More BiTA members
Blockchain is still a hot topic of conversation. The Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), which was founded in August last year, now has 205 active members, after 2 new participants announced their membership this week. BNSF Railway Company is the first railroad to join the alliance and be a part of developing blockchain standards for the logistics and freight industry. The railway company holds a strong position in the North American transportation network as well as in American commerce. As a result, their support of these emerging technology standards will greatly affect the future of customer supply chains.
Furthermore, JD.com, the Chinese e-commerce giant, has joined the blockchain alliance with the intention to use the technology to optimize their supply chain flow, improve cross-border logistics and communications and to encourage cooperation in the industry. The members are working together to outline matters such as: what data is incorporated into the freight transportation blockchain, how the data is formatted and structured and in what cases the software will be used. BiTA is still reviewing other applications.
More information can be found here.
“The Market @ Macy’s”
On Monday, Macy’s, an American department store chain, revealed its new experimental concept: pop-up marketplaces in its stores that will be launching next week. This business model is part of the department stores North Star Strategy – a plan that places emphasis on exclusive products, enhances the customer experience and is an attempt for Macy’s to regain its position in retail.
This pop-up store program provides different brands and companies with some retail space on the ground floor of the department store to not only promote their products but sell them too. Customers are therefore provided with more variety and exposure to new brands, while some brand partners are given the opportunity of a brick-and-mortar presence. With omnichannel becoming a recent trend, this business model drives customers to stores for the element of discovery. Brands can use the space for a minimum of one month at a one-time fee with Macy’s sales associates solely working to assist the showcased brands. This program will be tested in 10 cities, including New York, Boston and Las Vegas. After 6 months, the program will be evaluated before decisions on expansion are made.
To read more about these pop-up stores, click here.
Another week, another autonomous case
On Tuesday, a self-driving Embark truck finished its first cross-country test trip, but with a driver sitting in the cab ready to intervene if necessary and an empty trailer. The truck drove 2,400 miles from California to Florida in 5 days; it could have been a shorter transit time of 2 days but regular stops had to be made to allow rest breaks for the safety driver. In the meantime, data on disengagements and human intervention is being collected from the truck. The autonomous truck uses a Level 2 autopilot system consisting of sensor data and onboard machine learning to process data. With this system level, a driver is required to monitor the truck’s progress.
Embark is developing its technology so it will ultimately be at the Level 4 stage where no driver is needed and shorter transit times are possible, increasing overall efficiency. Therefore, fully autonomous trucks will eventually be rolled out. Moreover, shorter transit times will support the rising e-commerce industry as well as just-in-time manufacturing strategies. The company expects that the improved trucks will operate as part of a restructured freight system, where local drivers and self-driving trucks will exchange trailers at freight hubs along highways.
To find out more about this autonomous truck, click here.
Have a great weekend!
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