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Will Micromobility overtake Automotive? Is VR the future of manufacturing design? And are robots already threatening the economy?

Micromobility is on the rise with projections to surpass ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft

There's a new transportation category that's exploding in North America called MicroMobility, which is made up of e-scooters and dockless bikes. Effectively, scooters and bikes that people can leave behind when they're done, and others can jump on and keep riding. It requires a mobile app, and the user just puts credits into their account and pays for their mileage.

Key players in the space are Lime and Bird who are showing the same kinds of growth that Uber, Lyft had, and are projecting they'll overtake that demand by 2020. The data's not sourced properly from what I can tell, but that may be a function of poor PR at this point. Many sources are pointing to data from an upcoming conference site to promote MiMo (Micromobility for short): https://micromobility.io/

Key Takeaway

Is this a fad? I doubt it. As millenials, zennials and gen Z's move away from car ownership, the future is looking more and more like it will be focused on mass transit and transportation sharing. Innovation labs at GM and other automotive companies are looking hard at this space trying to figure out what the future of cars looks like, particularly from a sales perspective.

As we watch the automotive space change due to generational (but really financial and real-estate) trends, it's important to think about how this will impact other categories. People may not be purchasing expensive products like cars, homes, or even desktop computers anymore unless their prices are reduced significantly, which in turn means, we need to completely rethink the way that we position these products to people.

Industrial designers are shaving years off of their prototyping cycles through the use of VR

Bell Helicopter (an engineering firm known for pioneering some of the biggest tech in aviation) has reoriented their innovation team to focus more on using VR for prototyping new products. Using the HTC Vive, which retails for ~$700 CAD, their team has managed to cut their design cycles down from 5 years to six months. All without spending millions on enterprise hardware. See the full story here: https://www.roadtovr.com/bell-says-latest-helicopter-was-designed-10-times-faster-with-vr/amp

Key Takeaway

I've talked before about how prototyping has become the defacto way to try out new visions for digital, we're seeing this hit physical products as well, and not just for the sake of impressing audiences, but for massive cost savings and time reduction. If more engineering firms make this a part of their design process, we'll likely see rapid reductions in price in the space of VR, which may result in much easier adoption for consumers.

Amazon shows lower holiday hires than ever - signalling a heavier reliance on robots over humans

The holidays are a-comin', and if Starbuck's PSLs weren't sign enough for you, this story is. Analysts have noticed that Amazon is hiring far less people for the holidays than usual, specifically 100,000 in the US vs. 120,000 per their 2016 and 2017 numbers. The assumption is that the 20,000 person difference is due to efficiencies found through their robot workforce. https://qz.com/1449634/amazons-reduced-holiday-hiring-is-a-bad-sign-for-human-workers/

Also worth noting, Amazon is offering free shipping this holiday season, indicating that they're stepping up their game in promoting their platform, so it's doubtful they're anticipating a drop in sales or activity. https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-offering-free-shipping-on-holiday-orders-1541424226

Key Takeaway

A few weeks ago we saw Uniqlo doing the same thing as Amazon, and they're nowhere near as sophisticated. More and more companies are putting more of their investment into their IT back-end, and coupled with AI, more and more companies will be following suit.

In an economy where we continuously need to do more with less, it's these companies that will come out on top, with a focus on developing their business as a technology product whether they're in fashion, entertainment, finance or retail.

Will Micromobility overtake Automotive? Is VR the future of manufacturing design? And are robots already threatening the economy?
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