Archive by Author | samjing92

The dominance of Intel

When talking about microprocessors, the first name that comes to mind is probably Intel, the world’s largest and highest valued semiconductor chip makers. Intel’s dominance in the computer and laptop CPU market is unparalleled and no competitor is even close to be considered a rival. So why is Intel such a dominant force in this market? Bill Holt, the general manager of Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Group, pointed out that Intel is three-and-a half years ahead of its nearest competitor in the fabrication of three-dimensional features, an transistor architectural adaptation necessary to reduce the size of the microprocessors (Forbes, 2014). This is crucial for manufacturers to stay competitive as smaller space translates directly in, less power usage, lower cost and most importantly greater performance. In addition, as the the silicon manufacturing process becomes more complex, the cost of a silicon fabric has increased from roughly $3 billion to $12 billion, forcing competing players out of the market. The number of players operating with silicon manufacturing process has declined significantly.Fewer and fewer firms can afford to sit at the big table in silicon manufacturing. Source: Intel Investor Meeting 2014, Stacy Smith, CFO

To further emphasize the dominance of Intel, the nearest competitor in the CPU market, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), has around 17% market share and has been declining every year since 2009. The primary reason that AMD still has this percent mark is due to their exclusive partnerships with players in the console industry, providing processors to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. However, when looking at the PC desktop and laptop market, Intel’s unit share hit over 95% of the total industry sales in the last 4 quarters.

Unlike Microsoft, known for their monopoly practices in the computer software industry which involved numerous high-profile antitrust lawsuits, Intel has been dominating the microprocessor market almost completely under the radar besides a major dispute in 2009 with AMD. How is this possible? Well there is an old controversial story in the history of microprocessors involving the two above mentioned parties and goes like this. To stay out of the potential antitrust lawsuits from the regulatory authorities, Intel has deliberately kept AMD in the business by licensing them the x86 processors design. After one decade, AMD has grown into a small but reasonable competitor. And around the time Microsoft was sued by competitors, the United States and even the European Union, Intel could simply point out and say that they do have a legitimate competitor and is not a monopolist in the CPU industry. So whenever AMD is doing well, as in the mid 2000’s with almost 20% market share, Intel would just take back their share by aggressive pricing. And whenever AMD fell under the 5%, they would let AMD breath again, just enough to survive. Of course this is just a rumor and there is no hard evidence to be found, however the numbers don’t lie as AMD’s market share went up and down so many times that have to start wondering that there must be some truth to this story.


References

References

1. Kay R. Forbes Welcome. Forbescom. 2015. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerkay/2014/11/25/intel-and-amd-the-juggernaut-vs-the-squid/. Accessed October 18, 2015.

2. Cunningham C. The rise and fall of AMD: How an underdog stuck it to Intel. Ars Technica. 2013. Available at: http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/04/the-rise-and-fall-of-amd-how-an-underdog-stuck-it-to-intel/3/. Accessed October 18, 2015.

3. Stevenson D. AMD vs Intel: which you should buy. PC Advisor. 2015. Available at: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/feature/pc-components/amd-vs-intel-3528212/. Accessed October 18, 2015.

Robotic God of Cookery

After a typical long day of studying and doing mindless household chores, the sensation of hunger has been slowly building up within me throughout the day and is almost reaching its limit…again. This is when my sense of smell starts to become more enhanced and is now even able to pick up the scent of freshly brewed coffee next door. Shortly after, my whole body is also experiencing the urge of eating any sort of ‘food’ that has been lying around the house for the past few weeks. From sugar heavy sweets to rotten Gouda cheese. I am literally stuffing anything that is somewhat comestible into my mouth. As a self-proclaimed healthy and sportive student, consciously eating a whole lot of rubbish feels absolutely demoralizing. Sadly enough, I’ve to admit for being a very lousy cook, because anything coming out from me and a kitchen is not even recommended serving it to farm animals (understatement).

Instead of ordering takeout food for the hundredth time, it’s time to find a permanent solution for this escalating issue. So I’ve been surfing on the web, doing some research on easy cooking solutions and what not. Soon enough, I am relieved to find out that I am not the only one in this same situation. In fact, a ton of people are in the same boat and they have come up with some unbelievable brilliant and utterly stupid ideas. I came across healthy microwave food (still not healthy enough), hiring amateur/professional chefs (not sustainable due to pathetic student buying power) and even some guy from a forum suggested to learn pets how to cook, which I sincerely hope that he was joking around. But anyways, after some more digging around I finally stumbled upon this incredible video.

Yes! This is exactly what I was hoping for and desperately need! A fully automatic robot chef that cooks perfect meals everyday. The company behind this sophisticated piece of hardware is Moley Robotics, founded by computer scientist Mark Oleynik. Their aim is to have professional chefs record themselves through special 3D motion capturing camera that mimics the techniques and processes of the dish. The robotic arms and hands are capable of grasping utensils, pots, dishes and various bottles of ingredients. Currently, the robot is only able to make one dish, the crab bisque. However, Moley Robotics is planning to build up a digital library of 2,000 recipes before the robotic kitchen is put on the market for the general public.

So what is a information strategy blog without a little pros and cons analysis on automation of cooking:

Advantages:

  • Consistency
    Highly automated robots have the capability to improve the consistency of every cooked meal. All recipes are performed with precision and high repeatability. The level of consistency is almost impossible to achieve by a human without error, hence every meal coming out of that kitchen won’t taste like horse dung anymore.
  • Speed
    With automated cooking processes, the throughput speed increases, which directly impacts the production speed of the meal. Because cooking robot is able to work in perfect sequence without pausing for breaks, the speed will definitely surpass human capabilities, maybe even ninjas.
  • Safety
    According to statistics, every year, over 100,000 people are injured in a kitchen related accident, myself included. Robots will replace humans in the kitchen and effectively eliminate the chance of getting injured while cooking.
  • Saves time
    Instead of wasting your precious time on cooking, spent more time doing more meaningful things. Like playing video games or doing pranks on your significant other.

Disadvantages:

  • Expensive
    Although this robot chef also comes with a specially designed automated kitchen, which includes a stove top, utensils and a sink, it will probably put on the market for a hefty price of €13,000. Have I already mentioned how pathetic my current buying power is?
  • Downtime
    Like any other computer automation technology, in case of a breakdown or system malfunction, the whole robot is useless. Ordering takeout food after this ridiculous robotic investment is not a option anymore.
  • Lack of creativity
    Because of the automated cooking processes, every meal will taste the same, there is no room for any creativity around the recipe. Sometimes you may want add a different ingredient to spice up the dish, unfortunately this is not possible with the robot chef.

Watching Moley Robotics’s robot chef perform is quite impressive to say at least, it could potentially be my ultimate savior from my cooking nightmares. The overall concept sounds promising, but there is still a lot of work to be done on Moley’s robotic kitchen before it would be even remotely practical for consumer use. As the robot doesn’t have any way of visualizing its surroundings, it’s unable to locate an ingredient or utensil that might be moved or knocked out of place. Another key limitation of the system is its lack of robustness. Failure in any of the robot’s systems leads to a failure to successfully follow the recipe and has to start the whole cooking process over again. Even though the price seems quite expensive at first, but considering the fact that a fully equipped kitchen is in the price range of €7,500 – €25.000, the robot chef is an affordable alternative. Will this robotic chef replace every human chef in town and disrupt the restaurant business forever? Who knows? Well, at least for now, I should probably try prepare myself a meal again before I starve to death, wish me luck!


References

1. Kim J. Kitchen Accidents & Safety Guidelines. Avvocom. 2012. Available at: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/kitchen-accidents–safety-guidelines. Accessed October 11, 2015.

2. Charlton A. Robotic chef can cook Michelin star food in your kitchen by mimicking world’s best cooks. International Business Times UK. 2015. Available at: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/robotic-chef-can-cook-michelin-star-food-your-kitchen-by-mimicking-worlds-best-cooks-1496168. Accessed October 11, 2015.

3. Gibson M. Meet The Robot Chef That Can Prepare Your Dinner. TIMEcom. 2015. Available at: http://time.com/3819525/robot-chef-moley-robotics/. Accessed October 11, 2015.

4. Moley.com. Moley. 2015. Available at: http://www.moley.com/. Accessed October 11, 2015.

5. Packing Robots Offer Flexibility P. Advantages and Disadvantages of Automating with Industrial Robots. Robotscom. 2015. Available at: https://www.robots.com/blog/viewing/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-automating-with-industrial-robots. Accessed October 11, 2015.

6. Desai J, Dudek G, Khatib O, Kumar V. Experimental Robotics. Cham: Springer; 2013.

TOTW: TicketSwap vs. SeatGeek

This week’s topic is focused on the technology behind ‘Electronic Markets and Auction’. Through the advancements of information technologies, the time and cost of communication have been greatly reduced, allowing the possibility of electronic brokerage in computer-based markets. The two companies that we have put in the spotlights are TicketSwap and SeatGeek, both operating in the secondary market of the e-ticket business and provide an online ticket brokerage platform for its customers. Although the two companies are still considered to be newcomers in the e-ticket brokerage market, they both have transformed the way of conducting business in this field by making use modern information technologies and mobile applications. First we will explain how their business model works and then provide a SWOT analysis comparison between the companies.

Ticketswap is an online and moblie platform where consumers can quickly buy and sell event tickets in thTicketSwape secondary (C2C) marketplace. To maintain fair prices, sellers are only allowed to ask a price up to 20% above the original face value of the ticket.The goal of TicketSwap is to offer consumers a protected environment to increase the safety for their private transactions. In order to reduce fraud as much as possible, users are required to link their Facebook account for accessing the online platform, making it easier to trace back the identity of the seller. So how does TicketSwap earn money? From every transaction, TicketSwap receives 10% as commission, equally charged among the seller and buyer.

In comparison to TicketSwap, SeatGeek is a B2C online search engine platform that aggregates all the available tickets from the online secondary market. It is essentially a meta-search engine making use of multiple other search engines to produce its own results (Kauffman, Li & van Heck, 2010). Additionally, SeatGeek proseatgeekvides an advanced algorithm called DealScore to assign a metric (1-100) rating to the tickets based the price and seat location (Fatbit, 2015), hence the consumers are able to see which deals are best suited for their needs. The tickets on the online platform are not sold or owned by SeatGeek itself, they solely provide the aggregating search service. Revenue comes from the 8-10% commission paid by the ticket sellers/owners for each ticket sold through the SeatGeek online platform.

Through the SWOT analysis we have found that the both companies have a strong online and social media presence where they promote their offering and brand. Each also has their own mobile application that has proven to boost their sales by a significant amount. SeekGeek’s mobile application has actually generated almost 45% of the total revenue in 2014 (Forbes, 2015). Currently, the assortment of tickets available on TicketSwap are limited to music events and festivals, while SeatGeek also offers sports, theater and other entertainment events. Therefore we think TicketSwap has a great opportunity to grow by expanding their ticket catalogue into other areas. A big ongoing threat is of course competition, both existing and new entrants. Soon after the succes stories of TicketSwap and SeatGeek, many competitors followed their footsteps by developing their own online marketplaces. However, with strong integrated mobile applications and superior customer service, TicketSwap and SeatGeek can stay competitive in the future.


References

Buhr, S. (2015). SeatGeek Raises $62 Million In A Series C Led By Technology Crossover Ventures. TechCrunch. Retrieved 19 September 2015, from http://techcrunch.com/2015/04/02/seatgeek-raises-62-million-in-a-series-c-led-by-technology-crossover-ventures/

Huismans, S. (2015). TicketSwap nog veiliger: je krijgt voortaan een gloednieuw kaartje. 3voor12. Retrieved 19 September 2015, from http://3voor12.vpro.nl/nieuws/2015/februari/TicketSwap-veiliger.html

Li, T., Kauffman, R. J., van Heck, E., Vervest, P., & Dellaert, B. G. (2014). Consumer informedness and firm information strategy. Information Systems Research, 25(2), 345-363.

Solomon, B. (2015). The hottest ticket in mobile: SeatGeek helps you scalp the scalpers. Forbes.com. Retrieved 17 September 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/briansolomon/2015/01/21/the-hottest-ticket-in-mobile-SeatGeek-helps-you-scalp-the-scalpers/

Ticketnews.com, (2012). Top Secondary Ticket Sellers | TicketNews. Retrieved 17 September 2015, from http://www.ticketnews.com/view/TopSecondarySellers


Team 24

F. A. Amier 442000
L. Argiroúlis 437685
V. O. Galaktionov 438190
J. Jing 440693
F. H. van de Zande 347379