Author Archives: nevis63

Intro to Big Data : Crash Course

Description: Today, we’re going to begin our discussion of Big Data. Everything from which videos we click (and how long we watch them) on YouTube to our likes on Facebook say a lot about us – and increasingly more and more sophisticated algorithms are being designed to learn about us from our clicks and not-clicks.

Source: Crashcourse.com

Date: Nov 14, 2018

Today we’re going to focus on some ways Big Data impacts on our lives from what liking Hello Kitty says about us to how Netflix chooses just the right thumbnail to encourage us to watch more content. And Big Data is necessarily a good thing, next week we’re going to discuss some of the problems that rise from collecting all that data. READ REST OF STORY

 

 Questions for discussion:

  1.  How is Big Data affecting your life? Can you give examples of how your privacy is being freely given by yourself to be used in Big Data applications?
  2. What are the benefits of Big Data?
  3. What are the risks of Big Data?
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How Companies Learn Your Secrets – Data Harvesting

Description: Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target i, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that? ”

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 6, 2012

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The desire to collect information on customers is not new for Target or any other large retailer, of course. For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code — known internally as the Guest ID number — that keeps tabs on everything they buy. “If you use a credit card or a coupon, or fill out a survey, or mail in a refund, or call the customer help line, or open an e-mail we’ve sent you or visit our Web site, we’ll record it and link it to your Guest ID,” Pole said. “We want to know everything we can.”

Also linked to your Guest ID is demographic information like your age, whether you are married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you’ve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit. Target can buy data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or got divorced, the year you bought (or lost) your house, where you went to college, what kinds of topics you talk about online, whether you prefer certain brands of coffee, paper towels, cereal or applesauce, your political leanings, reading habits, charitable giving and the number of cars you own.    READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Reflecting on this article, does ther ever come a time when you feel there is too much data out in the public sphere about you?  Why or Why not?

2.  What are some applications of this BIG DATA technology that you would find exciting as a manager of a business?

Alibaba & Amazon Gamble On Supply Chain Management:Big Logistics

Description:  The world’s largest retailers are planning to not only grow into the world’s biggest logistics companies, but to completely revolutionize the industry.

Source: Forbes.com

Date: May 31. 2016

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Both Amazon and Alibaba have recently made significant investments to their supply chain capabilities and in the not distant future they will soon handle more shipments than most specialist delivery postal and courier companies.

In effect, these companies are building their own streamlined delivery systems that may replace the more established specialists.

Earlier this month, Amazon signed a new deal to lease more cargo jets, in effect doubling the size of its fleet. This is partly a response to increasing demand (shifted 27% more units in last quarter) but also a part of a grander plan.

The aimfor these internet giants is nothing less than the obliteration of all alternative forms of retail. When it comes to sales, Wal-Mart dwarfs Amazon by a factor of four. Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, plan is to undermine these lead by competing for consumer attention in ways that Wal-Mart can never match. That is, by offering a nearly infinite menu of goods, same-day delivery and liberating from the tiresome trip to the busy out-of-town store.    read rest of story

Questions:
1.  How do Amazon and Alibaba plan to revolutionize the logistics industry?

2.  Do you feel these companies will be successful in this strategy?  Why or Why not?

Drones of Distribution at Walmart

Description:  Walmart, the country’s largest retailer, is testing the use of flying drones to handle inventory at its large warehouses, which supply the thousands of Walmart stores throughout the nation.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: June 2. 2016

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While a Walmart employee may handle the drone, the technology could “potentially” mean fewer workers would be needed to take stock or replace missing items, Lorenzo Lopez, a spokesman, said. Mr. Lopez emphasized that those workers could be deployed in other areas of the warehouse.

The test is occurring as Walmart is under intense pressure to grow amid an onslaught of low-cost competition, particularly from Amazon, the online shopping giant. Walmart has committed to spending $2.7 billion on labor, technology and other investments, including improving its website and e-commerce business. Last quarter, Walmart beat expectations with $115.9 billion in revenue, but even Doug McMillon, its president and chief executive, acknowledged that the 7 percent growth of Walmart’s e-commerce business was “too slow.”   read rest of story

Questions:
1.  Is Walmart on the cutting edge of logistics management with the use of drones?  Why or Why not??

2.  Why would Walmart want to implement this new strategy?

Can Hoteliers Gain an Edge By Scanning the Ranks of IT Workers

Description:The front desk manager or housekeeper may epitomize the hotel employee, but the hospitality industry is increasingly dependent on tech workers, vacuuming data scientists, web designers and other experts into its ranks.

Source: NYTIMES.com

Date: Feb 13, 2017

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While many college students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math are attracted to the household-name tech companies in Seattle and Silicon Valley, Mr. Leidinger says he tells them, “If you’re really into technology, there’s a revolution happening in hospitality,” and as part of a smaller team, “you can drive, innovate and take ownership.”

One project for Hilton tech employees is keyless entry, which allows guests to use their phones instead of plastic key cards to unlock room doors. Of Hilton’s 4,800 hotels, 750 now offer keyless entry, and the company hopes to install the service in 2,500 hotels by the end of this year.

There are also technical job openings at the hotel level, where employees at individual properties manage social media, on-site Wi-Fi and the integration of systems like retail, parking and food sales.

 READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1.While hotel chains say that automating processes like check-in frees their employees to interact in other ways with guests, the use of technology also allows the hotel to hire fewer people.  Do you feel this is a positive thing?  Why or Why not?

Netflix’s Cash-Fueled Road to Streaming Dominance

Description: The streaming service surprised Wall Street with huge gains in subscribers in the third quarter. The results showed why AT&T and Disney spent big on their latest acquisitions

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Oct 17. 2018

Netflix’s appetite for content means it has to spend big, resulting in what’s known as “negative free cash flow.” More money is going out the door than coming in, a difference that Netflix covers by borrowing even more.

But Netflix can also show a profit because accounting rules allow entertainment companies to record most of their production or licensing costs later on.

A show like “Stranger Things,” entirely funded and owned by Netflix, costs as much as $8 million per episode. Netflix pays for all of that upfront, but the cost isn’t counted until the show is available on the service, often a year or more after production. The next season is expected to be released in the summer of 2019. read rest of story

Questions:

  1.  Analyze NetFlix’s business model?
  2. What is NetFlix’s competitive advantage and is it sustainable? Why? or Why not?
  3. What is NetFlix’s greatest threat and threat strength and opportunity?

Hopper raises more $ for its AI-based travel app

Description:

Hopper — a mobile-only travel booking app cofounded by a former Expedia executive in Montreal, Canada that uses artificial intelligence to help you search for and book hotels and flights — has gained a little elevation of its own today.  Read Story

Source: TechCrunch

Date: October 12th, 2018

Discussion

1) “Hopper has carved out a distinct place for itself by building an AI framework that not only helps people find good deals, but also discover trips they may have not known that they specifically wanted to take.”  Is this a gimmick or useful? explain

2) What is Hopper’s business model? and what is their competitive advantage?