Self-Driving Truck’s First Mission: A 120-Mile Beer Run

October 26, 2016 Leave a comment

An Otto truck on a San Francisco street in May. Credit Ramin Rahimian for The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — The futurists of Silicon Valley may not have seen this one coming: The first commercial delivery made by a self-driving truck was 2,000 cases of Budweiser beer.

On Tuesday, Otto, the Uber-owned self-driving vehicle operation, announced the completion of its first commercial delivery, having delivered its beer load from Fort Collins, Colo., to Colorado Springs, a roughly 120-mile trip on Interstate 25.

In recent years, Uber has predicted a future in which you can ride in a self-driving car that will take you where you want to go, no driver necessary. But the idea that commercial trucking could be done by robot is a relatively new idea — and a potentially controversial one, given the possibility that robots could one day replace human drivers.

“We think this technology is inching closer to commercial availability,” Lior Ron, co-founder of Otto, said in an interview.

In August, Uber acquired Otto, a San Francisco start-up run by a number of veterans of Google’s long-running autonomous vehicle research.

Though largely symbolic, the beer delivery marks the first commercial partnership for Otto, which was founded less than a year ago. Terms of the deal between Otto and Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns the Budweiser brand, were not disclosed.

“We’ve tested with trailers, of course, but there’s nothing like actually doing the real thing, end to end,” Mr. Ron said.


An Otto truck on the road, with the driver’s seat empty. Although a driver was at hand, no intervention was needed.

The delivery was indicative of Uber’s larger ambitions to become an enormous transportation network, one in which the company is responsible for moving anything, like people, hot meals or cases of beer, around the globe, at all hours and as efficiently as possible. Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, has said he envisions a future in which transportation will occur in different ways, using both manned and unmanned vehicles.

Otto is a particularly large bet for Uber, which paid nearly $700 million for the start-up only a few months after the company started publicly discussing its self-driving-truck ambitions.

Since backing down from its money-burning effort to dominate the Chinese ride-hailing market in August, Uber has invested more time and resources to focus on breaking into the trucking market. Annual trucking industry revenue topped $720 billion in 2015, according to American Trucking Association estimates.

A good part of that total came from top brands that rely heavily on the trucking industry to transport their goods. Anheuser-Busch, for example, delivers more than a million truckloads of beer domestically every year.

“We view self-driving trucks as the future, and we want to be a part of that,” said James Sembrot, senior director of logistics strategy at Anheuser-Busch. Though the delivery went smoothly, the two companies did not indicate whether there would be any further deals.

For this initial delivery, Otto’s truck departed Anheuser-Busch’s facility in Loveland, Colo., in the early morning before reaching the interstate in Fort Collins. The truck drove through Denver — alongside regular passenger car traffic — and navigated to its destination in Colorado Springs without incident.

Otto said a trained driver was in the cabin of the truck at all times to monitor the vehicle’s progress and take over if necessary. At no point was the driver required to intervene, the company said.

Categories: Uncategorized

CRM Strengthens Data-Driven Marketing

October 26, 2016 Leave a comment

CRM Strengthens Data-Driven Marketing

38% of respondents said they use real-time data from analytics

October 26, 2016

Digital marketers in North America and Western Europe are using different tactics to augment their data-driven marketing efforts. According to research, most use customer relationship management (CRM) data to help them better understand a customer’s profile.

Methods Used by Digital Marketers in North America and Western Europe* to Augment Data-Driven Marketing, June 2016 (% of respondents)


Adobe surveyed 735 digital marketers from a variety of industries in Canada, France, Germany, the UK and the US. All respondents were from companies with more than 500 employees.

In addition to using CRM data, which two-thirds respondents said they used to augment data-driven marketing, nearly half of digital marketers in North America and Western Europe said they use audience definition, which is advanced segmentation.

Some 40% of respondents said they integrate analytics across channels, and almost as many respondents said they use real-time data from analytics.

Change in Revenues Generated by Data-Driven Marketing Activity According to US Marketing Professionals, Q2 2015* & Q3 2015** (% of respondents)

Generally, marketers are more optimistic about revenues from data-driven marketing, and are expanding their focus on customer acquisition and retention. Separate data from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Winterberry Group found revenues generated by data-driven marketing grew for 45.7% of US marketers between Q1 and Q2 2015, with 9.0% saying they grew significantly.

What’s more, respondents thought data-driven marketing would be even better for the bottom line in the future. When the DMA asked about expected changes in such revenues between Q2 and Q3, a majority of respondents (54.3%) said their organization’s revenues from data-driven marketing would go up. The share expecting significant increases also rose, to 11.0%.

Go beyond the articles

eMarketer PRO customers get quick and easy access to the exact data and analysis they need to make critical business decisions:

Categories: Uncategorized

Reebok To Open Innovative Footwear Factory In US

October 25, 2016 Leave a comment


Footwear and apparel company Reebok plans to take advantage of a new manufacturing process to open a shoe factory in the U.S. next year.

Company officials on Thursday detailed Liquid Factory, which uses robotics and software to effectively draw new shoes from scratch.

The process relies on a technique called 3D Drawing, which draws shoes in three-dimensional layers with a proprietary liquid material created by German chemical giant BASF.

Reebok said that the process is faster and cheaper than both conventional shoe manufacturing and 3D printing, which rival shoe makers have dabbled in.

Liquid Factory also provides a fit that stretches and molds around the foot and an outsole than performs “dramatically better than a typical rubber outsole.”

“Every shoe, from every brand is created using molds — an expensive, time-consuming process,” said Bill McInnis, who leads the Reebok Future team. “With Liquid Factory, we wanted to fundamentally change the way that shoes are made, creating a new method to manufacture shoes without molds.”

In addition, Reebok said it plans to open a Liquid Factory manufacturing lab early next year in partnership with footwear foam and gel producer AF Group.

Fortune reports that the facility will be located in the U.S., while Reebok noted that the Reebok Liquid Speed — the system’s first concept shoe — was designed and assembled in the U.S.

Three hundred pairs of the limited edition Liquid Speed are available for $189.50.

Adidas, Reebok’s parent company, plans to open its own high-tech footwear factory in the U.S. next year.

Categories: Uncategorized

Today’s FierceRetail Rundown

October 25, 2016 Leave a comment
October 25, 2016 Subscribe Our Team Contact Us

FierceRetail Logo

  1. Amazon Prime growth slows
  2. Chicago Cubs World Series could break retail records
  3. Nation’s largest malls to open on Thanksgiving
  4. QVC to launch new channel, Beauty iQ
  5. Alibaba hosts 8-hour fashion show
  6. Should Kroger go after Whole Foods?
  7. Dick’s wins $70M bid for Golfsmith
  8. REI to close Black Friday and grow #OptOutside

Featured Story

Amazon Prime growth slows

October 25, 2016 | By Laura Heller

There are some 65 million Amazon Prime members in the United States, an increase of 38 percent in just one year, according to a new report.

Top Stories

Chicago Cubs World Series could break retail records

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The World Series is always a big event in sports, but this year it promises to be a big retail event, thanks to the long-absent Chicago Cubs.

Nation’s largest malls to open on Thanksgiving

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The two largest mall owners are bucking the recent trend to close on Thanksgiving Day. Both Simon Property Management and GGP, which owns the Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas, anticipate tenant merchants to open that day.

QVC to launch new channel, Beauty iQ

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

QVC is going after a larger share of the red-hot beauty category and plans to launch a TV network devoted to related products and topics.

Alibaba hosts 8-hour fashion show

Monday, October 24, 2016

Alibaba hosted an eight-hour fashion show as part of its run-up to Singles Day on Nov. 11 and announced new programs designed to drive traffic and sales.

Should Kroger go after Whole Foods?

Monday, October 24, 2016

The business press headlines blew up earlier this month over an analyst’s tweet that Kroger might be looking to acquire Whole Foods. The tweet was speculative – both companies refused to comment – as were all the articles that followed, but there are reasons that one could give to either fan the flames of this story or douse them.

Dick’s wins $70M bid for Golfsmith

Monday, October 24, 2016

Dick’s Sporting Goods has won a bankruptcy auction bid for the assets of Golfsmith for roughly $70 million.

REI to close Black Friday and grow #OptOutside

Monday, October 24, 2016

REI will once again close on Black Friday and encourage shoppers to #OptOutside instead. The move last year was so successful for the outdoor co-operative that it now boasts a national movement of more than 275 organizations that have been inspired to do the same.

News of Note

Amazon debuts new cloud service Silicon Angle

REI CEO shames Macy’s for early opening Business Insider

Brands get ready for Gen Z Fortune

Teavana’s new store design Chain Store Age

Under Armour tumbles Bloomberg

And Finally… The Trump brand losing favor with wealthy consumers CNBC

October 25, 2016

FierceRetail Logo

Categories: Uncategorized

Virtual Fashion Technology Now Open for New Proprietary Content

October 25, 2016 Leave a comment

To our thousands of readers worldwide from your blogmaster (am4ucmo).If you continue to follow my blog and wish to contribute proprietary content that is germane to this blog, please let me know and send me a link to your proposed content. If I accept it, I will post it with full credit (and responsibility)to you.

Happy Holidays,

Bud Robinson

Categories: Uncategorized

A Multi-Channel Marketing Workbook

October 25, 2016 Leave a comment


Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn

The Power of A/B Testing

You have probably heard the buzz building in the marketing community about multi-channel marketing. Implementing a multi-channel marketing approach in your programs and campaigns will help you be where your buyers are, which is essential in order to stand out in a crowded market.Download “A Multi-Channel Marketing Workbook” to learn how to build a multi-channel marketing strategy.


For a closer look at how Marketo can help you engage and connect with your audience, register for a free and informative marketing automation overview.

Categories: Uncategorized

A New Era of Internet Attacks Powered by Everyday Devices

October 23, 2016 Leave a comment

WASHINGTON — When surveillance cameras began popping up in the 1970s and ’80s, they were welcomed as a crime-fighting tool, then as a way to monitor traffic congestion, factory floors and even baby cribs. Later, they were adopted for darker purposes, as authoritarian governments like China’s used them to prevent challenges to power by keeping tabs on protesters and dissidents.

But now those cameras — and many other devices that today are connected to the internet — have been commandeered for an entirely different purpose: as a weapon of mass disruption. The internet slowdown that swept the East Coast on Friday, when many Americans were already jittery about the possibility that hackers could interfere with election systems, offered a glimpse of a new era of vulnerabilities confronting a highly connected society.

The attack on the infrastructure of the internet, which made it all but impossible at times to check Twitter feeds or headlines, was a remarkable reminder about how billions of ordinary web-connected devices — many of them highly insecure — can be turned to vicious purposes. And the threats will continue long after Election Day for a nation that increasingly keeps its data in the cloud and has oftentimes kept its head in the sand.

Remnants of the attack continued to slow some sites on Saturday, though the biggest troubles had abated. Still, to the tech community, Friday’s events were as inevitable as an earthquake along the San Andreas fault. A new kind of malicious software exploits a long-known vulnerability in those cameras and other cheap devices that are now joining up to what has become known as the internet of things.


The advantage of putting every device on the internet is obvious. It means your refrigerator can order you milk when you are running low, and the printer on your home network can tell a retailer that you need more ink. Security cameras can alert your cellphone when someone is walking up the driveway, whether it is a delivery worker or a burglar. When Google and the Detroit automakers get their driverless cars on the road, the internet of things will become your chauffeur.

But hundreds of thousands, and maybe millions, of those security cameras and other devices have been infected with a fairly simple program that guessed at their factory-set passwords — often “admin” or “12345” or even, yes, “password” — and, once inside, turned them into an army of simple robots. Each one was commanded, at a coordinated time, to bombard a small company in Manchester, N.H., called Dyn DNS with messages that overloaded its circuits.

Few have heard of Dyn, but it essentially acts as one of the internet’s giant switchboards. Bring it to a halt, and the problems spread instantly. It did not take long to reduce Twitter, Reddit and Airbnb — as well as the news feeds of The New York Times — to a crawl.

The culprit is unclear, and it may take days or weeks to detect it. In the end, though, the answer probably does not mean much anyway.

The vulnerability the country woke up to on Friday morning can be easily exploited by a nation-state such as Russia, which the Obama administration has blamed for hacking into the Democratic National Committee and the accounts of Hillary Clinton’s campaign officials. It could also be exploited by a criminal group, which was the focus of much of the guesswork about Friday’s attack, or even by teenagers. The opportunities for copycats are endless.

The starkest warning came in mid-September from Bruce Schneier, an internet security expert, who posted a brief essay titled “Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet.” The technique was hardly news: Entities like the North Korean government and extortionists have long used “distributed denial-of-service” attacks to direct a flood of data at sites they do not like.

“If the attacker has a bigger fire hose of data than the defender has,” he wrote, “the attacker wins.”

But in recent times, hackers have been exploring the vulnerabilities of the companies that make up the backbone of the internet — just as states recently saw examinations of the systems that hold their voter registration rolls. Attacks on the companies escalated, Mr. Schneier wrote, “as if the attack were looking for the exact point of failure.” Think of the mighty Maginot Line, tested again and again by the German Army in 1940, until it found the weak point and rolled into Paris.

The difference with the internet is that it is not clear in the United States who is supposed to be protecting it. The network does not belong to the government — or really to anyone. Instead, every organization is responsible for defending its own little piece. Banks, retailers and social media hubs are supposed to invest in protecting their websites, but that does not help much if the connections among them are severed.

The Department of Homeland Security is supposed to provide the baseline of internet defense for the United States, but it is constantly playing catch-up. In recent weeks, it deployed teams to the states to help them find and patch vulnerabilities in their voter registration systems and their networks for reporting results.

Categories: Uncategorized
%d bloggers like this: