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jerryking : low-cost   11

The future of computing is at the edge
June 6, 2018 | FT | by Richard Waters in San Francisco.

With so much data being produced, sending it all to cloud does not make economic sense.

The economics of big data — and the machine learning algorithms that feed on it — have been a gift to the leading cloud computing companies. By drawing data-intensive tasks into their massive, centralised facilities, companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google have thrived by bringing down the unit costs of computing.

But artificial intelligence is also starting to feed a very different paradigm of computing. This is one that pushes more data-crunching out to the network “edge” — the name given to the many computing devices that intersect with the real world, from internet-connected cameras and smartwatches to autonomous cars. And it is fuelling a wave of new start-ups which, backers claim, represent the next significant architectural shift in computing.....Xnor.ai, an early-stage AI software start-up that raised $12m this month, is typical of this new wave. Led by Ali Farhadi, an associate professor at University of Washington, the company develops machine learning algorithms that can be run on extremely low-cost gadgets. Its image recognition software, for instance, can operate on a Raspberry Pi, a tiny computer costing just $5, designed to teach the basics of computer science......That could make it more economical to analyse data on the spot rather than shipping it to the cloud. One possible use: a large number of cheap cameras around the home with the brains to recognise visitors, or tell the difference between a burglar and a cat.

The overwhelming volume of data that will soon be generated by billions of devices such as these upends the logic of data centralisation, according to Mr Farhadi. “We like to say that the cloud is a way to scale AI, but to me it’s a roadblock to AI,” he said. “There is no cloud that can digest this much data.”

“The need for this is being driven by the mass of information being collected at the edge,” added Peter Levine, a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and investor in a number of “edge” start-ups. “The real expense is going to be shipping all that data back to the cloud to be processed when it doesn’t need to be.”

Other factors add to the attractions of processing data close to where it is collected. Latency — the lag that comes from sending information to a distant data centre and waiting for results to be returned — is debilitating for some applications, such as driverless cars that need to react instantly. And by processing data on the device, rather than sending it to the servers of a large cloud company, privacy is guaranteed.

Tobias Knaup, co-founder of Mesosphere, another US start-up, uses a recent computing truism to sum up the trend: “Data has gravity.”....Nor are the boundaries between cloud and edge distinct. Data collected locally is frequently needed to retrain machine learning algorithms to keep them relevant, a computing-intensive task best handled in the cloud. Companies such as Mesosphere — which raised $125m this month, taking the total to more than $250m — are betting that this will give rise to technologies that move information and applications to where they are best handled, from data centres out to the edge and vice versa...Microsoft unveiled image-recognition software that was capable of running on a local device rather than its own data centres.
Andreessen_Horowitz  artificial_intelligence  centralization  cloud_computing  computer_vision  data_centers  decentralization  edge  future  Industrial_Internet  IT  latency  low-cost  machine_learning  Microsoft  Richard_Waters 
june 2018 by jerryking
IKEA's Path to Selling 150 Million Meatballs - WSJ.com
Oct. 16, 2013 | WSJ | By Jens Hansegard.

When IKEA decided to sell food, it chose to do it in much the same way it sells furniture: a few standardized staples, sold in large quantities. The result: 150 million meatballs.

That is the number IKEA estimates will be dished out in store cafeterias this year. Though the Swedish company is better known for its inexpensive, assembly-required furniture, its IKEA Food division is a behemoth, rivaling Panera Bread and Arby's, with nearly $2 billion in annual revenue. The company estimates about 700 million people this year will eat in one of the cafeterias that are located in 300 IKEA stores world-wide. ...The idea of making a lot of food on site was considered too complicated. IKEA decided to outsource meatball production. While IKEA came up with the formula and specifications, a Swedish food supplier, Gunnar Dafgård AB, was contracted to supply them.
IKEA  meatballs  restaurants  Outsourcing  Swedish  Sweden  furniture  assembly-required  inexpensive  low-cost 
october 2013 by jerryking
Tired of being dumb money? Here’s how to get smart fast
Mar. 29 2013 | The Globe and Mail | DAVID BERMAN.
First, ignore the herd. Retail investors get into trouble because they like to follow the market. They love stocks when they’re expensive and bull markets are in full swing, and loathe stocks when they’re cheap and the bear is growling. Do the opposite: As the saying goes, buy when there is blood in the streets.

Second, accept that you are not Mr. Buffett. Over-confident investors get themselves into trouble because they take on too much risk in the hope of scoring spectacular gains. Instead, diversify and aim for the unspectacular, perhaps with low-cost exchange-traded funds that track a basket of stocks.

Third, think long-term. Retail investors are prone to expect their investments to pay off in a big way immediately – and when they don’t, these investors switch tactics, often with dismal results.
investment_advice  personal_finance  contrarians  long-term  patience  Warren_Buffett  overconfidence  individual_initiative  smart_people  independent_viewpoints  bull_markets  ETFs  low-cost 
march 2013 by jerryking
Manufacturing: The end of cheap China
Mar 10th 2012 | HONG KONG AND SHENZHEN | The Economist

The era of cheap China may be drawing to a close. Costs are soaring, starting in the coastal provinces where factories have historically clustered (see map). Increases in land prices, environmental and safety regulations and taxes all play a part. The biggest factor, though, is labour...If cheap China is fading, what will replace it? Will factories shift to poorer countries with cheaper labour? That is the conventional wisdom, but it is wrong....Louis Kuijs of the Fung Global Institute, a think-tank, observes that some low-tech, labour-intensive industries, such as T-shirts and cheap trainers, have already left China. And some firms are employing a “China + 1” strategy, opening just one factory in another country to test the waters and provide a back-up.

But coastal China has enduring strengths, despite soaring costs. First, it is close to the booming Chinese domestic market. This is a huge advantage. No other country has so many newly pecunious consumers clamouring for stuff.

Second, Chinese wages may be rising fast, but so is Chinese productivity. The precise numbers are disputed, but the trend is not. Chinese workers are paid more because they are producing more.

Third, China is huge. Its labour pool is large and flexible enough to accommodate seasonal industries that make Christmas lights or toys, says Ivo Naumann of AlixPartners. In response to sudden demand, a Chinese factory making iPhones was able to rouse 8,000 workers from their dormitory and put them on the assembly line at midnight, according to the New York Times. Not the next day. Midnight. Nowhere else are such feats feasible.

Fourth, China’s supply chain is sophisticated and supple. Professor Zheng Yusheng of the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business argues that the right way to measure manufacturing competitiveness is not by comparing labour costs alone, but by comparing entire supply chains. Even if labour costs are a quarter of those in China to make a given product, the unreliability or unavailability of many components may make it uneconomic to make things elsewhere.
China  cheap  comparative_advantage  competitive_advantage  competitiveness  factors_of_production  flexibility  Hong_Kong  low-cost  manufacturers  measurements  productivity  supply_chains  think_tanks 
march 2012 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: The Scarcity Shortage
Aug. 27, 2007 | Seth Godin.

Scarcity has a lot to do with value. Scarcity is the cornerstone of our economy. The best way to make a profit is by trading in something that's scarce.

How to deal with the shortage of scarcity? Well, the worst strategy is whining--about copyright laws/fair trade/how hard you've worked. etc. Start by acknowledging that most of the profit from your business is going to disappear soon. Unless you have a significant cost adv. (e.g. Amazon's or Wal-Mart's), someone with nothing to lose is going to offer a similar product for less $.....So what's scarce now? Respect. Honesty. Good judgment. L.T. relationships that lead to trust. None of these things guarantee loyalty in the face of cut-rate competition, though. So I'll add: an insanely low-cost structure based on outsourcing everything except your company's insight into what your customers really want to buy. If the work is boring, let someone else do it, faster & cheaper than you ever could. If your products are boring, kill them before your competition does. Ultimately,
what's scarce is that kind of courage--which is exactly what you can
bring to the market.
scarcity  Seth_Godin  customer_loyalty  respect  judgment  honesty  whining  trustworthiness  inspiration  entrepreneurship  proprietary  cost-structure  relationships  kill_rates  courage  customer_insights  insights  competitive_advantage  low-cost 
october 2010 by jerryking
The Importance of Frugal Engineering
May 25, 2010 | Strategy + Business | by Vikas Sehgal, Kevin
Dehoff, and Ganesh Panneer. Providing new goods and services to “bottom
of the pyramid” customers requires a radical rethinking of product
development. Frugal engineering is not simply low-cost engineering. It
is not a scheme to boost profit margins by squeezing the marrow out of
suppliers’ bones. It is not simply the latest take on the decades-long
focus on cost cutting.Cost discipline is an intrinsic part of the
process, but rather than simply cutting existing costs, frugal
engineering seeks to avoid needless costs in the first place. Frugal
engineering, addresses the billions of consumers at the bottom of the
pyramid who are quickly moving out of poverty in China, India, Brazil,
and other emerging nations.
innovation  C.K._Prahalad  Bottom_of_the_Pyramid  product_development  Tata  BRIC  low-cost  emerging_markets  trickle-up  reverse_innovation  jugaad  frugality  cost-cutting  supply_chain_squeeze 
august 2010 by jerryking
Gary Hamel Sees “More Options… Fewer Grand Visions”
October 6, 2009 | World Business Forum — Presented by Shell.
"...A second critical principle is variety. As the world becomes more
uncertain, it’s harder to see farther ahead. You can’t make 10- or
20-year strategies. What becomes more important is trying lots of new
things — experimenting in low-cost ways continuously — and seeing what
works and what doesn’t. So more options, more experimentation, fewer
grand visions, fewer strategies would be the second principle."
experimentation  Gary_Hamel  low-cost  optionality  options  variations  variety  uncertainty 
may 2010 by jerryking
The Path to Growth - WSJ.com
MARCH 3, 2007 | Wall Street Journal | By NORMAN T. SHEEHAN
& GANESH VAIDYANATHAN. Even the most successful business models
erode over time making adaptability the key to thriving under tough
conditions. To avoid getting stuck in a rut, companies must constantly
adapt business models to threats and opportunities. While most managers
consider a host of conventional approaches, there's another way to
approach the problem: Look at value-creation strategies. Here are three
such strategies:
* Industrial efficiency, which creates value by producing
standardized offerings at low cost. Manufacturers and fast-food
restaurants rely on this approach.
* Network services, which creates value by connecting clients to
other people or other parts of the network. Telcos, delivery services
and Internet middlemen such as eBay use this method.
* Knowledge intensive, which creates value by applying customized
expertise to clients' problems. Law firms and medical practices are
prime examples.
business_models  delivery_networks  eBay  efficiencies  expertise  growth  industrial-strength  inequality_of_information  industry_expertise  knowledge_intensive  law_firms  legal  low-cost  middlemen  networks  orchestration  strategies  taxonomy  value_creation 
february 2010 by jerryking
Indian Firms Shift Focus to the Poor
Oct 20, 2009 | Wall Street Journal pg. A.1 | by Eric Bellman.
With the developed world mired in a slump and the developing world
still growing quickly, companies are focusing on how to innovate, and
profit, by going straight to the bottom rung of the economic ladder.
They are taking advantage of cheap research and development and low-cost
manufacturing to innovate for a market that's grown large enough and
sophisticated enough to make it worthwhile. Instead of using
traditional supply chains, many companies are distributing through rural
self-help groups and micro-lenders that are already plugged into
villages. And while profit margins are slim, companies are counting on
volume to compensate. Many hope to sell to other poor and underserved
markets in Asia and Africa eventually. Trickle-up innovation.
trickle-up  underserved  reverse_innovation  emerging_markets  socioeconomic  Bottom_of_the_Pyramid  jugaad  developed_countries  supply_chains  manufacturers  R&D  microlending  microfinance  low-cost  Indians  low-income 
november 2009 by jerryking
ScienceDirect - Journal of Business Venturing : Penurious strategies for parsimonious research: “Little guy” alternatives for “big-buck” research*1
Entrepreneurship research is in a transition stage. New research and policy vistas have been opened up by the very recent emergence of big-science, "big-buck" databases. In the past 12 months, physics had 2 remarkable jolts: 1. The federal government made an unprecedented financial and technological commitment to develop the superconducting supercollider in Texas. 2. Chemists Pons and Fleischmann reported creating cold fusion in a low-cost experiment. In entrepreneurship research, large nonrepresentative samples generally are samples of convenience, drawn from trade or industry groups, because they were readily available to the researcher. These data can suffer from self-selection. The guiding principle for penurious strategizing in entrepreneurship research is to explicitly consider quality in the design of research. Two beliefs regarding this principle are: 1. It is possible to do high-quality work by building on the high-quality works of others. 2. There are questions of tremendous significance that can be addressed by low-cost research methods.
research  small_business  strategies  market_research  parsimony  low-cost  high-quality 
june 2009 by jerryking

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