Market Gravity predicts business trends for 2016
Technology is set to have an even bigger influence on British businesses and their product development strategies in 2016, with growth expected within connectivity, omnichannels, financial and payment technology and Artificial Intelligence. In addition, the way big businesses discover and implement innovation is set to shift, with the launch of venture teams and accelerator panels or internal ‘incubators’ to bring a start-up mentality to corporate organisations.
Gideon Hyde – co-founder of Market Gravity, the specialist innovation and propositions design consultancy – shares his predictions on emerging technology and innovations and how businesses can embrace these to enhance their offerings, launch new products, services and ventures to stand out in the competitive marketplace.
Homes around the UK are going to be smarter and more connected than ever as consumers embrace the benefits of using devices and smartphones to control energy and thermostats, lighting, security and safety systems and even fridges and washing machines. Energy, utilities and home appliance organisations should ensure they are up to speed with the latest product offerings so development teams can embrace the trend for ‘connected homes’ and the Internet of Things. Cisco estimates that by 2020, there will be between 30 and 50 billion connected entities so businesses should act now to avoid getting left behind.
Onmichannel retail strategies
Retailers and marketers are understanding the benefits of offering customers multiple ways to shop – via the internet, through social media channels and apps and the ability to sell, cross, sell, upsell, reward and personalise the shopper experience is a highly attractive proposition. Beacon technology, geo-location services, and content filtering based on personal preferences, purchase patterns and history all enhance the interaction and we expect to see even more retailers adopting an omnichannel strategy across all their sales channels next year.
Fintech, banking and payments
Mobile banking and payments are already gaining traction as there has been an influx of new tech companies, start-ups and retail banking organisations launching disruptive and innovative new products and services. Established banks need to be proactive with disruption and accelerate change so may need to offer new capabilities and facilities, while also investing in traditional systems to open their offering up to customers of all ages. Digital and mobile services are key but enhancing and personalising the customer experience also plays a big part in retaining and attracting new users so ensuring new products and services are seamless, secure and convenient is more important now than ever before.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not as futuristic as it sounds as there are already UK businesses embracing the benefits of this technology. We predict that 2016 could be AI’s biggest year yet, especially within customer services. It’s algorithms can process ‘big data’ far more efficiently than humans and it can recognise speech, images, text, patterns of online behaviour, for example to detect fraud as well as appropriate advertisements. Smart machines and technology can turn data into customer insights and enhance service provisions, bringing the digital experience closer to the in-store interaction for consumers.
Innovation within big businesses
Big businesses are embracing the concept of ‘intrapreneurship’, an entrepreneurial approach where teams and individuals are driving new venture ideas from within the organisation. We are witnessing an increase in the launch of venture teams, or internal ideas incubators, as well as in investment in research and prototype development. It’s essential for businesses to work collaboratively with experts in this field, listen to creative new ideas from all levels of the company and encourage a culture of change and innovation to facilitate commercial growth.
Gideon Hyde is the co-founder of Market Gravity.
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.