Drones All Over The Place

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In December, we talked about Amazon’s Drone Delivery System: What It’s All About

Also in December we talked about how Regional Shippers Pose New Threat to UPS, FedEx

We mentioned again the Amazon drone

While Amazon is piloting drone aircraft for package deliveries. A number of firms, especially in Europe, are working hard on the concept of driverless trucks.

So it shouldn’t really be any surprise that work is now also being on unmanned cargo and container ships as well.

News came out this week that Rolls Royce has been working on such a concept since late 2013. The research work is being performed under a project it calls Blue Ocean, and it has already created virtual-reality prototype at its research center in Alesund, Norway, that simulates 360-degree views from a vessel’s bridge.

Rolls Royce’s efforts are connecting to something called the Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks (MUNIN). The program is co-funded by the European Commissions and aims to develop and verify a concept for an autonomous ship, which is defined as a vessel primarily guided by automated on-board decision systems but controlled by a remote operator in a shore side control station.

MUNIN is a consortium of eight partners that have the relevant scientific and industrial background. The group is studying the operational, technical and legal aspects in connection with the vision of an autonomous ship.

Its web site says that “Solutions for an autonomous bridge, an autonomous engine room, a shore side operation center and the communication architecture linking vessel and a shore operator will be developed and verified” as a result of the program.

It hopes to develop a prototype ship that can be sailed by the end of 2015.

Of course, reducing operating costs is one big driver of the research. Ship crews can cost more than $3000 per day, and represent some 45% of total variable operating costs, industry experts say. Drone ships would dramatically reduce those labor costs.

Rolls Royce says that in addition to the labor savings, drone ships would be safer and more environmentally friendly.

Company drawings for the new ships show vessels loaded with containers from front to back, without the need for a “bridge” structure where the crew normally lives. Eliminating the bridge and all the other systems that support the crew (electrical systems, air conditioning, water and sewage, etc.) leaves more room for cargo or containers. Rolls Royce estimates that the ships would be 5% lighter before loading cargo and would use 12-15% less fuel.

Bloomberg notes the company’s Oskar Levander, vice president of innovation in marine engineering and technology, believes the unmanned ships might be deployed in regions such as the Baltic Sea within a decade, but that regulatory hurdles combined with industry and union pushback relative to safety and other issues will slow global adoption.

Unmanned ships wouldn’t even be legal currently, since there are standards in place for the minimum amount of crew different types of ships must carry. Organizations such as the International Maritime Organization, a group that is part of the UN, and others are involved in maintaining and potentially changing those standards. If a ship did not comply with existing crew standards, it would not be able to obtain insurance, and thus would not be able to sale.

It is not just big drones, but Monaco has small ones: Weevil drones – Weevil is in the trees, the palm trees that is. The French Riviera’s canarian palm trees are under attack from red weevils, which were first found as parasites in 2012 above the Jardin Exotique in Monaco. It transpired that Monaco was one of the last place to be invaded by the little red blighters with Cannes, Antibes, Nice and Cap d’Ail already affected. But the fightback is underway. The drones are coming. Monaco has an air force, and it’s spraying Monaco’s 276 canarian palms with an organic spray made out of mushrooms, which is evil for weevils, but nothing else. 

Now for some late-breaking stuff:

Facebook Inc is in talks to buy drone maker Titan Aerospace for $60 million, according to media reports.

The high-flying drones would give Facebook, the world’s No.1 Internet social network, the ability to beam wireless Internet access to consumers in undeveloped parts of the world, according to the technology blog TechCrunch, which first reported the deal late on Monday citing an anonymous source.

The effort would help advance Facebook’s Internet.org effort, which aims to connect billions of people who do not currently have Internet access.

Facebook declined to comment. Titan Aerospace did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Titan is developing a variety of solar-powered “atmospheric satellites” according to the company’s website, with initial commercial operations slated for 2015.

Travis Green and his Utica Comets

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Travis Green was not happy with the energy level of his Utica Comets the last time out, a 3-0 loss to the San Antonio Rampage last Wednesday.

He had no problem with the effort last Friday, even if the result was a 3-2 loss to the Adirondack Phantoms before a sellout crowd of 3,815 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

We played a good hockey game,” he said. “We had a couple of little details that allowed goals.”

The last one was scored by Tye McGinn with three minutes left in the game and sent the Comets (22-26-3-4, 51 points) to their third consecutive American Hockey League defeat. Utica has 21 games left, starting with one at Bridgeport Sunday, in its drive somehow get into the Calder Cup playoffs.


Read more:
http://www.uticaod.com/article/20140228/Sports/140229136#ixzz2uo8IzDre

 

It is all about Todd Gould. The HERO in our David & Goliath stories

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The following is reprinted from Alan Wilensky’s blog.

Got a good guy or gal at the top? Good, in this market, you will come to depend on leaders with a sense of duty and service to their industry

Feb 28, 2014 05:33 pm | awilensky

I editorialize and give a bit of context to the past few years, and how it has been a great, great privilege to work with Loren Data’s President.

 

Lots of changes to Vacation French Riviera WebSite

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In anticipation of summertime, we are adding more cool stuff to www.vacationfrenchriviera.com

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Statue of Liberty replica in Nice, France

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Dedication of the new “Promenade de Paillon

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Our favorite restaurant in Nice: La Canne à Sucre

Lastly, see below for some pictures from CARNIVAL

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Alternative to SCM Control Towers

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Is a Supply Chain Management Control Tower the only way to go? What issues are not yet solved with our current thoughts on SCM Control Towers? Are we looking at some type of a “Commercial Network” instead; or are looking at “SCM Control Tower 2?” In any event, there is a requirement for further automation of the process.
What are some of the drawbacks with our current implementation strategy?

  1. The “network” that is required for visibility sometimes requires lower-tier suppliers, public warehouses, wholesalers, etc. to “log in” to several different networks (one for each “important” SCM Control Tower they deal with. We need a simple, reusable network approach to bring everyone into the tower. The solution lies in B2B Networks (VAN2). Extremely time critical communications could be accomplished by “texting” selected members of the Control Tower community, then following up with an EDI message.
  2. Is there too much dependence on humans making decisions? Cannot some of the decisions being made be better automated? Can’t we use “decision support” technology to build automated responses at the back end of system?

Read more: http://www.ec-bp.com/index.php/advisors/ec-bps-bloggers/10393-alternative-to-scm-control-tower#ixzz2uKNv6Rkg

 

Why You Should Dump Wal-Mart

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‘m not in the “market”, I got “cured” in 1988. But when I was, I only got into stocks that I felt good about: Caterpillar, Bell Helicopter, General Telephone.

Wal-Mart  got a lot of attention this holiday shopping season, but not in the way they were hoping. Even as they made headlines for opening on Thanksgiving Day, a photo of bins at a Wal-Mart store collecting canned goods from employees to be given to other impoverished employees called attention to the low (some would say, “starvation”) wages Wal-Mart pays. 

Add to this some high-profile Twitter skirmishes and Internet memes implying that taxpayers are footing the bill for Wal-Mart’s low wages, and the world’s largest retailer looked less like Santa and more like Scrooge. 

In light of all this, should you dump your Wal-Mart shares? And what if you want exposure to the retail sector, but with a clear conscience?  Does any other company stack up?

Check emotion at the door
There’s no shortage of businesses that make their money in ways that might turn an investor’s stomach. Altria (formerly Philip Morris) is just one example. In some cases, these stocks underperform the market, but often they produce outstanding returns.

It just goes to show that one’s moral compass isn’t the best tool in an investor’s arsenal.  So should you avoid buying shares of a company you detest? 

Well, ultimately that’s up to you, but I’m a big proponent of the theory that an investor should be proud to own the businesses he or she holds stock in.  And you really can’t be proud of a business you find icky. 

Ideally, an investor keeps emotion out of picking stocks to avoid making emotional, as opposed to rational, decisions about trading. And if every time you look at a stock, a shiver runs up your spine, you’re having an emotional reaction. Which means you may end up selling the stock too soon or ignoring a gut instinct to sell by misidentifying it as your usual aversion to the stock. Bottom line: if a company makes you sick, stay far away from its products and its stock. 

Who measures up
Okay, but what about Wal-Mart? There’s no question it’s an investment that’s done pretty well over the past decade, especially during the recession–but as you can see, lately it’s not only been underpaying its employees, but underperforming the market too:

Buy Costco and Target instead.

Corrado’s Goal Gives Utica Comets The Edge

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  • Defenseman Frankie Corrado scored early in the third period to grab the lead and the Utica Comets held it the rest of the way to defeat the Binghamton Senators 3-2 Saturday in Binghamton.
  • It was the fourth straight victory and fourth by a single goal for the Comets, 11-3-1-1 in their last 16 games and 22-23-3-4 overall for 51 points. The win left them either six or eight points out the last playoff spot in the American Hockey League’s Western Conference pending the outcome of Saturday’s Milwaukee-Rockford game.

    The Comets have scored a modest 40 goals over the last 16 games but have allowed just 34.

    The win over the high-scoring Senators (33-16-1-3), who had won four in a row, was the second in as many nights on the Comets’ weekend tour of Upstate New York. They won 2-1 in overtime in Syracuse on Friday. They complete the series at 3 p.m. Sunday in Albany,

    Read more: http://www.uticaod.com/article/20140222/Sports/140229745#ixzz2u8Px9rnC

DeFazio Wins It In Overtime for Utica Comets Hockey

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Brandon DeFazio scored at 4:02 of overtime to give the Utica Comets a 2-1 American Hockey League victory over the Syracuse Crunch in front of a capacity crowd of 6,380 Friday at the Onondaga War Memorial in Syracuse.

Our New York State Tourist Page

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YES! Traveling to New York State? Check out our New York State Tourist WebSite.

We just added some new and interesting things about Albany. Start with a story about how bobsledding originated in Albany. Makes it the only Olympic sport started by the USA. The pictures above are from Albany too:

Automotive Supply Chain Connections

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In designing Supply Chain Control Towers, we have been heavily concerned with visibility into outsourced and/or offshore finished products suppliers. But the Manufacturing function itself depends on it’s own critical parts suppliers. We have to realize that success is more than just assuming Manufacturing’s ERP/MRP will handle everything for us. Let’s take a look at the automotive industry and what it takes to create an integrated manufacturing process.

What do we mean by integration? It starts with complete visibility both up and down the manufacturing path. This path must be solid as a rock, high speed and able to support CAD/CAM as well as EDI.

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