Archive | October 13, 2012

Getting online while on the move

Soon the days of using traveling as an excuse for not being connected to the Internet will be gone. With modern technology such as the smartphone more widely available and governments and companies working to implement wireless signals on various modes of transportation, it will be increasingly hard to justify not being informed.

With the spread of wireless technology throughout China, air travel, high-speed rail and mass transit systems have started to become hubs where people can surf the Web.

Getting online while on the move
A passenger connects to the free public wireless network on No 82 Bus in Shanghai through her smartphone. [Photo by Yang Shenlai / For China Daily]

Bus stops, train stations, subway stations and airports have all been wired up for a while but soon it won’t just be these hubs that offer opportunities to go online: many vehicles will too.

Earlier this year Beijing News reported that Air China, China’s domestic airline, will be starting tests on its own inflight Wi-Fi Internet system that will allow passengers to connect to the Web during domestic flights.

Currently Air China only offers one domestic flight with Wi-Fi but it is only an intranet system with limited reach, not the universal Internet.

Beijing News also reported that Air China is working with telecom companies including Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to build wireless towers across their many domestic flight routes so that they can in the future provide a full inflight Internet experience.

On the ground, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Taipei, and Hong Kong have all launched initiatives to start operating wireless Internet on their buses. Hong Kong’s system of changing regular cellular signals into a Wi-Fi connection has been in operation on several buses since 2007.

Taipei’s foray into Wi-Fi on public transportation has been hindered by health concerns in some quarters regarding radio waves.

Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou announced plans to push out the service earlier this year but they have yet to be widely, if at all, implemented.

For certain there is a desire for Internet access “on the go”. So far subway systems across the country have cellular stations that offer mobile Internet subscribers access to 2G and 3G cellular wireless.

In early September a bus driver in Zhengzhou, Henan province, set up a Wi-Fi hotspot on his bus. Moments after the news was announced, Chinese Internet users started commenting on how great it would be to have Wi-Fi during their daily commute.

Unfortunately for the bus driver and net users, the driver’s foray into bringing Zhengzhou bus riders Wi-Fi was short lived. After about four hours of operation the driver was told to shut down the service by his bosses.

However, many believe such services are the future.

Reference:

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012-10/03/content_15795710.htm

Launch Timing and Versioning Strategy

Today I came across an article about launching multiple products to attract both consumers and application developers as a key to tech firm success. This article is based on the results of a study from the University of California, Davis, according to which high-tech firms should market multiple product versions at the same time, such as Apple did with the iPhone and iPod Touch, both to attract early adopters and build a network of individuals and companies that develop applications.

Professor Hemant Bhargava of the Graduate School of Management with the co-authors studied 20 years of products such as the Xbox, e-readers and the iPhone devices that operate in two-sided markets. One side of the market is the consumer side, where consumers can have an iPhone on which to communicate or a video game console on which to play a game. And the other side of the market is where developers who make games and other applications to run on those devices reach potential buyers.

Professor names several obstacles companies have to overcome in order to be successful:

  • chicken and egg problem;
  • uncertainty in product design and compatibility;
  • convincing consumers to pay high up-front costs;
  • growth-versus-profitability dilemma.

The research shows that start-ups often roll out small product lines during initial launches to avoid design complexity and higher fixed costs, wait for substantial developer participation and then expand the product lines. However, the study revealed that early expansion is better when there are no doubts about the developer participation. Hemant Bhargava said: “Firms should expand the product line early in order to increase the installed base and induce a higher level of developer participation,”

It is believed that firms can either have growth or achieve profits in the early launch of a product, but the professor claims: “our research is founded on the proposition that growth and profitability need not necessarily operate in conflict”. The researchers’ proposed theory says that launching two versions of a product (basic and premium) could resolve the growth-versus-profitability problem, especially when with the increase of the number of users the value for the new product grows. The premium version would provide the needed higher profit margin, while the low-priced or free basic version would deliver the larger overall market share that would attract outside application developers.

 

The study report: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1692252

 

Amazon dot NL

Everybody has heard without a doubt that Almighty Amazon is coming to The Netherlands, hallelujah! Or are some of you not celebrating this fact? (Online) Retailers will definitely not be this excited about Amazon coming to the Netherlands, as it already has taken over significant market share of the retail industry in other countries. Amazon will shake up the online as well offline retail; she is only satisfied with market leadership. In the US, Amazon has up to 25% of all online sales revenues with a total turnover of $48 billion in 2011! Amazon will attack all retailers who do not have a good internet strategy or online performance. With their low prices, marketing power, great service and innovative capability, Amazon will outshine many internet companies. Companies as Bol.com have already tried to prepare for Amazon’s arrival, but how far can you prepare for something like this? Change, innovation and a strong customer focused strategy is the answer to this. Especially for physical (book)stores who will be more likely to disappear, it is really important to distinguish themselves. Like Dutch E-marketing guru Cor Molenaar says: ‘Adapting to survive is nowadays more important than ever!’

So, when will Amazon hit the Netherlands? At the end of 2011, people speculated the Amazon.nl launch would be in the spring of 2012 and in the summer of 2012 news groups and bloggers were quite certain it would be in September/October 2012. The exact date is still a big question mark and there is no official statement, but many people are eagerly waiting for her arrival. It will be soon, I am sure, we just have to wait patiently…

Opensource Hardware with Arduino!

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Hi everyone!

Today I’d like to introduce you to a new technology I came across with while watching some conferences on TED: Arduino.

First of all a little premise: I know usually us Bimmers try to focus on how to enhance business performance through IT-exploitation, and in most of the cases that has something to do with some kind of new software solution, so I might go a little out of scope by presenting you this new idea, but still, I’d like to wonder if somehow it can be possible to develop any kind of hardware-driven solution as well in order to improve business performance.

So, the project I’m talking about is called Arduino, and in my opinion it’s probably going to have a disruptive impact on the engineering environment of IT in the next years… Everyone for sure is familiar with open-source software, but I bet none has ever heard of open-source hardware development: that’s where Arduino comes up!

The idea on which the Arduino project is based  is to make electronic and software engineering available to everyone, by simplifying development to its basic in an open-source environment in which everyone is free to contribute.

In order to do so, Arduino is structured as an open source framework  that allows users to quickly learn the basic notions of electronics and computer programming, through a set of easy and basic hardware controls and  a facilitated programming language based on C++ and Java, called “Wiring”

This platform is sold at a starting price around 20 euros, but since it’s open-source and its hardware design information can be easily find online, everyone could potentially assembly one by himself, allowing this technology to be applied in almost every field, from computer gaming, to social networking, to even humanitarian projects.

Indeed, it’s pretty amazing to see what even kids and newbies were able to do with such a tool available to them! You can find some example at this TED Talk:

 http://www.ted.com/talks/massimo_banzi_how_arduino_is_open_sourcing_imagination.html (only 15 mins, you might want to watch it all :p )

If you feel like you want to try it yourself, or you just want to get to know it a little more, here’s the official website http://www.arduino.cc/

I hope you’ll find it as interesting as I did!

Cheers,

Giovanni

Help me out! Give your opinion on Ultrabooks

Hi guys!

 

I will not write a blogpost now ( already written enough;-)) but I would like to ask you to help me in a personal matter in terms of choosing for a new laptop/ultrabook…

In light of the recent articles regarding ‘Wisdom of the Crowd’ I thought it would be wise of me to use this blog to see if it really works… ( Sorry Ting for abusing the blogpost..!:-))

As we all know, we students rather don’t spend too much money on things we might not be able to afford, but here I am facing a decision regarding buying a new laptop. I’m looking for a laptop that will hopefully last longer than 5 years and thus I see it as a real investment, worth to spend money on it.

 

Should I buy the new Apple Macbook Pro 2012 version, 13 inch, 500GB, I5, 2,5ghz (http://store.apple.com/nl-edu/browse/home/shop_mac/family/macbook_pro/selector) should I buy the Samsung 9-series with specifications more or less equally to the Macbook? (http://www.laptopshop.nl/product/198028/samsung-np900x3c-a01nl.html)

Or do you rather see me buying another one?

 

Please convince me! Tnx!