Archive | September 14, 2013

From the wild, wild west to the collaborative urban jungle (summary ToW group 6)

In the time of the Wild West, Man already felt the urge to travel. This urge endured, while the environment changed. People now live in big cities, and the Cowboys changed into so-called ‘Urban Nomads’: people who need few possessions and don’t mind consuming products or services collaboratively. This also counts for transportation, be it private or public. With the technological advances of the past decade, the best and brightest in business might have found ways to fulfill this need. Two exemplary initiatives are New York’s SocialBikes (SOBI) and Singapore’s iCarsclub. SOBI, which started in June 2013, owns bicycles that subscribers (for $15/month) can locate with a GPS-enabled mobile app. Once located, a bike can be reserved and unlocked with a code that the subscriber receives by phone. After use the bike doesn’t have to be returned to a docking station, as is normal practice with known bike-sharing programs. This increases convenience for the user and lowers investment costs for SOBI. iCarsclub started in 2012 and serves as an intermediary between car-owners and car-seekers. Enabled by an app, servers, and the iCarbox (a wireless, distance car-locking device), the seeker finds, reserves, pays and unlocks the car. In return, iCarsclub claims 20% of the reservation fee. Both initiatives have up- and downsides. SOBI offers a solution to the ‘first and last mile’ problem, but the already existing initiatives with docking stations might be more reliable. And while iCarsclub seems scalable and economically efficient, trust and legislative issues might stand in the way of itssuccess. However, with both initiatives still being so young, the only thing that can be done is wait and see if the Nomads will embrace collaborative travel, or if the age of the Cowboy will return.

Summary – Technology of the Week – Group 4

In the paper „Technology of the week – The digitalization of money“ the authors of group 4 of the course “Information Strategy” (2013) introduce two technological innovations regarding the digitalization of money and money transactions.

The two technologies in question, namely Bitcoin and Google Wallet, do -in reality- not serve the very same purpose. However, both innovations, despite their technological differences, attempt to make money transactions easier for the consumer. The authors outline that the biggest difference between the two technologies lies in the underlying principle behind each. Google Wallet, with its mobile payment function, can be seen as the next step of a credit card, while Bitcoin enables the creation of new kinds of currencies for the future.

The paper suggests that due to the early stage of both innovations conclusions on how these technologies will prevail in the future cannot be drawn yet. However, in the future, both technologies will go through some major developments regarding security issues, general regulations and public understanding and acceptance.