March 2017

Industrial Distribution speaks with BoldIQ on Supply Chain

How Will Amazon’s Air Hub Impact Supply Chain Markets? by Mike Hockett

 

Amazon recently unveiled plans to build a $1.5 billion air cargo hub at the Northern Kentucky airport to accommodate its growing fleet of Prime delivery jets. Similar to how Amazon initially developed Amazon Web Services to meet its own cloud needs and then offered it to the public, this move may only be the tip of the iceberg, first addressing its own fulfillment/logistics needs, but easily extensible to future ecosystem players in the supply chain.

I spoke with Roei Ganzarski, CEO of supply chain software optimization provider BoldIQ, to discuss what Amazon’s air hub means for its internal supply chain, the ramifications for major logistics providers, and what’s next for Amazon in this area. Ganzarski is also former 13-year Boeing executive. Here’s our conversation:

ID: How would you compare how Amazon developed Amazon Web Services to how it is developing its own Prime air delivery?

Roei GanzarskiI, of course, am in no position to speak for Amazon or why they do things. With that said, as an outside observer, AWS was initially set up to handle all of Amazon’s own internal needs. When they saw the power, quality, and potential of what they had for their own needs, they then offered it externally so that others could benefit as well. This is actually very logical and other companies have gone through the same roadmap. Amazon has now established its first aviation cargo hub to handle its own needs. It would not be a stretch to envision a not too distant future in which Amazon sees the power, quality, and potential of what they have, and offer it externally to any and all companies with cargo needs.

ID: Would you say geography is the main driver behind Amazon picking the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport for its air cargo hub? (centrally located between a handful of regional cities like Cincinnati, Columbus, Louisville, Indianapolis; short flights to/from Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Atlanta, Philadelphia, etc.)

Roei Ganzarski: Geography, airspace and ground space and cost are key factors. When setting up a hub of this size, with potential growth projections, an airport that is conveniently located to fly short and long distances is a plus. But that is not all. It needs to be easily accessible both by air (an uncongested airspace) and by ground (so that trucks and vans can easily and quickly access the hub). And, of course, having it be affordable is very important. Bottom line, this location makes perfect sense as you would not expect to see this type of setup in a popular, crowded, major hub. At least not initially for internal use.

ID: Do you see this as being Amazon’s only U.S. air cargo hub for a while, or do you envision them establishing others – perhaps one on the west coast?

Roei Ganzarski: I personally believe we will see Amazon opening a similar hub somewhere in Asia. With the amount of cargo they ship from Asia, it would not surprise me to see them setting up their own cargo operations there. Perhaps China, Vietnam or another key manufacturing arena. Then, I would expect additional hubs to be setup across the U.S. and Asia followed by Europe and other regions as they grow.

ID: Overall, this air cargo may be just the next step in what seems to be Amazon’s overall goal of having complete management of its supply chain logistics and becoming independent from third party services. If that is indeed their goal, what are the ramifications for those other major logistics providers? (UPS, FedEx, etc.)

Roei Ganzarski: When one of the largest movers of goods (Amazon) decides to move transportation and delivery in-house vs outsourced to other carriers (UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, etc), it always impacts those carriers. When you project into the not-too-distant future, in which Amazon may in fact compete with these very same carriers, this becomes a real challenge the carriers have to start planning for. They can no longer ‘rest on the laurels’ of their previous success. They will have to look for ways to provide more value to their customers. More reliability, more speed, more convenience, all at a lower price and cost.

ID: What kinds of companies or service providers could benefit from Amazon taking over its supply chain? (drone makers, autonomous truck makers, retailers, freight logistics technology providers, etc.)

Roei GanzarskiFirst and foremost, anyone shipping packages will benefit. Shippers will now have another great option to select from when shipping their packages and goods. Moreover, this new entrant will force moves toward higher levels of efficiency at lower costs at the other carriers as well. Thus, shippers (be it companies or consumers) will benefit. Naturally, anyone supporting Amazon in their endeavors will most likely gain as well. Manufacturers of airplanes (Boeing got the 767 deal), trucks, drones, pallets, dollies, loading equipment, cargo tracking, uniform makers…and the list goes on.

ID: How do you see this development by Amazon impacting other major companies like Alibaba, Walmart or Home Depot?

Roei GanzarskiInnovative visionary companies drive growth and progress in their own industries and in industries around them. Back in the day, Wal-Mart did some amazing first-of-its-kind revolutionary things from how they managed stock in their warehouses and stores vis-a-vis their suppliers, to using jets to efficiently move management around. Many then followed suit. Now Wal-Mart is the one following Amazon. For example, Wal-Mart is now trying to ‘one up’ Amazon on two-day shipping and offering it for free with no memberships fees. This is just a small sample of what is yet to come. These companies are creating an environment ripe for innovation, convenience, higher value and service levels, where it was once not possible.

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BoldIQ in The Middle East

Jeppesen pitches Operator for real-time control and accessibility to business aviation

 

Published in ArabianIndustry.com and AviationBusinessME.com

By: Shayan Shakeel

From aircraft scheduling to weight and balance, business jet operators have numerous concerns to address before, and after, a flight, and real-time access to information is becoming ever critical.

Enter Operator, a collaboration between Boeing’s Jeppesen and operations management software provider BoldIQ. Built for pilots and operations staff and available through the cloud, Operator integrates key business aviation functionality in a ‘one-stop shop’ self-service environment.

That means flight planning, runway performance, weight and balance, crew management, aircraft scheduling, domestic and international trip planning and reporting (financial, maintenance and customs), customer account management, real time pricing and cost accounting capabilities, can all be managed through one interface, over the cloud and on any device.

“The complexities and real-time dynamic nature of on-demand aviation operations are significant, much more than in other industries we’ve seen,” says Roei Ganzarski, president and CEO, BoldIQ. “So it’s the combination of sophisticated industry proven technologies and experience-based know-how that makes Jeppesen’s solution so powerful and applicable.”

Operator combines Jeppesen’s 40-years of experience in flight and international trip planning with BoldIQ’s over 10 years in aviation on-demand flight operations and optimisation experience, into a single, united user platform.

Jeppesen says the improvement in data sharing, resource utilisation and simplification of access and usability are all backed by proven technology. Operator seamlessly integrates scheduling, crew and fleet management, customer account management, real-time pricing and cost accounting, all driven by advanced optimisation capabilities, says Mike DiDonato, director, Industry Services, Jeppesen.

“Jeppesen Operator represents the culmination of years of meticulous research and proven in-production software, understanding customer driven requirements and design work performed to create the next generation business aviation tool,” says DiDonato. “Integrating multiple resources into a single platform, optimised by BoldIQ’s technology, allows improved collaboration, increased productivity and reduced errors, with total operational control. Plus, Jeppesen’s renowned global customer service team is available 24/7 to resolve any issues that customers may encounter.”

When using the Concierge service with Operator, customers can connect with Jeppesen’s International Trip Planning (ITP) global experts for assistance with traditional ITP tasks such as managing flight plans, permits, handling arrangements, customs issues or to establish a line of credit to eliminate operational financial concerns that could jeopardize a planned flight. Airport, FBO, and vendor data for Operator systems is generated by the Jeppesen Aviation Database, which Jeppen says is the most comprehensive in the industry.
Pulling together all of these essential business aviation elements also requires the need for ensuring compliance with regulatory and business policies and procedures. And Operator uses multiple rules engines, including those unique to a customer’s operations, to satisfy this need.

Operator ensures regulatory and business policy and procedure compliance using multiple rules engines, including those unique to a customer’s operation, to provide a custom trip check list. Automatically generated, it provides insight into the requirements for each trip and determines if additional resources are needed. This process enhances situational awareness and assures the trip will be released for flight.

Looking ahead, Operator will integrate with mobile apps in use by operators for navigation, electronic flight bag, and pilot operational interaction capabilities, integrating planning and operations systems in an end-to-end digital management solution.

The company also provides a mobile crew portal that will soon be integrated into Jeppesen charting and Boeing Electronic Flight Folder applications. This will create further operational efficiencies across common systems. Additionally, new features and functionality are in the works for Operator, including new disruption management capabilities developed with BoldIQ and a new app platform that will further drive business aviation efficiency.

Click to see the full story in Arabian Industry

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BoldIQ Team BoldIQ featured in IoTNow

Are drones and autonomous vehicles the answer for smart services in rural areas? by Jeremy Cowan

 

When we all talk about smart cities we are, of course, overlooking something important. Not everyone lives in a city. One company is working to redress this imbalance. Here, Jeremy Cowan of IoT Now talks to Roei Ganzarski, CEO of BoldIQ.

IoT Now: The growing smart cities revolution has been heavily covered in the news lately. What about rural areas?

Roei Ganzarski: Although smart cities usually steal the spotlight, the smart rural area is a trend tech-savvy readers should be following as well. Our cities are heavily congested, but remote areas where population is more sparse present room for optimisation as well.

For example, the on-demand trend is more difficult to execute outside of the densely-populated metro areas because sending a driver with a car on a two-hour drive to deliver a single package in a rural community will burn through the driver’s time, gas and wear away at the delivery vehicle.

The solution to the inefficiency in rural-area deliveries is removing the human factor altogether. How? Think drones and autonomous vehicles. First and foremost, drones and autonomous cars are efficient, low-cost and timely. Implementation of next generation technologies like driverless cars, trucks and drones will help make deliveries, even in sparsely populated areas, more efficient.

IoT Now: What differences in technologies will we see in smart cities v. smart rural areas?

RG: Contrary to popular belief, rural areas will implement autonomous vehicles and drones before metro areas. Congestion and parking of metro areas will only complicate the successful use of driverless vehicles, making the sparsely populated rural areas more attractive for early implementation and testing.

We’ll see small bots make short distance on-demand deliveries within large cities and drone deliveries and autonomous trucks and vans hauling goods long distance in rural areas – Think Uber’s successful cross-Colorado beer delivery.

As smart cities and rural areas become more connected, these two methods will begin working together to make both regions more efficient. ‘Long haul’ autonomous vehicles will bring their cargo to depots on the outskirts of cities, like Amazon’s new cargo hub in Kentucky, then workers will transfer the shipments to smaller delivery bots or drones to complete the so-called ‘last mile’ deliveries.

IoT Now: Does the greater focus on smart cities mean rural connections will lag behind in the future?

RG: No, for the reasons outlined above, rural areas will probably surge ahead of cities in trialling these innovative methods. Consider recent examples (Uber’s successful cross-Colorado beer delivery and Amazon’s drone delivery in rural U.K.) that point to the trend of rural areas being favoured for early implementation of next generation delivery and transportation methods.

The wide-open spaces present fewer risks when trialling new delivery and transportation methods. While in test or general use, would we rather have a drone flying over a dense neighbourhood with playgrounds, schools and roadways underneath or in a more remote secluded area with farmland and open space?

IoT Now: How will smart connections be used by the average person, based on location?

RG: In the next few years, location will play a major role in the way next generation technologies impact a person’s life. Rural areas can expect to see an increase in driverless cars and drones, while cities will see more small bot deliveries in the near future.

Regardless of exact implementation, next gen technologies will connect rural and urban areas and make sure they are truly ‘smart’ by improving the efficiency of deliveries and transportation. As delivery methods become more efficient and cost-effective, consumers may then find themselves significantly changing their buying patterns and buying more, simply because they can, which increases business.

IoT Now: How long will it take for us to implement and adopt these next gen technologies?

RG: Next generation technology presents an opportunity to improve our day to day lives, from less congestion on the roads to real-time deliveries, all the time. Following operational testing and addressing inherent problems (for example, the safety of a delivery drone or the decision-making capabilities of the single autonomous car), cities and rural regions will need to consider the cohesive deployment of these technologies.

The greatest challenge is not ensuring the drone can make it from point A to B as planned, but rather overseeing the deployment of these new fleets to avoid a sky overfilled with drones or roads congested with driverless cars; Essentially adding to the problem we are seeking to solve.

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BoldIQ about the Future of Cities

Ask The Thought Leaders: What’s the Future of Cities? By Future of Everything’s Nick Hastreiter

In the past decade we went from “dumbphones” to “smartphones”.

In the upcoming decade, we’ll see this exact same transition take place with the very cities we live in. “Smart Cities” is a new term that’s been getting a lot of attention.

At the core, Smart Cities are leveraging Internet of Things (IoT) and other emerging technologies to create cities that are well, smarter. Better. Faster. And more efficient.

While we know it’s a hot buzzword, we can’t really understand exactly what it will be like to live in one of these cities of the future. So, to get a better understanding, we spoke with industry experts and asked….

What’s the future of Smart Cities?

Here’s what we found out!

Roei Ganzarski, CEO of BoldIQ: “Drones, driverless vans, delivery bots, and other future technologies have the potential to make a great impact on our day to day lives, making life easier, more real-time, and perhaps even healthier. From less congestion on the roads to real-time deliveries, all the time. In dense cities, delivery of Amazon purchases or restaurant orders will be done by small bots and sidewalk-based drones alleviating traffic by minimizing the number of large vehicles in a city. On the other hand, rural areas should see an increase in drone deliveries and autonomous trucks and vans hauling goods long distance. These next generation technologies will connect rural and urban areas, providing a higher quality of life and ensuring communities are truly smart.”

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BoldIQ covered in Seattle 24X7

Real-Time Software for the On-Demand World: BoldIQ Builds It One Solution at a Time

Optimizing On-Demand Air Travel, Ground Transportation, Health Care Operations, and HR Staffing  — from the Inside-Out.

Frequent flyer Ed Iacobucci was growing weary of the downtime he routinely suffered in business air travel. Instead of gaining valuable face-time with colleagues and customers, the inefficiency of airport layovers and a myriad of other logistical challenges meant costly delays.

Was a 24-hour investment really necessary for a two-hour trip? At the time, the Brazilian-born systems architect was helping forge the joint IBM-Microsoft design initiative for IBM DOS and had learned two important lessons: Working with Seattle was easy. Getting there was hard.

Before Ed would go on to found Citrix Systems — and eventually foster the time-saving “virtual meeting” — the tech jet-setter had what people in the industry would call an optimization problem on his hands.

What if there was a software solution that combined flight scheduling and logistics with executive jet aircraft — and that worked with Occam razor-like efficiency?  In aviation, the software’s checklist was complex: flight plans, pilots, co-pilots, attendants, weather, airports, fuel, food, and above all else, safety.

The IBM manager who was helping to enable the Microsoft DOS lift off would soon find an answer with another Microsoft engineer emeritus and a former CEO of Symantec by the name of Vern Raburn. Raburn’s startup company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, known as Eclipse Aviation, was on a similar mission to build a fleet of jet “taxis” for under a million dollars a piece. A major stake-holder on the Eclipse project at the time was one Bill Gates.

Iacobucci called upon a unique team of problem-solvers, a retinue of Jewish emigres from the former Soviet Union who had been brought over from Israel after the startups they had created were acquired by Citrix. It took the squad over four years to build the initial core optimization engine.

Day Jet, the aviation Uber of its day, stayed aloft for just over three years until, in 2008, the company was grounded on two fronts — first, the economy careened, sharply curtailing demand. Secondly, the cost of the planes could not come in under one million dollars, but closer to $3 million instead.

The aviation service was hangered, but the software engine had been cleared for take-off. The brainchild of Iacobucci, Raburn (and investor Gates), was taken over by a group of investors and became the propulsion engine for Bellevue-based BoldIQ.

Biography aligns with trajectory.  As BoldIQ’s CEO, Ganzarski combined the logistical vision he developed as Chief Customer Officer for Boeing’s Flight Services division with over three decades of global business management expertise. Today, Roei sits on the board of the Washington Technology Industry Association and is chairman of the global business advisory board at the University of Washington Foster School of Business. He has earned an MBA from the UW, and a BA in Economics from The University of Haifa.

Seattle24x7:  Welcome, Roei. BoldIQ appears to be squarely positioned to empower the “on-demand” economy. We can’t help but notice the irony that the software solutions you create are also developed “on-demand,” according to each of your customer’s “demands” from the inside-out!

Roei: In essence, we began not as a software company that was looking to solve a problem, but as an operations company that uses software to solve real world operational challenges. That fact, by itself, provides a completely different twist on how we look at and solve a problem. We do not try to reach the ultimate, mathematical solution. Rather, we strive to provide our customers with the best plan possible that meets their operational needs at the time they have to make an operational decision.

Seattle24x7: Your approach represented a major departure from the linear optimization software of the time?

Roei:  Yes, there were, and still are, optimization engines out there that focus on trying to reach an ultimate mathematical goal.

Traditional optimization software was based on linear programming. Because it is linear by nature, the constraints employed are limited to outcomes like ‘yes or no,’ or a rising scale calculation, and so forth.

We did some benchmarking with other companies and universities comparing the elements of traditional mathematical optimization versus our model, and where we would solve queries in 15 seconds to 15 minutes, it would take the traditional optimization platforms anywhere from a few hours to “overnight” to process.

We have been able to “crack the code” and take a whole different approach to what true, logistics operational optimization means. One, it’s working from the “inside-out.” Two, it’s understanding expectations. If I’m an operator I don’t need a 100% empirical solution. I need something I can use when I need to use it. That requires a different approach.

Seattle24x7: Linear is not the model for real-time decision support?

Roe: Let me give you an example of an Asian airline rule required to be upheld when a flight plan included travel to mainland China: they must have four cabin crew that speak Mandarin Chinese. That’s a fairly simple, linear constraint. But here is a twist: one of the cabin crew has to be a male, and when there are male cabin crew onboard, there have to be an even number of them.  So you can see how this set of constraints becomes non-linear. Traditional linear based programming cannot solve it.

What the airline used to do with their old software was to try and create a perfect schedule (an initial investment of eight hours roughly), and then spend 2-3 days manually manipulating the plan to incorporate the language rules. Once we were able to put the same rules into our engine, the airline could produce a month-long schedule in twenty minutes that met all their needs.

Seattle24x7: Are these real world constraints entered on-the-fly by the operator, or pre-programmed during design?

Roe: What we have is a set of algorithms, whether it’s for business aviation, last mile mobile workforce, health care, or HR staffing. In each case, we look at the issues the industry must solve. What do the problems look like? How can we sequence or combine the algorithms that fit the industry? There is a mathematical theorem called “No Free Lunch,” that ordains you can’t have one generic solution that solves everyone’s problems.  So our approach is to build a customized solution for each industry. Within that framework, the customer or operator can decide which rules are relevant to them or not, and to configure each of these rules themselves.

Seattle24x7: Looking at transportation and e-commerce, the next generation appears to be about delivery vehicles like drones and driverless cars. The logistical challenges boggle the mind.

Roei:  It is a complicated problem. Yet, from our perspective, we look at the Internet of Things, driverless cars and drones as just the next input-output session. A driverless car or a delivery drone is just another resource. Instead of having a driver receive an optimized schedule of the various pickups on a route, it’ll be a driverless car that gets it through a remote API.

From an optimization standpoint, a key question that could be asked is why should an Amazon delivery vehicle only deliver Amazon products? It could also deliver Walmart products, Google products or Nordstrom products. The idea of four different cars, or drones, coming to the same house requires over capacity and creates unwanted congestion and waste.

Seattle24x7: Speaking of ground transportation, we have a traffic congestion problem here in Seattle that is in dire need of optimization.

Roei:  A city is limited by the driving resources it has in term of roads and highways. You can’t just build another road on demand.  The number of paved roads and lanes is fixed at least for a given period of time. The number of parking spots is also pretty much fixed, So when it comes to adding automobiles, you can either flood the roads with cars and create congestion, or make the use of cars more efficient and reduce the use of the same number of resources. No mathematical wizardry there.

In Seattle, what has happened it that taxi companies have not been efficient enough in their operations to meet the needs and demands of the riding public. So they basically created a situation that in essence invited in the ride-sharing companies. The city of Seattle could require cab companies who want to continue operating in our city, to start using some efficiency tools and technology. I’m not talking about so called radio or computer dispatching. I’m talking about intelligent scheduling.

We should be asking cab companies to show us increased levels of efficiency and service. Instead, what we have done is invite more cars into the city in the form of ride sharing companies to meet the same demand. Again this creates over capacity, congestion, and waste.

The challenge for the city of Seattle, and any city with a finite resource of roads, is purely operational optimization. Provide the level of transportation required for the riding public, with the least amount and waste of resources.

Seattle24x7:  How would we think about real-time scheduling in another industry, say the health care field?

Roei:  In a hospital environment, there are a myriad of resources needed to do a job. Let’s say, for example, that you need to perform neurosurgery. First of all, you have a finite number of operating rooms and surgical equipment available at any given time. Then you have a specific pool of highly skilled doctors and surgeons who are certified to perform the procedure. Add in the nursing staff, including those who are specialized.

Next, you have the demand-side of the equation which are the patients. You need to make sure that each patient is well-prepared. For instance, that they haven’t eaten in the last 24-hours, have passed their pre-op checks, etc.

What’s more, a number of surgeries will take place in a given time period. So, the question arises – in a steady state, what is the best schedule that will allow you to have the most surgeries done with the most efficient use of those resources in a way that adheres to quality and safety rules and an optimal patient experience?

Seattle24x7:  You’re a board member of the Washington Technology Association and you chair the Global Business Advisory board of the University of Washington’s Foster Business School. What excites you most about the Seattle area?

Roei:  What a phenomenal place to live and work. You have Amazon who is advancing retail software and logistics. You have Microsoft building and embedding global software as a service. You have Boeing, Paccar, F5, to name but a few.

At the same time, you have a marvelous mix of technology bases. If you want to do .NET stuff, you go to the Eastside. If you want to do more Java work, you go to Seattle. To top it all off you have a world class university – UW – teaching the next generation of leaders. Ultimately, where Silicon Valley was all about startups, Seattle is also widely focused on global business in retail and manufacturing. Here, there is not just one industry that limits in which direction you can grow. You’ll find the people and the experience to do it all —in a gorgeous and friendly environment. [24×7]

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