J2G18, this is certainly an interesting article about the use of drones in an industry that I was not familiar with. The steps you noted at the end of your article are certainly areas of concern for me. I have noted my questions and thoughts below for your consideration.
1) Does Skycatch have a strong relationship with the FAA? The ability for the company to succeed in the future will rely on the regulations the government imposes on drones. While you noted that some of regulations have favored the drone industry, a future could exist where citizens and governments lobby against the use of drones for the security or job elimination risks that you noted. While regulations must strive for fairness, it is inevitable to favor one population over the other. Therefore, the drone companies must seriously consider what future regulations will entail for all the stakeholders involved.
2) Do the Skycatch drones require an individual to hold a flying permit? Regulations by the FAA could limit the market of available human capital to operate the drones in the future. For example, if the FAA required individuals who worked for Skycatch to receive training or specific licenses before they could fly drones. This could also increase the barriers to entry for other companies that are seeking to replicate Skycatch’s model.
3) Can Skycatch create a market for the repair and maintenance of its real estate drones that can utilize existing labor? The idea of eliminating jobs is never an initiative that creates positive buzz for a company; on the contrary, many potential customers may veer away for this reason. It would be great to see Skycatch create jobs for those individuals it is replacing. I am also curious to know whether Skycatch can continue to utilize the expertise many of the current surveyors possess.
Technology is certainly disrupting many industries, and Skycatch is on the forefront of creating a market that van be easily replicated if the right conditions exist. I will be excited to learn how the company approaches its future business plans.
Paul, thanks for enlightening all of us with Houzz, which could be an app that all of us use once we move into our post-HBS lives.
As Orianne mentioned, the ability to source local furniture or furnishings is certainly an area of concern for me because of the cost involved to transport furniture. Another area of concern is the geo-tagging feature that Orianne mentioned. My biggest concern about geo-tagging is the ability for a stranger to gain access to your address. Please see my questions and thoughts below about the app.
1) How is Houzz thinking about data privacy and data security? In a world where we have endless amounts of data being collected, a company’s ability to prevent private data to be hacked or leaked is of utmost importance to customers. It would be great to know how Houzz is approaching data privacy with their model, especially if the geo-tagging feature is used.
2) Does the app only search the internet for furniture or furnishings that are in production? It would be extremely annoying as a customer for the searches to recommend items that are no longer in production because it would be a waste of time. I do hope the deep learning algorithm will be updated to include only items that are currently in production.
3) Can the app use inputs such as price ranges to filter results? The ability to filter by brand, color, type, etc. makes the online shopping experience extremely easier because it eliminates the time it takes to find an item that meets the needs of the customer.
Houzz is an app that is appealing for the reasons you noted in your article, and I also believe it would be of use to the construction or hotel industry. It will be neat to see which markets Houzz will target and their strategy to increase the number of users.
Rafi, this is a great article that many of us can relate to and is equally exciting for those of who do bike because of the ideas you mentioned about the next steps Waze can take. I currently do not use Waze as my go-to GPS application because I find it a bit more cumbersome to use versus Google Maps, who I know acquired Waze, but if Waze was to make its app simpler to use, I would switch right away!
I do value your ideas about Waze’s next steps to help map the biking routes in cities that are the safest and the best routes to use. Since moving to Boston, I have become a huge fan of the great job Cambridge has done to create separate biking lanes and lanes that are clearly marked for cyclists to use. However, these lanes do not currently exist throughout Boston, but it would be great to begin mapping the safest routes around the city – this may even persuade Boston officials to lobby for the creation of dedicated bike lanes like the one on Western Avenue throughout the city. Furthermore, the collection of data across multiple cities could help introduce the advantage of creating a bike sharing program similar to Hubway in their cities and to invest in the infrastructure that would make it a success. As a native Houstonian, I know how far behind the city is in public transportation. Every city needs to play a role in creating an eco-friendly mode of transportation because our planer depends on it.
One of my biggest concerns with Waze is the safety involved with using an app that requires real-time input when you are driving (or biking). Has Waze thought about using a voice activated feature that can capture real-time input while driving or biking? This would eliminate having to stop or to input feedback while moving.
Kelly, many thanks for sharing your knowledge about this industry. The article certainly brought up many thoughts for me about an industry I am not too familiar with. As Amelia mentioned, I always thought the role of a General Practitioner (GP) or Primary Care Physician (PCP) was not too tedious when I was younger, but my thoughts have certainly changed as time has progressed.
I have listed out my biggest concerns about Teladoc below and welcome your thoughts.
1) The thought of using excess capacity to address patients reminded me of Uber and Airbnb because of the sharing economy model; however, as we have seen in our cases and in industry, the sharing economy is not always accepted by all. How do physicians feel about the model, and how do they benefit by become participants in it?
2) Do you think this model of sharing idle resources can be replicated across other areas of the medical industry? I immediately began to think about pharmacies that may not see the influxes of demand that others experience. Therefore, pharmacies that have excess capacity could fill orders for patients, but may need to compete on price.
3) Would PCP or GPs be rated by patients? This may create higher demand for some practitioners versus others, creating the spikes in demand that exist today.
The healthcare industry is one that requires constant evolution to help reduce costs and to overcome the barriers of limited supply. It would be great to see Teledoc succeed in this arena.
Rebecca, this article provides a great example of how technology is changing an industry that many of us are not familiar with. I certainly believe the technology that Wellntell has produced will bring an immense benefit to individuals who source their water from a private well, but the article left me with a few questions about the scalability of the project. Please see my questions and thoughts below
1) For the technology to function, the individual must have access to an Ethernet connection to transmit and to collect the data from Wellntel. Is the cost of internet service factored in to the total cost of ownership? My thought here is that after factoring in the cost of internet and the necessary equipment (e.g., gateway, computer, Ethernet cable, etc.) the cost of ownership may become a burden for some.
2) Would the individuals need a dedicated internet service line for the well, or could they use an existing internet account? Like my first question, the total cost of ownership seems to create a barrier for individuals who are seeking to install this type of technology for their well.
3) Does a data privacy risk exist? Technology has provided us with the opportunity to collect large data sets in real-time, but this capability also poses a risk if the data is accessed by the incorrect individuals. Thus, I do hope that Wellntell has given thought to data privacy and how to secure the data.
Thanks again for writing the article and for sharing your knowledge with us! This is certainly an industry I am not too familiar with, but I now have a better understanding of it.
This article takes me back to my days as an analyst covering a smart meter company. Smart meters are part of the smart grid, which is a set of systems powered by technology that allows two-way communication between the consumer and the utility company. Here, PG&E has a critical role in the roll-out and adoption of smart meters – a key component of the smart grid – as the company aims to accomplish the plans of action that you highlighted in your article. Likewise, if PG&E begins to adapt newer technology for its grid, the company can mitigate the large disruptions caused by weather events and the strains placed on the grid during peak demand hours. The biggest concern of adopting smart meters is the cost of implementation. Although the price of the technology has decreased across time, many utility companies have not moved forward with the initiative. As PG&E continues to iterate its Climate Change Policy Framework, it would be great to see the company begin to highlight smart grids and smart meters as part of its strategy.
This is a great article that highlights another valiant effort by a major US auto manufacturer to address the issue of climate change. While I agree with GM’s strategy to reach its 2050 goal, I believe the company could go one step further by engaging and holding their suppliers to the same set of standards. As this Car And Driver article (http://blog.caranddriver.com/the-business-behind-gms-pledge-to-use-only-renewable-energy-by-2050/) mentions, GM should ensure its suppliers are also committed to the effort of reducing greenhouses gases through their operations. If GM begins to openly discuss how it is engaging its entire supply chain in its environmental efforts, it can certainly convince consumers that the company is conscious about its impact on the environment. Furthermore, it would allow GM to continue being a leader in auto industry’s efforts to combat global warming. It would be equally impactful for GM to find ways that incorporate consumers’ thoughts around how its products can become better suited to reduce emissions and to help GM reach its 2050 goal.
Your post is alarming because of my interest in wine, but more importantly, due to the effects global warming is creating on an industry that is vital to many. From producers to consumers, the wine industry is under pressure to make quick, short-term changes that will lead to long-term implications. I agree with your thought that Napa vineyards should not take the results of the study as a sign of relief; conversely, it is a call for change to happen now. Your actions include many that place responsibility on the vineyards, but can we as consumers of this magnificent, fruitful beverage do today? It would be great to educate consumers at trade shows or local wine tastings about the impact global warming is having on the industry. For those of us who are consumers, we play a significant role in the “value-chain”, and we must push for active change in the practices that occur in Napa Valley. Although the results from the result study seemed minute, Vinters should not remain complacent because the effects of global warming may drastically change in a short period of time.
As a former energy employee at one of Chevron’s (CVX) major competitors, I completely understand the pressures the company is facing regarding greenhouse gases. However, I do not believe CVX’s target to reduce its energy consumption in its operations is a challenge the company must tackle on their own. Given CVX’s market position, the company has the ability to influence and ensure its supply chain partners have climate change on their radar as well. For example, CVX could work closely with its upstream (Exploration, Drilling, Production, and Development) and downstream (Refining) functions to find opportunities that lower greenhouse gas emissions and do not increase operational costs. Within CVX’s supply chain, a set of inefficiencies may exist that could help lower its overall production costs, and the savings can be passed down to incentivize suppliers’ investments in this arena. I firmly believe CVX is well positioned to become a leader in the industry that develops techniques and best practices that other integrated oil companies can follow to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the supply chain.
The article link did not work in my original post, but you can find the article here: https://www.thestar.com/autos/2015/04/17/aerodynamics-and-the-science-of-fuel-efficiency.html.
As a car enthusiast, I found this article extremely interesting and thought provoking, especially your suggestion around aerodynamics as a lever that can be pulled to increase fuel economy. I read this article from The Star that further supports your argument to consider aerodynamics as a factor that improves fuel economy. However, your point about aerodynamics being constrained to safety requirements does not seem accurate because the article highlights three areas of progress in aerodynamics, which are airflow through the engine compartment, airflow around and within the front wheel wells, and airflow beneath the vehicle. You do highlight that these innovations will come with a heavy price tag, but Ford should not allow the price tag to deter them from investing in R&D for aerodynamics; in fact, as a market leader, Ford should make the effort to bring the importance of aerodynamics to the forefront. Again, this was a great summary of the many ways that Ford can move closer towards the 2025 target and create a greener planet.