The opportunities for transforming the aquaculture industry are wide open.
Few, if any, companies are mentioned more frequently in connection with digitalisation and disruption than the American e-commerce titan Amazon. During this year’s North Atlantic Seafood Conference in Bergen (Norway), Chief Architect for the subsidiary Amazon Web Services Glen Core was among the crowd pullers at the event.
“Our founder, Jeff Bezos, writes a letter to his shareholders every year. And he already wrote in a shareholder letter in 1997 that “it is always Day 1 for the internet”. He thinks so. And he still says that,” said the Australian Core.
The multifaceted giant company, which started as an online bookstore, has now grown into a USD 800 billion powerhouse.
“Amazon.com is a 22-year-old company. Amazon Web Services is 13 years old,” he said, knowing that they are still well-positioned to provide wise advice on how other businesses can succeed in digitization.
Core has three specific pieces of advice – all taken from Amazon’s own business strategy.
Firstly he said that: “You must have true customer obsession. As long as I have worked in Amazon, we have never talked about profitability or revenue. It’s just about the customer.”
Then, “you must embrace external tailwinds. Things that you don’t have any influence on, but you can’t ignore it – such as blockchain technology. It will happen with or without you and you might as well join it.”
“And last but not least, you must be able to turn around quickly, be flexible,” he added, illustrating that: “During last year’s humanitarian disaster in Puerto Rico, our planes were in Puerto Rico before the relief crews. It is about being flexible, decisive and putting the customer in focus.”
Core is crystal clear on what the foundation of innovation is.
“Innovation is driven by reduced costs for failure,” he pointed out. “It’s the way we see it in Amazon: The lower cost structure gives lower prices for better customer experience, which in turn gives more traffic and more sales. This is how the growth fly wheel goes.”
Earlier in the day, Core visited one of Lerøy’s fish farms – for the first time in his life.
“I didn’t even know that they bred salmon – I thought they fished it,” he grinned.
“In a large salmon farming site, there are 1.8 million salmon. What if you could measure every salmon every second? And what if you could do it for ten dollars? Not a million dollars. That’s disruption,” he said, putting the fear into many of the entrepreneurial companies that work with sensory and biomass measurement.
The handling of large amounts of data is the core competence of Amazon Web Services.
“We are engaged in self-driving cars – it is extremely data-intensive. The dating app Tinder, which connects millions of people, is run by Amazon Web Services,” he noted.
In giant Amazon warehouses or so-called fulfilment centres, they have replaced people with robots. “We have some of the largest robot fleets in the world,” he added.
Participate in it
Among the companies that Amazon Web Services is collaborating with on digitalisation is the feed and food giant Cargill.
“Why does Amazon work with Cargill?” asked Core, before answering himself: “There is not a single industry that has not been challenged by start-ups, including aquaculture.”
And digitalisation and the frequently used word disruption now rolls on for the food industry.
“There are two ways you can deal with it: you can either be afraid of it, or you can be involved in it,” said Justin Kershaw, Cargill’s chief digital officer with a broad US accent.
“To “marry” the digital with the physical, that’s my job. Some of the work we do is facial recognition for cows. We will use machine learning and AI to help the farmer increase productivity,” Kershaw continued.
“We are a 154-year-old company, but here we are going back to becoming a start-up company again,” he said.
Core believes opportunities for transforming the aquaculture industry are wide open.
“In fish farming; There are so many possibilities for digitalisation in an industry that will be able to change the world in so many ways,” he concluded.