Archive | October 17, 2012

How Google is becoming an extension of your mind

Google could have us all headed for a mind-blowing future, if the company can back away from targeted advertising and better help users manage their personal information.

A very interesting article, and a nice complement to the Harvard Business School Case:

LINK

Google Datacenters

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Wanted to share this with anyone not subscribed to Google on Facebook or Google+

It’s a collection of photos giving an inside peek at one of the Google data centers  gives you a view of what actually goes on in order to provide us with that Google bar. Impressive, in my opinion.

http://www.google.com/about/datacenters/gallery/#/tech/0

Facebook Haters Help Make It World’s Most Valuable Brand

Which company has the most valuable brand according to news media, social media, and Twitter combined? If you guessed Apple, you’d be wrong. If you guessed Google, you’d still be wrong. General Sentiment‘s latest data lists the top 20 companies in the following order:

facebook apple google 520x650 Facebook passes Apple and Google to become worlds most valuable brand, as all news is good news

Facebook came in first place, ahead of major IT-sector companies Apple and Google in terms of brand value, which is determined from the set of brand mentions in news media reports and social media, according to the results of the research conducted by analyst firm General Sentiment for the third quarter of this year. Facebook was included in the rating of General Sentiment for the first time and immediately took the first place, ahead of much larger and profitable corporations, including Apple (2nd), Google (3rd), Amazon (5th), Samsung (6th ), Microsoft (7th).

Mentioning of brand Facebook analysts estimated at 751 million dollars, more than half of this amount was determined by messages in microblogging service Twitter. Apple with the figure of 657 million dollars in the third quarter is ahead of Google (547 million dollars) – the distribution of references to these companies via channels(news media, social networks and Twitter) are approximately equal.

The success of the world’s largest social network is due to the rating methodology Impact Media Value, in which all references to brand count in his favor, regardless of their emotional coloring. Facebook in recent months, often was referred with the negative connotations (the controversial IPO, the first quarterly report as a public company, fall in stocks, the privacy issue, etc.), although there were also positive stories. Apple managed to overtake Google, in particular, due to the announcement of the iPhone 5 and critics by users. Google fell from first to third, the search giant was often mentioned alongside criticism of Apple’s iOS 6 Maps; many stated that Apple should have just kept supporting Google Maps. Google’s stock set a new record in late September, surpassing the all-time high last seen in November 2007.

The eight-page “Q3 2012 Global Brands Media Value Report”: http://www.generalsentiment.com/mvreport/q3-2012-global-brands.html

Business Strategy and Information System Alignment

The decision process of an organization is, between others, dependent on the organizations’ strategy. The alignment between three business strategies and the information systems in the organizations are investigated by Sabherwal et al. (2001).They discuss three different business strategies; defender, prospector and analyzer. The latter two strategies deal with more complex and unstructured problems in the organization, and are therefore expected to benefit more from decision support modules in the information system (IS) of the organization. So the alignment of the prospector and analyzer strategy will increase the organizational performance.

But I think that the alignment of the business strategy and the information system is necessary in with all business strategies. If you take Dell as an example, Dell is an organization which operates on operational efficiency and economies of scale; this is in line with the defender business strategy. However their alignment of the IS and business strategy is very high with Dell, and they perform quite well.

So do you guys think there is a difference in the organizational performance among the mentioned business strategies and their IS alignment?

References:

Sabherwal, R. and Y.E. Chan (2001) ‘Alignment between Business and IS Strategies: A Study of Prospectors, Analyzers, and Defenders’, Information Systems Research 12(1): 11-33.

Clothing- and shoe stores dress up for heavy weather

Since the beginning of e-commerce, the clothing- and shoe stores are coping with decreasing sales and more and more bankruptcy. The second quarter of this year showed a decrease of 10% and 7% of shoe sales and clothing sales compared to the numbers of last year. Also, the number of bankruptcies of the second quarter doubled compared to the second quarter of last year. ING experts blame it on the recent increase of tax (VAT). This would have caused a decrease in the consumers’ purchasing power. However, since this increase in VAT was introduced only in October, and the numbers concern the whole second quarter of the year, this couldn’t be the case.

When we look at other numbers, for instance, the sales numbers of web stores, we see an increase compared to the numbers of last year. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics there was an increase of 9% in the sales of postal order companies and web shops.  

When seeing these numbers it becomes clear that we buy our shoes and clothes increasingly more online, rather than physically shopping for them. The need of having physical shop on a convenient location is overcome. Today, there is nothing more convenient than a web shop, where you can order everywhere, 24/7, and having it laying on your doorstep the next day. Moreover, a convenient physical location brings a lot of costs (e.g. rent, insurance), which raises the price of your shoes. Furthermore, we see that clothes and shoes can be ordered directly from the producer (Nike), cutting out the middlemen in the supply chain, cutting out the mark up percentages of the price you pay in the end.

When seeing the news this morning concerning this decrease in sales and increase in bankruptcies of the clothing- and shoe stores and on the other hand the increase of sales of web shops and postal order companies, it became clear that this is due to the convenience of the internet and the companies jumping in on this trend. Not the reason ING stated, that it was due to the 2% increase in VAT, set this month.

Impact of Social Networking

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I found a blog post of Bill George on Harvard business review, which noted the rise of Social Networking as the most important  business development of the year back in 2010. The article makes an interesting view on Social Media, explaining how business leaders have been able to ‘regain the trust and credibility they have lost in the last ten years’. We all know that social media has been able to improve a new form of communication from businesses to consumers. However, another comment in the article describes how social media can become a threat to middle managers, by identifying the key success of social media as empowering the people who do the actual work.

Do you guys think this is a solid point? Do you believe that Social Media within corporations will be able to remove the need for a proportion of middle-managers due to the ability to communicate directly across a much more efficient channel?

I personally believe he is making a solid point here. Of course social media will not completely remove the need for middle managers. However, it does give higher management (or even middle managers) a more efficient way of communicating, reducing the amount of work required overall- which could eventually lead to a reduced need for middle managers. Relating this to our digital transformation project, do you think that internal discussion platforms, wikis or blogging should be stimulated more throughout big organizations as a way of knowledge sharing- and creation? 

Bye bye PC, hello Surface!

No worries here, I’m not trying to heat up the fire between Apple and Microsoft. Tablets have mostly been toys to me. It might just be the way I use them, it might just be the way I perceive them. As a windows user I have always considered them as alien, as part of non-windows users.

On October 16th, Microsoft announced their Surface tablet in more detail.  Priced at $499,- for the 32GB version, it comes with a keyboard touch cover, standard USB port and standard MicroSD slot and a camera focussed on video instead of taking pictures.

What made me think however is; will this tablet recapture the heart of Windows desktop/laptop lovers who went to competitors, or will it only cannabalize on Microsoft’s own users of Windows. If we look at tablets up until now, they have been mostly designed for information consumption. The on-screen keyboard on most tablets makes it possible to search for stuff on the internet, but to write a paper on a tablet… no thanks. External keyboards are available but are quite inconvenient to me.

Surface has seemed to tackle that problem by creating a touch sensitive keyboard in their tablet cover. Now if the issue of information production is gone, Surface is getting closer and closer to replacing a laptop. What unique functions are left for laptops to be chosen instead of, or next to a tablet in the future?

http://www.ruggedpcreview.com/mt/archives/2012/10/windows_surface.html

LinkedIn becoming a Facebook Look-a-Like or anticipating to market?

As I am currently adding many people out of the Information Strategy class and I see my connections become connections with each other. I can assume LinkedIn is growing rapidly, I conducted some background research and found out that every second two new member profiles are created.

As you might have also noticed, LinkedIn is rapidly increasing its product features. Most importantly to increase the ease of use and therefore hope you supply more personal information. I can perfectly remember signing up for LinkedIn about 5 years ago, not knowing how to use my profile. Nowadays the layout is more user friendly and I personally think they are getting rid of their weakness of not being user friendly. Not too long ago they have also introduced the people you might know option, this can expand your connections rapidly, which I assume is also happening within the Business Information Master. 

Yesterday LinkedIn officially announced their new profile, I signed up to be one of the first to be able to use the profile. Unfortunately it is not yet available, but I will inform you about my opinions about the new profile after using it for the first time. I have already read many critiques on the new LinkedIn profile, most of them stating that the new profile would become a Facebook look-a-like and according to many people this is not the purpose of LinkedIn. But what is according to those people the purpose of LinkedIn, is not stated very well. They consider LinkedIn as a professional network. I am wondering what according to them is the distinction between a professional and a personal network and why this new profile would harm this distinction?

I personally think this is a great improvement, especially because companies, jobs and people will be recommended to you according to your profile. Therefore I think it will become easier to meet the right people within the branch you are working/want to work. Which for me is the main purpose of using LinkedIn.

I am wondering if people are sharing the opinion of many people critiquing the new profile? Why do you think this new profile would not be suitable for a professional network page? Of course when you share my opinion and feel like adding something you are more then welcome.

View the new profile introduction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IqfefJ6SYTk

NEW PLATFORM MEDIA: PHEED!

Pheed Launches A Social Network That Feels Like A Mash-Up Of Every Social Network You Use

By Christina Chaey

October 12, 2012

The new service pulls in elements of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, and SoundCloud on a single platform to make content creation easy.

If you’re a smartphone user, you probably like to send texts, take photos, and perhaps shoot a few videos. And you probably have a different app for each of those things, which you might then share to any one of dozens of social networks. It’s a lot to keep track of, and can quickly clutter up your phone’s real estate.

Pheed, a new social network that launches a web version today with an iPhone app on the way, is attempting to bring all of that piecemeal content creation into one simple platform. On Pheed, you create your own “channel” from which you can share text, photos, videos, voice-notes and audio clips, and live broadcasts. You can get updates from the channels you follow either as it happens, like on Facebook’s News Feed, or based on what kind of content it is, such as just photos, or just audio clips.

Cofounder O.D. Kobo and his team cherry-picked their favorite features from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, SoundCloud, and other social networks, some of which Kobo says he felt had hit a stalemate, such as Instagram.

“In the past five years I haven’t seen anyone do anything as masterful as them,” Kobo tells Fast Company. “But after two years I kept thinking, Why can’t I do more? Why didn’t they introduce video? Why can’t I upload an album? Wouldn’t it be interesting if Instagram offered text? Would Twitter have been shaking in their boots a little bit? Maybe it was necessary for other platforms to come about.”

Kobo, of course, wants Pheed to be that platform. Celebrities, such as Chris Brown, David Guetta, and Ashley Tisdale, are one way he’s trying to attract users. A monetization feature that allows you to charge followers for your content is another.

A channel owner on Pheed can choose to charge for content either through a subscription-based monthly fee or a pay-per-view model, with the latter mostly suited for the live broadcast feature. You get half of the gross revenue you make, and a portion of Pheed’s half goes toward third-party processors. That’s how it plans on making money, at least initially, though Kobo says down the road it will probably introduce some kind of advertising.

Much as music services like Rdio and video services like Vimeo are beginning to test out different compensation models for content creators, Kobo says it was important to offer at least the option for monetization to users that was about giving people more for their buck than a simple song, or a video.

“That whole model where people pay x amount for a video or song is a bit outdated,” he says. “What social media is today is about selling bits and pieces of peoples’ lives. It’s not necessarily selling that one song, it’s selling access to me.”

After Pheed’s app goes live next week, Kobo–whose team of 7 invested their own $2.5 million to launch–says he’ll be going for the long tail. He throws out a 10-million user number in discussing critical mass. It’s certainly lofty, but Kobo is hoping that Pheed will follow the legacy of the social network upstarts that improved upon their predecessors and won over users in the process.

“The wheel had to come about before the car,” he says. “There are stages, like how Friendster came, then MySpace, then Facebook, each one improving on and adding to the format. There was Twitter and now Pheed–the evolution of a genre.”

I created a Box.net file for our Awesome IS pictures!

Thanks to Robert and his Iphone 5 full of greatness and awesomeness!

Running out of battery? Look for the sun!

During the recent “Dol Dwaze Dagen” at the Bijenkorf (something like Crazy Lunatic Days) it was blood, sweat and tears to progress just even a meter in the heaps of people attracted by the discounts offered on many products. The Bijenkorf conveniently took this opportunity to present some new products as well. Fortunately for the techs with perseverance to actually get to the tech department there was gratification.

XD Design showed their Window Solar charger, which lets you charge your electric devices wherever the sun shines. Best feature; its 7,5cm x 7,5cm dimensions, making it the ideal travel buddy for people on the go. Unfortunately unlimited power doesn’t come cheap and with a price of €49,95  it makes you think about why not getting a (smaller) battery powered emergency mobile phone charger at just under €10,-. For me its size is still a little too large to carry around at all times, so untill a 5cm x 5cm version comes out next year, I’ll just sit and wait in the dark for my phone to charge by chord.

XD Design Window Solar charger available here: http://www.gadgethouse.nl/xd-design-window-solar-oplader-zilver-p71705.html?mid=22

Battery powered emergency mobile phone charger available here: http://www.maplin.co.uk/battery-powered-emergency-mobile-phone-charger-222899

The Dark Side of IT

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Hi everyone,

Nice to see so many nice blog posts about all the possibilities new information technologies have brought us. What concerned me though, is that 99% of the blogs are about the positive effects. Doesn’t the digitization of this world have any darker side? Off course it does; I think we all remember the Anonymous attacks of last year, the Diginotar scandal and the Dorifel virus taking down entire governmental departments (bringing typewriters back in the office, what the heck). Because this dark side has not been highlighted until now, I have decided to team up with a few BIMmers to shine some light on this dark side of IT. With a series of blogs using this title and banner we like to give you some insight in the world of cyber security, hackers, botnets, DDoS attacks et cetera. Off course you are welcome to suggest topic to us, if you are interested in the subject.

Be prepared for some exciting readings and stay tuned!

Robert, Maurits & Jordan

[BREAKING] Ivo Opstelten just proposed the Dutch government should be able to ‘hack back’, deliberately attack computers and networks in other countries. Will probably be all over the news tomorrow. Are we going to war?