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.

 

Domino’s Tests Autonomous Delivery Bots

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Domino’s pizza is quickly moving from supply chain and experience digitalization to distribution transformation.

This summer, Domino’s in partnership with Starship Technologies , will begin testing autonomous deliver of large pizzas.

Initially scheduled for Hamburg Germany, expansion plans are already in the works for the Netherlands and beyond. Pretty simple extension to experience today…order your pizza via app, messenger, twitter, etc…provide delivery address, pizza gets baked, placed in a small robotic delivery food cart and wait for the notification. Open your door and retrieve your piping hot pizza for the robotics delivery vehicle.

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This area of robotic driven logistic’s is literally exploding, and while drones maybe far off from receiving formal licensing approvals, 4 mph ground based robotic delivery vehicles have a chance to drive a complete disruption (some for the better)  for local retailers and restaurants.

You can quickly imagine a central platform (think Amazon) that you order through, order is sent to fulfillment center or hopefully a local retailer, order is fulfilled and loaded into autonomous deliver vehicle and it shows up outside your door.

This will be areality this summer (actually already is)

Adidas Taps Technology To Create Personalized Products

RTX31WBTAdidas is looking to breakthrough long design and production cycles by enabling on demand manufacturing…of sweaters (not shoes.) German fitness apparel company recently launched a pop up store in Berlin that allows consumers to design, manufacture and purchase a unique merino wool sweaters for ~$200 USD.

Here’s how it work… consumers set into a dark booth that projects a variety of pattern options and colors on the individual so they can get a sense for how it would look. They can then adjust for colors, styles, size and then place the order in the store. Instantly the robotic looms go into action and knit the sweater. Some elements appear to require a hand finishing, then the products are laundered, dried and packaged for delivery. The entire process takes about 4 hours start to finish. Memory of experience hopefully last longer.

While sweaters aren’t set to be the next breakthrough fashion trend, Adidas is tapping into localized manufacturing capabilities that enable them to maintain virtual shelves of products without having to retire expensive inventory.

This could radically change distribution models and place many traditional manufacturers at risk…something many industries are watching closely.

Private Calls Aren’t Worth The Creepy Factor

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Here is something you don’t want to see every day, regardless of the soundness of the idea. It’s called Hushme and positions itself to become your solution for private conversations over a mobile device. In theory, it makes sense…we all receive calls and would prefer them to be private, but can’t find a location in short order. It’s annoying, but certainly not worthy of creeping everyone out around you with some cyborg gag fashion wear.

My guess is we won’t see many of these sold, not at $249 retail, but we might begin seeing additional form factors be tested using voice cancellation technology for those around you.

Airbnb Of Office Space Emerges In Berlin

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We have seen the rise of Airbnb reach astronomical levels last week with a $30B+ valuation estimate and no plans of stopping anytime soon. They took an unused asset (spare space) and created a model that is revolutionizing the hotel industry.

So where else could we see this phenomenon emerge…well generally anywhere space and or facilities can be treated like a commodity. A new start up called Optionspace has recently emerged (Berlin based) to attempt the same model for Office Space.

It’s pretty simple concept… Tenants (of any type) looking to secure office space can visit a site and see a combination of furnished and unfurnished space available across the globe. Rents are generally short term in nature and start with a minimum of a month commitment. This concept gives companies greater flexibility and shifts the dynamics from long term commitment to short term needs.  Optionspace only rents flexible spaces by design helping companies with extra room and or facilities to monetize them and offset their annual commitments. It is quickly becoming a premium subletting segment of the rental business, something that was forbidden for many years by traditional property owners.  To date, they are live in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt with promises of rapid expansion.

It’s not hard to see how these models will continue to trend up….with so many underutilized spaces existing (hint…think parking) around the globe, they are offer a really compelling value to a generation who doesn’t want to own or be committed to long periods of time in a single location.

Google’s Hardware Answer To Greater Collaboration

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Google has recently introduced a new tool that blends workforce enablement and collaboration platforms inside a 55 inch touchscreen called Jamboard . It’s designed to bridge to gap between smart boards (white boards that record work) and teleconferencing systems. The design is simple, approachable and easy enough apparently to use offering a highly adaptive touchscreen with a combination of management tools (stylus, eraser and pens) to facilitate any session.

Users can leverage all of the great software google provides, move items around the screens, pinch, zoom everything a tablet can do.  Even better, every machine has a short code that can be shared to make it super easy to join and collaborate (similar to blue jeans, but tied to the entire experience)

Cost…not completely cheap…~$5,000, plus an annual fee, but frankly that’s a much bargain than many comparable solutions and given Google’s free software integration.

Flipping Burgers Gets Better With Artificial Intelligence

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We have seen massive change in QSR experiences over the last 3 – 5 years, mostly focusing on improving speed, personalization capabilities and payment interactions. But QSR restaurants have been quietly building significant data businesses behind the scenes to power the next generation experiences and operational models. This week, we see the operational impacts of such pursuits with the introduction of an AI driven kitchen assistant called “Flippy.” This robotic assistant essentially takes the guess work out of cooking great patty’s by precisely monitoring cooking times (including flipping point) and managing a delivery from the griddle to the bun. Caliburgers in Pasadena, CA is the first to try out “Flippy” and is working with Miso Robotics to refine technology and explore other areas of the supply chain. Flippy apparently can cook mean fried chicken, cut veggies and plate.

You can quickly imagine a highly automated system developing that takes your order, initiates a delivery ticket and the supply chain of robots go to work on the preparation, packaging and delivery. That said…Flippy is designed to free up human productivity to improve the consumers dining experience…less time behind the grill, more time out in front of the counter making sure all is well with their guests.