If you could relive any one day of your life, what would it be? The day your first child was born? The day you turned sixteen? The day you met your spouse? Or perhaps your wedding day? Imagine for a minute if you wanted to relive your wedding day. How would do it? Today the best option you might have is to replay your wedding video. But that still only offers a limited perspective from the viewpoint of a single camera.
You are probably familiar with Elon Musk’s plan to build a high-speed train between Los Angeles and San Francisco. First discussed in 2012, the hyper loop was described by Musk as a fifth mode of transportation that would be a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun and an air hockey table. Traveling an average speed of 600mph, passengers on the California hyper loop would make the trip between LA and the Bay Area in 35 minutes. I think we need a hyper loop for cyberspace too.
In my last post I introduced a vision for the Smart Trash that would automatically identify the items you are throwing away. What would you do with the data collected? The waste management company may not have much use for the data, but manufacturers and retailers who are trying to predict what consumers are going to buy next would find it very valuable.
These days everyone is talking about how the Internet of Things, RFID and Smart appliances will revolutionize our day-to-day lives. Smart refrigerators promise to someday soon be able to identify the items inside them. Your refrigerator could identify that you have a gallon of milk that is past its expiration date then submit a request to a nearby retailer to deliver a new jug to your house. The goal is a completely optimized supply chain that senses when you are about to be “out of stock” in a household item and auto-magically replenishes it.
Forecasting the demand for merchandise and toys to support a new Star Wars film always requires a bit of magic and Jedi Arts. How many of each different action figure, light saber and book should be produced? It has been almost 10 years since the last film was released so there is no recent supply chain data to analyze. And, of course, we want to avoid a 1977 style imbalance of the force (between supply and demand) when toys weren’t able to be mass produced in time for the holiday season. What if we forget about the traditional mass production in China model. What if, instead, toy manufacturers should use 3D printing to create action figures and other toys on demand? Here is how it would work.
One year from today (December 18, 2015) the seventh episode of the Star Wars saga will be released into movie theaters around the world. The movie will only last two hours, but kids will relive the movie for years afterwards with the Star Wars action figures and other new toys that will accompany the film. Forecasting demand for toys and merchandise associated with a major movie release can be quite challenging. When the original Star Wars action figures were released in late 1977 there was a huge supply shortage the following Christmas.
Last December, during a 60 Minutes interview, Jeff Bezos announced his plans for Amazon Prime Air, a service that would deliver packages to consumer’s homes using a fleet of drones. Since then the retail industry has gone absolutely bonkers exploring new ways of delivering packages ordered online to consumer’s homes. Amazon has announced it is testing delivery via taxicabs and bicycle couriers. DHL and Walmart are experimenting with crowdsourcing delivery to random people. eBay and startups like WunWun offer concierge services that will deliver just about anything to your home in less than an hour. Cardrops in the UK will store packages in your car’s trunk while you are away. Soon you will be able to order a present on Christmas morning to be delivered in less than one-hour, fully wrapped, just in time for you to put under the tree.