Spimes and Sustainability, part II

Spimes and Sustainability, part II

With unprecedented computing power and storage capacities available in other people’s computers (“The Cloud”), the tech trend landscape has moved from Smart Grids to the Internet of Things, and from there to Digital Twins, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

During the same timespan of about 20 years, the core business practices and theories have remained frighteningly the same, except in a few tech giants like AmazonGoogle and Apple. That is to say, the sheer majority of businesses create products and services on a unidirectional conveyor belt, just like Henry Ford taught us in 1913. New paradigms and technologies have mostly been used to lubricate the belt gears bit better.

While in the 1970s SAP digitalized (computerized, as the term was back then) the supply chain, companies like Siebel and Salesforce digitalized the sales process with CRM, or Customer Relationshop Management about 25 years later. All good, faster conveyor belt, now at the hands sales and marketing people too.

But when the product or service is sold, the customer is still practically forgotten and even considered as a burden, due to regulatory warranty and guarantee requirements. Furthermore, the product itself, with all its ingredients, is thrown into a random pinball game of arbitrary recycling and second-hand market.

A change is coming. Take Amazon, who has paid more attention to the customer profile (aka Digital Twin of a Customer, or DToC) than the actual products they sell and resell. Personal example: When I first bought a canister of well-known brand of oil for my venerable Saab, Amazon asked for the car registration number. Fair enough, I could now manage a ‘garage’ in the Amazon portal, seeing which parts and supplies have been used for the car. Conveniently, I can also add mileage upon the purchases, which prompts Amazon to offer a timely service package when I most probably need it. Very nice, but where does it lead?

After a while, Amazon threw a popup offering a _subscription_ for my brand of oil, meaning that they would deliver it automatically based on the presumed mileage. Super nice! (for the consumer). But what about Castrol, my trusted oil company?

After millions subscriptions managed and hundreds of thousands of oil canisters delivered, Amazon automatically learns the intrinsics of the lubrication oil market for cars. The logical path is to launch an Amazon Basic Oil brand, as they’ve done for numerous other products, and add a slightly cheaper option to the next popup subscription offering.

Considering Amazon’s analytical power, if Castrol (or British Petroleum, their mother company) won’t engage more with their end customers, they’re left as a plain subcontractor, at the mercy of the likes of Amazon who manage the full customer experience

Our view is that virtually all companies must redesign their products and services with Digital Twins and full product (and raw material) lifecycle in mind. Customers and consumers must be engaged directly, which is more than possible now in this digital world. The Fire-and-Forget model is inefficient, dangerous to our planet and just plainly unsustainable. The past success is mostly based on overconsumption and nonexistent recycling, which was just masked with offshoring the problems for some 100 years.

What comes to BaseN, we’re the platform for the rest of industries who want to be sustainable for the next 100 years too.


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