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Re/act: Alphabet's Smart City, Robots for Kids with Autism, and the Pharmaceutical Industry's Value Chain

Ready to catch up on some of the latest tech news? Here’s what caught the attention this week. If you’re interested in knowing why we launched this blog series, catch-up from the beginning.

Our First Look at Alphabet's Smart City - article by Aileen Kwun (@aileenkwun)

This is an inside look at the world's "first neighborhood built from the internet up." No detail has been overlooked, from flexible, easily repaired sidewalks to sustainable alternatives suggested for virtually every aspect of a neighborhood. While excitement abounds, there are of course privacy concerns for future residents of a smart-techcentric-utopia-type city. The plethora of sensors and resident data needed to facilitate such a city would be unprecedented, and given many high profile cyber breaches of late, this potential Toronto suburb could have many hurdles to clear before becoming a new norm.

This Happy Robot Helps Kids with Autism - article by John Biggs (@johnbiggs)

The University of Luxembourg has created a little robot being used to link therapists, parents and their autistic children in order to diffuse anxiety issues the kids may face in such a setting. Rather than being the focus of therapy, the robot helps the therapist connect with the patient, a positive outcome for any therapy session. The bot's LCD face and robotic arms provide an embodiment and visual that focuses an autistic child and potentially improves learning.

Shaking Up the Value Chain - article by Olivier Leclerc

"In the digital age, as information disrupts the nature of value creation in many industries, the range of choices available to senior business leaders has increased." Olivier Leclerc, Senior Partner at McKinsey

This is a truly comprehensive look at how the pharmaceutical industry and others could be heavily disrupted for the foreseeable future through digitizing certain processes. Value chains are being challenged as more data floods throughout the system, creating new avenues to value creation. In pharmaceuticals, product innovation is the name of the game. Certain pharma startups are putting their entire approach behind a digital platform, zeroing in on the DNA and RNA code sequences within cells to foster new drugs at a quicker and more efficient clip than their bigger legacy counterparts. Digitizing of data is also forcing suppliers to rethink what processes they're outsourcing and keeping in-house. With digital ecosystems providing newfound swaths of data and control over the value chain, suppliers are starting to realize the safest hands could be their own for many previously thought-of no brainer outsourced processes.

Re/act is our weekly take on some of the tech world’s biggest stories curated by humans not bots. Cantina is a strategic design and development agency based in Boston, Massachusetts. We help organizations innovate, grow and deliver better digital products and services that matter to customers.

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