Monday, December 2, 2013

Psycho Cyber Monday

Over the last couple of days I have done a bit of online shopping to fill out the rest of the gifts my wife and I have been meaning to pick up for the holidays. It was also a good time to pick up the Secret Santa (or as I call it the Hidden Hanukkah Harry) gift for the person in my office whose name I picked out of a bowl last week. While we were limited in our gift giving last year and we still are this year as well it seems as though the discounts are significantly steeper this year than in any other year I can remember.

Between general coupons and sale prices on specific items the prices seemed to have been at least 50% below the usual cost. Some items were around 90% off. Maybe they were last year’s style or a step behind in the evolution of technology but it doesn’t bother me and you really can’t tell unless you study the products over and over again. So while we may have gone into this shopping season thinking that we were going to spend a bit more, it looks like the budget will remain relatively the same.

One of the interesting things that came about this season is the announcement regarding the future use of drones for thirty minute delivery. While it is interesting to hear grand ideas being proposed, some would even say a little nuts, it make you wonder if these people have really given enough thought as to the logistics of such a project. In this particular instance, beyond the FAA, regulation, and security issues surrounding such a drone program what is the communications network going to look like to support this endeavor? Based on my experience, this is something that would need a kinetic mesh network (look it up, it is the best option).

It’s the same mentality that overcomes many people during this holiday season when people head into the retail trenches with grand ideas of getting the best possible gift while spending as little money as possible. Inevitably, somewhere along the line, if the right systems and limitations are not in place all those good intentions seem to evaporate. The timing has to be right, the mentality has to be ardent, and the finances have to make sense.

But, if everything is in place, and the right steps are taken, these kinds of grandiose endeavors can be successful and tremendously profitable. Think about the meeting of these two worlds. Image sitting on the train on your way home. You place an order for an ink cartridge you need to get some work done that night. You select the 30 minutes delivery option and by the time you get home you are ready to go. With such a sharp increase in the success of online and mobile sales, the hyper-expedited shipping option could be a game changer in future holiday shopping seasons.

However, I worry. Essentially, the greatest beneficiary of such a program would be the consumer while the greatest liability to such a program is the consumer. If someone is willing to tase a fellow human being in a store I doubt they would have any issue with taking out a drone.