Daily Archives: September 2, 2021

Why Managers Fear a Remote-Work Future

Like it or not, the way we work has already evolved.
By Ed Zitron – In 2019, Steven Spielberg called for a ban on Oscar eligibility for streaming films, claiming that “movie theaters need to be around forever” and that audiences had to be given “the motion picture theatrical experience” for a movie to be a movie. Spielberg’s fury was about not only the threat that streaming posed to the in-person viewing experience but the ways in which the streaming giant Netflix reported theatrical grosses and budgets, despite these not being the ways in which one evaluates whether a movie is good or not. Netflix held firm, saying that it stood for “everyone, everywhere [enjoying] releases at the same time,” and for “giving filmmakers more ways to share art.” Ultimately, Spielberg balked, and last month his company even signed a deal with Netflix, likely because he now sees the writing on the wall: Modern audiences enjoy watching movies at home.

In key ways, this fight resembles the current remote-work debate in industries such as technology and finance. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, this has often been cast as a battle between the old guard and its assumed necessities and a new guard that has found a better way to get things done. But the narrative is not that tidy. Netflix’s co-founder and CEO, Reed Hastings, one of the great “disruptors” of our age, deemed remote work “a pure negative” last fall. The 60-year-old Hastings is at the forefront of an existential crisis in the world of work, demanding that people return to the office despite not having an office himself. His criticism of remote work is that “not being able to get together in person” is bad. more>

Updates from McKinsey

Buy now, pay later: Five business models to compete
Financing at the point of sale may be a small share of unsecured lending in the United States today, but it’s growing fast. Banks seeking long-term growth should explore market entry, and merchants should reassess their financing offers.
By Puneet Dikshit, Diana Goldshtein, Blazej Karwowski, Udai Kaura, and Felicia Tan – Point-of-sale (POS) financing services in the United States have grown significantly over the past 24 months, especially since the onset of COVID-19. Trends fueling growth include digitization, rising merchant adoption, increasing repeat usage among younger consumers, and an expanding set of players targeting lending at point of sale, a service also known as “buy now, pay later.”

Thus far, fintechs have taken the lead, to the point of diverting $8 billion to $10 billion in annual revenues away from banks, according to McKinsey’s Consumer Lending Pools data. In our view, only a few banks are responding fast enough and boldly enough to compete. Banks that underestimate the threat may see continued loss in share and could lose out on participating in a growing value pool and gaining share among younger and new-to-credit customers, as banks in Australia and China did when facing a similar situation. To avoid that outcome, US banks need to understand the landscape for POS financing and choose from among the emerging models.

This article seeks to give POS financing players as well as merchants the necessary insights to refine their strategies in the POS-financing arena. It provides an overview of the market, details key trends and factors influencing growth, and offers ideas for market entry for banks and partnerships for merchants. The insights are based on McKinsey research, including McKinsey Consumer Lending Pools (a proprietary database covering granular market size and growth trends), the McKinsey POS Financing Consumer Survey and POS Financing Merchant Survey, and our recent experience with banks and merchants. more>

Updates from Ciena

Simplifying Open Submarine Cable Link Engineering
How can a new and better way to perform submarine cable link budgeting address challenges associated with the open submarine cable model? Brian Lavallée explains why the submarine network industry is moving towards these new metrics and how you can learn more in our new handbook.
By Brian Lavallée – Terrestrial networks leverage many optical line amplifiers and Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexer (ROADM) nodes to construct end-to-end networks. Fortunately, terrestrial amplifier and ROADM nodes are relatively simple to monitor to determine how each section contributes to end-to-end service performance, as each of these network elements provides a rich set of measured data.

Submarine cable systems are far more challenging because submerged repeaters (historical misnomer referring to optical amplifiers) and branching units provide only basic health status information. This design philosophy reduces the component count of undersea optoelectronics providing a higher overall reliability, which is a fundamental design goal of wet plants, because once deployed, they’re extremely expensive and time-consuming to repair. Given the limited information provided by most wet plants, end-to-end service performance must be determined from information provided by Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE) coherent optical modems connected at each end of a submarine cable.

The Open Submarine Cable business model

The industry is operating in a “quasi-open” submarine cable environment in that operators can and typically do select their wet plant from one vendor and their SLTE from another vendor, often much later, as wet plants take years to go from the designed to deployed stage. This quasi-open model allows operators to choose the latest and greatest SLTE, when and where needed, over the entire lifecycle of their wet plant allowing them to design and deploy a best-in-breed network tailored to their unique business requirements. more>

Related>

Should vaccinated people worry about long Covid?

Here’s what we know about long Covid — with some hope for the future.
By German Lopez – Over the past few months, experts and officials have tried to prepare the world for a future in which Covid-19 is here to stay. They predict the vaccines will by and large defang the virus. There will still be a few cases of serious illness and death, but the coronavirus will be reduced to the level of a seasonal flu — a disease we’d be much better off without, but mild enough we won’t shut down society to fight it.

But this optimistic vision has always left open a big question: What about long Covid?

Covid-19 is most known for causing acute illness, from a cough and fever to hospitalization and death. But in some cases it seems to cause longer-term complications, including breathing difficulties, fatigue, and brain fog, though the effects vary from person to person. While Covid-19 typically resolves in the span of weeks, long Covid can last at least months after an infection.

“Without treatment, we’ve seen individuals who got sick in February or March of 2020 and are still sick and still extremely debilitated,” David Putrino, who’s treated long Covid patients at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York, told me.

These long-term complications aren’t unique to the coronavirus; other viruses, including seasonal flu, cause long-term symptoms too, sometimes similar ones. But as more people have been infected by the coronavirus, and more have subsequently developed long Covid, the long-term problems have received more attention. more>