I particularly agree on the fourth point in your last paragraph regarding the future of mining, or even for any industry. But I will add the line that automation can only complement these procedural tasks which were historically done by human labors, in other words making these tedious labor-intensive work more efficient, but not the kind of jobs which involve creative thinking to come up with original ideas. Automation, machine-learning, and big data are largely based on recognizing and predicting a pattern based on historical data. While efficiency can be improved, the original idea creation will still be dependent upon human creation. We will still be employed! Stay creative 🙂
It is inspiring to know that public service companies are also digitally transforming its operation. But I wonder what’s the cost-benefit analysis on any of these projects. My sense is people are less sensitive to these “smart” features in public transportation as these services such as subway has been an integral of city residents’ daily life. When Tube adopt these “smart” technologies, will they increase costs to absorb the capital expenditures? or will they solely be reliant on the cost-saving from efficiency improvement resulting from digital transformation projects? As you mentioned, these initiatives can be costly. Should tax-payers’ money be spent on these innovations which can potentially benefit the public in the long run? Be curious to know the aggregate economics of these digital projects.
As similar to many other applications of IoT into our daily life, I am worried about banks’ invasion into their clients’ privacy. In the example that is given in the case- banks give competitive loan interest rate to people who frequently search for mortgage- I would be concerned where the bank is getting these data from; is it from a 3rd party who is constantly collecting data from my daily behavior, or is it from a plug-in software secretly hidden in my hard-drive. Where to draw the line between leveraging data to benefit businesses and make more profits and protecting citizens’ privacy should be taken into account. With that being said, regulatory and legal institutions should fast forward its discussion and legislation on the protection of privacy against the backdrop of rapidly evolving technology industry.
One of the key questions in my mind is how feasible this technology is to farming industry in emerging markets. In the U.S., the farm lands are largely owned by one single owner. In other words, one farmer owns a larger piece of land than a farmer in emerging market such as China. The key growth population will be in Asia and Africa in the next couple decades. Will this farm drone service be applicable in markets with segmented and smaller-sized farms? When entering markets where regulatory authority is keen on keeping the land and farming information as “sensitive” data? How will farm drone companies like Precision Hawk obtain license and permission to collect data and generate the 2D or 3D farming map? I will be curious to know how Precision Hawk combat these issues as they roll out commercial plans for expansion in these markets.
This is such an innovative use-case of 3D printing. When mapping out plans for the future, one critical decision is to decide to focus our resources between on residential or on commercial clients. I will argue going with the commercial clients will help, as they will bring the potential economies of scale, sophistication of cuisine and menu design. Particularly, we should choose some up-scale restaurant and try anchor one to two highly recognized chefs as we design, iterate and promote the product.
What an interesting company!
Particularly, I like “reduction of food wastage” and “use of local ingredients.” Before reading it, I will never associate supply chain efficiency, climate change mitigation in a food supply business. It makes sense to me that emphasizing on the efficient use of energy and supply chain can drive not only operational performance but also “save the world.”
The rise of IoT has spurred conversation in the potential benefits which may bring to energy industry, both on the demand and on the supply sides. Thanks for sharing the ThinkEco case to us. ThinkEco is on the demand side energy management. I do see big potential in the B2B business, but still do not see justification on the B2C side yet. The main reason is that the electricity price is still cheap in the U.S. for residents. The fiscal incentive is not that strong, although the environmental consciousness might be the reason for people to adopt.
Veolia is one of my clients before HBS. Thanks for sharing your view. However, I have to point out there is a difference between climate change and environmental protection, despite somewhat overlap between the two. Climate change is more concerned about activities resulting in rising volume of CO2. Technologies by Veolia, such as municipal water services and waste management, can be either. You may want to expand a little bit on how you see their core services help mitigate climate change effect.
Transmission is one segment in the energy industry that definitely require innovation and new way of thinking. With the spread of Internet of Things, IoT, and other digital technologies, the industry will only boom with a faster pace. However, as you mentioned above, the role of government can never be under-estimated. Thus, the synergy between private and public sectors must be continuously emphasized in this industry.
With that being said, the volatile supply of clean energy also gives rise to the rising demand of storage technologies. Energy storage technologies, complementing grid technologies, will help further development of sustainability in energy distribution and consumption.
Thanks for sharing. In fact, I was researching on Koch Brothers’ stand in the energy industry for an independent project myself. I partially agree with your views on Koch Brother. The diversification strategy- investing into clean technologies- is vividly laid out and is new to me. However, I will argue there is a difference between believing in Climate Change and Investing in Clean Technology as a Diversification Strategy. The latter one is a business decision where businesses utilize to hedge the potential business risks. It is possible that the Koch sees some degree of truth behind the risks presented by climate change. As indicated in the Washington Post Interview, Koch may believe climate change is real, but dubbed the gravity of it. What’s the reason why he does not believe that much? It may well result from the fact that Koch does not understand the science behind climate change.
One more piece of information: a recent loss of donation from Koch to Republican Senator Ayotte may also shed some light on Koch’s true belief. Senator Ayotte is one of the few republicans who admit humans are behind climate warming, and she lost donation from Koch thereafter.
1. Maybe Koch isn’t worried about climate change because he doesn’t get the science.
2. Republican Kelly Ayotte lost millions of dollars by defying Koch Brothers on Climate Change. https://theintercept.com/2016/11/05/republican-kelly-ayotte-lost-millions-of-dollars-by-defying-koch-brothers-on-climate-change/