Author Archives: Krasouskaya Elizavetha

Apple: Prolonged project of a self-driving car and new battery technology

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Over the past few years Apple has been developing its self-driving vehicle projects codename- Titan. The project is rumored to have over 5,000 engineers working on it. New leaks are showing that Apple was already negotiating with electric vehicle suppliers to create the Apple car. 

Before the original iPhone was even released, Apple was already in discussion for the creation of the Apple car. In 2001, Steve Jobs met with the creator of the V Vehicle, which is a lightweight petroleum powered car that used cheaper materials and could sell for just $14,000. Job saw massive potential in the V Vehicle as a glass fiber vehicle was 14% lighter than a normal steel made vehicle and costed 17% lees to produce. Ultimately, Jobs decided to focus on the release of the iPhone. After the rise of the iPhone, apple began looking into the creation of its car once again. 

In 2014, Apple started project Titan with a vision of bringing a compelling smart car that would be the ultimate mobile device. This would be leaked in February of 2015 when a mysterious van leased to Apple was spotted with a camera rig attached to it. Just a few days later one anonymous Apple employee gave a dark warning to Elon Musk by stating that project Titan would give Tesla a run for its money. Even Tesla employee were heading over to Apple as the project was too exciting to pass on. Afterwards, Apple hired Johann Jungwirt, who is the former of Mercedes-Benz research and development executive.

It is confirmed that Apple was not just focusing on creating the self-driving software for cars, but also making an electric vehicle. The leader of project Titan is Steve Zadensky, who is already given go-ahead by Tim Cook to recruit up 1,000 employees. After meeting with luxuries car manufactures like Magna Steyr. Their concept vehicle revealed that Apple was looking to create a smooth looking Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV). It was rumored to have a variety of features. 

For example, silent motorized doors controlled through the user’s iPhone. Another one Apple looked into was implementing augmented reality into the displays. However, the craziest feature is the fact that Apple wants to use spherical wheels. It would be similar to what Audi revealed in 2004 with its Audi RSQ concept.

Spherical Wheels
Audi RSQ

That would be interesting to the Apple car. At the same time, it would also be quite expensive. Goodyear has revealed its concept of spherical tires in 2016. Now, while Apple did have some crazy ambitions there were also many internal problems.

But, the auto industry represents a huge opportunity at $2 trillion. Apple does have certain advantages:

  • strong balance sheet
  • deep pockets 
  •  world-class designers
  • hardware-software integration

And now Apple brought in the house many of the technologies that could help in developing such a car: 

  • processor
  • batterie
  • camera, sensor
  • display

Perhaps, Apple could upend and redefine other markets as it did with smartphones. On the other hand, there will be a real risk for Cook as well. Ultimately, for all the excitement the auto industry is a low-margin and capital-intensive business. that why more analytics says that Cook more likely will focus the company’s money, time, and afford more narrowly on software. For example, an autonomous driving system or license to traditional car makers. 

Moreover, a lot of room for growth as right now about 3% of total cars sold are electric. Over the next 5 years, probably, the number will be changed to 30%. For sure, there may be a lot of reasons why Apple could be interested in building their own car. Also, to remember, that the car industry is a low-margin business. What report indicates that they make really developed breakthrough technology that will lower cost and make cars for customers more affordable. 

In terms of Apple’s brand and software abilities, I think that will be something really impressive and affordable as iPhone. The strategic partnership which they recently announced is the first step for a long-life collaboration.


E-commerce & social commerce

Reading Time: 3 minutesThe company “Wildberries” is an international online-selling platform that is really popular in CIS countries. It was established in 2004 in Moscow region by Tatiana Bakalchuk, an English teacher, and her husband radio physics. At the same when they had a baby, the need for money raised up automatically. Therefore, the idea of buying clothes from German catalogs «Otto» и «Quelle» started making those needed money. The business began working without any attracted investments, but only of its own borrowed funds.

Their storage room was in their apartment until they began to expand. Now, they already have the biggest commercial storage place in Russian, which is 145,000 sq. m. Their shopping list catalog is endless and being added often.

   The business model is to cooperate directly with clothing manufacturers and official distributors. They independently form the range of their products in the market space and retail prices, and Wildberries earns a commission on sales results. Should be said that 15% is the commission for sellers from October 2019. Also, Wildberries became an exclusively online seller of new collections of the Dutch brand Mexx in 2019.

   Additionally, there is no Board of Directors in the organizational structure, and the number of heads of departments and divisions is small: the management structure is simple, and its style is described as democratic.

Nevertheless, the capitalization of the company is estimated at $1,2 bn, by Forbes Russia in 2019. Their site is a leader by traffic and ahead of Uniqlo, H&M, Zara, and ASOS, which is making me truly surprised. Wildberries is often called the rising star of Russian e-commerce.

Wildberries is one of those online shopping platforms which is used around the world. It is massive cooperation that had to take more than 10 years to become as they are now.

Now, social commerce started mushrooming quite recently. It is a favorite marketing tool for stuff brands. Now it is not only a place for socializing in cyberspace but also a place to shop. It should be noted that the new social commerce is a part of e-commerce. The difference is SC involves social media for supporting direct social interaction with a client that at the same time making easier the purchasing goods process.

 In this new branch usually, an influencer or celebrity may take place as a seller. The more followers influencer has the more offers she/he will get. So, it is an additional motivation for an account promotion.

Personally, I see some advantages for brands and sellers using SC model. The first one is that brand may realize which audience is prioritized in someone’s account. It will help to direct brand money from marketing more accurately, of course, there are mistakes, but the success of the deal depends more on the manager. The second one, communication. Fast, direct, and easy to understand will not take much time. Also, users buying staff for example on Instagram or Facebook will not have to downland or open the website for looking good. The third one, real money for influencers. As we can see there a lot of people who are not just making fun on Instagram, they are really paid for what they do. So, it is a new job nowadays.

In comparison to the e-commerce business model, social commerce is a high demand for the young generation, which wants to buy more and stay up to date with trends. Every day scrolling a page users with a high probability may see offers. As AI explores all the posts that you stopped and liked. On one side, it may be cool as it doesn’t waste time to fund something users may like. On another side, is there any chance of having a private space? I think this is a game in which you either accept the rules or not.



Environmental focus for business

Reading Time: 3 minutes I am not going to tell you about some new technology or AI implementation. I want to focus on the importance of using recycled materials in production.

Two years ago, I started evaluating the damage of trash to the climate and our environment. Looking thoroughly at how other countries are facing and dealing with trash, in order to take real-life examples. I found a Swedish model really fascinating. Just think about these numbers, they recycle 99% of waste and less than 1% ends up in landfills. More than 40% of Stockholm’s energy is provided by waste incineration.

In the late 1980e, their government has already started thinking about saving the climate. Year by year the society mentality had been changed dramatically by trash recycling education. The government has involved many aspects related to the population. Now even in kindergartens, there are lessons on recycling. One of the key aspects of such education is to teach the population to separate waste collection.

Additionally, Sweden does not have its own oil and gas reserves. Such alternative energy sources are the key to solving many problems. Sweden does not have enough of its own garbage to run incineration plants. Therefore, they began to import garbage from neighboring countries, such as Norway, Great Britain. And due to the received energy, more than a million apartments are heated. And almost seven hundred thousand more provide electricity. It is described by the phrase «Trash to treasure».

 However, there are negative sides to adapting the recycling system into reality. It refers to the countries which have not so advanced in terms of the recycling program. Recycling is not just a matter of recovering recyclable material. It’s a totally economic system that requires interest from the government, society, and business. At present, the cost of collecting and processing recyclable materials significantly outweighs their own value as a product that can be sold back to the industry.

Recycling means a lot for business and government. As Weine Wiqvist, CEO of the Swedish Waste Management and Recycling Association said that “reusing materials or products means using less energy to create a product, instead of burning one and making a new one from scratch”. As an example, top managers of companies like American Airlines, Bell Atlantic, and Coca-Cola inserted a fresh look on using recycled materials. They bought recycled products and invested them in green R&D as part of their business strategy. The result is impressive- they have closed the recycling loop, cut down on waste, and increased profit margins. They desire the public’s negative attitude towards recycled bottles to be changed. That means using recycled products gains a bigger profit and at the same time, the company can declare itself with an attractive side. Plus, there’s clearly consumer demand for green products, and Rubbermaid, Moore Business Forms, and International Paper, etc.

While the market has its uncertainty, corporations can start forming a strategic way by collaborating with public organizations and other business interests. That has an economic interest for the business side. But there is no way to work on creating that true value in long term, especially when it comes to economic problems that neither can solve alone. They must reinvent their relationship.

Emphasizing the recycling industry just might be one of the answers to an ailing local economy, provided corporate managers and government policymakers are willing to work as partners rather than sinister opponents. The Swedish model is a great and inspiring example, which emphasizes that successful teamwork is driven by the best intention.


Food industry: Plant-based alternative «Just Egg»

Reading Time: 2 minutesPlant-based meals are a booming business. Food manufacturers ranging from startups to driving companies to the world’s largest meat companies. They are innovating rapidly in this category. These next-generation plant-based meat, egg, and dairy products are increasingly competitive with animal products on the key drivers of consumer choice: taste, price, and accessibility.

 As a result, a growing number of mainstream consumers are buying plant-based options. These products remain overall food growth by more than five times. New SPINS retail sales data released March 3, 2020, shows that grocery sales of plant-based foods have significantly grown 26% in the past three years to $5 billion. A devastating result for the young market.


Comparatively, total U.S. retail food dollar sales grew just 2% over the past year and 4% over the past two years.

 Moving to one of the plant-based product. That is a plant-based protein in the form of eggs. Vegan eggs, what are they?

  It is primarily made of Asian mung beans, which provides eggy texture. Also, included some onion for flavoring, yellow glow gives carrots and turmeric. Everything is vegan. However, contains 5g of protein per serving and none cholesterol. A brand calls Just Egg could find the best sold liquid egg in the market.

A brand which is called Just Egg, a startup headquartered in San Francisco, by two guys Josh Balk and CEO Josh Tetrick. The idea was born on the basis of thinking about how to address systemic issues in the global food system.

According to SPINS shared by the company shows significant growth. The company has already made up 40% of all sales in dollars. Additionally, 30% of all units sold in the plant-based category. Worth mentioning that it’s the second best-selling egg substitute in general grocery stores. It sells in Sprouts and Whole Foods from April. 

To achieve such achievements the team members worked hard the past 6 years building a unique database of plant proteins that will not damage the environment and be more sustainable and safe for the future generation.

  As mentioned before, they tediously worked on the idea overall 6 years to become the leader in the plant-based egg category. A superb idea, great team, plan and investments create a product that any consumer can buy every day. A belief in the success of the idea ends with a highly profitable project.



Does 5G Network have some issues?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

   There is no disputing the fact that the new iPhone 12 launch stimulated US mobile broadband to make a 5G network available in 2020 worldwide. Those components are working together, and if one of them will collapse the whole ecosystem goes down automatically. One of the most significant aspects of the iPhone 12 is the 5G network modem. Therefore, most iPhone users expect from Apple by providing them with a high performance of the Internet. It seems quite simple to move from 4G to 5G, but in reality, each network provider faced with a huge amount of difficulties. Considerable work has been done and is continuing to be done.
   Companies like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon had divergent ways of building out 5G networks. They were faced with several issues. First, the amount of bandwidth data, it’s needed upgraded software configuration. The factor in performance results is the type of frequencies that each of the network providers is using. Verizon stopped on the mmWave spectrum, but it provides limited coverage. On another hand T-Mobile and AT&T focused more on a technology calls sub-6. The spectrum provides the speed and consistency of mobile broadband much more quickly than with a mmWave deployment.
    Second, the complexity of performance, which network architects were working on together by learning as they go. It takes time to upgrade and install new antennas. A simple network software upgrade makes a smooth transition from 4G to 5G by Ericsson and Qualcomm technologies. For example, modern Qualcomm X55 will be a part of the iPhone 12 provider 5G.
    Third, the speed capabilities are the number of “lanes”. It makes sense because nowadays users of 4G may move to 5G. However, there is a point, there are some technologies Non-Standalone (NSA) and Standalone (SA) access which are two 5G modes. NSA network relies on 4G facilities by providing more speed and higher data bandwidth. Moreover, 5G-capable smartphones will connect either to 5G or 4G networks depending on conditions. SA is dependent on 5G mode, will give tremendous performance speed, and minimize the delay.
    Sum up the foregoing, as we can see each mobile provider has its own strategy and idea of how to build the new ecosystem. It is business so everyone wants to win this game. However, not everything may work. Right now, by looking at official performance tests we may realize whose idea performed better. So only engineering ability and recourses can help with winning. A start has been made, the most interesting part ahead of us.