Tag Archives: research

Driverless Cars Deliver Pizza

Are you hungry? Want fast delivery of pizza, but don’t want to talk to anyone? There’s a solution for that.

Domino’s and Ford have formed a partnership to use self-driving Ford Fusions equipped with sensors, electronics and software, to deliver pizza to Domino’s customers in Ann Arbor, Mich. In the next few weeks, the companies will be able to see first-hand how customers respond to the new driverless delivery technology. What happens in the final 50 feet? Do people want to go outside to take delivery? Is it taking delivery simple to understand?

The cars will have safety engineers and researchers inside to monitor activities and customers’ reactions. Customers can track the delivery car through GPS, and when the car arrives, a text message will be sent to customers about how to retrieve their pizza.

Testing automated deliveries to homes and businesses goes far beyond just pizza. Deliveries from online shopping already total in the billions of dollars, and there is even more application in the future. Need roofing materials or building supplies? What about cooked meals, or ingredients for dinner?

One big advantage of the autonomous deliveries – no tipping required!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What do they have delivered to their homes now? What would they like to see delivered in the future?
  2. Show video: https://youtu.be/hANXIPxN1ME
  3. Ask for reactions. What would be their behavior for this type of delivery?
  4. What are the advantages, and disadvantages of driverless delivery?
  5. Form students into teams. Have each team develop a list of possible research questions that Ford and Domino’s would use to evaluate and revise the service.

Source:  New York Times, Associated Press, other news sources

 

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A Ken Doll for Today’s Kids

To tell a good story and engage with a wide range of audiences, it requires a diverse set of characters. They have to look and act different. It would be a boring story if everyone was the same.

That’s one reason why Mattel has added new dolls to its Barbie collection. The latest addition is a series of different Ken dolls, with different body types, skin colors, eye colors, and hair styles. Kids can now select Ken with a ‘man bun’, cornrows, and freckles. It might make us smile to see Ken with a man bun hair style, but Mattel now has a wider number of Barbie styles than ever before. In total:

  • 40 new dolls
  • 7 body types
  • 11 skin tones
  • 28 hairstyles
  • 100+ diverse looks

The “New Crew” has a large line-up of dolls in almost all shapes and styles. Last year’s more diverse Barbie collection helped increase the division’s worldwide sales by 7%. Mattel’s research also shows that for every six to eight Barbies a child has, there is one Ken doll. All the more reason to show a wider range of looks to keep kids of all shapes, colors, and sizes interested in playing with Barbie dolls.

One future Ken idea: facial hair!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss children’s toys as a market. How diverse are today’s toys for kids of all sizes, shapes, and colors?
  2. Show the new Ken and Barbie dolls: http://barbie.mattel.com/en-us/about/fashionistas.html
  3. Video: https://youtu.be/c3jbh1PMsOk
  4. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  5. Which strategy is Mattel using for this product? Why?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select one of the four different strategies and explain why that strategy could be used to market the new Ken dolls.
  7. Have each team determine the marketing mix (4Ps) to support their strategy choice.

Source:  Brandchannel.com, Ad Age Daily, other news sources   

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Dreaming of Flying

The dream of a flying car is alive and well in Silicon Valley. The latest version of flying comes from a company named Kitty Hawk. It doesn’t exactly look like a car though – it looks more like a jet ski with pontoons and propellers.

The vehicle is open and can carry one person. Powered by eight battery-powered propellers, the 220-pound vehicle takes off and lands on water and a platform. The Kitty Hawk Flyer is being promoted using a membership model – enthusiasts pay $100 to gain exclusive access to the Kitty Hawk and will get a $2,000 discount towards the yet-to-be-set price. There are barriers though for the new industry, including regulations. Plus, today’s batteries cannot yet support flights of the average daily commute, and where do you land if there is a problem?

This company is far from alone in its quest to create flying vehicles though. Challengers include more than a dozen other companies, including Terrafugia, Airbus Group, Volocopter, AeroMobil, and more.

Are you ready to fly away?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (internal and external factors).
  2. Show the Kitty Hawk Web site and video: https://kittyhawk.aero/
  3. For this product, break students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis grid.
    1. Strengths: what is company good at?
    2. Weaknesses: what needs work?
    3. Opportunities: what is going on in marketplace?
    4. Threats: what should company be wary of?
  4. Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur?
  5. Debrief by building SWOT analysis grid on the white board.

Source: New York Times, other news sources

 

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