Tag Archives: innovation


SAE International forms microbility data standards consortium

SAE is the former Society of Automotive Engineers, and has been a leader in standard setting for many years.  There is clearly a need for standards around data for shared bike and scooter services, for instance.  The main cooperators are Miami-Dade County, Jump, Spin, and Populus (a data platform).

A similar effort by Los Angeles called the Mobility Data Specification (MDS) led to major complaints from Uber and Lyft, the ride-hailing service operators.   They don’t want to be bound by the rules.  Other cities have been following the MDS as well.

Perhaps such a consortium effort could help resolve these problems. I’m surprised there isn’t communication between the Los Angeles group and the SAE.

screenshot-Smart Cities Dive 2019-05-23   AUTHOR  via SAE International to form microbility data standards consortium | Smart Cities Dive


Sensors, ‘grey boxes’ and opportunities

 of the Loadstar has a short article about a vision DPWorld has for integrating data and logistics.  He describes some innovative activities. In Yiwu, China DPWorld has an agreement for a project that allows customers to clear cargo through customs before it leaves for Jebel Ali. The DP World representative also pointed out that in the future, each item in a box may carry a sensor.  Box handling equipment could make use of the sensor data (eg, promised delivery dates) to route boxes by a faster or slower route.

It isn’t clear to me how the second method will work out–  I’m reminded of the old Fedex cartoon where the delivery man is swimming ashore to a client on a desert island with a wrapped package, but the stranded client says “But my birthday is tomorrow!”. Rerouting a collection of cargo on the basis of, say, average due date,  is fraught with problems. Are the partners in each supply chain ready for early delivery, or do they want it, or will they actually pay to have it delayed?     I used to have a copy of this cartoon which I showed to my logistics and operations classes, but it’s gotten lost over the years.

There’s no question that improving customs clearance and in fact throughput at any stage will benefit from accurate and easy data interchange.  But for that, you need some standardization, and for it to transform the industry the standards need to be common for the whole industry.  I’m reminded of the effort it took to translate US freight codes to the Harmonized codes used in international traffic.

Standards need to be set, and where they deal with complementary processes they need to be set broadly so that everyone can participate.  That requires some joint standard setting.  It happened for INCOterms, it happened for disk drive interface standards, it happened (more or less) for EDI;  but it takes a village.  One or two firms can’t do it.

logo  via Sensors, ‘grey boxes’ and opportunities in an age where ‘data is the new container’ – The Loadstar


The Dawn of the Deep Tech Ecosystem

This Boston Consulting Group report by  Massimo PortincasoArnaud de la Tour, and Philippe Soussan,  discusses seven categories of so-called deep-tech areas of research that are likely to yield new disruptions for businesses of all types.   They believe that deep-tech industries are no longer dominated by larger companies doing incremental research, but ratherby small, nimble enterpreneurial firms finding and developing solutions for novel use cases.

They claim we are moving into a phase in which truly new types of infrastructure for business uses is emerging.  And the development of these new uses requires a whole ecosystem–  a band of cooperating players, including technicians, investors large and small, and firms who have use cases–  rather than simply a firm, some financing, and a product.   This differs from the ‘maker’ approach to innovation, which believes we can just set people working with some simple tools, and they will come up with the products the world needs.

I support this ecosystem approach, not the more limited one. As an example I call your attention to NYMIC, the New York Maritime Innovation Center, started by my colleague Dr Chris Clott of SUNY Maritime.  It fits exactly into the role of helping create a good ecosystem for innovation in the maritime field, one which greatly needs stimulants to produce service improvements.  Its motto is “Convene, Connect, Catalyze”, which exactly expresses what BCG’s discussion here is saying.

BCG has a full report entitled The Dawn of the Deep Tech Ecosystem.  Much can be learned by studying how it is evolving in the different deep tech areas they believe are a part of it. Link to PDF.


via The Dawn of the Deep Tech Ecosystem