Uber Freight Launches Commercially

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Uber has officially entered the trucking arena as long speculated by analysts.

Called Uber Freight, this new service focuses on driving logistics between trucking companies and independent operators to identify and disperse drivers against loads that need to be hauled from point to point.

They are leveraging the same technology platform as consumer Uber and the app is said to look very similar, albeit with a few more questions about load type and size. Uber claims it is simplifying a highly manual process (phone calls back and forth coordinating drivers and schedules) and bringing transparency to pricing for drivers. Drivers love the service as it accelerates cash flow by providing much faster settlement windows for pay.

Question will be if this is a bridge to autonomous trucking which Uber is also investing heavily in….given them an early look at truck logistics and volume of shippments across geographies.

 

Dot.com Giants Battle Over Physical Presence.

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As Amazon and Walmart go head to head in an arms race to win over the consumer direct market, we are seeing a high stakes game of trial and error play out right in front of our eyes. Good news is they are focused on consumer value propositions and enriching them through convenience and simplicity….at the heart of the consumer today.

This week, Walmart’s Jet.com announced it will trial a brick and mortar grocery play to see how consumer react to a food retail concept store. Jet.com’s value proposition is the delivery of fresh produce right to your door without the need to even be home to receive it.

Walmart acquired the Jet brand as an accelerator for competing directly with Amazon’s Fresh grocery play and pickup services. All of which can and will be used to extend Walmart’s digital footprint where they have invested heavily in online ordering, store based pick up and new partnerships with Uber and Lyft for home deliveries.

Amazon’s Alexa Is Dominant Platform By Far

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Amazon continues its dominate run to take over the world and become our one and only retailer. Growth has come from many different elements of Amazon’s ever expanding business models and while it stumble early on with hardware (the horrible Amazon One phone), it has seen the patience pay off with Alexa.

Recent reports suggest Amazon has a 70.6% share of the voice digital assistant space….virtually leaving all competitors to fight for the remaining balance (including Apple and Microsoft.)

In 2017, 35.6 Million consumers in the US will use the voice activated assistant devices, up ~130% from prior year and growing. These figures are supposed to hit the exponential curve as the hardware integration begins to penetrate automotive and appliance markets where consumer value is immediate.

Analysts expect Amazon to give back some market share as Google Home and others scale, but dominate it will remain and who knows…with additional advancements in hardware it will be hard to catch.

 

Big Data Meets Bike Pedals

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Big data comes in many forms and continues to solidify its place as the world’s most precious resource. It is being gathered in virtually every digitized experience…including the growing bike rental economy in China.

Mobike, China’s next promising unicorn, is looking to map how you enjoy your leisure time on bicycles. With a new investment round totaling $300M USD, Mobike is quickly looking to expand its fleet and charge riders a nominal rental fee for access to what they do and when they do it.

They have recently unlocked a number of insights about behavior shifts on holidays and weekends and can use this data to predict where people will ride and generally at what time of day, with whom and how far….think local marketing in real time.

They can even map users as the y migrate from city to city in the region and their pedal behavior. They are taking all of this information and building a scalable Artificial Intelligence play that could scale to the likes of Uber like status.

 

 

Google “Aero” Gets In On Home Services Market.

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Google has emerged (no surprise) as the next big player to take advantage of the growing restaurant and home services business. Last week, Google announced the launch of Google Aero, a new app that emerged in Mumbai and Bangalore, India, focused on allowing users to order food and schedule appointments with local service e providers (e.g. electricians, painters, cleaners.)

In this scenario, Google is basically brokering the dialogue between local advertisers and merchants and the consumers (a platform play), making it easier and more accessible to find what’s needed from any mobile device.

Google is already operating and scaling its rapid delivery service “Google Express” which is delivering items from Costco, Walmart, Petsmart, Whole Foods and more.   Google faces steep competition from Amazon who already is operating a Home Services  Business through which consumers and find and book local service offers.

Knowing these two, the battle will become big and aggressive, especially as Amazon looks to monetize more of the consumer traffic with Google like ad services.

Clear Coffee Launches In UK and Slovakia

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Clear coffee is apparently a possibility says the brother and co founder duo of Adam and David Nagy.

They have invented a way to remove the dark colored appearance of normal coffee, keep your teeth from endless staining, and still deliver you the full dose of caffeine you are looking for. The product is called Clr Ciff (or Clear Coffee with no vowels) and claims to be free of preservatives, artificial flavors, sweeteners and or stabilizers…in fact ingredients simply state water, coffee and caffeine.

Big question will be how people feels about adding milk to their clear beverage…making an even merkier looking beverage.  Consumers in UK and Slovakia will be first to find out

Starbucks Goes Mobile Only For The Entire Experience.

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Starbuck’s is taking the next step in its journey to becoming the world’s best consumer driven, digitally advanced beverage company in the world.

Next week, their flagship café in Seattle will begin testing a mobile only concept…meaning you will only be able to order using the app. The experience will move from the traditional cattle corral approach to ordering to a streamlined pickup window model, greatly reducing the need for retail space and potentially enabling higher through put, given the efficiencies in mobile payments. You simply pick location, choose your selections and pay….the app will tell you where to pick up your order and when it should be ready…so no more waiting.

You can imagine how this type of business shift will enable Starbucks to drive more efficient supply lines, automate coffee production and reduce wait times and overcrowding (a nice problem to have)