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Crowdsourcing, Drones and Why I’ll Never Buy a Bugatti

crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing, Drones and Why I’ll Never Buy a Bugatti

Amazon has taught me I don’t have to wait for my next two-pack of ravioli cutter stamps, so if you can’t get them to me in under two hours, I know someone else who can. It’s 2019, and customers want what they want, when they want it. According to a recent report, the global last-mile market is now expected to hit $55.2 billion by 2025, up from $30.2 billion today – and it’s no wonder. Amazon’s deep investments in delivery continue to fuel a surge in e-commerce; meanwhile, customer expectations and the entire supply chain have been completely upended.

The good news is that the more retailers invest in delivery, the more their e-commerce revenue grows. For businesses who’ve made supply chain a top priority, it’s huge validation.

So where does that leave us in the race to the doorstep? Companies are throwing cash at everything, from drones to self-driving robots to crowdsourcing. Who’s got the best chance of success? How can each one lower costs, increase speed and mitigate risks? Can they disrupt the industry without being, well… disruptive?

Drones: The droids you’re looking for?

Drones entered the mainstream about five years ago as a cool photography gadget. Thanks to falling prices, they’re a hot item on every kid’s Christmas list this year, but they’ve also generated a lot of buzz about their potential applications for logistics.

In rural areas, drones have huge promise for parcel delivery. They’re already supplementing human workers in large warehouses – flying to far-flung corners to pick goods on high-up shelves. And they’re working out in the freight yard, too, helping to track and manage trucks, trailers and containers.

Companies like UPS, Amazon, Google and even Dominos are experimenting with drones in the last mile. One popular model uses a carrier van on the highway as a hub for an armada of drones that fly out of the back to deliver small parcels to nearby homes. It’s an impressive, futuristic version of hub and spoke. Can it work? At what cost?

Just like commercial aviation and the automobile, drones have major hurdles to navigate, especially when we think about how they’ll work at scale. We’ll need major regulatory oversight to address safety, noise and privacy concerns. We’ll need to build control towers, write better algorithms, improve GPS, and figure out what to do about the weather. But these challenges will likely all be worked out, given enough in time and investment.

Autonomous vehicles and robots: Bots with brains.

What about autonomous cars and robots? Are they more viable in the near term?

McKinsey predicts autonomous vehicles could slash last-mile delivery costs in urban areas by as much as 40 percent. And companies from FedEx to Bosch have made bets on sidewalk delivery bots, deploying prototypes in San Francisco office parks, where they’re tightly controlled.  Long-term, the potential is clear, and companies with the deep pockets to make early bets could save a lot of money in the long run.

Both autonomous cars and bots cost thousands of dollars per unit to manufacture, though, and depend heavily on human supervision and maintenance. When it comes to flexibility and scalability, is a sidewalk droid really that different from a truck? Both are rigid, asset-heavy systems that require a big capex investment upfront with even higher maintenance and upgrade costs over time.

Think of it this way: earlier this year, actor and comedian Tracy Morgan from Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock bought himself a sweet new supercar: a Bugatti. He forked out a cool $2 million for it. But later that day, he was sideswiped by a driver in a Honda CR-V. It was just a minor fender-bender, but it turns out fixing a scratch on a Bugatti costs more than the entire value of the car that hit him – somewhere to the tune of $32,000.

The truth is, even if I had the cash to buy a Bugatti, I could never afford to maintain it. Will a fleet of delivery droids be the same?

Whether it’s drones or robots or some other yet-to-emerge autonomous technology, asset-heavy logistics strategies will always suffer from the same Achilles heel: whether it’s changing wiper blades or switching from lithium batteries to solar – hardware is expensive. And if a new hardware solution can’t solve for the demands of flexibility in the last mile, there will still be a need for something that can.

This doesn’t even take into account all the regulatory hurdles, infrastructure dependencies and real-world obstacles from bikes to baby strollers, pranksters to potholes, larcenists to labor unions.

But what folks aren’t talking about, and what I find most interesting, is the inherent limitations that come with any fixed-asset system.

Drones and robots may well be efficient, and hopefully one day safer. But what happens when a last-minute order comes in and the customer needs delivery now? How do you adjust a pre-planned droid route at the last minute – when the droid has already left the store?

Crowdsourcing: Using an infrastructure that’s already there.

Robots may well be our future, but how do we solve the delivery challenges we have today? That’s where crowdsourcing comes in.

Crowdsourcing lets retailers leverage existing resources already on the road to make delivery faster, more efficient and more flexible. While others are making big bets on drones, our Roadie drivers are delivering gigantic garden gnomes. We’re delivering temperature-controlled medicine that won’t be ready for pickup until 9 p.m. We’re working with Walmart to save busy parents a trip to buy groceries. We’re returning your lost luggage from the airport, and bringing you the ladder you bought online at The Home Depot this morning.

Some of the biggest brands in retail are investing in crowdsourcing. Today, we’re partnering with SMBs and Fortune 100 retailers to deliver everything from makeup to mattresses, paint to puppy food. Businesses across virtually every industry are solving today’s delivery challenges with an asset-light strategy that allows them to experiment and learn. They’re addressing delivery demand today, without making new capital investments or locking themselves into a futures bet with complex hardware systems. And most importantly, they’re not disrupting their existing supply chain in a way that can’t be undone without a huge cost if and when the autonomous tech winners begin to emerge over the next decade or two.

And that’s really the point. Retailers need optionality. Customers want to personalize their delivery for each and every purchase at the point of sale. A great customer experience means having a delivery solution for every customer delivery problem, whether you’re scheduling a sofa delivery on Sunday or sending a rescue inhaler right now. Making that work in the real world means having an arsenal of tools in your delivery toolkit.

We’re solving the problems retailers are having today, at scale – not iterating on solutions that may work at a required scale years in the future. Crowdsourcing is a sustainable solution that ensures we’ll all be around to see what delivery looks like in the future.

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Don Pancho_University for Peace Visit

Marc Gorlin is the Founder and CEO of Roadie, a crowdsourced delivery service that works with consumers, small businesses and national companies across virtually every industry to provide a faster, cheaper, more scalable solution for scheduled, same-day and urgent delivery. With over 150,000 verified drivers, Roadie covers 89% of U.S. households — the largest local same-day delivery footprint in the nation.

Want To Do Business With Baby Boomers? You’ll Find Them On Social Media.

Forget those jokes about Baby Boomers and their supposed struggles grasping today’s technology.

They may have grown up in a black-and-white TV, rotary-phone era, but most Baby Boomers long ago adapted to the 21st-century digital world. And that includes social media, which they took to with almost as much delight as their children and grandchildren if recent studies on the subject are any indication.

As a result, any business or professional who wants to market to Baby Boomers needs to understand that reaching them through social media channels should be part of the strategy, says Jonathan Musgrave, owner and chief digital marketer for Steep Digital Marketing (www.steepdigital.com).

“I always tell people that educationally based messages are the key to getting traction when it comes to reaching and influencing people on social media,” Musgrave says. “While plenty of goods are sold on Facebook, for example, that’s not primarily why Baby Boomers, or anyone else, logs in each day.

“Instead, the reason they are addicted to social media is to see what’s new. What’s new with their friends, kids and grandkids? What’s new in the news? The best way to reach them and market to them is to position yourself as an educator; someone who is telling them what’s new.”

If that still sounds more like a way to reach younger generations rather than BabyBoomers, consider this: A study by Google revealed that Boomers and seniors spend more time online than they do watching TV. Also, 82.3 percent of Boomers who use the internet have at least one social media account, with Facebook being their favorite.

Musgrave says his company uses several approaches when creating effective Facebook ads, but many of these elements also can work for routine social media posts on a business or professional site as well. They include:

Images. It’s important to have compelling images to catch a social media user’s attention while they’re scrolling through their newsfeed and makes them stop to take a second look. “We use colors and font combinations that grab your attention immediately,” Musgrave says.

Captivating headlines. Headlines are the gateway to getting people to read the rest of your copy. “Shorter headlines are easier to read and get straight to the point,” Musgrave says. “We want things to be as easy as possible for people to understand what we are offering in their area.”

Engaging copy. Once the headline draws them in, you need to deliver with an engaging message. Musgrave suggests one way to do this is with questions. “Asking questions of your audience creates a desire for an answer to those questions,” he says. “This creates an open loop that makes the brain grab on tight. It acts like a ‘pop quiz’ and keeps the audience glued.” It’s also important to avoid buzzwords, he says. “You want your copy to be easily readable, and buzzwords usually do the opposite of that,” Musgrave says. “People do business with people who make things easier for them.”

“Facebook is the primary way Baby Boomers interact with content online, although you can find them on other social media platforms as well, such as Twitter and LinkedIn,” Musgrave says. “It’s critical that anyone who wants to do business with Baby Boomers understand that if you’re looking to reach them, social media is a good place to make the connection.”

About Jonathan Musgrave

Jonathan Musgrave is the owner and chief digital marketer of Steep Digital Marketing (www.steepdigital.com), which he founded in 2017. Musgrave leverages his 13+ years of experience in the financial services world to help financial professionals reach more than 8,000,000 prospects each month with social media advertising. Steep Digital Marketing has rapidly grown and was recently recognized as one of the top 100 Colorado Companies to Watch.


Maven Wave Earns Google Cloud North America Services Partner of the Year

Google Cloud Premier Partner, Maven Wave, now boasts its second consecutive title as Google’s North American Partner of the Year following recognition during this year’s Partner Summit at Google Cloud Next ‘19. The consulting and technology firm’s outstanding ability to deliver digital solutions to customers served as the focal point of the recognition. Maven Wave is known for developing these solutions through the utilization of Google Cloud innovations.

“It is an incredible honor to receive this award for the second year in a row. This achievement recognizes the extraordinary efforts from our teams who, together with our visionary customers and valued Google Cloud partners, have been able to realize remarkable success in enterprise digital transformation,” said Jason Lee, Partner and Founder at Maven Wave.

Maven Wave has served as a Google Cloud Premier Partner for nine years with specializations in areas such as Application Development, Cloud Migration, Data Analytics, Enterprise Collaboration, Infrastructure, Location-Based Services, Machine Learning, and Marketing Analytics.

“Google Cloud provides industry-leading, cloud-native products that allow us to accelerate the development of innovative enterprise solutions, from modernizing infrastructure to creating intelligence from data and enabling work transformation. We remain absolutely committed to our Google Cloud partnership and look forward to continued success for our customers in 2019 and beyond.” 


Google Cloud added to Blume Global’s Advanced Technologies Toolbox

Blume Global and Google Cloud announced their technology partnership earlier this week, adding to Blume’s already extensive tech toolbox. The company confirmed the partnership will help to improve artificial intelligence (AI), algorithms and machine learning for customers.

The Google Cloud platform provides companies with increased visibility on shipments while enabling them to more accurately predict estimated time of arrivals through its real-time cloud-based performance features.

“Digital supply chain capabilities are evolving quickly and partnerships like this play a critical role in connecting those capabilities and enabling next level integration. A strong ecosystem of partners is crucial to the success of a modern supply chain,” said Simon Ellis, program vice president, global Supply Chain Strategies at IDC.

Blume currently employs data management, blockchain, AI/ML, cognitive interfaces and visualization as part of their strategy to support customers with supply chain solutions.

“We’re delighted that Blume Global will bring its leading digital supply chain capabilities to Google Cloud” said Kevin Ichhpurani, Corporate Vice President, Global Partner Ecosystem at Google Cloud.  “Retail customers want to modernize quickly, and our partnership with Blume will be an asset to them, letting them leverage Blume’s expertise in supply chain alongside the scalability, flexibility and leading AI and ML capabilities of Google Cloud.”

“By joining Google’s Cloud Technology partner program, we are able to focus more on developing our proprietary technology to create advantages in the supply chain,” said Pervinder Johar, CEO, Blume Global. “We chose Google Cloud because they are an open, neutral cloud platform that allows us to scale quickly and take advantage of their expertise in technologies like AI and ML.”

Calling all Engineers! Registration Closing Soon for DesignCon

The 24th Annual DesignCon Conference, scheduled for January 29-31 at the Santa Clara Convention Center,  is closing its registration soon. The nation’s largest educational conference for chip, board and systems design engineers will feature over 100 sessions from the industry’s top 99 engineers and leaders who carefully review and approve each speaker submission.

“Every year DesignCon puts together an unmatched educational conference that is tailored specifically to the interests of our community of engineers,” said Suzanne Deffree, Brand Director, Intelligent Systems and Design, UBM. “We are excited to provide an event that speaks to the fundamental trends and future innovations across electrical engineering, and features presentations from some of the brightest minds in the industry.”

Additionally, attendees are given the opportunity to earn accreditation from the The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and receiving an official IEEE certificate based on the hours invested during the conference.

This year’s event will feature four primary formats inclusive of:

Three all-day training boot camps for hardware design engineers with topics covering  the art of signal integrity analysis, machine learning, and artificial intelligence for hardware and electronics design.

Panel discussions analyzing 112 Gbps package challenges, PCI Express ecosystem planning for 32 GT/s, and optimizing 400-GbE signal intergrity.

Three-hour tutorial sessions focusing on design and verification for high-speed I/Os and lowering the barrier to entry for electronic and photonic ICs.

Over 80 Technical Sessions with feature presentations and research on issues such as Using Multiple Huygens Boxes to Detect & Quantify the Coupling Path from Noise Source to Victim.

Amazon Lab 126, AMD, ANSYS, Broadcom, Cadence, Cisco, Google, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Keysight Technologies, Mentor, Molex, Raytheon, Samsung, Samtec, Siemens, Synopsys, TE Connectivity, Tektronix, and Xilinx are some of the leading companies that will share key insights and industry knowledge during the event.

Don’t miss the industry event of the year, register HERE.

Source: Globe Newswire