Monthly Archives: October 2018

Hi-Tech Fitness

Hate working out? It can be such a hassle – there is travel time, using equipment with other sweaty people, showering in messy locker rooms, and not getting enough personal training attention to make a difference. But still, fitness and health are important. What can be done differently to make workouts more enjoyable and fulfilling? Where’s the technology?

Enter Tonal: a San Francisco-based start-up company that aims to revolutionize how people workout by using high-tech to reinvent the workout system. The innovative product and service combines unique hardware, software, and an interactive LED screen to create a workout experience that doesn’t rely on old-school barbells and plates. Tonal can even sense when a workout is too easy, and add more weights for the next set to set the right level of difficulty.

Tonal is high-tech and effective, but not cheap. The machine itself is $2,995, plus custom smart accessories at $495, and a monthly subscription of $49 per month for 12-months minimum. The Tonal system mounts to a wall (similar to flat-screen TV). For the optimal experience, the system only needs access to a 7-foot by 7-foot space. Tonal measures reps, sets, range of motion, time under tension, power, and volume. The monthly subscription provides expert coaching via video with step-by-step instructions.

No pain, no gain.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students:Where do they work out? How much do they spend on gym memberships? On equipment?
  2. View Tonal’s Web site: https://www.tonal.com/
  3. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  4. For Tonal, what is the target market?
  5. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for Tonal. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  6. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?
  7. Debrief the exercise.

Source:  New York Times

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SiriusXM Buys Pandora

SiriusXM satellite radio provider is buying music streaming service Pandora for a $3.5 billion stock deal. The deal will create the world’s largest audio entertainment company. Why should SiriusXM buy Pandora? Because SiriusXM wants to gain people who listen to music but don’t want to pay for the premium SiriusXM service.

SiriusXM offers streaming without advertisements for $10.99 to $20.99 per month per car with up to 140+ channels, or streaming on any device for the same amount of $10.99 to $20.99 per month, or combine both options for all-access streaming. SiriusXM has 36 million subscribers in North America.

On the other hand, Pandora, which has 70 million active listeners (5.6 million who are paying members) can be used at no-cost as long as listeners don’t mind listening to advertisements. Or, listeners can buy monthly subscriptions at $4.99 or $9.99 per month for services that eliminate advertisements and offer personalized stations and create playlists, plus other options.

SiriusXM isn’t new to Pandora; it provided $480 million of funding to Pandora last year. Pandora faces stiff competition from other music services such as Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal, and Spotify.

The war to gain new listeners is heating up!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students:How much music do they listen to each day? Where is their music coming from? How much do they pay each month?
  2. View SiriusXM: https://www.siriusxm.com/
  3. View Pandora: https://www.pandora.com/
  4. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  5. Which strategy is SiriusXM using? Why?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team research the different prices and packages offered by each music streaming company.
  7. Compare price structures. Which offers listeners the better deal?

Source:  Wall Street Journal, New York Times, other sources

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Flippy the Robot Works the Kitchen

It can hard to find restaurant workers lately, particularly for fast-food chains where the jobs can be long, hot, and greasy. One of the more thankless jobs is probably flipping burgers and fries. It’s boring, repetitive, and carries an everyday risk of burns from hot oils. But now, CaliBurger (California) has deployed a robotic assistant to flip burgers and fries. The robotic arm, aptly named “Flippy,” is the product of Miso Robotics in Pasadena.

Flippy is billed as the world’s first autonomous robotic kitchen assistant that can learn from its surroundings. It can work a grill or fryer, cooks perfectly and consistently every time, collaborates with kitchen staff, and is OSHA safety-compliant. Now ‘employed’ by CaliBurger, the company plans to launch 50 more Flippys at additional locations. Flippy can make 300 burgers a day, all without burns or complaints for additional break times!

Flippy’s role hasn’t been an easy one. Similar to many human workers, Flippy was ‘fired’ in the spring and had to be retrained to work better with humans. Flippy has been a popular draw for the restaurant though; they have been overwhelmed by the response by customers who want to see Flippy in action. The robotic arm isn’t cheap though. Flippy costs between $60,000 – $100,000.

But then again, Flippy never asks for a day off!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who was worked at a fast-food restaurant? What was the experience like for them?
  2. View videos at Miso Robotics: https://misorobotics.com/
  3. View CaliBurger: https://caliburger.com/in-the-news
  4. Review the buying process for organizations.
  5. For Miso Robotics have students work on the actions taken in each of the five steps.
  6. Consider assigning different student groups to work on different target markets. Then the process for the different target markets can be compared and contrasted.
  7. Debrief the exercise.

Source:  Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, other sources

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