Tag Archives: laws

UPS Drones Take to the Sky

Are drones finally ready for prime time? Can they deliver the goods? And how does this change delivery services around the globe?

We’re about to find out the answers to some of those questions as UPS recently announced that its drone airline, UPS Flight Forward, has received FAA certification to operate a drone airline. The service will initially support medical packages at hospital campuses around the country. The UPS drone has been in test mode for the past year at the WakeMed campus in Raleigh, N.C., where is has been delivering packages such as tissues and blood samples to different buildings on the campus.

UPS is not the first company to use drones to deliver medical supplies. Other companies outside of the U.S. have been using drones to deliver medical supplies such as vaccines in difficult to reach areas. Healthcare operations (and patients) directly benefit from shorter in-transit times. The FAA certification allows UPS to fly an unlimited number of drones with remote operators in command. The certification also allows for cargo to exceed 55 pounds and fly at night.

Let’s fly!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  2. Review UPS drone service.
  3. Show UPS drone video: https://youtu.be/xx9_6OyjJrQ
  4. The detailed business news announcement is available at: https://pressroom.ups.com/pressroom/ContentDetailsViewer.page?ConceptType=PressReleases&id=1569933965476-404
  5. Who are UPS’s competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  6. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for UPS’s new Flight Forward drone service.
  7. Have each team draw their map on the board.
  8. Debrief exercise.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Verge, Forbes, other news sources

 

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Is Privacy a thing of the Past?

Privacy. It is such a critical topic, yet it is also one that many consumers feel helpless about fixing. Who knows what we buy? What we want? Where we go? Well, as it turns out there a great number of companies, and government agencies, tracking us. And it is not limited to our purchasing behavior. There are a number of companies that can and do track the daily activities of employees also.

Everyone says they want privacy, but many people are unwilling or don’t know how to protect their online privacy. The issue is one that reaches beyond the individual and extends to the larger society. It encompasses devices including home security, smart phones, wearable devices, facial recognition, home speakers, smart TVs, automobiles, maps, social media, and more! And the crazy thing is that we often give permission to be tracked without realizing the implications to our privacy.

This is an issue that extends beyond consumer behavior and can also encompass how companies track employee behavior, beginning when we wake up and check our work email at home, and continuing monitoring activities throughout the day to track physical and online movement. Granted, some of the tracking is useful to protect against espionage and theft, but does it go too far?

Who’s watching who do what?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the issue of privacy in the Internet age. What are students’ concerns?
  2. There are several very compelling interactive graphics and videos that help illustrate this topic. Show these in class and have students take notes on each.
    1. It’s time to panic about privacy: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/10/opinion/internet-data-privacy.html?emc=edit_ct_20190411&nl=technology&nlid=6570397720190411&te=1
    2. Meet ‘Chet.’ His employer knows what time he work up today: https://www.wsj.com/graphics/company-tracking-employees/?mod=djemfoe
    3. Microchips for employees video: https://youtu.be/eX1KNlI40V8
  3. Discussion: Is privacy important? What can be done to protect individuals?
  4. Consider assigning students to research this topic. A number of interesting reports can be found at various sources.

Source: Bentley, E. and Krouse, S. (19 July 2019). Meet ‘Chet.’ His employer knows what time he woke up today. Wall Street Journal; Manjoo, J. (11 April 2019). It’s time to panic about privacy. New York Times.

 

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Are You Being Manipulated by E-Commerce Sites?

As on-line shoppers we often depend on the reviews, comments, and purchases by other shoppers to help guide our decision-making. We see how many “likes” a product has received, and if it performed according to the promised description. We might even like to score a great deal on a hot trend that others are snapping up. What does Suzy from San Francisco know that I don’t know?

A common message on shopping sites is that “four other people are looking at this offer right now” or “Suzy from San Francisco just saved $202 on her order!” or “You just missed this great deal!” As it turns out, there often is no “Suzy from San Francisco” online scoping out the same deal as you. The messages are often fake; these are an example of something called “dark patterns,” which are online tactics that manipulate users into doing things that might not otherwise do.

These dark patterns directly benefit the company, not the consumer, and can be regarded by many people as fraud. (This happened to me recently when updating a standard software program – I kept clicking “next” without realizing that it was modifying my computer preferences!)

Lest we regard ourselves as lazy, consider that people do not read every word on every page all the time. We pick up on patterns and make assumptions. A “dark pattern” makes it difficult for the user to do something that does not benefit the company (such as cancelling an account). Companies can use color and design to mislead or trick users. A recent study from Princeton University used software to scan more than 10,000 sites. They found that more than 1,200 of the sites used tactics identified as “dark patterns.”

Here are some examples of dark patterns:

  • Sneak into basket – something is added to your basket because you didn’t opt-out
  • Roach motel – trying to get out of something such as a subscription service
  • Price comparison prevention – that makes it hard to compare the price of an item with another item
  • Disguised ads – that appear as content or navigation in order to gain clicks

Consumers need transparency from companies, not tricks to make us buy more.

Which dark pattern have you experienced?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students. Who checks review prior to buying something online?
  2. View video at Dark Patterns: https://www.darkpatterns.org/
  3. What have been the students’ experiences with dark patterns?
  4. Discuss the ethical considerations of marketing.
  5. Are dark patterns legal? Are dark patterns ethical?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select an e-commerce site and review how to set up an account, cancel an account, and more.
  7. How many of the dark patterns can they find?

Source: Valentino-DeVries, J. (24 June 2019). How e-commerce sites manipulate you into buying things you may not want. New York Times.

 

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