A Growth Perspective on the Smart City

Smart City.PNG

 The internet of things (IoT) is a transformative, enabling technology that is poised to impact every aspect of society: the self, the car, the home, the office, the factory and the public sector. As depicted by the outer-most ring in the graphic to the right, the public sector is the broadest application of IoT and includes a range of use cases that drive public efficiency and effectiveness at the local level. Cities around the world are rapidly evaluating the economic and safety benefits of IoT-based solutions and weighing those benefits against a range of practical and contextual constraints. According to a report by the National League of Cities, two thirds of U.S. cities are investing in smart city technologies and one quarter of those without the technology are exploring how to implement it.

The Next Scramble: Seizing Opportunities in a Transitioning Arctic

Arctic WP.PNG

Late August of this year, the Russian tanker Christophe de Margerie became the first merchant ship to sail across the Arctic Sea without the aid of an icebreaker.  It arrived successfully at a South Korean port after a record voyage between Europe and Asia of less than three weeks, about 30 percent faster than the Suez Canal route. The Daewoo ship completed the Northern Sea Route – the northernmost part of the trip between two remote Russian ports – in a record-breaking six-and-a-half days. The 80,000 deadweight vessel is an ice-class Arc7, the highest rating among marine transport vessels, with an icebreaking capability of up to 2.5 meters thick. The Christophe de Margerie is the first out of 15 ice-class tankers being produced by South Korea’s Daewoo with each vessel having the capacity to transport 170,000 cubic meters of liquid natural gas (LNG).

Strategic considerations for tech vendors targeting smart, connected and/or autonomous cars

connected cars.JPG

As vehicles begin to incorporate more software, compute, and network capabilities, the distinction between tech and automotive companies is blurring. This begs the question, how should tech companies successfully engage with automakers and consumers in the face of a new, rapidly evolving market environment? What growth opportunities exist for tech companies in the world of connected autonomous vehicles? This whitepaper seeks to paint a picture of what success in the automotive world looks like for tech firms in the years to come. It outlines the trends driving the development of the autonomous vehicle, typical stakeholder responses to the changing market dynamics, and strategies to navigate the space.  Vendors should act quickly as the market’s key auto players (OEMs, suppliers) are rapidly locking in relationships that will define their smart car strategies for the next 5-10 years.

Fiber Laser vs. DPAL … a 5-7 Year Perspective

Fiber Laser vs. DPAL … a 5-7 Year Perspective..png

Ever since the mid-70s and the NKC-135 Airborne Laser Lab laser has been the technology ‘10 years in coming’.  After many years, many theories, and many experiments, it appears the ‘10 year clock’ has finally started to tick.  But even as more fiber based lasers take to the field, there is yet another twist in the plot that could change everything … again.  The Diode Pumped Alkali Lasers (DPAL) represents a potential disruption in the future of laser weapons in the US and the UK.   While the majority of current efforts have been focus on fiber related lasers, DPALS has been over coming physics challenges that now portends very high power lasers at very low size, weight and power (SWaP).  As the industry moves forward on many directed energy approaches, understanding the DPALS threat and/or opportunity is critical to US laser providers.

A New World Order

A New World Order.png
A new world order – The historic movement to and from centralized to distributed computing is coming to an end with the advent of a new hybrid computing environment. The implications stand to reshape the technology landscape.

The technology industry has seen a predictable rhythm of transformation over the past six decades.  From the introduction of the mainframe, the evolution of compute has progressed from centralized to distributed systems and back again. The technology industry has experienced changes over the decades, making market participants repeatedly evolve and adapt their solution sets to rethink how they define themselves – from hardware to software to services, all players in the ecosystem have been challenged to compete in new ways and with new solutions.  To defend and grow their market position, hardware, software and services share leaders have had to stay atop of the evolution of compute, storage and networking to ensure that  products, services and business models are aligned with the current wave of network and processing technology. But we are entering a brave new world, where processing is everywhere. In this white paper, Beacon explores the history of innovation in the context of today’s disruptive changes, and recommends strategies for technology solution vendors going forward.

Strategic Growth in Light of Healthcare Market Commoditization

Introduction
As healthcare markets mature, an increasing number of medical device, diagnostic, and pharmaceutical/ biotech manufacturers are dealing with product commoditization and competition from low cost competitors.  Manufacturers face challenges from a new slate of traditional and non-traditional competitors, including fast followers, efficiency-minded “distributor”-like organizations, reprocessers, and generics/biosimilars to name a few.  At the same time, customers are consolidating decision-making processes, and using group-purchasing organizations, and evolving health system-driven processes to increase purchasing power.

Healthcare Market Commoditization Framework

Graph.jpg

Chinese Diplomacy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Implications for U.S. Defense Contractors in the Middle East and Beyond

shutterstock_268548005.jpg

Revitalizing Silk Road Relationships

On March 16, 2017, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman visited China’s President Xi Jinping and came out with approximately $65 billion in memorandums of understanding and letters of intent. This comes as part of the monarch’s grand tour of Asia to strengthen ties with the region and hedge against trade and military dependence on the United States. Oil and gas related investments underpinned the deals, but cooperation was the overarching theme of the day. It is easy to imagine that the meeting was an innocuous get-together of major world players. However, given current arms trade restrictions between the U.S. and the KSA, the country’s history of significant arms deals with China, and The Kingdom’s continued purchase of sophisticated Chinese defense systems, Salman and Xi’s meeting points towards a more significant trend with larger implications for the American defense industry. If U.S. vendors do not acknowledge the influx of Chinese products in the KSA (the United States’ top importer at 10% of all American arms sales), they may be surprised to find their market share in the purse of the PRC. Furthermore, if U.S. trade regulations maintain their staunch objection to sales of cutting-edge weapons systems to non-western allies, American vendors can expect the encroachment of Chinese hardware beyond the KSA in the long term.

Sino-Saudi cooperation may seem peculiar given each country’s diplomatic and military stances concerning the conflict in Syria and relationships with Iran – essentially, China supports Bashar al-Assad and Iran, while the KSA would like nothing more than to topple those two regional players. Nevertheless, security ties between Saudi Arabia and China have gradually increased in the past few years. The two countries reached the pinnacle of their relationship in 2016 when President Xi’s special envoy, Meng Jiangzhu, visited King Salman in Riyadh and the two sides birthed a five-year plan for security cooperation. The arrangement included joint military drills and counterterrorism efforts targeted towards China’s ISIS-related Uighur group.

From a Strategic Perspective … U.S. Air Strike in Syria

Strategy is the matching of resources to objectives.  In this case 59 Tomahawk Cruise missiles matched against a global message that the United States is no longer a paper tiger.  That may be the primary message which is ringing in the ears of leadership in Syria, Moscow, Iran, North Korea and China. Interestingly, this strike occurred hours after the summit President Trump held with Premier Xi Jinping, the only superpower with significant influence over North Korea. If Trump wanted to make clear to both regimes that there was a new, less tolerant, more action prone administration, he couldn't have timed it better.

As for American Allies, this action likely sent a message to those who were concerned about America’s willingness to back up our policy.  Finally, we should be proud as Americans that President Trump stood up for peaceful Muslims who were unjustly and horrifically struck in what is simply and directly a war crime.  It is worthy of note that even as the US Navy destroyers moved into position last night, Mrs. Clinton when addressing the Syrian Sarin gas attack at the Women’s World Summit called for this same sort of strike against the Syrian Air Force. No matter your position on the President, this should be seen as a positive move for him and his administration.

Healthcare Customer Segmentation Framework

Healthcare providers and health plans are planning for and reacting differently to the continued shift from a fee-for-service to a value-based care environment.  Many sophisticated health systems are aligning their strategies, infrastructures, and staff to be at the leading the charge of this movement, while others are maintaining the fee-for-service status quo until external pressures force a change. 

These two behavioral extremes and the wide variety of intermediate examples have complicated traditional pharmaceutical, device, and diagnostic manufacturer sales and engagement processes, as manufacturers are no longer selling into a relatively homogenous set of customers.  This means different solutions and engagement strategies are often required for different customers based on their internal goals and priorities.

Beacon is often asked to support its clients in addressing this challenge through market and customer segmentation studies.

Automation: Driving the Future of the Rail Industry

The Need for Better, Faster, Safer

In the wake of the 2015 derailment of Amtrak North East Regional Train 188, which claimed at least eight lives and wounded more than 200, there has been immense public scrutiny on Amtrak for the lack of safeguard technology that could have prevented the tragedy.  The unfortunate reality of the Amtrak 188 disaster is that it is not an isolated event. Since 2013, at least 13 accidents involving trains carrying crude oil alone have been reported— including the Lac-Megantic tragedy, in which 47 people were killed.[1]

As rail lines struggle to keep pace with mounting capacity, efficiency, and safety requirements, the need for a scalable solution that will allow rail operators to meet these challenges is critical.[i] Global rail executives cite “congestion,” “operational efficiency/reliability,” and “safety/security” as three of their top challenges—and with high speed rail alone expected to attract $900B in global investment by 2020, it is clear that many rail stakeholders are prepared to find the resources to address these challenges.[2],[3] In the face of this need for better, faster, and safer rail operations, automation is positioned as a modern solution with far ranging benefits. Automated rail lines, which enable autonomous control of trains with minimal human oversight, hold the promise of increased efficiency, lower costs, and, perhaps most importantly, more consistent safety.

A Market-Driven Approach to New Product Development

The advent of patent cliffs, value-based care, and increasing cost pressures in the face of heightened levels of investment have spurred numerous articles evaluating the healthcare industry's innovation gap. The task of filling this gap while remaining focused on near-term shareholder value has increased M&A activity across the industry. Although M&A offers short-term benefits designed for immediate survival, this approach may yield less long-term value when companies encounter difficulties extracting future growth opportunities. The principal challenge, as part of the overall value creation strategy, is to fire up the innovation engine of a firm by fostering more robust product development efforts that can both enhance internal research programs and supplement other models of growth. But what are the key forces that make this effort so difficult for pharmaceutical and medical device companies today? This white paper discusses some of the key challenges surrounding new product development efforts in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry and presents a market-driven model The Beacon Group (Beacon) utilizes to help facilitate product innovation

Bigger Big Data

Big Data is, well… Big, but it’s nowhere near the size it is going to be in very short order. Infrastructure and analytics vendors need to sit up and take notice as they plan for the future. Our earlier papers deal with what Big Data is, the challenges it faces, and the promise it brings. This is our 3rd and final whitepaper in our Big Data series, and explores what we are calling Bigger Big Data (BBD), or the pending wave of data driven by improvements in sensor types and the mass adoption of Big Data Applications.

The Resurgence of U.S. Manufacturing: Why Industrial Manufacturers Need to Act Now

The Resurgence of U.S. Manufacturing: Why Industrial Manufacturers Need to Act Now, explores the technological, cultural, and global economic trends that are driving a transformation of the U.S. manufacturing environment.  In this paper we propose that it’s time for U.S. manufacturers to challenge long-held assumptions about their markets and business strategies and refocus on growth if they want to survive and thrive in the global economy.

The Virtual Ridgeline — Cyber-Electronic Warfare

shutterstock_438568516.jpg

DOD and Intel agencies are expanding their focus on cyber and electronic warfare in order to operate in contested spectrum operations and take advantage of networked systems.  This paper explores the intersections of the Cyber and EW, identifies areas of convergence between the two domains, and speaks to objective capabilities in this market area.

Opportunities for Government Security Contracting in Africa: The Case of Mali

shutterstock_110973782.jpg

The U.S. government is undertaking a strategic foreign policy shift to the Asia-Pacific region, but security in Africa may be the next big market. In light of heightened economic and geopolitical interests in the African continent, government contractors need to understand how they can best support the U.S. government's efforts to promote African security. Beacon believes the nature of the United States role in African security can be examined through the lens of current trends in order to anticipate forward-looking opportunities.

Customer Engagement Framework

Healthcare WP.PNG

Customer engagement in the healthcare space is becoming increasingly complex due to the rise of new decision-makers and influencers at provider organizations, increasing customer expectations for wraparound or supporting service offerings, and a growing number of channels through which manufacturers and end-customers can interact.  This complexity has made it more difficult for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to prioritize their customer engagement efforts across potential activities.  Manufacturers know there are multiple levers that can be used to create customer value and drive a return on investment, but they often struggle with prioritizing these activities alone or in combination.  Through our extensive work with clients in this field, Beacon has developed a Customer Engagement Framework to assist pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers in the sales and marketing process. 

Beacon’s Customer Engagement Framework

shutterstock_588679322.jpg

Customer engagement in the healthcare space is becoming increasingly complex due to the rise of new decision-makers and influencers at provider organizations, increasing customer expectations for wraparound or supporting service offerings, and a growing number of channels through which manufacturers and end-customers can interact. This complexity has made it more difficult for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to prioritize their customer engagement efforts across potential activities. Manufacturers know there are multiple levers that can be used to create customer value and drive a return on investment, but they often struggle with prioritizing these activities alone or in combination.  Through our extensive work with clients in this field, Beacon has developed a Customer Engagement Framework to assist pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers in the sales and marketing process.

RaaS Rising: The Coming Era of Robots as a Service

shutterstock_516050707.jpg

The next wave of robotic industry growth is coming. This paper explores the implications of robotics growth trends for innovators, investors, and Fortune 500 companies across a range of industries and applications. It also presents a series of challenges that successful vendors will need to meet in order to participate in this industry.

The Promise of SDN

shutterstock_579332875.jpg

This paper is based on an in-depth study of the evolution of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) in the communications market, and presents our analysis of key implications, opportunities, and issues at play for both carriers and TEMS globally. SDN is simply too big to ignore; our paper presents a series of questions that providers and vendors need to consider.

Embracing Service-Based Solutions in Healthcare

shutterstock_241847974.jpg

ACOs, meaningful use, cost controls, economic considerations, and other factors are shifting the healthcare landscape. More and more, Beacon clients are exploring opportunities to closely align products and services to meet customer requirements. In this white paper, Beacon has outlined a series of steps, or activities, that are important for pharma or device companies to follow as they develop and go to market with service-based solutions. There is variability in how these solutions should be developed, but these steps serve as a general guide for critical activities.