Tag Archives: research

Uber in the Air

Urban mobility. What is it, and how can we achieve it? Consider what would happen by taking transportation off the road – and moving it into the air. Several companies, including Uber, are working on new initiatives for flight-based transportation. Using electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (VTOL), Uber’s goal is to develop transportation that makes lives easier, commutes shorter, and cities cleaner.

Working with a number of different companies and governments, Uber is developing a long-term strategy and infrastructure for drone-based air transportation. In a partnership with Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer, Uber announced a joint venture called Uber Elevate to develop small VTOLs. On-demand aviation would change commuting considerably. A network of VTOLs could provide rapid transportation between, and within, cities.

Instead of driving hours on the ground, a commute becomes only minutes in the air. For example, the average San Francisco resident spends roughly 230 hours/year commuting between work and home! In Sydney, Australia, and Los Angeles, California, residents spend an entire seven working works each year commuting! In other countries, the estimated commute time is even longer – Mumbai has an average commute time of 90 minutes. Long commutes raise stress levels, absorb valuable resources, and cut short our free time.

Want a ride?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How much time do they spend commuting each work to work and school?
  2. Show the Uber Elevate concept video: https://youtu.be/JuWOUEFB_IQ
  3. A longer video explanation can be found at: https://youtu.be/nuFSh7N0Nhw
  4. What are the students’ opinions of this new service? Would they use it?
  5. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  6. For Uber Elevate, who is the target market?
  7. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  8. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?

Source:  Brandchannel.com, Reuters News Service

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The Robotic Dog that Can Open Doors

Robotic technology is advancing by leaps and bounds. But the ultimate in robotic technology today undoubtedly comes from Boston Dynamics, a spin-off from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (previously owned by Google; now owned by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank). The company has a variety of robots with two legs, four legs, and wheels. These robots seem to be able to do nearly anything. They can run, leap, fly, walk, and climb buildings.

The newest robot is SpotMini and it has the ability to open doors. While that might sound pretty simple, it is actually a very complicated robotic task. And, in a recent video highlighting SpotMini, having a human wielding a hockey stick makes opening a door even more complicated! (Spoiler Alert: Spot eventually gets the door open.)

In this case, the robot does almost all the moves autonomously. A human handler drove the robot to the door, then commanded it to open the door. The robot was able to automatically correct for the forces of hockey stick and tail-pulling. While Spot has very limited abilities, robotics are entering into areas such as security, food delivery, as well as answering questions and interacting with humans in public places.

Before you worry about robots taking over the world though, remember that they are designed to help humans. Even if we shove them with hockey sticks.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the concepts of products, product line, and product mix.
  2. Bring up Boston Dynamics’s Web site: http://www.bostondynamics.com,
  3. Show the latest video of SpotMini opening doors: https://youtu.be/aFuA50H9uek
  4. Other videos are on Boston Dynamics’ YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7vVhkEfw4nOGp8TyDk7RcQ
  5. Make sure to watch Atlas do a back flip! https://youtu.be/fRj34o4hN4I
  6. Using Boston Dynamics, illustrate the concepts of products, product lines, and product mix.
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team come up with an example of other companies and state the products, product line, and product mix.

Source:  Simon, M. (20 Feb. 2018). Watch a human try to fight off that door-opening robot dog. Wired.

 

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What’s trending?

Marketers are constantly scanning the environment to find new trends. They need to recognize how external forces shape organizations and marketplaces. The lifestyles of consumers are refreshed as consumers are exposed to new ideas and trends. As environmental forces impact organizations, they can also influence consumer behavior. The five environmental forces – social, economic, technology, competitive, and legal – are continually challenging companies, products, and services.

These forces are in play when consumers explore new ways to live, eat, communicate, work, play, learn, and much more. And, with the advent of a new hyper-connected lifestyle (thanks to social media) consumers are quickly exposed to the latest social trends and new ideas.

What are some of the recent trends? According to Mintel Trends, here are some of the recent top trends in the marketplace:

  • Consumers in transit: Adidas released 500 pairs of limited edition shoes that act as a valid annual ticket for BVG public transportation in Germany.
  • Home safety: Vivint has a new app called Streety that allows users to share footage from their outdoor cameras with neighbors.
  • Automotive: Luxury car manufacturer Infiniti teamed with Q & A Web site Zhihu to jointly host a 10-hour live streaming event where an entire car was dismantled so that consumers could learn about the different parts of the car and gain more knowledge about technology and performance.
  • Consumer goods: Coca-Cola launched Coca-Cola Coffee Plus in Australia, a beverage that has twice as much caffeine as regular Coke but has just 42 calories.

Look around. What new trends do you spot?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by discussing how trends impact products and services.
  2. Bring up the Mintel top trends site: http://www.mintel.com/blog/new-market-trends/hotspots-january-2018s-top-trends-observations?utm_campaign=9103901_Mintel%20newsletter%20-%20NAM%2025%2F1%2F2018&utm_medium=email&utm_source=dotm&dm_i=2174,5F4M5,NVC5O0,KZ95H,1
  3. Information about the Adidas sneakers: https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2018/01/17/578598875/berlins-new-adidas-sneakers-feature-sewn-in-transit-tickets
  4. Vivint Streety information: https://www.vivint.com/resources/article/streety-new-neighborhood-watch-app
  5. Coca-Cola Coffee Plus: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/coca-cola-plus-coffee-no-sugar–a-blend-of-two-favourites
  6. Which of these trends do students think have staying power?
  7. Poll students: What trends have they observed lately?
  8. Ask students to utilize the Internet to research trends. What are their findings?

Source:   Mintel (25 January, 2018). Hotspots: January 2018’s top trend observations.

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