I had posted earlier about Israel’s desalination and water conservation success. Now California is trying the same – from Fortune
California, now in its fourth year of a devastating drought, may follow a similar trajectory. In April, Gov. Jerry Brown made a Ben Gurion–like plea, ordering state agencies to accelerate the use of cutting-edge technologies to bolster the water supply. That call turned into a tacit blessing for efforts like the Carlsbad Desalination Project, just north of San Diego, the largest desalination facility in the Western Hemisphere. The plant has been in the works for nearly two decades, with construction costs of $1 billion so far. After years of permit purgatory and lawsuits, it will finally go live this fall. By 2020 it is expected to provide upwards of 50 million gallons of fresh water daily, meeting about 10% of San Diego County’s water demand.
I am pleased to announce Amazon is taking Kindle eBook preorders for the sequel (click on the badge on left). My company is also taking bulk orders (50+ copies) for the print version. Amazon will offer print on demand for smaller batches when the book is out in early September.
Here is the high level description and attached below in PDF format is the pre-edited preface of the book with details on the chapters.
“In this fast-paced sequel to SAP Nation, author Vinnie Mirchandani updates many of the dimensions of the SAP economy, as big as that of Ireland. The context: In February 2015, SAP announced its next-generation ERP product, S/4HANA. Since then, SAP and its partners have relentlessly marketed the tag word "Simple."
When you factor in SAP's growing product portfolio (much acquired, but not integrated), the customizations and satellite applications at its 300,000 customers, and its ecosystem of 13,000 partners, a different word comes to mind: “Sprawl.”
Will S/4 reduce this sprawl? Will S/4 allow SAP to better compete in the cloud? Will the S/4 rollout mirror that of other next-gen enterprise products over the last two decades? How can customers protect themselves in an economy where new products often result in premiums and overruns?
Anyone with interest in SAP - as competitor, customer, employee, investor, partner - will benefit from pondering the questions in the book. Customers will also profit from its nine strategies to optimize environments on their own while they wait for the SAP promise of Simple.”
The pacemaker took its form in the 1960s. In the meantime, mobile phones were invented and went from the size of a briefcase to smaller than a deck of cards, and room-sized computers are relics compared to laptops no bigger than a magazine.
Medtronic started work on shrinking the device in 2009, with the goal of making it a 10th its existing size. More efficient electronics meant a smaller battery that can last at least 12 years, and putting the electrode directly on the mini-pacemaker eliminated wires.
They compared a number of varieties of roses, some exuding lots of scent and others producing none. They found that a protein called nudix hydrolase RhNUDX1 in the cytoplasm of petal cells was present in scent-producing flowers and absent in those with no smell. It turns out that the gene responsible for building the protein was turned on in scented flowers and turned off in the others. The group was able to conclude that RhNUDX1 encodes a key part of the pathway that produces the small volatile molecules, called monoterpenes, which make up 70 percent of some rose cultivars’ smell.
“We saw that every time this gene was expressed highly, the rose was making these monoterpene molecules,” she said. “We were really surprised about this.”
Along with the possibility of modifying the plant to make the smell-producing gene work again, the team’s work can also be used as a marker for breeders to tell them which cultivars will produce scented roses before they even grow flower buds.
Glamping is a term derived from the two words “glamourous camping”. Glamping is also referred to as “glam camping”, “lux camping”, “luxury camping” and many other similar phrases. Regardless of the specific terminology, the idea is the same. Glamping brings the world of luxury into nature in the most seamless way possible.
The Safety Truck consists of a wireless camera attached to the front of the truck, which is connected to a video wall made out of four exterior monitors located on the back of the truck. The monitors give drivers behind the truck a view of what is going on ahead, even in the dark of night.
This allows drivers to have a better view when deciding whether it is safe to overtake. Another advantage of the Safety Truck is that it may reduce the risk of accidents caused by sudden braking or animals crossing the road.
The first two-thirds of the cyber analysis course consist of mundane but essential subjects meant to help students understand the making and breaking of computer systems. These include math, basic programming, Windows and Unix operating systems, and the science behind networks and wireless technologies. Then students move on to the fundamentals of hacking: target research, signal analysis, network defense, and malware. They learn to hack a simulated network with open source software and tools such as Metasploit. The curriculum is adjusted to keep pace with advances in both offensive and defensive tactics, an unusual challenge for the military, says Maureen Fox, CID’s commanding officer. “Missile technology changes, but it doesn’t change in a day or an hour,” she says. “The technology in the area we’re in does.”
BusinessWeek in a story on US Navy’s Corry Station base in Pensacola, FL
“Earlier this year, the US Army announced the three finalists for a massive contract to replace the iconic Humvee, which has been in service for almost three decades.
Oshkosh Corporation, defense contractor Lockheed Martin, and Humvee-maker AM General each delivered 22 prototypes to military evaluators, who are running elaborate tests on the vehicles to determine the best fit. “
“It was deployed to the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan, where US commanders quickly discovered that it was dangerously under equipped to protect troops against close-combat urban fire and improvised explosive devices.
With this problem in mind, the vehicles in this summer's competition are all far more resistant to explosive blasts. The new vehicles are smaller, so they can be more easily airlifted and transported. They're also light and better equipped to deal with the urban and off-road patrol duties that the humvee took on in Afghanistan and Iraq. “
Kansas City-based architecture firm Populous is helping baseball maintain its cultural relevance. After the new Braves stadium opens in 2017, Populous will have designed 20 of the 30 active MLB stadiums, while being heavily involved in the renovation of five others. Starting with the construction of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1992, the company revolutionized not just how stadiums are built—with closer seating and architecture unique to the characteristics of the ballpark’s home city—but how the game is marketed to fans. No longer would going to the ballpark be just about baseball: now fans could expect there to be games for kids to play, bars where young adults can congregate, and a slew of other entertainment options in the stadium’s immediate vicinity.
“The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport in northern Queens, estimates the overhaul will cost about $4 billion, most of which will go toward tearing down the Central Terminal Building, rebuilding it in place and augmenting it with a grand entry way.”
It’s been a short five years since I wrote The New Polymath. It is impressive how digital the construction of each successive book has become. Earlier this year I had posted about the Kindle publishing process, print on demand technologies and the contribution of the design agency around SAP Nation.
With SAP Nation 2.0, the digitization has increased
Majority of interviews around the world have been done using Vonage or Skype on a Zoom recorder and stored on Google Drive for later transcription.
The interactions with the editor and graphic designer, both in the Northeast have been via email.
The proofreader comments and my acceptance/rejection and my own additions have used Adobe Acrobat features
I have polled my Facebook friends for advice on thorny grammatical style issues. Amazing how quickly they have responded
My interactions with the design agency, 1106 have used a collaboration tool, Wrike.
The irony – most of my books still sell in paper format
No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends, was written by McKinsey directors Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, and Jonathan Woetzel, and offers insight into which developments will have the greatest impact on the business world in coming decades. Below, we’re recapping their list of the “Disruptive Dozen”—the technologies the group believes have the greatest potential to remake today’s business landscape.
WorldWide Telescope was designed with rich interactivity in mind. Guided Tours, which are especially popular among educators and astronomy enthusiasts, offer scripted paths through the 3D environment, enabling users to view and create media-rich interactive stories about anything from star formation to the discovery of the large-scale structure of the universe.
Jet's consumer proposition is as simple as its algorithms are complex: Spend $50 a year for a membership and you get the Web's lowest prices on 10 million-plus goods.
Here's how Jet works. As you add items to your basket, a discount tally starts accruing. The more you add, the bigger the discount, aided by specific choices such as opting out of a product return (a cost that Lore says is built into most shipped goods) and non-credit card payments (debit cards and linked checking accounts cut your final bill).
Lore's real-time trading reference speaks to the system's ability to adjust your discount based in part on where suppliers are. The closer the supplier, the lower the price. It gets Lore thinking about a bottle of ketchup.
A host of new companies founded or staffed by brain researchers have some advice for advertisers: Read your customers’ minds. In a world of ever-shrinking attention spans, where consumers flit through social media sites and skip right past online ads, advertisers are turning to neuroscience to better understand how to steer buyers toward their products.
“People are not governed by the rational side of their brains, so the majority of purchase decisions are made irrationally,” says Itiel Dror, a Harvard-trained neuroscientist engaged by London consultants BrandOpus to test the redesign of a logo for Canada’s McCain Foods Ltd.
The Droplet has something that you don’t—access to real-time data from over 10,000 weather stations, millions of square miles of U.S. soil samples, and comprehensive biological plant information. With all of that goodness, it can decide when, where and how much water to deliver to your lawn. It even knows the proper angle in which to deliver it. The idea is that this type of system can actually conserve water. It can even produce reports on water consumption. Just hook the sprinkler up to a garden hose, power it, and connect the system to your existing WiFi network. You also need to input the types of plants in your yard and where they are located. If you’re even too lazy for that, you can opt to water the entire lawn. It has a range of 30 feet or 2,700 square feet for normal watering, 50 feet or 9,000 square feet for high-pressure watering, and several hundred feet for agriculture watering.
Most of the about 3 million ATMs installed worldwide contain computers that complete most tasks independently instead of getting their commands from a data center. Their owners have to dispatch a technician every time they want to make a major change to the operating system or add a new feature. Only 15 percent to 20 percent of the world’s leading banks have begun connecting their ATMs to the cloud, according to Wincor Nixdorf, a German ATM manufacturer.
NCR’s sales pitch to banks is that its Cx110 and companion Kalpana cloud management software can slash the costs of running an ATM by up to 40 percent. A company with 100 ATMs could see savings of as much as $800,000 a year, NCR estimates. Because cloud-connected machines can be monitored more closely, it will be easier for banks to manage their networks. Says Robert Johnston, marketing director for ATM software at NCR: “There’s less of a chance an ATM will run out of cash.”
Automobile magazine has 23 reasons why the 2016 7 series is mind blowing in many ways
Here’s just one
A key fob with a color touchscreen (above) allows owners to remotely drive the 2016 BMW 7 Series forward into a garage or narrow parking space and then reverse it out. The system currently works only with forward parking and cannot reverse into a space remotely. U.S. laws prohibit this feature because regulations require the brake pedal to be physically depressed to shift a car out of park. However, BMW is petitioning the U.S. government for a workaround and will offer remote parking here as soon as it is legal.
Entering the US is becoming more digital – and hopefully quicker than waiting in line for Customs and Border Projection officers, thanks to three initiatives:
Global Entry – which requires a fee and a background check, but also qualifies you for a Trusted Traveler number and TSA precheck privileges at most US airports
Automated Passport Control Kiosk – which are free to use and do not need pre-registration, and does away with the paper customs form. It’s available to US and Canadian citizens and those from countries which qualify for Visa Waiver
The Mobile Passport app which can be used today at 4 US airports. You set up your profile with passport and other details and transmit that when you land and get an encrypted barcode to scan at the express lane
I saw a remarkable phenomenon yesterday. Cars were lined up waiting to be served by a mobile truck. The latest foodie craze? Kids lined up on a hot day for Kona Ice?
Actually, they were folks lining up with crates of paper to be shredded. The line was at least 20 cars deep. In an age of identity theft and other privacy concerns, Cam Caudle, owner of the Shred360 truck reports heightened interest in his paper and e-waste disposal services.
I got in touch with him because I had a couple of crates of book drafts I needed disposing. That was too small a job for him to drive the truck to us (he services a wide swath across Tampa Bay) so he told me about “shred day”. As a community service, this army veteran periodically drives the truck to a parking lot and shreds limited quantities for free. He would not even accept a donation for the job.
I asked him about his Alpine Evolution truck, and it is one heck of a high-torque engineering marvel. Features include planetary gears, precision-made solid steel shaft, the cameras to allow consumers to watch the shredding process, the robotic arms to lift the carts, a backup camera and numerous other safety features. Some of the bigger trucks can churn through 9,000 lbs of paper an hour. Many of the Alpine trucks now also have a hard drive shredder – up to 10 hard drives chomped up a minute! The video below provides more details.
Back home, I could not help but hum the Monster Mash and mock my poor, little 10 page-at-a-time shredder
If you are local call Cam for your shredding needs or try out one of the growing mobile shredding services in your town.
To generate routes, Rudder connects with local municipalities to source street light coordinates. It also uses open sourced city data to generate the brightest paths for walkers.
The app is currently in Beta, but new features are soon to come. You’ll be able to adjust your routes based on preferences for lighting or speed, and share your location with friends and family. According to the site, the app will even help you fight off “ninjas, vampires, and the boogeyman”.
Fortunately for Nokia, Google’s control of the mapping industry, combined with its prototype self-driving cars, has made a lot of powerful tech companies and automakers nervous, says Richard Wallace, director of transportation systems analysis at the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research. “If nobody is left to battle Google on map quality, maybe not this year but three years from now, then you can’t fight it when they say the price is going up,” he says. “That’s why I think this bidding war is so severe.”
It’s tough to create a database of map info that’s 100 percent reliable. (Ask Apple.) Factor in the 3D elements, public transport data, and regular addition of new cities, and Nokia probably spends about $2 billion a year on Here’s R&D, estimates analyst Horace Dediu, a former Nokia business development manager who runs researcher Asymco.
Once the gravelly voiced, graybeard face of the retail chain he founded, Mr. Zimmer has been refashioning himself as a technology entrepreneur. On Monday, he will unveil his new company, zTailors, a website and app that connects customers and their frumpy wardrobes with on-demand tailors who are ready to make house calls.
“In the closets of Americans, there is billions of dollars’ worth of apparel that has accumulated over the years,” he said. “It doesn’t all appear on the good side of the closet. It doesn’t all fit. That’s either because it has shrunk, or you have grown.”
You could not tell that by watching news on TV but this UN report on its Millennium Development Goals deserves some celebration
“The MDGs helped to lift more than one billion people out of extreme poverty, to make inroads against hunger, to enable more girls to attend school than ever before and to protect our planet. They generated new and innovative partnerships, galvanized public opinion and showed the immense value of setting ambitious goals. By putting people and their immediate needs at the forefront, the MDGs reshaped decision-making in developed and developing countries alike.”
Graphs here are of progress in area of gender equality and sustainability. Many more in the report.
Of course, lots more to do, but nice to see positive momentum.
“From tracking tweets and social media engagement during matches; to reporting on the weather and fans in attendance at the All England Club; to the on-court numbers like serve-speed and distance covered, IBM technologies covers all aspects of the game to help to bring the digits of tennis to life at Wimbledon 2015.
For the third Grand Slam of the 2015 season, SI.com has once again partnered with IBM to bring readers data-driven infographics and visualizations that help fully tell each storyline at Wimbledon.”
On July 14, more than a quarter-century later, his dream will finally be fulfilled. Around noon on that date, after a nine-year, 3 billion-mile journey, NASA’s 1,000-lb., grand-piano-size, $700 million New Horizons probe will streak past tiny Pluto at a blistering 31,000 m.p.h. The spacecraft is so remote now that radio communications–traveling at the speed of light–require a nearly nine-hour round-trip. Ultimately, New Horizons will come to within just 6,000 miles of the icy world, furiously snapping pictures and recording data on the temperature, structure and composition of Pluto, its five known moons and anything else that might be there–more moons, perhaps, or a system of rings.
But it’s Pluto that’s the real prize. The little world has intrigued astronomers since it was first discovered more than 85 years ago. Until Pluto showed up, all the outer planets were known to be gas giants. What was this pip-squeak doing out there all alone? What was it made of? Why did it even exist?
Roser (a research fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School) is an optimist. He says his charts, which cover everything from African development to violent death rates, unambiguously depict a world that is evolving for the better. Food availability and consumption are up dramatically in every region; around the world, child mortality has fallen precipitously. His favorite recent illustration is a table that shows a striking divergence in literacy rates in the Middle East between 15- to 24-year-olds and people over 65. In country after country, the younger generation’s literacy level is about 90 percent or higher compared to the more senior group. When viewed with another Roser chart that shows a strong correlation between high levels of education and democracy, prospects for the Middle East in upcoming decades become more sanguine.
In fact, the only thing that Roser appears to be pessimistic about is whether policymakers will use this type of historical data to help develop sound economic principles and policy. We should be planning for a future in which things get better with measures that equalize and improve education and tax policy and provide support for raising children in all social strata, he says. Pessimism on the part of policymakers “was more understandable 80 years ago when there was not much data and no computers to correlate it,” he says. “We have no excuse now to keep thinking that way.”
“Chef Watson understands food on a molecular level, and works off the theory that things that share similar flavor compounds taste good together. That knowledge makes Watson an interesting sidekick for both professional chefs and home cooks.
But Watson isn't just a chef. It's a computer system that learns by reading books, articles, or whatever you feed it. The cognitive system has been put to use in finance, healthcare, engineering and, most famously, on Jeopardy!
But this week, it was all about the food. I sat down for lunch with a few people from Watson's team to sample what a computer can come up with when given free rein in the kitchen.
The first thing I noticed was that the menu was like a very strange fusion restaurant. There was a Turkish-Korean Caesar salad, Indian turmeric paella and Belgian bacon pudding for dessert.”
Dr. Brian Hare, co-founder of Dognition, has spent his life tracking down clues to the remarkable bond between humans and canines. Now he’s developed a groundbreaking series of scientific tests to see just how well you know your dog.
“In an effort to look beyond today’s rapidly changing predictions on AV penetration, we interviewed more than 30 experts across Europe, the United States, and Asia and combined these findings with our insights to arrive at ten thought-provoking potential implications of self-driving cars.
The widespread use of AVs could profoundly affect a variety of industry sectors. To explore these implications in depth, we focused on three time horizons of AV diffusion: before such vehicles are commercially available to individual buyers, when they are in the early stage of adoption, and when they become the primary means of transport.”
I saw the Arctic Cove products in Home Depot recently and should have taken the Cooling Towel on my trip to Texas. The product says “To activate, simply soak, wring out, and snap.” The promise: “CHILLSTIICH™ technology cools surface temperatures up to 30° when wet” Actually the Drink N Mist would have done pretty well too.
They have a much wider range of personal and space cooling products as this site shows.
In the “Technology and my Passion” series, Edgar Moore and Gretchen Lindquist had written about cruises. They are avid cruisers - they have sailed from Galveston numerous times, from San Juan twice, and additionally from Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Los Angeles, and Venice. They are Diamond-level members of the Royal Caribbean loyalty program, the Crown and Anchor Society.
Back from a recent cruise on the Navigator of the Seas, I was delighted when Gretchen emailed me some photos from the ship and details on how she has seen patron technology on cruise boats improve since that column six years ago.
“Royal Caribbean has definitely upgraded the IT on the ships, as their CIO Bill Martin had promised a few years ago. The display above showed our position and weather conditions throughout the cruise.
The WIFI offering was much improved over that available on our previous cruises. Whereas last year I had to book WIFI service by the minute and try to guesstimate how many minutes I would need to do a daily post on Facebook via their sluggish connection, I was pleasantly surprised that I was offered an unlimited WIFI connection for the duration of the cruise, and with my Diamond-level member discount, it was definitely less than what I paid last year for much less time. The service did not have the speed of my connection at home, but it was definitely better, and I did not have to worry about dragging a laptop to a hot spot. I could use my smartphone anywhere on the ship.
We also made good use of the touch screen devices on each deck that showed you where you were standing in relation to the deck plan, the choices of dining venues, and activities on right now and upcoming. The cruise photography service also made use of technology for faster and easier service. On prior cruises, the photographs taken on the ship were all printed out and displayed in a gallery, and finding them was a headache. All you had to go by was signage clues (e.g. Main Seating, First Formal Night), requiring that you paw through all the racks of photographs until you found your own, reviewed them, and decided to either purchase or pitch. None of that waste of time and trees on this cruise! The photographer taking your photo would ask your cabin number; when you went down to the photo gallery, you scanned your Sea Pass card, and all of your photos were displayed on a monitor. You also had a choice of buying prints or digital copies.
I should also mention that the discounts and rewards for the loyalty program were previously printed on booklets, which the cruiser had to remember to carry around, tear out and redeem via presenting the bits of paper. Now they are coded into your account, and to claim a reward, you just present your Sea Pass.
One of the staffers mentioned that more technology improvements were coming; on my next cruise, I should have an app to download to my device that will manage everything, so I am already looking forward to that.”
Four years ago, e-commerce barely figured into its bottom line. Today, it accounts for more than a quarter of the group’s revenues, which have grown by 60 percent during that same period.
Others are taking notice. Last year, Alibaba paid $250 million for a 10 percent stake in SingPost. Alibaba and SingPost are now in discussions to form a joint venture focused on e-commerce logistics in Southeast Asia.
SingPost began using the Internet as a laboratory in the early 2000s. It dabbled in various parts of the supply chain, first delivering goods from American shops to Singaporean homes. It then tried selling products on its own homegrown platform. It even dipped into the luxury goods market, starting a website called Clout Shoppe.
Then, two years ago, SingPost made its biggest digital push, creating SP eCommerce to tap into the Internet retail boom in Asia. Today, it counts nearly 1,000 companies as clients, including Philips, Uniqlo, Deckers and Muji.
Want to work at a hedge fund or in private equity? Your employer might want to know how you measure up in terms of Cattell’s 16 personality factors, the Hogan Personality Inventory’s seven scales or the Caliper Profile’s more than 22 traits–tests that can take anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours, according to some frustrated job seekers. Interested in becoming a nurse? You might face questions from the Prophecy Behavioral Personality Assessment or Pegged Software, a startup founded by a former White House economist that administers tests to 3 million job applicants in health care annually. One of the most popular tests, Gallup’s StrengthsFinder, is now used by 457 of the Fortune 500 companies as a way to communicate with workers, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Some employers are now monitoring workers’ temperaments in real time–including the world’s largest hedge fund, where employees can track their individual stats on a personalized digital “baseball card.” Experts in the fast-growing “people analytics” industry believe it won’t be long before algorithms regularly sift through Facebook and Twitter postings to glean and analyze additional data.
Launched two months ago by a Nashville-based startup of the same name, Crystal knows the email style and preferences of just about everyone in the English-speaking professional world. It knows that Ammirati prefers short, blunt language and that I like sarcasm. If you’ve ever written anything on the Internet, Crystal probably knows how you like to correspond too. By analyzing data from publicly available sources like social media and private peer reviews on its own site, Crystal categorizes professionals into 64 personality types and extrapolates their work and communication styles from there.
“As cities become more and more congested, people are becoming increasingly open to new means of mobility, and car sharing is proving to be an appealing model,” says Ken Washington, Vice President of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “A crucial part of delivering effective car-sharing services is to learn alongside these drivers what best meets their needs and expectations, and complements their location and existing transportation infrastructure.”
GoDrive uses a pay-as-you-go approach to pricing and trips are charged by the minute, which includes the cost of the central London congestion charge, insurance and fuel. During the trial phase, cars were primarily located at public transport hubs, like Victoria railway station, but that’s obviously now being widened out to include other parts of the capital.
VC Tim Draper’s crowdsourced initiative has received several hundred ideas.
Here’s a breakdown of the top issues entrants had addressed by early June.
Almost 42 percent of the concepts submitted focused on how to improve representation and the legislative process. So far it has been the most-addressed topic in the competition and brought up solutions like a unicameral legislature and a tech-driven government.
Nearly 22 percent of the ideas dealt with infrastructure and water conservation. Between improving transportation and looking for new ways to save water, the issues were a major focus for concerned residents.
Close to 14 percent of the entries wanted to improve the state through business initiatives.
Ten percent of the entries were aimed at education. Ideas ranged from offering more college courses in high school to finding alternative ways to finance schools.
We are visiting our son in Texas this weekend and nice to see the technology Hays County and the City of Austin (and other Texas locations) are using for what is a common natural disaster in these parts
“The City of Austin Flood Early Warning System reports the current state of over 1,000 "low water crossings" - often little more than a roadway with a culvert to allow a creek to pass beneath; during heavy rain, these crossings will frequently be temporarily impassable.
Ten counties in the greater Austin area participate in a Regional Notification System, whereby residents and interested parties can register their landlines and cell phones to receive notification of threats to life or property.
At their “Edge Corp” demo plant Plex shows off (as I have written here and here ) Google Glass, Estimote beacons, Honeywell ring scanners, Mitutoyo digital calipers and other emerging technology in use on the shop floor
At PowerPlex this week, Barrie Vince of Plex brought to life in an excellent short session the implementation of some of these tools at their customer, Fisher Dynamics. He also showed off the GoGlove, a bluetooth glove and talked about the Apple Watch and other wearables they are experimenting with.
worth a watch – just 5 minutes long and Barrie is quite a showman. Not to shortchange the others on the stage – Jason Blessing and Jerry Foster of Plex and Scott Tollafield of Fisher were excellent in their own way. I had a chance to interact with them at the event.
“Powerwall is a home battery that charges using electricity generated from solar panels, or when utility rates are low, and powers your home in the evening. It also fortifies your home against power outages by providing a backup electricity supply. Automated, compact and simple to install, Powerwall offers independence from the utility grid and the security of an emergency backup.”
“To make the numbers, Knight figured that managers would need to deliver 15% annual returns on all new business and capital outlays.
Today the network planning group of 70 analysts oversees this process from cubicles on the 11th floor of Union Pacific’s office tower in Omaha. The “smart guys” are anything but wonks. Many are managers from the field who spend a year or two in the department and blend excellent math skills with rail yard know-how. A case in point is Danny Torres, who spent most of his career working in repair facilities and depots, and now runs a network of 10 terminals in Iowa. “We work with a financial model that says, How much profit will adding this siding or extra track add? Will it slow or increase efficiency in other parts of the network? When it’s all taken together, will the total return reach 15%?”
Knight also built a second financial function that might be called “green, yellow, red.” In each of the big operating businesses—coal, industrial products, chemicals, and so on—Knight installed financial managers to evaluate new business. They enter the proposed pricing on all new contracts, as well as the extra costs in fuel, manpower, and everything else the business will require, into an online operating system that projects the rate of return. If the number is well over 15%, the system flashes green. If it’s on the margin, the signal is yellow. “If it’s red,” says Knight, “and it’s the best pricing we can offer, we let it go.””
Mention “Industry 4.0” to most manufacturing executives and you will raise eyebrows. If they’ve heard of it, they are likely confused about what it is. If they haven’t heard of it, they’re likely to be skeptical of what they see as yet another piece of marketing hype, an empty catchphrase. And yet a closer look at what’s behind Industry 4.0 reveals some powerful emerging currents with strong potential to change the way factories work. It may be too much to say that it is another industrial revolution. But call it whatever you like; the fact is, Industry 4.0 is gathering force, and executives should carefully monitor the coming changes and develop strategies to take advantage of the new opportunities.
Lighting, like everything else, has gone digital. Instead of creating light with wires and gas inside a hot enclosure, we now use semiconductors known as light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. Diminutive and durable, they’re a far cry from Edison’s incandescents—and they’re enabling a lot of competition. Soraa, a lighting company founded in 2008 by Nobel Prize in physics winner Shuji Nakamura, sells commercial lights to California Pizza Kitchen and Starwood Hotels. Ketra, a six-year-old startup, provides lighting for the Art Institute of Chicago and Tiffany & Co
The rapid shift has the incumbents scrambling. In March, Philips announced plans to sell its LED component-making division. Siemens spun out Osram through an initial public offering. Rumors suggest that GE’s lighting division could be for sale. (The company denies it.) “The rapid transition to LEDs has caught the major manufacturers a bit unawares,” says Will Rhodes, a market researcher at IHS Technology. “Their traditional business is falling faster than their LED business is taking off.”
But app indexing is not just Google introducing another corpus into its search engine. The mobile app-sphere is where people live these days — not so much the web. Google must be there. Huffman knows this. “Google should be the premiere place in user’s minds for finding apps, discovering great apps and finding the content and the capabilities inside of those apps,” he says.
The company faces challenges in doing this. For one thing, it had to figure out how to rank apps in search results. Google has endless experience ranking websites, but it has had to come up with new signals to identify the apps most likely to have the best information. (Apps with lots of downloads and high user rankings are more likely to have better information, and Google ranks the deep links within those apps more highly.)
Another potential hurdle is getting total buy-in from developers, who must not only allow Google to scrape their content, but actually do some work to make their apps integrate fully into Google’s scheme. This seems like a no brainer. After all, if the data in your app surfaces in a Google search result,users are more likely to use that app. What’s more, Google has started to give results from apps that are not installed on a user’s device. For instance, if you are searching for a recipe, Google might give you a deep link to a cooking app you don’t have. In those cases, there’s an opportunity to download the app. “So we actually are kind of promoting your app in line,” says Huffman.
Three steps to an answer: (1) holding and tapping the phone while “Blurryface” plays on Spotify and (2) asking Google who’s singing lead, will (3) surface the frontman of Twenty One Pilots. Note that at no point is the Google app or a browser involved
California has always been a bit of an obsession for the tech industry, but most of the attention has been focused in a northerly direction. That’s slowly changing: Los Angeles is coming into its own as a tech hub. When Cornerstone OnDemand, a local business-software company, went public in 2011 and quickly reached a $1 billion market cap, “people realized that this is for real,” says founder and CEO Adam Miller. “It became socially acceptable to work in tech in L.A.”
I am reviewing Dr. Hasso Plattner and Bernd Leukert’s new book. I am doing it more to make sure I get a 360 degree perspective for my SAP Nation sequel.
Not surprisingly, there is not much new on S/4HANA, recent as that is. In fact, that portion reads more like a marketing brochure. They don’t use the word “simple” much but there is plenty of promise of “non-disruption”. There is insufficient focus on migration or destination economics other than it should be lighter in data, ergo TCO should go down.
What is nice, and the reason it qualifies for New Florence is the “Big Data”/HANA use cases profiled – medical research insights, fraud detection, omni-channel retail at Burberrys, margin management at Conagra, hurricane damage prediction for insurers and consumer sentiment analysis among them. I wish they had profiled these 3-4-5 years ago, when they would have stood out much more in the Analytics category of this blog where other products/vendors have been showcasing similar examples. Again, in the use cases, there is little focus on what it cost these customers.
Another nice touch – a spiritual foreword by Clayton Christensen, “Mr. Disruption” which plays to the S/4 message of simplification through removal of aggregates
“I am a religious person, and I regularly think about whether God is pleased with my life. In one of these ponderings recently, I had an important insight: God does not need accountants in Heaven. Because we have finite minds, we need to aggregate data into bigger numbers to have a sense for what is going on around us. For example, I can’t keep track of all of the specific invoices we have sent to our customers, So thank goodness, we have an accountant who can count up all these into a single number which we call “sales.” … I realized, however, that because God has an infinite mind, he doesn’t need to aggregate above the level of individuals in order to have a perfect understanding of what is going on in the world. And this implies that when he measures my life, he will only discuss with me what I have done to help other people — because he doesn’t aggregate above the level of the individual.”
Finally, a production note: Amazon has not had the book available for weeks now. Springer, the publisher, still does not have the eBook version out, and as of last week was not shipping the print version to the US (that may have changed). I had to escalate within Springer to get a copy. Hopefully, readers will have an easier time.
I would certainly recommend reading the use cases. At $79.99 the print version is priced more for a college course, but if it is released on the Amazon Kindle, it would certainly be a good one to borrow from their online library.