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On November 20, 2016, SD commented on Too much data :

Great post, Coach! I have been following Under Armour’s foray into Connected Health and it seems like they are shooting a lot of arrows in the dark. You’e pointed out important questions that push companies like Under Armour to not use ‘collecting and assessing data’ as a marketing gimmick but actually create a reasonable value proposition for consumers through this data. My two questions are, if they want to bring access to data that improves health of athletes, can they do it at a low cost (thinking of the combination of 5-10 sensors they would need per device to track data)? Can they create actionable steps, processes or services that enhance the value of this data collection (eg: offer a liquid that restores vitamins and minerals based on the hydration data?), meaning can they close the feedback loop of this data?

Maybe next time I wear my Under Armour tee shirt, I will know how much water I need to drink?

Great article JES! City governments treating access to Wi-fi/Internet as an essential service is a 21st-century approach to bolster communication. You pointed out the massive challenge in getting this service off the ground, both in terms of infrastructure and economics of the service. But one of the things which I found intriguing is the unequal access to high-quality service. As your post points out, where the density of people is high, the service is faster and vice versa. How do some of the under-developed or less busy areas look at this relationship? This article ( does point out some of these concerns. So it will be interesting to see how this relationship of revenue-people density will play out in some of these areas of the city, will their be a lower cap to provide a basic level of service? Nonetheless, even with these incremental challenges, NYC is leading the way in Digitisation of basic communication!

On November 20, 2016, SD commented on Your Toaster Has Been Hacked :

Thanks for your post! I feel the excitement of connected devices has drawn our attention away from the incredibly important discussion of cyber security with increased linkages between different devices per average consumer. I like that you’ve raised the question of accountability, but I was wondering if there are certain standards and policies that have been set for these different industries and devices foraying into IOT and connected devices? Which body/institution is the gatekeeper of security standards? If there are none right now, then it seems like there is scope for more augmented services like Icon Labs to enter the market and provide this security layer service. To me it sounds like the Antivirus technology in computers, when there was a tremendous growth in PCs and every household has a PC, which was also connected to the internet, it created this new anti-virus market. Will we see similar dynamics in the IOT device security domain? Will consumers drive this change, the manufacturers or the unknown security regulators?

Great post Rashi. I have witnessed the ‘Patient Mantra’ system that you pointed out. Apollo is one of the few hospitals which has the highest in-patient utilisation rates. The RFID is a low-cost solution to manage the high-volume traffic that Apollo receives on a day-to-say basis. But my only concern is that how can they extend the patient monitoring to storing and using patient health data. Apollo still makes patient carry thousands of files and paperwork, which increases the cycle time of patient visits. Can this RFID approach enable doctors to have access to all patient records as the patient gets ready to seek advice? I may have missed out, but you’ve mentioned that UHID does the patient data storage, is it linked to RFID by any chance or these are two different systems that are not linked?

On November 20, 2016, SD commented on Pill Popping Made Easy :

Elyse, thanks for sharing this! PillPack definitely offers a great way to deal with prescription ordering and sorting problem. Your blog post offers great insight into how their robot-powered sorting mechanism coupled with their easy-to-use mobile communication systems are benefiting consumers. But I was wondering whether they have more scope in improving the pill consumption process? As you pointed out, taking the wrong pills or not getting pills on time is a big challenge; but even when patients have pills with them, missing out on taking pills at a certain time is also another problem in this context. Can PillPack offer something more than reminders on patients phones? Is there a way to monitor patients’ pill consumption using connected devices? Further, I appreciate that you have critiqued the long-term value proposition of the robotics technology. It seems like it will be very expensive for PillPack to scale if it retains its robotics technology and opens up new distribution centres across the country. Will licensing its technology be a better solution, and will it make more sense to open source their mobile platform and bring on board more pharmacists so that PillPack can scale its impact faster?
Your post offers great food for thought!

Caroline, this is a great article. You rightly pointed out that the business model of fast fashion directly leads to climate change. So is it enough for a company like Zara to just focus on optimizing internal operations, raw material acquisition, and retail operations to compensate for all the climate change the companies business model leads to? Is the reduction of GHG through the above internal steps more than what the wastage fast fashion leads to? Increased quantity of clothes that need to be recycled, increased consumer and company related transport emissions while supplying and purchasing clothes (due to increased frequency of supply and consumption) – all of this doesn’t add up.

The question I wish Zara answered more clearly is that how can their business model evolve to decrease its contribution to climate change activities – can consumers recycle their clothes back at a Zara store? Can Zara invest in recycling? Can the business model go hand-in hand with sustainability initiatives?

On November 5, 2016, SD commented on TATA: Leading India’s Path To Sustainability :

Rashi, you brought an interesting point – TATA focusses more on mitigation than adaption. This sounds like a low-risk short-term approach towards Climate change. When I think about TATA, the Multi-billion dollar Salt-to-Steel conglomerate, I think of pioneering initiatives in adapting new methodologies across their 70+ businesses. Being industry leaders across most of their businesses, can we think of adoption strategies from the west which they can bring to India? I was thinking of a company like Nestle which has deeply embedded its Adoption initiatives across the entire value-chain. What do you think could be TATA’s incentive to introduce high-cost adoption strategies when no such incentives to adopt exist in a market like India at present?

On November 5, 2016, SD commented on AB InBev: Brewing Initiatives to Fight Climate Change :

When I think about Beer in the context of Climate Change – I instantaneously think of Water and Raw Material shortage. The Smart Barley program speaks highly of the long-term sustainability efforts of AB InBev, preventing reduction in Beer yield in the longer-run. But raw material related initiatives seem more like long-term adoption initiatives than mitigating climate change actions. Are they doing as much as they can or should in the other parts of the Value-Chain: Distribution systems (transport related emissions), Operational efficiency (electricity consumption), refrigeration at retailers, waste disposal? Though, I was pleasantly surprised to see some pioneering initiatives like the use of ‘B50’ Fuel in Argentina where their distribution trucks run on 50% Biodiesel [8]; and the use of Eco-Coolers that use gases that lead to lower GH emissions ( I would still like to see them putting compelling goals across their entire value-chain so that they can have a broader impact towards climate change than just focussing on water and raw materials that are primary to their industry.
After all, they’re a (mammoth) $40Billion+ revenue company.

Despite the efforts put in by Starbucks, I am still skeptical and scared about the future of coffee and my productivity.
Even though Starbucks is trying to tackle coffee production across all angles – Procuring its own farms, spending on research in finding heat-resistant strains of coffee, and educating farmers to follow sustainable standards, I’m not sure if all of this is enough to prevent possible 50% reduction in coffee availability by 2050. 1) Starbucks should also think about preventing Deforestation, which is a long-term benefit for farmers. 2) With its increasing growth in retail outlets, it also needs to look at imposing tight goals in reducing emissions due to refrigeration and transportation, reduction in electricity consumption, etc. 3) Lastly, it needs to think about diversifying across other products within the industry and reduce the short-term pressure on coffee, eg – recent acquisition of Teavana.

I hope as an industry leader, Starbucks can be a ray of hope for coffee enthusiasts like myself and my future generations.

On November 5, 2016, SD commented on Blue Apron: Delivering an efficient tomorrow :

I didn’t realize before reading your article that a startup like BA, which is growing tremendously, can be (accidentally?) thoughtful towards climate change. The stats of food wastage seem legit and so does BA’s mission in preventing food wastage by delivering just the right amount of raw materials and ingredients. But I would be curious about the following:

– By charging $10 per meal (which can feed one person), can they scale their business and compete with grocery and similar stores that provide daily food materials to millions of people. I want to think of weekly costs of BA for a family of 4 vs grocery shopping for the family. I think the $40 single-meal for a family of 4 is a hefty amount. Can they reduce cost of raw materials by keeping quality intact?
– Can we compute how much is the cost of delivery (transport emissions) of BA (as mentioned in the comment above) added to the cost of recycling the plastic bags for each household?
I think there is solid potential in this model. But can they optimize and align their operations more with the cause of climate change, reducing GHG footprint and food wastage per meal per household if they operate at scale?