White Papers

The Role of Fault Tolerance for Blockchain

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Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that creates a permanent, sequenced, tamper-resistant, and continuously growing list of records that is linked and secured using cryptography. With blockchain any system of record can be replicated, shared, and synchronized across multiple locations without the need for a trusted third party for verification or authentication. While all blockchains achieve the aforementioned outcome, the architecture of blockchains depends on the use case and can range from a public permissionless to a private permissioned design. Public blockchains, popularly represented by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, are often considered to be inherently fault tolerant by virtue of wide decentralization and methods of achieving consensus.  Private blockchains designed for business applications (commonly referred to as enterprise blockchain) are more consolidated architectures that function with a greater dependency on individual participating nodes to maintain the integrity of the ecosystem.

A Growth Perspective on the Smart City

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 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.

A New World Order

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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

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

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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.

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

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.

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

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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.

Beacon’s Customer Engagement Framework

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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

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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

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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.

A Force in Transition: A New DOD Strategy and the Impact on Army Training Opportunities

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As the U.S. continues to draw down active-duty troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, one area of DOD spending that is threatened is training and simulation dollars. These activities are traditionally funded through operational tempo funding, which is set to decrease significantly as we shift away from combat operations in the Middle East. In order to capture future training dollars with the Army customer, industry must invest in solutions that allow the Army to train soldiers in a more flexible and cost-effective way. Technologies such as training simulation, improved virtualization, and simulation networking will be increasingly important moving forward. 

What Are ACOs and Why They Are Emerging

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ACOs, or Accountable Care Organizations, are healthcare networks that seek to reduce costs by increasing the efficiency and efficacy of care and streamlining the healthcare process. Beginning in 2012, Medicare service providers that agree to take accountability for over 5,000 Medicare beneficiaries over a 3-year period and allow beneficiaries to participate on the governing board will be able to apply for the ACO designation.

The Growth of the Economic Buyer

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Shifting buying patterns and behaviors have impacted all companies selling into the hospital or office environment. The rise of the economic buyer, committee-based purchasing, and shifting power dynamics have forced engagement models to be reconsidered. This white paper raises some key issues regarding the role of the economic buyer, and examines the implications for the medical device industry in particular.

Missile Defense: Hot Button Issues

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Across the aisle, missile defense remains a significant spending priority despite high costs, significant program risk, and geo-political challenges. President Obama and Governor Romney are each BMDS advocates, intending not to appear weak on foreign policy, which can be harmful in the eyes of the American voting public.

Capturing Value in the Japanese Revitalization Market

This white paper explores attractive areas of demand supported by the Japanese reconstruction budget, particularly in the industrials and high-tech industries. It introduces the companies most involved in Japan's reconstruction, and presents key questions your business should be asking to unlock growth opportunities and capture value in the Japanese reconstruction market.

All Together Now: The Convergence of Automation and Advanced Manufacturing

Automation and additive methods in industrial manufacturing have been incrementally improving production efficiencies for decades. The convergence of these two maturing trends in the coming years has the potential to structurally change old ways of doing business. For companies exposed to this convergence, the choice is clear: capture this growth or risk getting left behind.