Thanks for this Artatak. I’ve heard that RFID and beacons can be used for inventory management but thought it was still very expensive and far off from reality – so cool to hear that Decathlon is already using them.
I’m not as concerned about the privacy issues, as Luke is, because as I interpret this, the RFID is simply embedded into the item’s tag which customers can remove when they purchase the item, and even if a customer is carrying an item around the store, the store doesn’t have information about who the customer is. I disagree with Joana’s point above, because although I have not visited a Decathlon store before, I do think that freeing up employees time in the store should enable them to have more time to speak with customers.
I wonder if this will become widespread. Here, it is effective because 80% of Decathlon’s sales are private label, but there was a common language or product that was used by multiple manufacturers given the structure of a typical retail store. If I were Decathlon, I would think about how they can market this RFID technology to other manufacturers – while it is a competitive advantage now in terms of inventory management, there is a huge business opportunity if this can be used by other suppliers and retailers.
DK, digitization in auto dealers is very interesting and I agree that the car-buying experience is something that needs to be improved. Reading through the article that Sam posted above, it does seem like the industry is in a bit of a grid-lock and I’m not sure what’s going to drive change. I think that the efforts you describe which the dealers are already doing are a great step, and I think that online purchasing capabilities could help solve the lack of price transparency, but with the dealers as intermediaries, I don’t see the incentive for them to provide greater price transparency.
It seems as though it’s illegal for car manufacturers to sell their cars directly to consumers, and the reasons for this law appear very anti-competitive.  Tesla, however, has launched ‘showrooms’ in certain states that function differently from independent car dealers. There is no price negotiating and the stores are much more experiential that other car dealerships. The ease of purchasing a Tesla is a competitive advantage – this could spur change in the industry and drive other car dealers to adopt a ‘showroom’ model.
This is really interesting, Hannah. While the amount of paper in the US healthcare system and the lack of information flowing astonishes me, I am definitely concerned about how a shift to digital will be ultimately implemented. While I think a private player has a huge opportunity ahead, I wonder if this has to be a result of a government mandate or effort – it’s like a network effect that needs to have a serious majority of people on the platform in order for the network to work.
In the UK, which has a public healthcare system, the National Health Service has faced several challenges in getting healthcare records online. In fact, the first efforts to outsource the project to CSC have cost the UK taxpayers 10Bn pounds as of 2013, to the point of which they had to shut down the project. They have made more progress since then, but it has been very challenging.
Ebk, thanks for this post on Amazon! On your point arguing that Amazon should be open to broad systems connectivity, I disagree and think that Amazon is doing a great job trying to link different eco-systems together. I don’t think that the Dash button is marketed towards people who aren’t already going to Amazon for commodity household items, in fact, when it was rolled out, it was only made available for certain Prime customers, many of whom were already ordering household items per week.  Additionally, Dash is only available for name-brand items, not amazon-private-label products. Yes – Amazon is trying to be people’s go-to place to buy anything and everything, but their ecosystem is open in terms of other services and information.
In Amazon’s three-part IoT strategy diagram you’ve included above, Amazon mentions their goal of ‘entrepreneurialism in the IoT space integrated with Amazon ecosystem’. Just as Apple has made the app store a platform for developers to build into, Amazon’s Echo is a similar app store and destination. Until Echo came out, Siri’s API was closed to developers, but Apple has recently opened it up. Full disclosure, I have an Amazon Echo, and I love it.
While Dash is a very closed-ecosystem product, Amazon Echo has pioneered the ‘virtual assistant-as-a-platform’ by opening it up to developers and integrations. For example, even though Amazon has Amazon Music, it also has Spotify and Pandora integrations. I use my Amazon Echo and love it and have never once used it to purchase an item through Amazon. Amazon should continue working on how commerce can be seamlessly integrated into other aspects of consumers’ lives.
Jose, I found this super fascinating, and something I think about often. In addition to B2B marketing, live experiences have become much more meaningful for consumer-facing industries. For example, in the music industry, average $$ spent per person per year in the US has decreased from ~$75 around 2000 to ~$20-25 more recently. Total revenue from music sales has decreased significantly from $19Bn in 1999 to $8Bn in 2009, but stablised somewhat over the past 5 years. However, concert revenue has increased by 33% between 2011 and 2015 across the industry – people are going to concerts! 
Additionally, as purchasing becomes more commoditized, many retailers are thinking about how to make their stores more experiential. Sonos , the internet-connected speaker company, has a store in Soho that has listening rooms, so customers can test out different combinations of their speakers. Pirch , a home appliances and home goods retailer, has a store with several rooms that feel like a person’s home – you can take a cooking class there, get a cup of coffee, or even test our a shower. Also, Nike does a ton of in-person run clubs and smaller races.
I think the best companies will recognize the importance of experiences and am excited to see whats to come.
MH, thanks for writing on this – as a skiier, it would be devastating to imagine the rockies without snow.
A few ideas came to me while reading this. I agree with Gregor and Phil that it seems like these existing resorts have few options, and should consider diversifying outside of non-snow related activities. I have been lucky enough to spend some time in deer valley in the summer, and while I missed the snow, I still appreciated the town and mountains.
Skiing, if it’s to continue as we know it, will ultimately have to move to colder locations. There are a ton of challenges with starting new ski resorts. Most mountain regions are less accessible and ski resorts as we know it are incredibly capital intensive to build. But a few regions have begun development! According to this article in Powder Magazine, “Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is developing Siberia as a winter tourism destination” – perhaps you can go join Trump skiing there?! 
 Read more at http://www.powder.com/stories/classics/deep/#xpTG2BwhKiR3wofy.99
Lady, thanks for this interesting piece on Delta. Reading your post, I was curious just how big airlines’ relative contribution to greenhouse gas emissions – and aviation is huge. I did a bit more reading, and discovered that in fact, emissions from aviation could account for the whole 2 degree rise in the world’s temperature, which is the threshold provided by the United Nations .
While I agree that studying the increased variability as a result of changes in air traffic patterns would be a smart move for Delta, I would also be concerned about the impact that low-cost carriers are having on air travel prices overall driving this uptick in demand. You mentioned passenger volume increased 5% from 2014 to 2015, which is remarkable. Delta has launched their own low-cost service offering and so have many other full service US airlines, such as American Airlines. I’d argue that while the decrease in prices is good for the consumer, it is bad for the environment as people are more likely to make a decision to fly somewhere instead of alternate transportation. I think Delta needs to dig in and understand how they can incentivize consumer behavior in a way that helps minimize their fuel consumption – perhaps offering miles rewards for consumers to change flights if a flight is empty or improved pricing for more fuel effective planes.
I found this article really interesting because I’m fascinated with paper and think there could be a world where physical paper is the exception and not the rule. After reading this article, a couple of things stood out to me:
1) It will be very challenging for the USPS to manage its mandate and execute on this – I agree with Margaret’s comment above highlighting the potential conflict of interest within the USPS
2) I wonder what will happen if paper mail volumes continue to decline and revenues fall more dramatically. Revenue for the USPS has declined by 5.3% over the past 10 years . Paper mail volumes are decreasing – packages are only a very small percent (6.5%) of their overall shipping volume. Advertising mailings are over 50% of volume and have declined by 20% over the past 10 years – ad dollars are shifting to digital platforms. I predict this trend continues going forward and digital will continue to draw ad dollars away from traditional sources. I think that as tablets become more ubiquitous and millennials and gen z, who are digitally native, age – the concept of a paper mailing or bill will become foreign. If the USPS’s revenue declines even more dramatically over the next 10-20 years, how will they be able to justify spending on environmental efforts? How will these efforts be balanced with an effort to stay afloat and viable?
Thank you for this! H&M’s scale is staggering. $24Bn.. Wow!
I agree with you that “H&M may be the root of the problem, but because of its scale, influence, and dedication to environmental sustainability, it may also be an integral part of the solution.”
I would offer an alternate solution – instead of taking on the logistical challenges of a full recycling program, why wouldn’t they partner with one of the many clothing resale startups? There are several companies that are trying to take the traditional consignment model online, some appealing to the high end of the market and some are targeting mass market. Poshmark (www.poshmark.com) is a mobile app where users can easily take a photo of an item in their closet and set a price. The seller gets a prepaid shipping label and the buyer can rate the seller on the amount of time until shipped. There are shirts on sale for as low as $5! And often times multiple things are sold at once (would need to evaluate environmental impact of the shipping… but that’s for another post). There is also Material World (https://www.materialworld.co/), that buys your old clothes in exchange for gift certificates. It’s on the higher end of the market.
While it will take H&M a significant amount of time and resources to build out their own clothing recycling program, a partnership or investment in a resale startup could reap benefits down the line. They could position themselves top of mind with customers who are cleaning out their closets. It seems like other retailers are beginning to test these partnerships. Target tested a pilot with Thredup in 2015 , but it operated on a consignment model.
Margaret, thanks for this – like Taryn, I also did some deep sea fishing growing up, mostly in the Long Island Sound off the coast of NY and CT.
You wrote “FMCs could look to agricultural practices such as farm subsidization, yet these solutions are criticized for interfering with price mechanisms and may make the US uncompetitive in the international fish industry”. I understand that in the short term, this may be infeasible, but I wonder how warming rates affect different species of fish in addition to hake, lobster, and sardines. Additionally, as waters continue to warm globally, which other areas will be most affected? I bring this up because ultimately this is a problem that will affect the international fish industry in addition to the North East region. I would argue that price incentives of some sort cannot be ruled out in order to truly enact change. Especially when you consider the relative carbon footprint of fish as a source of meat relative to other proteins.
However, I do agree that educating the consumer could play a big role here. Whole Foods, which is a high-end US grocer, clearly labels which fish are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified, and color codes so consumers can easily identify which fish are sustainably sourced . While Whole Foods is an expensive store, I hope that this type of education becomes more commonplace and there’s ultimately a simple and cohesive standard to identify food sustainability that is in all points of purchase.
Thanks for this article, Farha – it is great to see an organization making a concrete impact in the face of climate change on an issue that deeply affects the populations well-being. It seems like these new stress-tolerant rice varieties have the potential to dramatically improve yields as extreme climate events continue to increase. I look forward to seeing the effectiveness and dissemination of these improved varieties.
I did a bit more reading about BRRI online to try and understand how the organization is funded, and I struggled to find that information. While I agree with the suggestions you offer for the BRRI around implementation, I wonder how resource constrained this agency is and how realistic they are. I do not know a ton about the dynamic between agencies like this and the government in Bangladesh. It seems like if they were able to partner closely with the government (the 4th idea you propose), they could not only push for financial adaptation initiatives, but also leverage the government to educate rural farmers on these new varieties (2nd idea) and share these new technologies globally (3rd idea).
The IRRI, which the BRRI used to model their research after, is very explicit about their funding sources and their ties various governments. Government donations accounted for 30% of their budget in 2014. The BRRI could also consider partnering with the IRRI in some capacity, especially in regards to your 3rd proposed idea, working to share their technologies globally.