Saturday, February 17, 2018

From market capitalism to surveillance capitalism ..

Surveillance capitalism is a term first introduced by John Bellamy Foster and Robert McChesney in Monthly Review and later popularized by academic Shoshana Zuboff that denotes a new genus of capitalism that monetizes data acquired through surveillance. -
During the dawn of the automobile age, we had Ford capitalizing on the concept of Mass Production and benefiting from it, building plants and dominating the world by means of the products that came out of these assembly factories.

Nowadays we see a similar revolution of a new economy and power centre, this time though not with physical assets or products, rather with access to tools that can collect vast volumes of data and then analyse / process them to generate information that could be used for the benefit of society or otherwise.

What does Google do to all the data it collects on all our physical and virtual life movements ? If we have an Android phone or a Google phone, all our movements are tracked to the minutest detail and monetized.

Click here to find how Google gets our complete data and monetizes on it .. 

The technologies to capture data and the tools to analyse this data have helped us move from the centuries old Market Capitalism model to the new Surveillance Capitalism model ..

Click here for the article - The new Surveillance Capitalism

The Harvard academic Zoshana Zuboff has been at the forefront of research to understand the dynamics of surveillance capitalism and has come up with exciting papers, the more important one titled - Big Other - Surveillance Capitalism and the prospect of an Information Civilization

Hope this field emerges stronger over the years with sufficient research and knowledge to understand how data will influence our lives in the future.


Reference :
1. Zuboff, Shoshana. "Big Other: Surveillance Capitalism and the Prospects of an Information Civilization." Journal of Information Technology 30, no. 1 (March 2015): 75–89.

Where are gun laws taking US to ?

17 teenagers from a school in Miami lost their lives on February 14 to a shooter Nicholas Cruz.

The government is still silent on why they are unable to control the free handling of guns by the citizens.

Why is the US government unable to control the great craze among US citizens for carrying or possessing personal firearms or other lethal weapons for ensure their personal safety ? Does the govt have the duty to ensure the personal safety of its citizens by default and why is the US government abjugating that responsibility from itself onto the people to carry it out themselves bringing great risk to society and its members ?

This is a very recent BBC article which gives excellent statistical data on the American gun culture in 10 charts. Of all the developed communities in the world, we observe it is the American people who are at greater risk of the use or misuse of guns in their own societies. While offering oneself, a good control over ones' own security, it also makes the whole society very vulnerable to misuse as everyone, sane and insane, is carrying one or possesses one and could use or misuse it for good or bad.

It is indeed shocking to understand how guns are being misused by a small fraction of members in the society making the lives of everybody in the society at great risk. in the US alone, it is estimated to have 280 million guns as per latest statistics for a population of 315 million. ie. almost 88% of the population have legally licensed firearms.

The problem with carrying so much of lethal firearms is the very high risk of a misuse happening by an insane person and which results in so much of pain, shame, suffering etc to the members of the society.

while proponents of gun culture, argue that guns can instill a fear in the minds of the people that it could be used on them, opponents of gun culture argue that an insane person with a gun can indeed cause great damage to society and innocent young lives, like what happened in Florida over the past four days.

What could be a permanent solution to this crisis gripping US society and the people living there ? Should the government further relax gun control laws and give everyone the right to protect themselves or prevent its widespread use and limit the use to only licensed sane people.

Another point that could be discussed across US communities is should the US government think of having yearly wellness / soundness of mind checks on gun holders to ensure there is less misuse and less attacks on innocent civilians in revenge attacks ?

Whatever happens, the issue of gun control is a grave issue the US government finds itself caught in these days and unless some drastic measures which restrain the freedom of individuals to protect themselves in taken up, the issue could become quite serious and grave for the rest of the population. This is a matter of grave concern not only for the US citizens, but also for the innumerable visitors who keep coming to US on business, personal and study reasons and who in turn stand at a great risk of being subject to such attacks and atrocities.

In the mean time, the only prayers we could offer to the US and rest of the world is let better sense prevail and let people look at the long term impact of their short sighted actions and not just work for immediate economic and political gains.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Alliance Uty Bangalore students implement RFID ATT ..

What is RFID tech - a primer ..
Great news from Operations !! Alliance Uty goes Hi-Tech, with great support from students ..

The fourth sem and second sem MBA Operations students in their class now have 125 Khz passive RFID based automated attendance tracking system implemented by the students in the class. 

As part of a mini-project / mini- challenge, the project was posed to the students. The biggest challenge for the students, being from Business Management classes, was not only to identify the technological aspects, but also to identify the best technology / vendor combination that could offer the best VALUE-FOR-MONEY ..

As we understood, there were three phases in the project implementation.
Phase I - identifying the relevant technology, the correct accessories for the design, evaluating the design 
Phase II - identify the suitable vendors to give the different components and evaluate the software at the best cost and the earliest delivery date and 
Phase III - implement the technology in the classroom in the shortest time available after doing the analysis and required programming etc.
The students had to identify the best RFID technology available, design the suitable frequencies to work along, design the complete system, including the software or purchase it. After completing phase I, the students had to identify the vendors, talk to them, talk the financials and thirdly, plan the implementation project in as short a time as possible.

Wide and varied RFID real-life applications ..
Since the Shivarathri holiday came in between, the students had enough time to work around with the system, test its implementation, fool-proof it and get it ready for field application, ie. to be taken to the classroom.

Being Management students, all along we have been stressing on the second most important constraint, after technology, COSTSto reduce item costs and implementation costs of this high-tech Asset Tracking Technology (ATT). As of our information, no other business school or central or state government funded academic institute in Bangalore has accomplished this feat through the students.

The following five second semester MBA students, (2017-19 batch)
Vignesh Kumar S,
Jai Kiran Kumar,
Chandan S
Dinesh Pasupathy
HariGanesh Shekar 
carried out the RFID tech job (incl software) in just under a week at a cost of Rs 1400/-, total expenses less labour and transportation. They did it for a class of 70 taking the subject of Logistics and Supply Chain Management. These students deserve all kudos and motivation to continue their efforts to master more advanced technologies and their practical field implementation.

We shall seriously look at automating the attendance recording in other operations classes and the whole Uty too. Having understood the different aspects and facets of this technology, scaling this technology to other streams and Colleges, including ACED in the University is quite  tractable.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Top international passenger aircrafts in the world ..

Boeing 787, Dreamliner .. Carbon composites materials make it economical
for capex and opex ..
Supply Chain Management is not only concerned about purchasing and storing raw materials and finished goods, it is also interesting to know how these goods are moved. A peek into the growing commercial airline market is very necessary for the time being.

Here is a list of the top ten international passenger aircraft in the world ..(Click here..) listed in terms of their capacity, uninterrupted flying distance, no of engines.

As we know most of the top aircraft manufacturers of the world use aircraft engines from three major manufacturers of the world, namely, Rolls Royce, Pratt and Whitney and General Electric.

The top 11 passenger aircrafts of the world are like this  - in terms of distance covered on a single fuel charge and passenger capacity (

11. Airbus A330-300     335 (2 classes)       11750 km          (2 engines)
10. Airbus A340-300     295                         15000 km  / 2011 (discontinued)
(4 engines)
09. Airbus A340-500     372                         15725 km  /2011 (discontinued) 
(4 engines)
08.  Airbus A350-900    325 (3-class)           15000 km        (2 engines)
07. Boeing 787-9           280 (3 class)           14100 km        (2 engines)  
(Dreamliner)                                                              (My addition ..)
06. Boeing 777-200       440                          14,260 km       (2 engines)
05. Airbus A340-600     400                          15,725 km / 2011 (discontinued)   
(4 engines)
04. Boeing 777-300       550                          11,135 km        (2 engines)
03. Boeing 747-400       624                          13,446 km        (4 engines)
02. Boeing 747-B          700                           14,816 km       (4 engines)
01. Airbus A380-800     880                          15,200 km        (4 engines)

A390, prototype is ready, but are the passengers ?
The Airbus A390 can accommodate 1760 passengers and can travel upto 16000 km in one go, but it is still not commercially released ..

The 3 engined McDonnel Douglas DC 10 could carry 380 passengers max upto 10,000 kms but was discontinued in 2007. It was known as the death trap, it has not been very popular.

China is slowly entering the commercial jet engines
passenger plane market with the Comac C919
The Chinese jet passenger aircraft Comac C919 is expected to enter Chinese airlines by 2020. It can carry upto 165 passengers for a distance of 5555 km and is twin engined.

Because of the low passenger load factor, between 72 % in Africa to 82% in US and Europe, airlines find it difficult to get larger planes loaded to capacity even on heavy traffic routes, even after deploying their best marketing and pricing strategies. This is the reason why all private airlines in US are slowly selling off their Boeing 747 aircraft and taking recourse to small Boeing 737s and Boeing 787s, which is easy to have full capacity and offers better fuel economy.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner, built majorly using Carbon composites, is lighter than other aircraft of equal capacity and hence gives better fuel efficiency and more profits for the airlines. It is the recent darling of airlines world over ..


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Jobin Chadar trek pics ..

Circular (endless) runway airport, design and environmental advantages ..

Is this a realisable plan ?
Most of the airports around the world, since the days of start of commercial flying around the 1950, are designed lengthwise along the runway. As the runway had to be around 4-5 km long in modern airports this necessitated acquiring land in excess of actual airport requirements on a 4000m long x 500m broad stretch of land.

India has become the third largest aviation market in terms of domestic passenger traffic, beating Japan, an industry report has said.
India’s domestic air passenger traffic stood at 100 million in 2016 and was behind only the US (719 million) and China (436 million), Sydney-based aviation think-tank Capa Centre of Aviation said in its latest report. -, March 2017.

Circular airport design which is being tired in Netherlands is a very interesting idea that needs serious consideration from aviation experts around the world. The debate on circular airports is quite interesting and raises many fears and apprehensions. More than all the fears, the benefits to the environment are mind boggling, leading to less infrastructure costs, accidents and damage to the environment.

The circular endless  runway airport planned in Netherlands by 2050 AD in comparison would be about 2376 acres (3500 m diameter) in area. Since at any time three flights can take off or land from the circular airport (of 3.5 km diameter), considering a minimum of 2 minutes between two successive aircraft movements, the airport can handle almost 90 takeoffs or landing every hour. 

A very compact design ..  Click here for video 

A.  An analysis of some of the more popular airports in India and the world :. Airports need lot of open space for the buildings and the runway and that is one area where circular airports can make a huge difference. Green airports could be beneficial for the environment ..
1. Kochi International Airport, the only 100% solar energy powered airport of the world, THE ONLY COMPLETELY GREEN AIRPORT OF THE WORLD, with its own waste treatment, rainwater harvesting and organic vegetable farms, running on a 27 MW solar power plant, is spread over 500 acres.
2. Mumbai Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport is spread over 1450 acres.
3. Hyderabad RG  international airport is spread over 1500 acres.
4. Bengaluru KG international airport is spread over 4000 acres.
5. The world's most busiest, HJ Atlanta international airport, US is spread over 4700 acres.
6. New Delhi IG international airport is spread over 5106 acres.
7. New York's JFK International airport is spread over 5200 acres.
8. World's largest, Saudi Arabia's King Fahd International airport in Dammam is spread over 1,92,660 acres .. ie. 48x Bengaluru and 384x Kochi !! This airport is larger than the country of Bahrain and 10% bigger than the city of Bengaluru. 
B. Benefits of Circular airports : 
1. Runway length : While most of the great airports have their longest runways about 4-5 km in length, the circular airports have minimum 11 km long (pi*diameter of 3.5 km) real runway and virtually an endless one (as one does not come across the problem of coming to the end of runway and having to rise again or facing and accident). 
2.  Airport area : A 3.5 km diameter airport will take just 40% area of a conventional airport, helping save the environment in a big way.  
3.  Flying in and flying out : Ability to fly in and fly out from any direction avoiding huge fuel costs of circling the airports and approaching in only one direction 
4. Efficient use of resources in the airport - the circular design helps efficient use of resources like parking lot, toilets, resting & waiting area, eating area, ATC tower etc 
5. Subway approach : approach roads could be built from different sides enabling quicker access to airport and departure from the airport for passengers.
C. Future growth of Air Transportation industry and scope :

Given that the air travel industry is growing year on year at a rate of 8-10 %, the concept of one large airport meeting the demands of the population of a major city is impossible and like in the West, we need to build more and more medium size airports. Airports of the future could be using these designs to save land, costs, fuel and time for passengers and efficient utilization of resources by adopting such compact and convenient designs ..


Monday, February 12, 2018

Human multi-tasking..

Multi-tasking, efficient ??
Human multitasking is an apparent human ability to perform more than one task, or activity, over a short period (1 hour). -

An example of multi tasking is attending to a telephone call and at the same time trying to type a letter. The problem with such activities is that we often fail to do our best in each.

There are some questions being asked on the efficacy of multi-tasking. They are : 
1. Do lean systems advocate multi-tasking or single tasking ? 
2. Is multi-tasking effective in the long run ?
3. Are people who resort to multi-tasking more efficient than others ?
4. Does multi-tasking lead to better or worse output and quality ?

Though it is difficult to get answer to all of these questions through a classroom experiment, we can try to find whether multi-tasking does lead to longer processing times than single tasking. If indeed multi-tasking does take more time to complete tasks, what is the approximate percentage of this increase ?

Let us take this example of multi-tasking. Take an A4 page, tear it into two equal halves, A5. 

To illustrate the waste of time in a multi-tasking environment as against an environment with no task sharing, let us play a simple game. On one paper, write these four exercises one after the other. 
A. Start the stop watch 
1. On the top left corner, name it A, write the digit 1 in words, One
2. Turn to bottom right, bring it to top left, name it B, and write Roman numeral of 1.
3. Turn the paper to the other side, behind the A side, write C and make one hash mark
4. Turn to the bottom right, bring it to top left, mark it D and draw a small five cornered star.
5. Repeat this for digit 2 on edge A, Roman numerals II on edge B, two hash marks on edge C and two star marks on edge D.
6. Repeat this till numerical 10. 
Stop the Stop Watch .   This is multi-tasking. Note the timing in seconds.
Take the other half fresh A5 sheet. 

Now do each of the activities independently, (SINGLE TASKING). Finish each task completely, before going to the next task.
B. Start the stop watch 
1. finish writing the digits 1 to 10 in words on edge A
2. Go to edge B, write Roman numerals of numbers one to ten
3. Turn around, go to edge C, do hashes, progressively from one to 10 and
4. go to edge D, draw small five edge stars progressively from one to ten.
Stop the Stop Watch .        Note the timing in seconds 
Improvement in % = (multi-tasking time - single-tasking time) / multi-tasking time x 100% To be more exact, the experiment could be repeated three to four times and an average value taken.
Exercises :  
1. Write down your observation in two or three sentences..
2. Find the average percentage improvement in time moving from multitasking to single tasking.
3. Is single tasking tasking efficient than multi-tasking, all the time ?? Comment ..
I was surprised to find in the class an average improvement of time by at least 25% and a maximum improvement of upto 45% .
Learning :  
1. Single tasking any time is better than multi-tasking especially if the job is repetitive and time consuming.
2. When there are many jobs to be carried out, it is always better to complete them as single tasks than to attempt to complete them by multiple tasking. This improves quality of the output, reducing the time spent on rework or defects.
3. Multi-tasking is tiring and unless very carefully done, can cause errors in the job, resulting in poor quality and high rework or error correction costs.

Click here for a Forbes article on why single-tasking makes one smarter ..

george ..

From market capitalism to surveillance capitalism ..

Surveillance capitalism is a term first introduced by John Bellamy Foster and Robert McChesney in Monthly Review and later popularized...

My popular posts over the last month ..