Showing posts with label Containers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Containers. Show all posts

October 28, 2012

A Bottle Revolution


How many of you feel sort of disgusting every time you take out the trash with bottles and containers?

According to Earth911, only 27% of plastic and 25% of glass ends up getting recycled, with the majority ending up instead in landfills. 

This is one reason that I really like the new eco.bottles made by Ecologic, a sustainable (i.e. green) packaging company.

The containers are made of two parts:

- The inner plastic pouch that holds the liquid and snaps into the second part.
- The outer shell made of 100% recycled cardboard and newspaper (and in turn is 100% recycable again). 

These containers result is a net 70% plastic reduction!

Yet, they have the same strength and functionality of plastic containers, with comparable results in drop, ship, and moisture tests.

And companies like, Seventh Generation, a leader in sustaibable cleaning, paper, and personal care products have signed on and is using eco.bottles, and they have seen sales increase 19% with it. 

In a Bloomberg BusinessWeek (25 October 2012) article, the chief operating officer of The Winning Combination states: "The minute you look at it, you get it. This is a bottle that's good for the planet."

Like these eco.bottles, we need more of our decisions to be driven by what is good for us long-term, so this is not just a revolutionary green bottle, but perhaps a true sustainable evolution in our thinking and behaving all around. 

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November 4, 2011

What's In That Container?

Ever since 9-11, there has been acute concern about preventing "the next" big attack on our nation.
Will it be a suitcase bomb, anthrax in the mail, an attack on our mass transit systems, or perhaps a nuclear device smuggled into one of our ports--all very frightening scenarios!
The last one though has been of particular fascination and concern given the amount of commerce that passes through our ports--more than 95% of our international trade--and hence the damage that could be done to our economy should these ports be hit as well as the challenges in being able adequately screen all the containers coming through--a massive undertaking.
Wired Magazine (November 2011) did a feature story on this topic in an article called "Mystery Box."
The article highlights the unbelievable damage that could occur if a dirty bomb ("a radiological dispersion device") were to get through in one of the millions of 20 foot long by 8 foot wide shipping containers out there--aside from the risk to lives, "it would result in a major national freak-out...cause billions and billions of dollars in economic damage...dirty bombs are weapons of mass disruption."
While 99% of shipping containers are scanned when they arrive in the U.S., DHS is supposedly challenged in implementing a bill requiring scanning every container before they enter the U.S.--"some 66,000 [containers] a day."
Instead "100 percent screening" is being pursued where, shipping information is checked before arrival--including vessel, people, and cargo, origination, and destination--and when an anomaly or cause for concern is detected--if there is a U.S. Customs Officer at the origination port, they can check it there already.
However, there are still at least four major issues affecting our port security today:
1) Most containers are still checked only once they actually get onshore.
2) The scanners are too easily foiled--"most detectors are set to ignore low radiation levels. [And] basic shielding would be enough to mask all but the strongest sources."
3) Thoroughly scanning every container is considered too time-consuming using current processes and technology and therefore, would adversely affect our commerce and economy.
4) Around the world "Customs tends not focus on containers being transshipped [those moving from ship to ship]. Their attitude is 'It's not my container, it's just passing through.'"
This is a perfect example of technology desperately needed to address a very serious issue.
Certainly, we cannot bring our economy to a standstill either by unnecessarily checking every "widget" that comes over or by risking the catastrophic effects of a WMD attack.
So for now, we are in a catch-22, darned if we do check everything as well as if we don't.
This is where continued research and development, technological innovation, and business process reengineering must be directed--to secure our country sooner than later.
The risks are being managed best we can for now, but we must overcome the current obstacles to screening by breaking the paradigm that we are boxed into today.
(Source Photo: here)

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May 30, 2008

Design and Enterprise Architecture

Design, style, and innovation are important communication mechanisms and are crucial to User-centric EA. These communication mechanisms are used in information visualization and is heavily used in EA to develop useful and usable information products that can be easily understood and applied.

Increasingly, design is taking center-stage across technical and everyday products in our economy.

The Wall Street Journal, 4 January 2008, reports in no less than three separate articles on the importance of design and style for everyday products from computers to hard drives and even storage containers.

Here are some examples from a front page article titled, “PCs Take a Stylish Turn in Bid to Rival Apple”:

  • “Dell is trying to inject a sense of style into the company’s PCs, with new shapes, sizes, and color.”
  • PC Makers are “racing to replace boring boxes with sexy silhouettes that will differentiate their products, entice new buyers, and command higher prices.”
  • Forrester Research “issued a report last June heralding a new ‘age of style’ in the PC market. It concluded that more attractive models could command $150 to $200 more.”
  • “During most of the industry’s 30-year history, PC makers didn’t worry much about style. A bigger challenge was boosting technical performance and wringing costs from suppliers.” Now an Intel anthropologist states “there is a sense of, ‘Oh my G-d, why does this have to be so ugly?’”
  • Lenovo stated that now “designers have equal weight at the table.”
  • Dell has gone from 6 designers in 2001 to 90 designers now and they are still recruiting.
  • At the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft will hold a PC ‘fashion show’ with judges picking the top three designs.

Additional articles the same day point to the importance of design and style. For example, the article “Can a Hard Drive Make a Fashion Statement” states that Seagate “kicked off a new strategy at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show, offering drives with sleek shapes and lights to woo users accustomed to iPod-like elegance.” And in another article titled, “The Struggle to Contain Ourselves,” about the briskly growing $6 billion storage and organization industry where “style is increasingly important” and “once just plastic bins in industrial blue or clear, specialized storage products are now available for most conceivable uses in an array of material, from bamboo to faux leather to sea grass.”

While certainly consumer products are different than information products provided by EA, there is clear understanding now that design, fashion, style, and innovation are critical in reaching out to people, getting them interested in your products (consumer or information), and that design demands a premium in the marketplace. As the Intel anthropologist stated “why does this have to be so ugly?” Similarly, I would ask why do traditional EA products have to so often be so ugly, difficult to understand and apply. Let’s transition the way we do architecture to User-centric EA and design innovative information products that capture our users’ attention, really “talk to them,” clearly identify problem areas, propose alternative solutions, and lead to better decision making. Our executives are busy people with challenging jobs. We owe it to them to provide information in User-centric EA ways.


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