Monday, 11 May 2015
following the white lines to the way ahead
I'm at a conference at the moment. It's about the future and includes plenty of whizzy technology. Some of it could be quite interesting, like home healthcare telematics, but other items seem faintly redundant.
An example was something that looked fabulously styled for monitoring water loss from around the home. It used a special digital control box, short distance signalling (maybe Zigbee?) and individual sensors on all appliances.
I couldn't help thinking that monitoring water consumption at the meter might be a simpler approach? If the amount starts to look out of kilter, then there's a leak somewhere and someone can come in to detect it. A bit like when we had a small leak which the plumber found in about 10 minutes. Come to think of it, that was first picked up by the metering.
Another session related to changing supermarket shopping patterns. We've tried those services that ship a box of handpicked ingredients to make meals based on predefined recipes. They also get advertised on London's local television channel and the tube. Recently I've noticed Amazon Prime also putting third party adverts into the delivery boxes. Whilst it sounds counter-intuitive, it's surprisingly efficient because everything gets used and the recipes almost always taste really good as well as being fresh and organic.
The counterintuitive part is because the conventional idea (promoted in supermarkets) is to buy lots of fresh ingredients and then be inspired to make things. Sometimes this is great, but the box of goodies that arrives once a week provides either 3 or 4 dinners and includes things that might be outside the normal recipe list. Its fairly faff-free on a busy or slightly tired midweek evening too.
So when the supermarkets talk about the shift from mega-shopping to home delivery and fill-in shops with DIY phone-based bar-code reading, they are still in a sort of catch-up with the emerging trends.
I suppose home delivery is still largely dependent on someone being around to answer the door, although Doddle, Click and Collect and similar services are chipping away at that aspect too. Those 'follow the white line to Doddle' things have already been around for some time.
But its only Day One, so I'm sure I'll have further comment as things progress.