1) teachers don’t feel comfortable using the solutions and don’t understand how to use it in the most effective way (other than simply substituting physical textbooks for digital equivalents) (2) fears that the beginning of the digital age marks the end of the teaching profession. As you say, it will be important for HMH to solve these problems rather than focusing on rapidly digitizing. One important piece of the puzzle is to coach teachers on how to use the material effectively and to increase awareness that these tools will be a fantastic supplement, rather than replacement for teachers.
Very interesting article, Izkandar, thank you! I worry about the implications of more data on the potential for local music and non-mainstream DJs to experiment with new music. Will owners of nightclubs be willing to give opportunities to untried musicians and music in the face of data that clearly shows a link between drinks sales and popular mainstream music? There will always be a market for people who want to explore places off the beaten path, but I wonder if this is the first step to commoditisation of nightclubs (and maybe even franchising)?
Very interesting read, thank you! You mentioned that you believe lower COGS will lead to higher margins in this industry. I wonder, however, whether the increased competition in the education space (with lower barriers to entry in the digital world) will actually lead to significantly lower prices and maybe even existential threat for players in this industry. You mention, correctly, that progress is very slow, particularly in K-12 given the political effects of decisions. However, with the proliferation of high-quality digital education content (e.g. KhanAcademy http://www.khanacademy.org) – I believe perceptions are changing and the marginal value large players claim to bring is diminishing.
Thanks for an interesting read, Juan! I wonder if the true driver for creating more fuel efficient features on aeroplanes will be concerns about Climate Change. I imagine that the biggest driver will actually be economic pressure. As low-cost carriers (like Ryan Air) shift from being local players to disrupters of global routes, I imagine that competition amongst aircraft manufacturers will intensify to produce aircraft capable of being efficient enough to allow these carriers to offer the low-costs that consumers will demand. In any case, the end-state will be the same: success for the environment!
Really interesting read, thanks Asafina! I’m really interested to understand how H&M will really be using recycled cotton going forward. I wonder if this is just a marketing gimmick? Given that most of the clothing is manufactured in Asia, and (I assume) most of the recycled clothing is collected in the Western countries, it must be prohibitively expensive to transport old clothes back to factories to use in production of new clothes. Trying to do this at scale must be very expensive, and in a competitive landscape (especially as H&M expands into more developing countries) I can’t see how they can manage this going forward.
Great article, Adam – thank you! What I found particularly interesting is Great Wolf’s approach to dealing with issues about their own sustainable practices. In an industry that has such sporadic visitor quantity and duration, it is interesting to understand how they think about water and electricity conservation (given that rides will need to be on even when they have very low utilisation).
Going forward I wonder how much of the business in smaller non-destination theme parks (like Disney World) will be taken over by VR – creating a completely immersive experience in the world of VR doesn’t seem to far away, and, if the thrill from a virtual roller-coaster resembles the real thing, I wonder how sustainable this market will be in its current form.
Fascinating reading about Zipline and the work they are doing in Rwanda. Clearly there is a need for this service across Africa and the developing world in general, including specific disaster relief situations (there were even larger issues reaching remote villages after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal as what little infrastructure existed was destroyed by the tremors).
Having read a little more about Zipline (e.g. great article at http://www.economist.com/news/business/21703399-notion-leapfrogging-poor-infrastructure-africa-needs-come-back-down-earth-look), I understand that one of the constraints to even more services being delivered is the weight that each of these drones can carry in one trip. As the team continues to develop new technology and increase the payload of the drones I think there are even more exciting developments possible in the medical interventions. For example using e-medicine technologies, a doctor in the capital city will be able to understand the need for specialised prosthetics for rural patients, and then, after receiving digital x-rays and other images, could create the perfect prosthetic that can then be delivered efficiently using one of these drones! Very exciting potential!
Thanks for a great article! It’s very interesting to see a business which is looking at opportunities created by the Climate Change crisis through a lens of not only making money, but meaningfully continuing to solving the underlying problem (“working to put yourself out of business” as you eloquently put it). To become more sustainable as a business, I wonder if UrbanVolt can leverage skills in the “Product-as-Service” category to introduce other energy-saving equipment into industry, but which require more regular maintenance. I echo Izkandar’s worry that the IoT space may become dominated by a small number of companies holding the technology or IP, and therefore UrbanVolt would quickly be forced out of the market if they played a “middle-man” role.