Monthly Archives: July 2016

Product Development – On the Internet of “Things”


Can your data be ethical?

As more and more products are evolving from how wslider_bg_271e manage information and data – there has been growth in products in the ethical market . It has served to drive sales of ethical goods and services, which are often more expensive than non-ethically produced products. According to preliminary economic estimates published by National Statistics, gross domestic product (GDP) was 3% higher in Q3 2014 compared with a year ago, while wage growth outstripped inflation for the first time in 5 years during November 2014, after rising by 1.3% in the third quarter of the year — 0.1 percent points higher than consumer price inflation during the same quarter.

  • Rainforest Alliance products have also continued to increase as a result of a growing availability within the UK, with sales of Rainforest Alliance-certified food products estimated to have risen by 47% during 2013.
  • Public scandals, such as the horsemeat debacle, as well as a growing mistrust of core bank brands following the LIBOR (London InterBank Offered Rate) scandal, the payment protection insurance (PPI) miss-selling calumny and growing outrage regarding banker bonuses following the recession, along with increased demand for transparency among big businesses, have resulted in the emergence of a much more ethically and environmentally informed consumer.
  • Sales of organic products have observed resurgence in recent years, following growing consumer demand for transparent product provenance in the light of the horsemeat scandal, as well as more flexible household budgets in line with the economic recovery.
  • Spending on micro-generation (i.e. household renewable energy systems) has increased by 50%, following the introduction of generous Government incentives, such as the Green Deal home improvement scheme and a sharp increase in solar power home installations during 2014.
  • Demand for green cars, which offer low-carbon emissions, has increased in recent years, driven by a revival in the new car market, as well as significant new product development (NPD) by several well-known car brands, such as Nissan, Toyota, Vauxhall and Renault, with the electric car market showing record growth of 143.9% up to the end of June 2014, according to figures compiled by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
  • The diversification and expansion of Fairtrade schemes to new product sectors, such as jewellery (in particular gold) has also helped to drive sales of ethical products in recent years, while other market sectors, such as eggs, coffee and bananas are increasingly dominated by ethical products.
  • In recent years, micro-generation (i.e. the generation of electricity or heat of a small-scale, typically for domestic or household use by methods that do not contribute to the depletion of national resources) has continued to increase, with National Grid Energy estimating micro-generation to have risen by 0.5 gigawatts (GW) during the past 3 years. Spending on micro-generation has also increased significantly across UK households, with Ethical Consumer magazine estimating expenditure on domestic renewable energy platforms to have risen by 50% during 2013 alone.
  • One of the most significant driving factors behind the trend towards more energy-efficient homes has been the UK Government’s Green Deal, which was first launched in January 2013, and offers long-term loans to homeowners to help them make energy-saving improvements to their home, such as the installation of insulation, draught-proofing and double glazing, or renewable energy systems, such as solar panels or heat pumps.
  • Other Government initiatives introduced with the aim of reducing domestic energy use in the UK include the roll out of smart meters, which allow users to more accurately monitor their energy usage and expenditure; and the Electricity and Gas (Energy Companies Obligation) Order 2012, which was introduced in 2012 and provides funding of around £1.3bn each year to support the installation of energy efficiency measures in low-income households and areas.
  • Industry analysts believe solar electricity could be cost competitive with gas by 2020, and estimate that around 10 million homes in the UK will need to install panels on their roofs over the next 6 years, if the country is to fulfil its renewable energy potential. If this aim was achieved, it would mean that a third of households in the UK would be generating energy from the sun, allowing the UK to produce around 6% of its annual electricity needs from solar power, with as much as 40% of energy being generated by such panels on sunny days during the summer, by the year 2020.
  • The drive towards energy-efficient homes is also thought to be having a knock-on effect within the property market, with research undertaken by Knight Frank, in 2014, revealing that houses which have a high Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating are now selling more quickly than they did in 2010.

Electric and low-emission vehicles have continued to gain popularity in recent years, following ongoing Government investment into charge points, as well as NPD from leading car brands. The latest statistics published by the SMMT show that 9,955 alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) were registered in September 2014, representing a 56% rise on the number registered for the same time last year.

Building an Algorithm from Overproduction



Making too much of something – overproduction – is generally viewed negatively: it requires additional raw materials, energy, unnecessary work/effort, and waste handling; Runner moneyas none of these add value to the product, overproduction is often regarded as wasteful or quite literally waste if the excess is simply discarded.

Outside of highly automated processes and production lines, there will be waste. Companies often “err” on the side of safety for a production run and produce too much rather than too little which would result in an even more costly additional production run.

But why would anyone want to over produce, in a world were economies scales have for so many years allowed high volume low cost production per unit, one could say that any overproduction and its continuation is no more than a waste of economic resourc.e

Production houses more and more have to balance customer choice as part of the volume needed to create value, Customers are demanding products that are offering so much choice that they are becoming unique, – the world of customer choice has moved to customer customisation and the more customisation the customer demands they more the interact in the creation of the products they need.

Perhaps one other change that’s affecting the one fits all of high volume production low cost products is manufacturing has the ability to establish far more routes to market that was ever possible and create brands and products that can be sold at various parts of the product life cycle with services and delivery times built into every part of production innovation cycle.

With the development of new routes to market and the increase choice that customers are demanding the opportunities to develop processes that allow overproduction as part of extended range of unique product that allows higher value is creating smaller product life cycles that create higher over value.

With the development of newer routes to market and the demand for newer be spoke products the ability to overproduce can be targeted at the growing number of customers that are looking for more customised products: given sufficient quantities, you can think of this excess as “bespoke”, “limited edition”, or “Artisan” product.

Creating the artisan product

Let us look at coffee roasting. Coffee blends are roasted in batches (say 120kg), taken from one or more silos of raw commodity beans.

Given that many batches (up to 20 tonnes) can be roasted each day, how many potential artisan bags of coffee could be produced due to the excess of coffee roasted each day?

We can express the total weight roasted as the sum of the batch weight that is sold as a unit and the overproduction (the excess). Alternatively the overproduction can be expressed as


If the weight of a bag of artisan coffee is Weightbag kg (i.e. kg/bag), then the number of bags produced each day due to “overproduction” can be expressed as



(assuming that Weightroasted does not change).

Given that each Weightroasted is a blend of N silos of raw (commodity) coffee then each Weightroasted can be expressed as the sum of the amounts of coffee (in kg) taken from N silos as


where Weightsiloi is the amount of commodity coffee (in kg) taken from the ith silo.

Assuming that the mixing is uniform throughout the roasting process then the amount of commodity coffee (in kg) taken from the ith silo within a unit batch sold Weightbatch can be simply expressed as


Therefore the overproduction or excess in each batch can be expressed as



or the number of artisan bags that you can make from overproduction in a day can be expressed as


We assumed a constant Weightroasted throughout the day. If this is not the case then Numberbags/day per day can be expressed as


for a constant blend mix, constant Weightbatch, and a weight of an artisan bag of coffee Weightbag

Maximising your excess

Therefore if only weight is considered, for a weight of coffee roasted in each batch Weightroasted, (Weightbatch is fixed) you can increase the Numberbags by

1. Decreasing the weight of an artisan bag of coffee – Weightbag
2. Increasing the number of runs within a day with excess – Numberruns/day

In conclusion

The weight of raw coffee in each Silo is bought as a commodity at a known price. Optimising (minimising) the cost of a blend across the silos along with the production costs will make the Artisan coffee more profitable.


Extending our approach.

Our approach does not include factors such as production loss. These will consider within a future blog post.

Technology Trends – Small is Beautiful and Scalable




In the computer services market, there are various ongoing and emerging trends driving uptake of services across the corporate and public sectors. Some of the key drivers affecting the computer services sector include the use of open

source solutions and the effect that virtualisation technology is having on infrastructure costs and Infrastructure management. It is allowing companies to develop a better technology to create competitive advantage and move away from the one size fits all.

However a huge amount of companies and governments around the world go down this route with great results. It allows then to scope out what you need and slowly roll out a services – these services allow you have customisation and development as part of an ongoing programme and as Part of your Service Level agreement – they are fully backed with training and support. It’s allow you to develop unique data services that are unique to you as part of your overall company strategy and over time to customise and bring greater value. They also benefit you to make statements about how you manage your data and how it is hosted.

The Continuous growth in digital services across virtually all sectors of the UK economy has generated significant demand for computer services and IT outsourcing (ITO).

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The proliferation of mobile devices and mobile Internet access has driven demand for mobility services, which provide workers with remote access to client systems. Privacy and data protection are key concerns in the sector, with new up-and-coming regulations and directives from Europe set to impact the market over the next year or two. The new rules could help reduce administrative burdens for European operators through the introduction of a single set of rules on data protection across the EU.

There has been a significant increase in demand for cloud computing services. At present, the vast majority of demand is for software-as-a-service (SaaS); however, opportunities remain to grow other cloud computing services, such as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS).

Public sector IT supply has been affected by tighter central and departmental government budgetary constraints. IT is a key area of investment in the public sector, particularly under the Government’s Digital by Default programme, but austerity has nevertheless placed pressure on contracts.

The Food Industry – Brexit Scenarios

Now that the UK has voted to leave the European Union, what consequences and effects does it bring to the nation’s food industry, and the businesses under it? Economists and industry figures foresee the following:

1. The opportunity to grow food and drink exports faster.
Around 60% of UK farmers voted to leave the EU, citing its red tape on farming as their main reason. These include the impending ban on glyphosate, which is the preferred herbicide of UK farmers, as well as the Union’s ban on GMO crops. Without these, farmers will be able to grow their crops using their preferred methods.

2. However, leaving the EU could result in higher tariffs and trade barriers between the UK and the EU. What future trading arrangements would look like isn’t clear yet. According to Gary Kushner of Hogan Lovells LLP, the following scenarios are possible:
• EEA (European Economic Area) – like arrangement with the EU (e.g., Norway)
• Bilateral agreements with the EU (e.g., Switzerland) or (should no trading arrangement with the EU be agreed) The UK could be subject to tariffs that the EU applies to all other World Trade Organisation (WTO) members (30% tariff on sugars and confectionery, 20% on tobacco and beverages, 10% on fruit and vegetables, for example).
3. Moreover, food and drink sector could face potential supply chain disruptions.
Richard Morawetz, senior credit officer at Moody’s, said food companies that sourced and manufactured their goods locally would not be as affected as those that relied on imports. Major retailers such as Tesco, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer and Next, are focused on British sales, but their supply chains could be affected if the UK were to impose import tariffs on EU suppliers.

4. Food retailers and restaurants may be hit by higher wages.
Many food businesses run on immigrant staff, so the decision may curb their ability to recruit staff at lower wages from other European countries. Businesses that have had problems meeting their recruitment needs in the UK may also be hit. Food manufacturers and restaurants have the highest share of foreign-born workers, according to the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford.

5. The food industry may benefit more from scientific advances in the UK.
The EU’s so-called scepticism of science has hampered progress in the UK food industry, according to Owen Paterson, leading Brexit campaigner and former secretary of state for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The decision will allow the UK to weigh both risks and benefits of new technology without being hampered by existing technologies in the EU.

The Insurance market in China


The growth of the financial products is growing in China and the regulation, as I understand is changing.

There is a growing need for a well-governed brand that links the economies in the West with that in the East in this space – and there are structures that can implemented here to add value in China.

Below are some points on China’s Insurance market:

  • China’s insurance industry has been something to behold. Assets managed by insurers have doubled in less than four years to 13.9 trillion yuan ($2.1 trillion). Their revenues from selling policies have accelerated, climbing 42% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016.
  • The population will get much older in the coming decades, but the public pension scheme is still in its infancy. By supplementing public coverage with private policies, the government hopes that people may just manage to escape penury in their old age.
  • The government covers roughly a third of medical expenses; and insurance companies less than a tenth, leaving individuals to pick up more than half the tab themselves, according to Enhance International, an insurance consultancy. That is an especially heavy burden, naturally, for the elderly.
  • But excessively rapid growth, built on flimsy business models, risks doing more harm than good. There have been plenty of worrying signs. The most aggressive firms have scaled up by offering guaranteed returns of 6% or more on short-term investment products, an extremely risky strategy for what is supposed to be a sober and reliable industry.
  • This month regulators turned their attention to some of the insurers that have been among the boldest in expanding. First they sent inspectors to Sino Life Insurance Co, which has run down its capital in recent quarters. Then they went to Anbang, which has increased its assets some 50-fold over the past two years.
  • China has also overhauled solvency rules, which should force insurers to change the way they operate. Capital requirements had been based on simple gauges of size. Now they are much closer to the norm in developed markets, varying in line with how quickly policies turn over and how premiums are invested.

Data and Digital : BigOnIT’s Saudi Arabia Data and Digital Strategy (Part 3)


There are now opportunity for the development of a data brands to enter the Middle East and North Africa. As the region is tagged as the fastest growing, it presents both tremendous opportunity, but also tremendous risk. A partnership with a data company which adheres to globally recognized data governance and data privacy laws will enable a Middle Eastern company to take advantage of both growth opportunities, and the chance to develop stronger data privacy and protection policies, even as an individual company.

The quality of information in the world is soaring. And the need to store manage and develop data systems is critical. 

The deluge of data is already starting to transform business, government, science and everyday life. This deluge has huge potential for good, as long as consumers, companies and governments make the right choices about when to encourage flow of data, and when and how to restrict it.

With the Middle East and North Africa as the fastest growing region in the world for data growth, much potential is seen in this sector, but there is also much risk involved.

This strategy was crafted based on our study of the growth of data centres in the Middle East, as well as the data landscape in major countries in the region. Consequentially, we also took a look at how this affects government policies on data use, how Arabic countries rank globally for data governance and protection, and what can be done to improve them.


For my next post, I’ll be sharing with you my findings on the Health Care industry in Saudi Arabia and our recommendations specific to Data and Digital.