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Glen Christian Pledges US$1M Towards STEM Centre, Urges Private Sector To Follow And Invest

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Private-sector entities are being encouraged to invest in the establishment of a national Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Centre, which will prepare students to compete on a global scale.

The move aligns with Government’s efforts to establish six STEM academies across the island.

Chairman of Cari-Med Group of companies, Glen Christian, in making the call, said that the “Government cannot do it alone”.

“As businesspersons, it is in our own self-interest to support these efforts, not as a charity but as an investment,” he said.

Mr. Christian was speaking at a ceremony to officially launch the new Cari-Med distribution centre in Bernard Lodge, St. Catherine, on Friday (January 27), which was attended by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness.

Mr. Christian and Chairman of the National Baking Company (NBC) Foundation, Gary “Butch” Hendrickson, are spearheading a ‘STEM for Growth’ taskforce, which aims to entrench STEM education in the education system, including building the STEM centre.

Mr. Christian said his Foundation is currently sourcing 10 acres of land to construct the centre and purchase equipment, which is estimated to cost approximately US$45 million.

Mr. Christian, jointly with his wife, have pledged US$1 million towards the centre.

“This proposed national STEM centre will coordinate with teachers’ colleges across the island to train teachers to deliver a STEM-based curriculum. It will also train specialist teachers for the STEM academies, which are being established by the Government,” Mr. Christian said.

He informed that focus will be placed on teachers because they have a “multiplier effect”.

“By providing training and incentives for STEM teachers, we will begin to improve our children’s performance in science and mathematics, promote hands-on learning for children of all ages and give them the opportunity to apply what they are learning to real-life situations,” he said.

Prime Minister Holness led a landmarking ceremony for the first Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Academy in Dunbeholden, St. Catherine, in October.

Business Insights

The Shift to Social-First Marketing

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Social media has significantly disrupted and redefined the consumer journey, positioning itself as a primary touchpoint for influencing purchase decisions. Innovative marketers now prioritize a social-first approach, which has proven more effective than traditional media-led strategies.

A social-first strategy involves prioritizing social media channels in marketing efforts, from product discovery to post-purchase engagement. This shift has been driven by the increasing influence of social media on consumer behavior. Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest are not just for connecting with friends or entertainment; they have become critical for discovering new products, evaluating them through user-generated content, and ultimately making purchasing decisions.

Influencing Purchase Decisions

Social media’s role in the consumer journey is multifaceted:

Product Discovery: Social media has become the leading channel for product discovery, particularly among younger generations. HubSpot’s 2024 report indicates that social media surpasses internet searches for product discovery among Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X. These consumers prefer finding new products through social media, making it a vital platform for brands looking to reach new audiences​.

Consumer Trust in Creators: Influencer and creator marketing has surged, with creators now being more trusted than traditional advertisements. The LTK report reveals that trust in creators has grown by over 20%, making them pivotal in guiding consumers through their purchase journeys. This trust is particularly strong among Gen Z and Millennials, who are significantly more likely to make purchases based on creator recommendations​​.

Engagement and Customer Service: Social media has also transformed how brands interact with customers. Direct messages (DMs) on platforms like Instagram and Twitter are increasingly used for customer service, with many consumers preferring this method over traditional channels. This direct engagement helps build stronger relationships and enhances customer satisfaction​.

Brands Leading the Social-First Movement

Several brands exemplify the success of a social-first approach:

Glossier: This beauty brand has built its entire marketing strategy around social media, leveraging user-generated content and influencer partnerships to create a strong community and drive sales.

Gymshark: By focusing on social media and influencer marketing, Gymshark has grown from a small startup to a major player in the fitness apparel industry. Their effective use of fitness influencers has been key to their success.

Nike: Known for its innovative marketing, Nike utilizes social media not just for promotion but also for storytelling and engaging with their audience on a deeper level. Campaigns often feature inspirational stories that resonate well with their audience.

The Future of Social-First Strategies
The trend towards social-first marketing is set to continue, with more brands recognizing the importance of social media in the consumer journey. As third-party cookies become less reliable for tracking user behavior, first-party data collected through social media interactions will become even more valuable​​. Additionally, the integration of AI tools for creating engaging content and managing customer service will further enhance the effectiveness of social-first strategies​​.

In conclusion, social media’s role in disrupting and redefining the consumer journey cannot be overstated. Brands that adopt a social-first approach are well-positioned to influence purchase decisions at every touchpoint, ultimately outperforming those that rely solely on traditional media-led strategies.

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Prime customers – Grubhub Expanding Partnership with Amazon.com Inc.

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Grubhub, the struggling US meal-delivery business, announced May 30 it was expanding its two-year-old partnership with Amazon.com Inc. and giving Amazon Prime members free food delivery.

As part of the new deal, Amazon also incorporated Grubhub’s delivery service directly into its shopping app and website, and increased its financial stake in the company owned by Just Eat Takeaway.com NV.

Grubhub Chief Executive Officer Howard Migdal told me this deepened relationship with Amazon will be a key catalyst for user growth and revenue. Prime members are a “good cohort” of customers as they tend to order more frequently than Grubhub’s average customer, he said.

So far there has been an immediate boost: Grubhub’s app downloads jumped 90% in the week of the announcement compared with the previous week, and the number of users opening the app rose more than 9% for two straight weeks, outpacing that of food and grocery peers. That’s according to Bloomberg’s analysis of data tracked by mobile research firm Apptopia.

But this could prove challenging to sustain. While the pace of overall order declines reported by parent Just Eat’s US and Canadian business has slowed in recent quarters, third-party data from market research firms SimilarWeb and YipitData show that the initial 2022 Amazon-Grubhub partnership hasn’t reversed the streak of losses in orders and users for Chicago-based Grubhub.

The company has dropped a significant amount of market share to delivery rivals DoorDash Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. as they ramp up competition through offerings beyond just takeout meals from restaurants. Yipit’s data shows Grubhub market share fell to 6% in March from 11% in August 2022, with a loss in urban users the most pronounced.

Rivals in recent years have raced to expand the number and types of stores on their sites and improved their technology to let customers bundle multistore orders without additional cost, which Grubhub hasn’t allowed.

DoorDash and Uber, in particular, have enhanced their routing algorithms so their delivery couriers can seamlessly pick up a last-minute drugstore item, drinks from a liquor store, or condiments from the grocery store while en route to grab a restaurant order nearby. These upgrades let the companies “upsell” consumers and advertise relevant items to bundle into their order, helping expand the size of the basket and increase ad revenue from brands.

Making the Grubhub+ subscription free for the 180 million US shoppers who are part of households with a Prime membership could entice those consumers to keep their Prime accounts, which would be a boon for Amazon. But at the same time, it wipes out potential customers for Grubhub’s subscription service — and the revenue they might have generated. That makes the sale of Grubhub, which Dutch parent Just Eat has been considering since 2022, “less likely,” according to Bloomberg Intelligence analysts.

So far, a customer who tries to place a Grubhub order within Amazon won’t find it as easy as described. According to Grubhub, users can visit a dedicated website to start a Grubhub order; or they could be directed to that site through a variety of paths from Amazon.

On Amazon’s mobile app, the Grubhub button is hidden within the “Groceries” tab, below buttons for Amazon Fresh, the grocery delivery service, and Amazon’s Whole Foods. Alternatively, users can type “Grubhub” in the Amazon search bar to access the Grubhub banner. At least two more clicks are needed to launch the restaurant ordering interface in an in-app browser window, which makes the experience foreign to the Amazon app.

This makes the integration more of a bonus than a feature of convenience. Whether the deal can effectively convert new users to loyal Grubhub customers remains to be seen.

Source Natalie Lung Bloomberg

 

 

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Artificial Intelligence

Apple’s AI Play: A High-Stakes Game in a Booming Market

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In the wake of Apple’s highly anticipated AI announcement, the tech giant’s shares have seen a dip, reflecting investor disappointment over the lack of groundbreaking news. At the heart of this announcement is Apple Intelligence, a new AI platform aimed at catching up with competitors in the fiercely competitive AI market.

The Announcement and Market Reaction
During its event, Apple unveiled Apple Intelligence, a platform designed to integrate AI across its ecosystem. However, the announcement fell short of delivering the groundbreaking innovations that many had hoped for, causing a slip in pre-market trading. The partnership with OpenAI, although significant, was only briefly mentioned, leaving investors and analysts wanting more​ (MacRumors)​​ (Yahoo)​.

Strategic Implications
Apple’s strategy with Apple Intelligence focuses on embedding AI capabilities into its core applications like Safari, Photos, and Notes, emphasizing practical tools and user privacy. This integration aims to leverage both on-device and cloud processing, setting Apple apart from rivals like Google and Microsoft who have been more aggressive in showcasing their AI advancements​​.

The partnership with OpenAI to incorporate ChatGPT technology into iOS 18 is a significant move, highlighting Apple’s commitment to enhancing its AI capabilities. This collaboration is expected to bolster Apple’s competitive position but also limits OpenAI’s ability to monetize through other channels, thus aligning their goals closely​​.

Technological and Market Impact
Apple’s AI ambitions are supported by its hardware advancements, particularly the M2 Ultra processors, which are designed to handle the intensive processing requirements of AI applications. By doubling its data center capacity, Apple aims to ensure its AI services run efficiently across its vast ecosystem​​.

Despite the underwhelming announcement, analysts remain optimistic about Apple’s long-term prospects in AI. The integration of AI across Apple’s product suite is expected to drive higher upgrade rates and bolster its market position. Goldman Sachs has set a bullish 12-month price target for Apple, anticipating significant gains driven by AI and other ecosystem investments​.

Conclusion
Apple’s AI journey is a calculated but high-stakes endeavor. While the initial announcement may not have lived up to the hype, the strategic moves and ongoing developments suggest a robust foundation for future growth. As Apple continues to innovate and refine its AI strategy, it is poised to make significant strides in the tech industry, reinforcing its status as a leading innovator.

For more detailed insights and updates, you can refer to the sources from MacRumors, Markets Insider, and Yahoo Finance.

 

 

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Artificial Intelligence

The Rise of Drone Deliveries: Implications for Jamaica, the Caribbean and the Future of Logistics

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Amazon’s MK27-2 drone is at the forefront of transforming logistics with its ongoing testing at an airport in Pendleton, Oregon. This advanced 87-pound hexacopter is part of Amazon’s Prime Air initiative, aiming to revolutionize the way we receive packages by enabling faster and more efficient deliveries.

The Development of Amazon’s Drone Program
Amazon has been developing its drone technology for almost a decade, with the goal of creating a safe, scalable, and efficient delivery system. The MK27-2 drone, set for deployment in 2024, is designed to deliver packages weighing up to five pounds within a short time frame, potentially less than an hour from order placement. This drone features advanced sense-and-avoid technology, which allows it to detect and navigate around obstacles autonomously, enhancing safety and reliability​​.

Competitors in the Drone Delivery Space
Amazon is not alone in the drone delivery race. Alphabet’s Wing has been successfully conducting drone deliveries in Australia and is expanding its operations in the U.S. Flytrex, another competitor, is increasing its presence in the U.S., while Irish company Manna plans to extend its drone delivery services from Europe to the U.S. Each of these companies is leveraging technology to offer faster, more reliable delivery services, which are particularly advantageous in remote or hard-to-reach areas​​.

Implications for Jamaica and the Caribbean
The introduction of drone delivery services holds significant potential for Jamaica and the broader Caribbean region. These areas often face logistical challenges due to geographical constraints and infrastructure limitations. Drones can provide a cost-effective and rapid delivery solution, particularly for medical supplies, emergency services, and e-commerce.

Implementing drone logistics in the Caribbean could enhance supply chain efficiency, reduce delivery times, and lower costs. For instance, drones could facilitate better access to healthcare by delivering medications to remote islands or rural areas quickly. They could also boost the local economy by supporting small businesses in reaching a broader market with reduced delivery times.

Case Studies and Future Prospects
In practical applications, drone delivery services have demonstrated substantial benefits. For example, in Rwanda, drones are used to deliver blood supplies to remote hospitals, significantly reducing delivery times from hours to minutes. This model can be adapted to the Caribbean, where timely access to medical supplies is often critical.

Looking forward, the success of drone delivery in regions like the Caribbean depends on overcoming regulatory challenges, ensuring community acceptance, and building the necessary infrastructure. Collaborative efforts between governments, private companies, and local communities will be essential to harness the full potential of drone technology in transforming logistics.

Amazon’s MK27-2 drone represents a significant leap in the logistics industry, promising faster, safer, and more efficient delivery services. As other companies like Alphabet’s Wing and Flytrex join the fray, the competitive landscape will drive further innovations. For regions like Jamaica and the Caribbean, drone technology offers a transformative opportunity to enhance logistics and support economic development.

By leveraging these advancements, the Caribbean can not only improve access to essential services but also position itself as a leader in adopting cutting-edge logistics solutions. The future of drone deliveries is bright, and its implications for global logistics are profound.

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Businessuite News24

Customised Smart Battery Industry Well-Positioned To Capitalise On Growing Shift Towards Cleaner Energy Solutions….Alexander Melville

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In the last three months, the ustomised smart battery industry has also made significant strides alongside the broader growth observed in the renewable energy and energy storage sectors. This niche within the energy storage market has been gaining momentum, fuelled by technological advancements and increased demand for personalised energy solutions that cater specifically to unique operational needs that benefit us.

The industry’s development is buoyed by the regulatory and financial frameworks propelling the renewable sector, particularly the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). These acts have facilitated a surge in investments to enhance battery technology capabilities, including developing intelligent batteries that are more efficient, durable, and capable of interfacing with various digital management systems.

Customised intelligent batteries are increasingly critical components in integrating renewable energy systems. They offer optimised storage solutions that adapt to different scales and types of renewable energy installations. They are vital in applications requiring high reliability and efficiency, such as utility-scale solar and wind projects, where they help stabilise the grid and manage output variability.

Moreover, the drive towards domestic production emphasised by recent policy initiatives has strengthened the supply chain for intelligent battery components. This domestic focus not only aids in reducing logistic vulnerabilities but also supports the U.S. economy and job creation in the tech and manufacturing sectors. As more companies enter the smart battery market, competition is spurring innovation, leading to rapid advancements in battery technology that could further enhance the performance and cost-effectiveness of these systems.

Customised intelligent batteries are increasingly critical components in integrating renewable energy systems.

The customised smart battery industry is well-positioned to capitalise on the growing shift towards cleaner energy solutions. It will play a pivotal role in the green transition while continuing to evolve in response to technological advances and market demands.

Alexander Melville Chief Executive Officer Tropical Battery Company Limited

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