Tag Archives: retail

A year in lockdown

Jeff Bezos with parcels
During lockdown, we’ve ordered so much from Amazon that I sometimes expect Jeff Bezos to personally deliver a parcel to thank us

12 March 2020 was the last time I worked outside my home. Except for a couple of days in the Endava office in October/ November (more on that later), I’ve been working from home since.

Sometimes it’s been too easy to mentally distance ourselves from the reason why we’re in lockdown. Personally, it feels that each time I’ve got into the new rhythm of working from home, I’ve had a dreadful phone call that someone I know has been moved to a ventilator in hospital or passed away.

Here are some of the highs and lows of the last year. Continue reading A year in lockdown

2021 Technology & Business Predictions

Here are my technology & business predictions for 2021. I try to predict trends that are outside the mainstream, and with high expectations. It seems to get harder every year, and compiling this list for 2021 was by far the hardest yet.

Every year I score my own previous year’s predictions– see how my technology predictions fared in 2020 and work backwards.

Please share your feedback and thoughts on these predictions, either here, on LinkedIn or Twitter. I wish you a safe, healthy and prosperous 2021.

1. Microsoft Teams becomes the next operating system

The XBox was designed as a media device as well as a games console – even if it kept watching you all the time

Like them or loathe them, Microsoft manages to keep providing products for mass appeal during the the various stages of our digital lives. Microsoft keeps transforming these individual products into full platforms.

Examples include Xbox which wasn’t designed just a games console, it’s was also a set top box with full media capabilities; Internet Explorer (now Edge) isn’t just for browsing – it became so powerful for anything you browsed; Dynamics has turned from a straightforward CRM tool into an ERP platform; and now Teams has moved from a new version of Skype into our one-stop business productivity & communication platform.

Over the next year we’ll see Microsoft Teams appear as a consumer platform as well as a business tool. We’ll see more applications join the Teams platform, which will mean we’ll be able to do our banking, email, or pretty much anything inside of Teams. Continue reading 2021 Technology & Business Predictions

Countering fast retail

Bicycle shop with search bar
A bicycle shop with search bar

I was working on a piece of work recently with a colleague about the retail industry. Our thinking was moving into fast fashion, or more like “fast retail” – a made up term describing the sales of low-cost goods increasingly quickly, probably through subscription channels.

We started to consider the counter this trend, but the following piece was dropped. I recently picked it up again when I saw an article about UK retail sales.

Countering fast retail

The Guardian article “Charity shop and antique purchases drive up UK retail sales” is interesting because it’s such a counter balance to the constant product advertising and marketing culture we live in: “Buy more”, “buy it cheaper”, “buy the latest version”, etc. etc.

There’s usually a counterculture that either stops, or prolongs, a trend. With retail sales it might be a combination of Minimalism, the book and Netflix documentary; and Marie Kondo or KonMari – her process of tidying up to create joy. (If that sentence looks peculiar, then watch one of the programmes to get the picture).

Minimalism and Marie Kondo both recommend buying fewer high-quality goods rather than lots of poor-quality goods.

Maybe this explains the increase in charity shop purchases. In the Guardian article, Paul Dales, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said “…households still have the ability to spend and remain the strongest part of the economy.” In other words, people are choosing to go into charity shops over buying brand new goods. Continue reading Countering fast retail

Inside an Amazon Fulfilment Centre

Amazon LTN4 in Dunstable

On Bank Holiday Monday my family and I visited our local Amazon fulfilment centre for a factory tour. It was an eye into the future of robotic automation, and an opportunity to see how something as traditional warehouse stock picking can be reinvented from the ground up.

We visited LTN4, which is in Dunstable (near Luton, Hertfordshire) in the UK. Amazon fulfilment centres are named after their nearest airport codes (Luton airport is less than 10 miles away), and we visited the 4th building on the industrial estate.

From the moment you arrive at the car park, safety is a priority. There are signs every few metres instructing drivers to reverse into spaces.

Inside the warehouse, there are safety signs everywhere. The second priority is security. Employees and visitors need to leave everything except keys, wallet and phone in a locker. There are hundreds of lockers for the 1,200 permanent staff. And there’s even an Amazon locker in the reception area. There are airport-style metal detectors which all staff need to pass through on the way in and out of the warehouse.

Once on the tour, we watched the stock fillers, stock pickers, and two sets of packing teams – for customers who ordered a single item, and on the opposite side of the warehouse, pickers for customers with multiple items. We weren’t allowed to take any photos during the tour, except in the room below. Continue reading Inside an Amazon Fulfilment Centre

Weekly new round up 26 October 2017

Here’s a summary of interesting stories I’ve seen over the last week. I try to concentrate on the stories which aren’t necessarily mainstream.

Strange, but creative. Still strange though

Conor Nickerson, from Canada, has spent a lot of time and effort adding himself into his own childhood photos. He’s pasted himself, as an adult, next to the original himself, as a child. He’s achieved some great results. You wouldn’t have even noticed the editing without knowing beforehand. It’s a good, creative marketing trick, and I hope he got some business from this. I hope it doesn’t become a trend. https://www.boredpanda.com/guy-photoshopping-childhood-photos-conor-nickerson/

Cars

Got Netflix and Spotify? Buy another subscription service from Porsche.
Got Netflix and Spotify? Buy another subscription service from Porsche.

Porsche in Atlanta has launched a new subscription model for their range of cars. For $2,000 a month, you can get access to a range of Porsche cars each month. And as with all good Internet subscription models, there’s a Premium version that gives you access to more cars including some GTS models. Continue reading Weekly new round up 26 October 2017

Weekly interesting news round up

Here’s a summary of interesting stories I’ve seen over the last week. I try to concentrate on the stories which aren’t necessarily mainstream.

Sport

NFL notebook
The NFL is a good indicator of where the English Premier League is commercially heading

I’ve always said the Premier League is commercially 5 years behind the NFL. To anyone who thinks Premier League TV revenues or player salaries are too high, do not read this article on the latest NFL commercial numbers. Some examples:

  • The Raiders are building a new stadium in Las Vegas at a cost of $1.7bn. Tottenham Hotspur is building a stadium in London for £800m.
  • Roger Goodell is the commissioner of the NFL. He earns $30m per year, compared to Richard Scudamore, the head of the Premier League, who earns £2.5m including bonuses.
  • The Premier League does win on salaries though. The NFL has a team salary cap of $167m per team. Compare this to Manchester City’s wage bill (last year) of £225m. Put another way, the top 5 teams in the Premier League has a wage bill higher than the NFL’s cap.

Continue reading Weekly interesting news round up

2017 digital predictions

This is now the seventh year of my digital predictions for the forthcoming twelve months (see here for 2016).

Supermarket checkouts - RIP in 2017 from Amazon Go?
Supermarket checkouts – RIP in 2017 from Amazon Go?

There are industry commentators and research analysts who release their predictions for the coming year. But I’m the only one brave enough to mark their homework at the end of the year! Last year I scored a respectable 61%.

Although President Trump and Brexit-at-some-point won’t have a direct impact on technology, there will be an indirect impact on consumer prices and investments into startups. Whether this affects the technology market in 2017 or later is difficult to say. Continue reading 2017 digital predictions

Smart IoT 2016 Day Two

Today was the second and last day of Smart IoT London. Read here for Day One’s report.

The presenterless presentation... a very odd presentation at Smart IoT
The presenterless presentation… a very odd presentation at Smart IoT

I went to a few of the presentations, but only two of them are worthy of any mention (one, which I won’t name, didn’t have a presenter… the technical support guys simply played a video in the theatre – it was one of the oddest ‘presentations’ I’ve seen).

I recommend the organisers arrange fewer presentations next year, aiming for quality over this year’s huge quantity.

And please, supply more power sockets for visitors to recharge their phones and laptops (especially to help visitors cover Smart IoT on social networks). Continue reading Smart IoT 2016 Day Two

Smart IoT 2016 Day One

Smart IoT 2016 exhibition panoramicI went to the Smart IoT (Internet of Things) event today in London’s Excel centre. The programme of presentations over the two days looked great, so I signed up a while ago. This post is to share with my colleagues and for anyone else who couldn’t make it today.

I’ll start with a summary and then go into detail, because I made lots of notes during the presentations.

Summary of Smart IoT 2016 Day One

On the content:

  • There were some thought provoking content (which I’ve covered below) mixed in with some below-par presentations.
  • I didn’t see any presentations where payments were discussed. I.e how IoT devices will transact with one another/ a service/ a person.

Continue reading Smart IoT 2016 Day One

The future of mobile

The Future of Mobile at MobOS. It probably won't be like an iPhone 4
The Future of Mobile at MobOS. It probably won’t be like an iPhone 4

I’m in Romania this week presenting a variety of speeches, including the keynote of MobOS entitled The future of mobile. It’s been a challenging speech to prepare for – and was considerably harder than I originally thought. Not least because in technology terms, “the future” means different things to different organisations. One organisation might think some future of mobile concept is way-out-there while another may have already been using it for a year.

I promised the audience to post the script of the keynote here…

I’m going to talk about four areas on the future of mobile – context, the number of devices we use, mobile user interfaces and the central hub concept. That will set some foundation for some ‘left field’ concepts that we have for the longer term future of mobile. Continue reading The future of mobile