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Taking a cue from the airline industry's long standing use of surge pricing, retailers are eyeing its viability for boosting their on line sales. Surge pricing, made possible by technological advances in data gathering and analysis is base on product demand. A merchant identifies when another merchant sells out of a popular item and automatically bumps up its price on that item The tactic would also allow retailers to offer discounts to customers who were willing to wait until demand for a hot selling product died down or inventories increased.
Fueling the potential shift: software that automatically tweaks prices. often by only pennies, according to what competitors are charging for goods online. More retailers are using such services from firms such as 360pi, and BlackLocus, to try to drive sales through low prices or hike margins by a bit more. The strategy stands to help sellers of electronics, in particular. Because those retailers operate in a highly competitive market with slim margins, surge pricing would enable them to eke out slightly more revenue from sales.
RETAIL USES SURGE PRICING
UBER SEEKS $2.1 BILLION IN FUNDING
BIG PREMIUM INCREASES FOR MEDICARE
NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER P2
With time running out on open enrollment season, many seniors are facing sharply higher premiums for Medicare's popular prescription drug program. The reason: rising drug costs have overtaken a long stretch of stable premiums. Beneficarices have until Dec 7 to see if there's a lower cost plan that will cover their medications in 2016. Consumer advocates and experts say it will pay to shop around this signup season.
Government spending on the program also has risen significantly, driven by pricey new drugs, notable for hepatitis C infection. The cost for the hepatitis drugs in the Medicare program is expected by $9.2 billion this year, nearly doubling from 2014. Because of the cost for expensive medications. Three out of four adults infected with hepatitis C are baby boomers, the group now entering Medicare
Also know as " Part D" Medicare's prescription plan serves about 40 million older a dn disabled people. Benefits are provided through a variety of insurance arrangements. Stand-alone drug plans that work with traditional Medicare are the most popular, accounting for mare than half of beneficiares - about 24 million people
The maximum deductible for prescription coverage will rise by $40 to $360. That is the biggest increase in the deductible since the inception of Part D in 2006. The deductible is the amount of drug costs that beneficiaries must pay each year before their insurance kicks in. Taxpayer expenditures for the "castrosphic" portion of the benefit has doubled in just a short time, from $15.5 billion in 2012 to an estimated $32.50 a month.
Higher education will continue to be a strong market for security services. Colleges and universities hold millions of records containing personal info and often lack preventive security measures used in other sectors, such as finance. Recent rapid expansion of schools around the country makes it harder to track IT. At many large schools, different departments use separate IT systems
Top secret government research faces some of the most serious threats. Researchers may use networks that are open to students and more vulnerable to hacking, sensitive data is regularly shared with numerous individuals.
A ground based GPS alternative could roil the global positioning market. The budding technology, from Australia based Locata, aims to replace GPS units in some cases and to augment their use indoors and in other hard to reach areas. The service will first focus on the military and mining, where GPS reliabilty is key. The goal is to use the technology in chips for consumer devices. The system's timing precision could be useful for driverless cars, airplanes and more. Look for costs to fall quickly for a range of services as adoption grows. GPS was expensive in 1980s, when it first rolled out for commercial users, but today the chips are cheaply installed in many devices, including thin watches. Locata will have to battle it out with other tech companies that offer similar services. Google and Apple already sell technology that track folks indoors.
Expect a coming summit in Paris to produce a deal to fight climate change The agreement will fall short of environmentalists' hopes. The meeting which is being billed as an urgent effort to curb emissions of geeenhose gases, will yield a modest target ofr lowering output of carbon dioxide and other gases. Cutting emissions as steeply as many climate scientists say is necessary to keep temperatures from rising looms as a cost prohitative exercise.
Many countries will promise action, either to rein in future emissions or at least slow the rate at which their emissions rise with economic growth. still plenty of issues will remain unresolved after Paris. the most vexing: deciding which countries will pay to implement low emission energy sources.
Meanwhile US emissions are dropping fast. A combination of new regs aimed at reducing pollution from power plants and the low price of natural gas is prompting utilities to cut back on coal and generate more electricity from gas. Coal, which produces more co2 than gas will account for less power this year that it has in 30 years, spelling lower emissions but a big hit to the coal sector
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There is no stopping Uber. The rapidly growing start up is reportedly taking on more capital just 5 months after announcing its previous round of funding. According to a new report by Bloomberg, the ride sharing company has file paper work in Delaware to raise another $2.1 billion. This would value the company at $62.5 billion and broaden Uber's lead over it privately held unicorn peers. With its new valuation, Uber solidifies its lead as the most valuable startup in tech. chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has the second largest valuation at $46 billion Bloomberg is reporting that one of the investors is Tiger Global a backer of some of Ubers's biggest competitors outside the US. Ubers rivals are already feeling the pressure. On the heels of reports of Uber's latest round of funding, four separate regional ride sharing companies announced a partnership in an effort to bolster their competitive edge against the industry leader. Lyft in the US, Ola in India, Grab Taxi in Southeast Asia, and Didi Kuaidi in China will link their systems next year to create a joint fleet that customers can access while traveling to outside markets. These competitiors have a ways to go, if Bloomberg's reports are true. Uber's revenues in the US grew 200% this year, further separating the already fastest growing start up in history.
GLOBAL WEATHER TALKS
There will be no increase in the Social Security wage base for 2016. It will stay at $118,000. By law if beneficiaries do not get a cost of living hike in their benefits, the amount of wages and self-employment income subject to FICA cannot rise. The Social Security tax rate on employers and employees will stay at 6.2%. Employers will pay the 1.45% Medicare tax on all pay. The same for employees, but they will pay an additional .9% Medicare surtax on wages that exceed $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for married couples. this extra levy does not hit employers. Self-employeds are also subject to the surtax on earnings above the thresholds.