In addition to investing in other companies that have expertise in the areas in which GE aspires, the company should also invest in-house research and development toward this goal as well. Despite being an “old economy” company, GE has a great deal of technical know-how built on a long history, upon which it could capitalize to develop unique products for the industrial internet. From their website (see https://www.ge.com/about-us/research/factsheet) it appears that this is an area of interest, but as you mention, if they are serious about this corporate shift, their internal R&D budget in this domain should be serious as well.
GE’s investment in software companies to increase it’s strength in this area reminds me of the Dow-DuPont merger. The plan going forward is to actually spin-off the combined Dow-DuPont company into 3 smaller companies with more targeted focus. Many investors actually praised this strategy (see http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/02/09/what-the-dupont-and-dow-chemical-merger-and-spin-o.aspx). I wonder if the same concept would work for GE in this case; after all, GE is still very strong in equipment and heavy industry and I’m sure there are aspects of that business that can be separated from IoT. Going forward, one of the biggest challenges that large companies such as GE will face will be to determine what business model will best suit the uncertain digital business landscape.
I agree – if Cisco is going to continue in its present form, it must be among the companies with a sizable market share in smart device communication. However, I wonder if the company might hedge its bets by taking on consumer and industrial applications at the same time (both markets are significant as Bastiane points out above). After all, the advantage that large companies such as Cisco have over smaller ones in this space is that they have the resources to make multiple bets. Not to mention, there should be some cross-over between industrial and consumer IoT markets which would further streamline their business and give them additional competitive advantage as the industry develops.
The statistics on Intel’s recent acquisitions, patents and R&D expenditure are pretty stunning and demonstrate that the company is very serious about its new direction in IoT. As you highlight, and as we have seen in a number of our cases, it can definitely be a risk for a company with a legacy business model to try to adapt and pivot into a new field. Even if the corporate structure has been reorganized to reflect this change, it does not necessarily mean that the employees will buy in to it as well. It will be very interesting to see who dominates the IoT industry in the near future, and if large corporations like Intel are flexible enough to adapt in time to lead the way.
This is definitely a new twist on ethical dilemmas arising from technological innovations, and pretty much captures the most frightening future imaginable – intelligent armed robots going to war with humans. Considering such technology getting completely out of control is certainly unsettling, but I imagine it’s quite a remote possibility based on the fail-safe mechanisms that programmers would likely encode into such robots. Nonetheless, it does beg the question of whether we should be pursuing this technology at all considering where it might lead. Unfortunately I imagine that its development is inevitable, as governments will probably engage in a robotic weapons arms race, as you mentioned. As such, the responsibility falls upon those of us who are aware of the potential consequences to take a stance and speak up – like you mentioned with the Future of Life Institute.
Interesting example of a major company going “backwards” in an attempt to capture additional value from consumers. I like your suggestion that each bookstore could serve as a pickup point or warehouse, and similarly, Brian’s notion that the bookstores could also serve as mini-warehouses for other amazon delivery services. These ideas underscore the fact that there are many new ways to look at an old concept and integrate it with an existing business model to capitalize on opportunities that weren’t available previously. I’m sure Amazon’s bookstores will be far from old-school and will likely be full of surprises.
Great Post Olivia! I remember when I visited Beijing in the winter and just like you said, the sky was filled with smoke from all of the coal and wood burning used in so many homes – I learned first hand why so many people wear face masks when they go outside there! Like you mentioned, the Chinese government is such a big player in so many industries in China. With its centralized structure and desire to move toward a more sustainable growth model (www.ibtimes.com/china-sets-reduced-economic-growth-target-2015-government-seeks-more-sustainable-1836684), I suspect that China is more capable of implementing widespread sustainable practices than many people would expect.
Cheers Hugh! It’s exciting to learn all the things beer companies are doing to offset their environmental impact. Coming from Colorado where there has been a massive rise in micro-breweries over the last several years, I wonder how these smaller companies can also do their part. Things like reducing the water-to-beer ratio used in production seems like a lever that only a mega-beer company could access. Nonetheless, the smaller companies are gaining market share (8% rise in craft beer sales in 2013) and taking big risks for the sake of environmental sustainability, with some even claiming to put their financial returns on the line for the sake of the cause; something that MillerCoors probably couldn’t say. http://www.mintpressnews.com/craft-beer-industry-boldly-brews-with-sustainability-in-mind/203850/
Great post! As @KenzieH mentioned, the political nature of such an important organizations as FEMA is unfortunate. However, as the severity of global climate change ramps up, there will likely be fewer and fewer people arguing to reduce FEMA’s budget. From their website on the topic, it does appear that they are well aware of this, and as you discuss, they are proactively planning for the events that climate change will likely cause: http://www.fema.gov/climate-change
Don’t know why my reference didn’t post above…here it is again, hope it works: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2014/12/17/solarcity-hires-former-obama-strategist-to-ignite-a-grassroots-movement-for-solar-energy
Yes, good post! While I agree that value can definitely be created by mergers through enhanced capabilities such as economies of scale, I can’t help but consider the opportunities at a more grass-roots level. I wonder how Tesla and SolarCity could use their size and other strengths to reach people in remote communities that might not otherwise be tuned in to the benefits of these companies. The reach and target market of companies is often a difficult thing to address as we have already seen in many of our cases. Fortunately it looks like SolarCity is being proactive in this regard:
Very interesting subject Tom. And surprising facts too, particularly that 93% of the US government’s energy demand is consumed by the military. Whenever I hear of a major technological military challenge, I think back to the Manhattan project, and I’m sure the government is investing heavily in research and development to address climate change contingencies that we don’t hear about. When I studied physics, I knew several people working on a so-called tokamak machine to harness nuclear fusion – the reaction that fuels “main-sequence” stars like our sun. If we could tap into that energy source, it would open a world of possibilities for clean energy and sustainability, as well as weapons risks too unfortunately. Check it out: https://www.iter.org/mach
Great post Jason! Interesting concept, considering climate change’s impact on employee culture. I agree with Bastiane’s comment – Google is doing so many exciting things and many people are looking to Google to for the next trends in innovation and technology. And I agree with you – why not in climate change action too? You mentioned that Google is well positioned to step outside of its traditional role and assist with public projects like levees. I would take that a step further & suggest that Google should explore interconnected & data-driven public projects; “smart” levees that predict catastrophic events could be incredibly useful!