This is super cool, thanks Alexandra!
Beyond just predicting, a lot of these are instrumental in also ending/preventing further spread of disease. Ebola is a great case of this.
Interestingly and slightly tangential, some pharma companies have started to experiment with social media to help them determine side effects not necessarily reported in clinical trials. This is significant because clinical trials are often highly controlled and only patients with few co-morbidities are included. Once drugs hit a larger market, unexpected things can happen. Further, it can be helpful to pharma companies to understand which side effects patients care most about. E.g. fatigue may not be considered a terrible side-effect in medical terms, but patients might strongly disagree. In a next evolution of the drug, a pharma company can use that information to cater to patients’ wants.
Great post – thanks!
The trucking industry is particularly interesting given the current political context. As one of the most common jobs across America, the trucking industry is about to get disrupted by the advance of self-driving cars. What will happen to all the truckers? And what will happen to all the McDonald’s, coffee shops, etc. that are lined up throughout the country to cater to those truckers. We may see a lot of people out of jobs very soon.
This is crazy, thanks so much for sharing. What a messed up system.
Estonia has a pretty cool system that the US could potentially learn from, though I guess it would take some time to get to that point…! Their centralized database allows them to e.g. scan the license plate of a car they have just pulled over and immediately get information on owner, family members, registered weapons, prior offenses, etc. Though some of that information could certainly also be dangerous if over-generalized on, it could also be helpful to the vast majority who are stereotyped for no reason other than their race by giving police additional context.
I wonder whether there is potential to leverage a supposedly un-hackable platform like blockchain to help store personal information. There seems to be so much insight to gather across industries – education, healthcare, etc. – if we would just be comfortable sharing our information. Democratization of that data would be awesome too. Why should one company have access to data, rather than having a central repository to share among everyone. The same holds true in healthcare, ranging from topics like genomic data to access to blood banks. Why can’t we all just share – particularly given that the source (people) don’t ultimately benefit from a silo’ed system?
Very cool, Casey!
A couple of things I wonder:
1) What are the upfront costs of setting up BigBelly trash vs. traditional trash cans, and how long does it take to make up for that upfront cost.
2) I know that a few of them have a recycling component as well – but that they don’t compress garbage in the same way. I thus wonder whether the recycling requires more frequent pickup, and so counteracts the benefits mentioned above. And if they do, what would actually be more helpful to the environment – optimized and less frequent pickup as described in your post or better recycling practices?
Super cool article – thanks Matt! It’s fascinating how what we consider a low-tech industry is actually one of the fastest to embrace technology innovation. I think they may even have the highest penetration of drones.
Interestingly a lot of farming innovations come from Israel – probably given that they already have to deal with a pretty harsh climate! One of their most effective, yet very low-tech, innovations has been the use of drip-irrigation. Now considered a no-brainer, drip irrigation really changed the way that farmers consumed water. Though the ultimate water use is much lower, the plants actually end up with more water because of the control and timing of the watering.
I agree that we are generally way too late in addressing climate change, yet it seems inefficient to ask a shipping company to invent new ways of generating energy – that should be left up to others. And in the meantime, we still need shipping!
That said, the Triple E vessels are a significant innovation within sustainable shipping. The ship hauls are shaped very differently from conventional ships, and their engines are engineering marvels in themselves! A huge step forward.
Yay – great article!
An interesting aspect of the slow-steaming strategy is that Maersk has realized that customers – if they must choose – will prefer “timeliness” over “speed” of arrival. (Essentially everyone agrees that variability is the greatest pain of all)
Thus, it has been extremely important for Maersk to couple it’s slow-steaming strategy with a promise to always be on time. Maersk has proven that it can achieve this by demonstrating by far the best “on time” rates in the industry.
As a big ski-lover, I agree that they should do more to prevent climate change! 🙂
I’m even more worried about changing weather patterns in more vulnerable parts of the world, however. For example, the area immediately south of the Sahara is getting drier every year, yet they have no meaningful voice in the fight against climate change. That’s why it seems even more important for the ski industry to step in. Sad as it is, we’re more willing to listen when our immediate life is affected – also if it’s “only” skiing and not necessarily our full livelihood.
Maersk has been ahead of its cohort for many years with respect to addressing climate change.
The Triple E series is one result of this. The ships were designed and commissioned by Maersk in 2011, and won Maersk the “Sustainable Ship Operator of the Year”. Between 2013 and 2015, 20 ships were delivered each able to carry 18,000 containers. The Triple E’s are designed to be “slow-steamers” meaning that they are built to sail slower than a typical container ship. Greenhouse gas emission is exponentially related to speed, and so CO2 emissions can be halved per container when transported aboard a Triple E vessel. In building slow-steamers, however, Maersk has had to emphasize to customers the benefit of “on-time delivery” vs. “speed of delivery”. Customers have been willing to accept that trade-off only because they know that Maersk is the best in the industry to adhere to their promised times. And, as we know from TOM, variability is a pain. 🙂
If you want to read more about the Triple E’s: http://www.maersk.com/en/hardware/triple-e
Further, Maersk has a number of sustainability and CSR awards.