Unilever Uses Virtual Factories to Tune up Its Supply Chain
With the government JEDI cloud deal on the horizon, cloud operations has been a hot topic recently. This latest innovative maneuver by Unilever showcases one of the most promising cloud applications. Unilever is teaming up with Microsoft to create a “digital twin” model for a number of its factories. This “digital twin” utilizes the constant stream of data now generated by modern automated manufacturing systems and creates essentially a virtual model of the factory’s operations via AI and data analytics. This model allows systems to be virtually run, and boosts profitability by optimizing efficiency, predicting malfunctions, and by “mapping out the best operational conditions” possible. Unilever began with a pilot test at one factory in Brazil and now has created eight more digital models. Furthermore, it plans to connect 70 sites by the end of the year and about another 100 in 2020.
Elon Musk’s Neuralink Says it’s Ready for Brain Surgery
Elon Musk’s Neuralink is seemingly no different than any other of the billionaire entrepreneur’s plans – lots of cool marketing, disproportionately less realism. This product supposedly is wired to process neural charges and transcribes them into actual data. The result is achieved courtesy of a series of drills into the brain. While this achievement sounds fantastic on paper, as with self-driving cars and various AI applications, just because a technological feat is possible in theory doesn’t mean it will turn out to be a worthwhile investment in the near future. It may take many years for society to digest and respond to such an idea. In the meantime, we believe a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted.
Searches for ‘Canceling Amazon Prime’ Spike on Prime Day
Prime Day has been a part of Amazon’s pipeline for a few years now, and it can’t help being compared to its archetype, Alibaba’s Singles Day. Singles Day has done very well, setting a new sales record in 2017 and subsequently breaking it in 2018. This has made it a “prime” example for online retail success. However, Amazon’s seeming need for Prime subscription growth has been met with a hard reality: consumers are getting smarter — a large portion of the Prime Day new members canceled their memberships soon after they made their purchases. According to the sourced data, internet searches for “canceling Amazon prime” were 18 times higher on Monday. Now, some of this boost might be attributable to just the overall rise in trend of Prime Day. However, this multiple is pretty significant, even with Prime Day’s trending status taken into account. The question remains, does Amazon actually care? Most likely, as they seem to pay close attention to every detail. Yet, even at a bare minimum, Prime Day is a great way to get a sales boost during an otherwise slow time of the year and provides a proving ground for the real show – the Christmas buying season starting after Thanksgiving.
One of the Oldest Investing Theories on Wall Street has yet to Confirm this Year’s Rally is for Real
The Dow Theory was developed by Charles Dow in the 1900s as a way of vindicating a retesting of new highs in the stock market. This theory essentially indicates that new highs are validated if the Dow Industrial Average Index and the Dow Transportation Average Index hit record-breaking values simultaneously. So far, the Transportation Average has actually fallen, even though the Dow Industrial is pushing those record values. This theory is very much lauded by the investment industry, and would be a major reassurance if it were to affirm these current market valuations. Some say the Dow Theory (and maybe the Dow itself) is outdated, yet this information might suggest that market fundamentals aren’t quite as strong as they appear.
Housing is Providing Another In a Line of Troubling Signs Pointing to an Economic Downturn
According to William Emmons, lead economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, a home sales indicator has shown a decline that has historically indicated that a recession is coming. This trend has served as an early indicator of both the 2001 and 2008 recessions. Though such historically situational indicators should be treated with due caution, their possible implications should also be noted. At the very least, this statistic shows that the economy isn’t quite racing along at full pace. For instance, it might mean that the economy is less equipped to deal with other uncertainties that could potentially drive it into a recession. We believe an active, vigilant approach should be taken to the current markets.
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