Great post! I agree that digitization has been especially effective in the health care space, and it is very interesting to see that Diabetic patients may not have to go through traditional methods to manage their insulin. One thing I am curious about is how fast the FDA usually approves of these types of technologies. I know there is a submission process for FDA approval, but do you think that this technology getting into the hands of consumers is feasible in the next 5 years? I also have read several articles about how the FDA is grossly understaffed, which means that submissions can take years before they are finally approved. I wonder how these government restrictions affect or limit companies from investing in R&D for this type of technology. Given the landscape of several medical device startups, how easy would it be for this idea to be copied by a competitor as well? I think Abbott has a strong brand name to hopefully prevent too much cannibalization of this technology.
I, like Piersten, also watched “Smart House” when I was growing up. I think that Nest has a good target market as millenials are much more environmentally consciuos and may see Nest as a way to manage their energy waste over other traditional competitors. I also think that Nest has the opportunity to expand beyond thermostats and smoke detectors to electricity usage monitoring. While there exists many websites through local utility companies to gauge electricity usage, having a tool installed in your home that gives this real-time reading would be much more convenient. I also think that Nest has a strong brand to be able to diversify its product offerings to other in-home gadgets. While I am also not a fan of personal data collection, we live in a world where data is being collected from us constantly, and if Nest can use this information to create better products, I am all for it!
Yes, I definitely miss the days of Blockbuster and traditional DVD’s… but it seems like those days are over for good. As a millennial, I also do not have a traditional TV subscription and suspect that the days of cable TV are numbered. What is so interesting is that Netflix started off just doing mail-order DVD’s and soon established an entire streaming market. I think Netflix has been more popular than Hulu or Amazon Prime, so I would imagine that the Netflix brand is very strong and here to stay. However, does this mean that eventually, the cost of Netflix and Netflix equivalents will go up? I would argue that if streaming becomes so popular, people will become dependent on subscription streaming as a necessity, and subsequently you will see different “Netflix tiers” arise offered at different price points. In addition, just as we have seen the cost of having internet in one’s home rise steadily over the past few years, Netflix and other streaming services may start to price-out lower income people. It will be interesting to see what Netflix’s next move is!
What an interesting application! I wonder if there is a U S equivalent! I find it very interesting as well that in an era in which we constantly turn norms “upside-down on its head,” not much has been done in this space to reduce waiting times in lines. One of the things that struck me was what you wrote about public-sector adoption. You would think this would be the easiest sector to penetrate because there are so many public systems (like the Division of Motor Vehicles in the US) that badly need this type of technology. However, I think because a lot of public organizations are providing a “necessary good” (like a driver’s license in this case), they do not necessarily need to provide an incentive for consumers to come to them.
In the private sector, this application is probably most useful for big companies where consumer foot-traffic is insanely high. However, these big companies usually develop such line-waiting technology in-house and integrate it into their own apps as opposed to using 3rd party technology. For example, Starbucks has a “no wait” part of its app so that people can just walk in an pick up coffee when its ready and skip the line. I think a big challenge for this company would be to get companies to adopt this application over their own internal capabilities. Looking forward to seeing how this plays out!
Really great insights! I knew there existed some telemedicine apps out there, but I did not realize that they were growing so rapidly or that Teledoc had been so successful. I would be curious to understand if the pay-structure ($35 / visit) is competitive against typical walk-in clinics. Typically walk-in clinics range from $35 to $45, but you are seeing a Physician’s Assistant or a Nurse Practitioner in those cases.
As someone who has worked at CVS Health, I have seen first-hand how the industry of telemedicine has been broached. CVS Health is looking to incorporate telemedicine into their walk-in Minute Clinics, so they are essentially combining the benefits of technology with the infrastructure piece (which you pointed out was an issue for Teledoc). As of now, they have a few pilots out in California, but patients have responded favorably to the combination of Nurse Practitioner with a Doctor via telemedicine. It also helps that the doctor can tell the nurse in real time to “check his ears” or “feel for inflamed tonsils” etc. It makes the visit more holistic. I would be interested to see how Teledoc responds as telemedicine gets more common in walk-in clinics.
Very interesting post, and while yes, climate change has impacted fish farming, I agree with Andrew’s point above that not enough of a disruption has occurred such that farmed fisherman are making any clear changes in their processes. One alternative, however, is to move farmed fisherman into a new area of salmon: GMO salmon or otherwise known as “Franken Fish.” Last year, the FDA approved the sale of GMO salmon, specifically developed by AquaAdvantage; it was the first altered animal cleared for human consumption in the United States. This version of the fish grows twice as fast as normal salmon, which has the potentially to change the landscape of the salmon industry forever by significantly increasing salmon supply in the market. By increasing supply and driving down salmon prices, GMO salmon could essentially force farmed fisherman to resort to either farming GMO salmon or getting out of the business completely. If the latter happens, there could be a substantial decrease fish farming altogether, thereby eliminating the climate change issue. In addition, the GMO salmon are created in labs, which one could argue, use less environmental resources and is better for society. We can only wait to see whether the next lox bagel we eat actually has GMO salmon on it or not.
As a Coke lover myself, I find the company to be much more committed than many other food and beverage institutions to eliminating its environmental impact. I agree with you that while Coke can still do more, some of the efforts, such as developing SAGP, are pretty revolutionary for a Fortune 50 company to develop. When reading your article, I began thinking about other ways besides water conservation Coke could decrease its environmental footprint. I recalled when Coke was experimenting with “square cans.” It was a recyclable innovative design where Coke cans would be rectangular instead of circular. The thought process was that in packaging, the square cans could be stacked and fit more efficiently inside boxes for distribution purposes. Thus, more inventory could be shipped using less gas-guzzling 18-wheeler trucks or ships. Unfortunately, the company felt that the circular shape of the soda can was too iconic to change, and the project did not move forward. Here’s hoping things may change in the future!
What I find particularly interesting with giant food conglomerates like Tyson is the fact that the company itself contributes so much to environmental disruption. While the company may be making efforts to ensure that their raw materials are sourced in a sustainable way, it feels a bit disingenuous to me. The only reason Tyson probably cares about sustainability is because it must ensure that these raw materials will be available in the future for harvesting and cannot afford to let its raw materials deplete so rapidly such that there ends up being a sourcing shortage. In addition, Tyson’s own operations take such a big toll on the environment that perhaps the damage it does by even existing as a business makes any sustainable effort miniscule and almost pointless. For example, Tyson is the second biggest polluter of waterways in America, dumping more pollutants into the water than even ExxonMobil. Even in twenty years, I would be surprised if Tyson has made much progress in becoming a sustainable business.
It is interesting to me that palm oil is used in everything, not just cosmetics, yet no one has really moved forward on the research-front to address some of the fundamental issues in using it in everything. It appears to be used so widely that eliminating it from just one sector, from makeup for example, would do little to diminish the effects of harvesting palm oil on the environment. I did some research and found that several universities in the UK are developing a palm oil substitute using a yeast grown from waste feedstocks. Something like this would probably take years to perfect as well as be costly to fully substitute across the food and makeup spectrum. I imagine there could also be consumer pushback in using yeast as a substitute in some foods.
Knowing that Unilever is a giant conglomerate of various products, I was curious how the “more sustainable” products within Unilever’s portfolio compare to those regular ones. While it does seem that Unilever is offering something that is beneficial to society as well as their business, I thought that it was interesting that their sustainable product category grew by over 30% (highest growth within the company) since 2014 and has significantly contributed to top-line growth. In fact, they have an additional 2% profit margin mark-up on their sustainable products. Therefore, they actually make more money on those products with more environmentally friendly supply chains. This shows that either the company is very smart in understanding the premium that customers will pay for sustainability, or Unilever is not actually taking a huge hit to their bottom line since they are simply passing on additional costs to provide sustainable products to the masses to customers. Very clever!