Technology and information such as this is extremely important to not only this field but many other technical fields. In my previous engineering days, alot of designs are performed electronically, however when doing reviews in the field, printed versions of the document/drawings are used and if any differences are detected, they are marked up in the field. Having technology such as tablets in the field to process this data, make notes and corrections is crucial and speeds up the entire process thus making it more efficient. Right now, this is an untapped market that needs this type of technology implemented, however changing the culture around this technology may be tougher than we think.
Distribution services could use more technology in their industry, especially the USPS. Rather than using sensors, I think that it would be interesting if the USPS could work with developers to develop a USPS app that is able to detect the size of a package, based on taking a picture of the package, as well as place the package on your phone to weigh it. It would be similar to how we do mobile banking now of days. Allowing USPS or any distribution company to get more information up front about the package that is being shipped will allow them to be more efficient in their pickup/delivery processes. Also, as they collect this information from users, they could then turn this into a business opportunity by selling packages that are in the greatest demand, for example if they find that most items are being shipping in a 6x8x10 box, then they can try to sell more of those.
Like you said, many fitness companies are attempting to create a platform that allows people to track many different health aspects of a persons life. I too feel like this is more than what the average person needs, however if a company was able to tie this information to medical practices and use it as a diagnostic tool to detect a problem with a patient, this digitization could potentially provide alot of value. If this technology that Under Armour has developed could be tied with an insurance company and potentially lower the rates of a consumer because they are showing proof that they are living an active and healthy lifestyle, then this technology could be a win-win for all partners involved.
I would have never imagined that 3d printing would be used to make food. I feel like we would be so limited in what we could make, but apparently this printer has an entire cookbook. In my mind, where I see this fitting into the average household is by replacing microwave dinners. Why “nuke” something, when I can create it on demand while doing other things, such as laundry. It seems like the real technology isn’t the printing device itself, but the food powder in a capsule. Creating these items for each ingredient of the meal will be difficult and then also claiming that these ingredients are “high quality”. That is what I see as the major challenge and hopefully we can overcome this difficulties so that we can one day have 3d printed foods in our kitchen.
As technology is introduced into our manufacturing processes, there is a fine line in the design of this technology as to when there is too much information presented to the person performing the task. The vision glasses seem to have gotten this aspect of the design right, however there are times when engineer’s don’t get it right, and rather than taking a step forward with technology, its two steps backward. In the implementation of the glasses there were two forces at hand, the technology itself and then the acceptance of that technology by the pickers. If either was unsuccessful, then the project failed. As information becomes digital in our manufacturing sector, it will be interesting to see how people integrate this into their daily operations to minimize errors and improve efficiency.
I agree with you that Instacart needs to focus on the quality side of its perishable items such as fruits and vegetables as this is probably one of the biggest barriers for gaining new customers. On top of training its contracted employees, Instacart could also provide customers with a strong refund/guarantee policy to reassure them that if the products that were hand picked for them do not meet their expectations, then the mistake comes at no cost to the customer. Also, another way for instacart to grow its customer base could be to partner with stores before they roll out their own e-shopping, like stop and shop did with Peapod delivery service. It will be interesting to see how this digitization of the super market plays out over the next few years to see if people will be willing to use these kinds of services.
Water is a main concern for all crops grown in every region in the world. You are exactly right that collecting water from monsoons, creating wells, or diverting water from a river to feed the crops is only scratching the surface and providing short term relief. This is a tough predicament for the agriculture to be in as the innovations in this industry have been stagnant for decades and the use of GMOs highly frowned upon. Companies need to begin looking at natural ways to improve crop yields under harsh weather conditions and unfortunately the answer they might end up finding is that crops can’t survive in harsh conditions. This is where the other rehabilitation crops that are planted can help reduce the carbon in the atmosphere, primarily CO2. As Bhumya begins looking into innovative ways to improve crop yields, they should also not loose sight of the greater benefit that they can provide, which is carbon neutral farming. By improving their farming techniques and operating with sustainability in mind, they can have a net zero impact on the environment while still producing their products.
The idea of cold supply chain management sustainability is not only a question in the biotech/pharma industry but throughout the food manufacturing industry as well. Efficient cold supply chain is very difficult to achieve. Making equipment and systems robust for travel via ships, trucks, planes, etc…is difficult to design for, and each design has its own constraints. Other times, in the cold supply chain, the drugs require sub zero temperatures which can only be achieved with dry ice or liquid nitrogen. There have been some innovations with products around the requirement of a cold supply chain. Companies have recently been investing heavily to develop drugs that are stable at room temperature. These drugs, although difficult to develop, have been critical to delivering care to underdeveloped regions of the world. Its key to recognize here with this industry and others that while we can make the supply chain more efficient, the same end result can be achieved through product innovation.
Landfills not only add to the carbon footprint but, like you mentioned, the pollution of our environment. The waste that we generate is astronomical and something has to be done with it, rather than putting it in a dump. This concept of burning waste is not new, but its starting to become economically and environmentally feasible. Another key position these waste to energy companies advertise is that there is a carbon footprint to collecting waste and bringing it to the landfill. A local municipality, Millbury Ma, has a waste to energy company, Wheelabrator, that takes waste from the surrounding area and incinerates it to provide electricity to the local area. The citizens of Millbury are financially compensated to bring and dispose of the waste that is brought by other municipalities. This is just one of many incentives that could make this feasible not only here in the United States but other parts of the world. As the cost of waste increases, it will be fun to watch this industry grow as this has real potential around the world.
I am impressed by the innovative idea to change human consumption of their protein, however I am very skeptical on the idea that the Western world will be able to adapt this. Not only does the company have to sell this idea based on nutritional facts but also on the basis of cost and carbon footprint. At this point in time, I still don’t think the argument is strong enough. The company will have to invest heavily in marketing the concept to people and lobby this idea politically to drive legislation and regulation. Fortunately, being on the forefront of innovative ideas, they do have the ability to pave the way to introduce this idea. It will be interesting to continue to follow this concept to see how it pans out in the future.
Its interesting to see how much the consumer can drive change in one industry. Over the past decade, the consumer has become more conscious of their carbon footprint which has directly made an impact on the expectations of the automotive industry. Its ironic that Volvo, being the first company to innovate for fuel efficiency with the installation of an O2 sensor, has taken many years to innovate an eco-friendly and high performing engine. This is most likely due to its lack of funding from Ford, to consistently be on the forefront of innovation, and difference in corporate model, Ford’s model being volume based rather than quality based. As Volvo has set out with is ambitious goals for 2025, it will be interesting to see how the electric engine changes over the next decade. Will the technology that Volvo created today be enough to gain consumer awareness and market share to finance their continued innvoation? If/when the market becomes saturated with electric cars, where else will car manufacturers have to innovate to stay ahead in the carbon footprint challenge?