The use of technology on the field can definitely improve yields. Monsanto’s technology in the seeds is only as good as the farmer using it correctly. If Monsanto / Bayer can leverage the seed technology with analytics in the field it can create a better value proposition to customers by teaching them how to farm correctly. The higher the yields the farmers get, the happier they are with Monsanto. This business model can certainly disrupt other seed producers given the added value that Monsanto could bring.
How can Monsanto increase the adaption of this technology to small farmers using its seeds?
Many farmers are worried about connectivity as cell phone coverage may be limited? Has Monsanto thought about offline data logging and then upload once the farmer is in a zone with cell phone coverage?
GE has understood that LED lights have become commoditized. How do we get from a commoditized product into a value added product? GE has identified that providing real time information from sensors such as occupancy sensors can help cities have better planning. GE’s partnerships with cities is increasingly interesting from a urban development standpoint.
I am curious to view how GE positions itself with cities in order for mass adoption of this technology. – Working with elected goverments is hard given that they want to see results in a short term. Obtaining data and doing urban plans take more than 4 years, the usual term length of a mayor in a city. How can GE develop an economic model that overcomes this barrier?
M-Pesa is a fascinating case. It is a company owned by the cellphone provider network and works on SMS technology. This technology although old is applicable to Africa since the country does not have high smart phone penetration.
I believe the most interesting thing of MPesa is the way it has facilitated the financial inclusion and financial transactions in an under developed country. It is fascinating how each store can accept money into the MPesa account. Also MPesa helps the community by creating a the ability of microfinancing.
How do we make the MPesa model work in other under developed economies? This technology is ripe for many countries with low smart phone penetration.
The digitalization of the farm is increasingly important in order to economically improve yields. The question here is how to get this technology to as many farmers as possible in a cost effective way? What is the business model? Could precision hawk price on a per usage basis, or per acre analyzed basis? This way it can help small farmers have these high end tools to increase yields.
Hey Shaun – great post. Definitely the construction industry needs digitalization in order to help it be more profitable, stay on schedule and increase productivity. Construction is the beginning of economic development and a sign of prosperity of a nation.
The question here is, how do we expand Rhumbix for as many construction companies as possible? The problem with construction is that surely there are many qualified EPC’s who have mastered project management but many smaller construction companies in the developing world have not.
Could Rhumbix actually convince the project owner instead of the builder?
Many different business models can work.
Thanks for the introduction to this great topic!
Great piece Rotem. It is admirable to see how many technological innovations have come out of Israel. Drip irrigation is definitely a technology that will help the world become more sustainable. Its benefits include less water usage, less fertilizer usage and better yields.
Unfortunately the cost of adoption of this technology is a barrier for many farmers (40-50% more than regular irrigation for CAPEX). Hopefully Netafim can work on a program to help adoption around the globe. http://cornandsoybeandigest.com/equipment/switch-drip-irrigation
Let’s see how Netafim can provide some innovative financial solutions in order to drive adoption of this great technology! – The innovation can be financing or it can be in lowering the cost of acquisition of the system.
Alan – great article. Waste-to-energy facilities are great sources of what I consider to be environmentally friendly energy. This energy comes from waste, diverting large land uses of landfill into energy. Typically a facility like the one described will convert trash to energy and only have to dispose of ash. Ash will be usually between 10-30% of total weight that entered into the combustion chamber. This greatly reduces the volume and need of land fill areas. ( http://www.deltawayenergy.com/wte-tools/deltaways-top/ )
Additionally – great advances have been made in technology to clean the fumes of these facilities. Electrostatic precipitators and NOx reducers can help alleviate problems of combustion.
In general I do believe this is a great technology that should be adopted in many areas of the world. Hopefully the CAPEX of these facilities and ongoing OPEX make them economically feasible on a $/kwh basis.
Nuclear energy is definitely compelling and developing a 50MW facility that is economically feasible is today not a reality. Hopefully NuScale can do this as it would add much cleaner energy to our grids worldwide.
I personally believe there are many concerns with nuclear including safety and disposal.
Safety – after Fukushima many nuclear power plants world wide have been shut down. This also leads us to think of the political willingness to approve for such facilities.
Dispsoal – disposing of nuclear waste is an issue. Today we are still trying to figure out where to put the waste! Fortunately a company is already investing in this. They plan to generate electricity out of nuclear waste. The company is Transatomic (out of MIT). http://www.transatomicpower.com/
To your comment about using nuclear energy to desalinate water. I believe that the question would be, what is the cheapest electricity that can lead us to desalinate water. Nuclear atleast today does not have the lowest electrical cost according to Lazard’s LCOE https://www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-of-energy-analysis-90/
Hopefully we do find a technology that allows us to economically desalinate water!
Excellent post. I believe this post is not only relevant to Zara / Inditex but to many in the apparel retail space.
Brands can do a lot of initiatives to lower their environmental footprint. The areas that can be heavily influenced and within Inditex control are:
1. Retail Stores
3. Product dev
Retail Stores – investing in energy efficient lighting, high energy efficient A/C and other technologies they can decrease there overall consumption with a positive ROI.
DC – having ISO140001 is a step in the right direction. But more needs to be done. Automation and dark DC’s can really help. Most of these DC’s do not need personnel hence they can fully decrease costs by lowering there lighting. Additionally DC’s are huge warehouses with large roofs. Inditex could invest in solar roof energy in order to decrease its electricity bill and have more renewable energy sources.
Product Dev – organic cotton has taken time to take off. I am not so sure this is enough to curb its footprint but it is a step in the right direction.
One area that could be of impact is manufacturing. Investing in zero discharge water, better chemicals, and renewable energy could significantly reduce their environmental impact. In order to do this, Inditex will need to create partnerships with their manufacturers in order to drive sustainable investments.
Thanks for the post, really insightful!!!
Hi Jina – extremely insightful post on a small island system. Any electricity system, be it small or large, will need to play around with demand and supply. This mismatch of demand and supply throughout the day makes utilities have large underutilized assets for peak demand periods. Luckily, huge advances in technology are taking place today to make energy storage through batteries an economic reality. If Hawaii can place hundreds of panels on homes that do not use electricity during the day but can store this electricity to use it during peak demand then a substantial load of peak energy assets are not required.
Further on – the question for Hawaii is what renewable power technology can reliably generate electricity considering constrained resources such as land. I believe that this will have to be a mix of hydroelectric power by betting on wave technology just like Rotem pointed out, Roof solar energy and wind energy off the coasts (big political issue though!).
The ambitious effort of having 100% renewables by 2045 are amazing and more areas of the country should follow these. Interestingly renewables are highly attractive the higher the kwh of current generation sources. For example, if importing oil or coal to Hawaii adds a huge economic burden to the $/kwH than the feasibility of renewables is higher.
Shreya – absolutely interesting post. Natracare’s approach is definitely one to be studied and can lead to good savings. I believe that using organic products and using less fossil intensive products (such as eliminating plastic) is important for this product to be sustainable. Natracare is definitely doing its share to reduce the carbon footprint.
Another way to reduce the carbon footprint is to have reusable toiletry. One company that is doing this is Thinx. They have created a reusable woman’s underwear that serves as a pad. By reusing you can possibly reduce the carbon footprint and the landfill footprint even more.