Wow this is fascinating – I had no idea that Verizon had any businesses outside of its core telecom business. It makes complete sense, though – they certainly have the infrastructure to support it. I think the trucking industry is ripe for disruption and Verizon is very smart to be positioning themselves early on.
As much as I love it, Insurance is a tragically outdated industry that is scrambling to catch up to modern technology and trends. Manulife is not alone in integrating high tech underwriting models and hip new marketing schemes to attract younger generations. With the insurance market as soft as it is, insurers are doing everything they can to innovate and stay relevant – but I think they are throwing money at a symptom of the problem instead of the root. Insurers are desperate for young, technologically savvy talent. They are in need of the technologies and software development that is saturating silicon valley, but let’s face it, insurance isn’t sexy. There are no ping pong tables, no kegs, and these institutions are gigantic and OLD and have correspondingly clunky bureaucracies and regulatory committees. Manulife has built some fun looking office spaces and introduced a hackathon, but the future of insurance is going to hinge on attracting the right talent. Or perhaps they’ll give up on building out the technologies in house and we’ll see a surge of insurance software startups?
I have often marveled at the logistical nightmare that is commercial construction, and am surprised to see that technology has yet to be fully utilized. I think you have highlighted a key inefficiency in our daily lives that goes under the radar because the workforce associated with it is so specialized. I also wonder if the project management structure (being largely contract-driven) has led to some stalled adaptation of technology. While I can certainly see the value in a tool like Rhumbix, I think tools like this would function optimally when all parties involved (suppliers, all workers, contractors, management companies, etc) were connected via the same interface. However, because they are all separately managed and working with different budgets, I can see this being an issue.
I think Ford has a special challenge in trying to adopt new technology like self-driving cars. As the emblematic American car brand, Ford’s brand is pretty deeply rooted in tradition. Ford is still having to work on the schisms between its existing consumer base – the crowd that wants electronic vehicles and the consumer that wants to commute to and from work in a heavy duty 8 cylinder pick up truck…just for image’s sake. A company like Tesla is built with the type of consumer in mind that would appreciate the self-driving car, but I would hazard to guess that a large portion of Ford’s customers are the people that genuinely love to drive and feel a special attachment to their truck. The question then is without being able to focus the majority of their resources on developing out the self-driving technology, will Ford be able to get a piece of the pie quickly enough?
I’ve never heard of this company, but it doesn’t surprise me that it didn’t stick. I can’t imagine parents today wanting their kids’ data to be circulated, let alone parents 5 years ago. I think there is definitely room for digital innovation in education, but i’m not sure I see the value in digitalizing children’s data before we can figure out a school system that actually delivers a quality education.
Cool idea, but I wonder how they are approaching competition with companies like Nest. This technology seems to have more possibilities for expansion, but Nest has built out a pretty comprehensive system for managing the temperature within your home – no remote control necessary.
I would be curious to see what the margins are by line of car. I recall reading that American car companies like Ford actually are losing money on the smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles, but have to continue producing and selling them in order to meet regulatory standards. Turns out they make up that lost profit by selling more of their larger fuel guzzling trucks. If the regulators are serious about curbing car manufacturers’ contribution to climate change, I would expect them to move towards establishing MPG limits based on the individual car (or perhaps class of vehicle) as opposed to on average. Long term this will help curb emissions, but would likely mean increased prices of eco-friendly cars.
Self-selecting out of industries that do not align with environmentalism sounds nice on paper, but probably wouldn’t translate well into a business strategy. Morgan Stanley has a fiduciary duty to its clients, and is not being paid to be an eco-friendly firm, so this would be in contradiction with many of their existing contracts. There are financial for-profit companies, however, that invest with an eye towards sustainability. For example, it’s in the best interest of a life or health insurance company to appear health/environment/sustainability conscious. For a health insurer, investing in a green bond is doubly beneficial – it portrays them as responsible investors and offers attractive returns.
Considering the amount of resources that go into making a hotel stay comfortable, I feel like Hilton should be able to do more than just collect coffee grounds… Totally agree with you regarding the towel reuse policy, but I think they can do even more! What about measures like more water efficient showers / toilets? Or let’s lose the minibars – having to restock miniature, inefficiently packaged items in the minibar everyday is totally inefficient (and overpriced). Depending on the city, maybe instead of extensive parking options they offer bicycles for visitors to borrow? The challenge will be to make these services fit into their luxury home-away-from-home experience. But nobody drinks wine out of 3oz bottles, so that shouldn’t be too hard.
Because Florida has deemed these costal regions safe for residential development, it seems rational that they should need to ensure that there is an insurance market in place. I’m not sure I agree with the notion that a tax advantage would incentivize private insurers, however. The P&C insurance market is competitive enough to provide coverage where it makes sense financially to do so. Florida has had to establish an insurer of last resort because private insurers will not knowingly accept such high-risk properties. While a tax benefit would help mitigate the financial risk to a certain extent – the upside is limited. Conversely, they’d be exposing themselves intentionally to downside risk through exposure to an almost guaranteed loss of unknown magnitude. This means their reinsurance rates would increase and risk to capital ratios would increase, making it even less financially viable.