Archive | September 18, 2013

If a tweet falls in the forest…

Today, in the major Dutch talkshow, DWDD, they talked about the block-phone, which was a post last week on this blog. Interestingly enough, in the interview of tonight the phenomenon of crowdspeaking enabled by came across. I just started some googleing, and I came across some interesting insights concerning I would like to share:

Introduction video by Thunderclap

As you probably agree, social media is a very easy way to say something, increasingly considered as rich data, but still it’s a difficult way to be heard. Thunderclap is the first-ever crowdspeaking platform created by product development studio De-De group that helps individuals be heard by saying something together. It allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, so it rises above the noise of your social networks. Indeed, its sounds a little like a Kickstarter for activism, anyone can set up a tweet about a cause for which they want to garner attention. By boosting the signal at the same time, Thunderclap helps a single person create action and change like never before.  Once the target is hit, the tweets will be simultaneously sent in a unified voice that the creators say will be harder to ignore.

The premise behind Thunderclap is simple: Find a message featured on Thunderclap’s site about a cause you support, then “back” the message, which authorizes the platform to send the message out on your behalf. The beauty of Thunderclap is that it sets the goalposts: one message, one number, one date. It’s a common threshold you and your supporters work toward together. It’s a tangible way to measure awareness.

Personally, I think this is a very interesting phenomenon, especially in the context of the topic concerning big data as discussed by Ting. In our Tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming, Pinteresting, etc. we all stay quite anonymous expressing our thoughts, opinions, etc. More specifically, when we have to say something important as an individual or company, something that we want to be heard by many friends and relatives as possible, it is difficult to be heard. I think this a very creative, easy feasible and open-minded solution for being heard, with a really important message to share in all the noise of social media’s posts!!


References used

The Process of Making a Tower Invisible

Almost everyone played hide and seek in the past, hoping they might really disappear for the time being, sadly that never happened. In the future though, this game might get a lot more interesting. Scientists are now able to make small moving objects almost completely invisible and they are working on much bigger things!

Non-technological Invisibility

So-called ‘invisibility cloaks’ can hide objects from the human eye. The invisibility cloak that was recently developed by a group of physicists from the Zhejiang University in China, the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and some other institutions in Boston and the UK does not require any technology. They developed two containers, one rectengular and one hexagonal. Objects inside of those containers are invisible for people that peer into them from one of the possible sides. The containers are made of very thin glass that bends the light passing through from one flat side to the other one, making them appear fully translucent. A demonstration below:

Technological Invisibility

Well, this was cool. Making a cat and a fish invisible in a box. Another, way cooler design, will soon be built in Seoul, South Korea. Now I’m talking not talking about another container, I’m talking about an enormous tower. After its completion it is expected to be the sixth on the list of highest towers, with being almost half a kilometer tall (450 meters or 1.476 feet), but this will not be its main selling point.

The design is done by GDS Architects and when it is finished, the building should be able to become invisible. Quite some technology is required to make this happen for such a tower. In short, whatever is going on at a certain moment behind the tower, will be projected onto the front of the tower. By putting a lot of cameras at three different heights at six different sides of the tower, the surroundings can be captured. After the images are saved they are digitally processed (they will be scaled, rotated and merged to create a panoramic image). After the images are processed, they are shown at three different sections with 500 (yes, five-hundred!) rows of LED-screens). This process is shown below:

With different power levels, it should look like this (from left to right; deactivated, lit with 30% power and lit with 100% power).


The South-Korean government has approved the plans, so the building will most likely rise soon and a new level of invisibility will be reached!



A few hours ago Apple officially launched iOS7, a brand new operating system for their iDevices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). The interface design has changed radically and many new features have been added. One of the new features is the control center; it lets you easily manage often used settings, such as bluetooth, Wi-Fi and do not disturb mode, as well as easy accessibility to features such as your camera, flashlight and calculator. Also multitasking has now been improved, making it easier to browse through and close applications. iOS7 also makes it possible to (finally) organize your photo’s in different ways, such as date and place. The update also allows users to use Airdrop on their iDevices. Airdrop makes it possible to easily transfer documents using Bluetooth and was already available for OSX. These are only a few of the many features that come with iOS7.

However, as with any other update, there has been a lot of criticism. Besides different opinions on its brand new look, there is also grounded criticism. First of all tests have shown a decrease in battery life, which is of course a serious problem. Also iOS7 doesn’t run very smoothly on devices older than the iPhone 5. Since iOS6 will no longer be supported by updates and applications will eventually not run on this operating system anymore, people will be forced to upgrade their iDevice. If their device does not support this or when it brings performance issues, they might even be forced to buy a new iPhone.

Personally I think Apple has no other choice to do so and it is happening everywhere; for example Windows 8 would not run smoothly on an old Windows XP desktop. Yet I hear many people complaining about this forced way of upgrading. I’m really curious about your opinions. What do you think? Is Apple dealing correctly or should they still support older iOS versions? What else could Apple have done to satisfy their customers with older products?


The rather pessimistic reception of Twitter’s IPO


Twitter would like to go public, as it announced in an appropriately delivered Tweet last week. The first thought I had was rather positive, but as soon newsmedia picked up this message, the sentiment on this IPO rather quickly drawn a lot of comparisons to Facebook’s initial public offering, and I was quite surprised by this pessimistic sentiment, as another big tech company from silicon valley enters the stock market. So in this blogpost, I would like to share some positive reflections on this IPO. I thought it would be interesting to place an emphasis on a medium that is highly academically used in this course and related research, but also on the implication side, as its IPO should have an impact for the users of Twitter?

(You all know Twitter, so I will not bother you with a general introduction)

On September 12th Twitter revealed via its own micro-blogging service that it had begun a process with America’s Securities & Exchange Commission that should ultimately lead to an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in the company. Should the firm’s plans go through, the IPO is likely to take place in 2014. Twitter’s listing will be the most eagerly anticipated tech-company flotation since Facebook’s, early last year. Twitter’s listing will be the most eagerly anticipated tech-company flotation since Facebook’s, early last year. The company yet is worth billions upon billions of dollars, and its founders will become extremely rich sometime in the next year. But Twitter, as we experience it, is also set for a radical redesign sometime soon. The company’s finances are set to change; but its looks may be changing just as much

Avoid a debacle like Facebook’s IPO
Of course, Twitter’s hope is to avoid its IPO turning into an overhyped debacle like some other technology companies. Facebook’s IPO, in particular, is seen by Twitter executives as a cautionary tale, the source said. Asked the other day if he had any advice for Twitter’s expected public offering, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg joked “I’m kind of the person you would want to ask last on how to make a smooth IPO.”

But I think, alike with some others I found; Twitter’s IPO will be significant for several reasons:

Twitter is going public sooner than Facebook went public. Zuckerberg waited more than eight years to conduct a Facebook IPO and by the time he made the decision to go public, primarily due to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s notorious dislike of public markets, public disclosures, and public pressures to perform, there was so much hype and pre-IPO money invested in Facebook that it almost made the IPO unmanageable.

Secret IPO Filling
Keeping its IPO filing secret until the last minute could help Twitter avoid the overheated anticipation that Facebook had to deal with ahead of its disastrous IPO. It could keep its financial details away from rivals for a few extra months, as it grows a mobile advertising business that might compete with Facebook’s or LinkedIn’s. And if Twitter would rather keep some of its early history under wraps, it could avoid an outside audit and submit just two years of financial statements, as opposed to the customary five.

Advice of Facebook’s Zuckerberg
Twitter’s hope is to avoid its IPO turning into an overhyped debacle like some other technology companies. Facebook’s IPO, in particular, is seen by Twitter executives as a cautionary tale, the source said. Asked the other day if he had any advice for Twitter’s expected public offering, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg joked, “I’m kind of the person you would want to ask last on how to make a smooth IPO.” Zuckerberg not only overcame a very challenging post-IPO period as he successfully transitioned Facebook to being more of a mobile business, he also learned something from the process and recently gave this advice to Twitter.

Powerful media company rather than a technology company
It will further underline the power of social media—in Twitter’s case, short text messages of no more than 140 characters—as a tool for mass communications. It will mean that the all of the biggest social-media behemoths, including Facebook and LinkedIn, will have left the shadows of private ownership for the spotlight of the public markets. And it will add another dimension to the growing rivalry between America’s leading tech firms, who are increasingly invading one another’s strongholds. (economist)

As Twitter has evolved, particularly over the past couple of years, from a simple, text-based service toward something richer and fuller: users can now embed everything from pictures to Vines to full-on mini-apps within their tweets. It’s like a stream gradually becoming a raging river. Twitter has transitioned from a technology company into a powerful media company in its own right.

Morgan Stanley’s powerful tech team, which led the Facebook IPO, will not be the lead underwriter for the Twitter IPO. That role will be filled by Goldman Sachs. This is a big change in Silicon Valley, where Morgan Stanley has ruled the hottest tech IPOs in recent years, like the IPOs of Facebook, Groupon and Zynga, all three of these IPOs did not go well.

In conclusion
It’s not clear yet if Twitter has picked an exchange to list on, but another difference would be if the company chooses to move away from Nasdaq, which for years has been the exchange of choice for Silicon Valley. Nasdaq was widely criticized for its role in the botched Facebook IPO and Nasdaq paid a $10 million penalty to settle SEC allegations stemming from its “poor systems and decision making” during Facebook’s IPO.

The area of growth that would most likely garner user outrage after a Twitter IPO would be the addition of more obtrusive advertisements to the Twitter feed. But that is nothing new to Twitter, which already monetizes heavily through advertisements. (In line with the platform’s use as a second screen, Twitter even works with advertisers to help them target specific television audiences). Because Twitter already employs an ad strategy that relies heavily on mobile and targeted ads, it’s more likely a change in advertising would come around Twitter’s other features, not the Twitter feed. One part of the user experience that may change will be an influx of new features and partnerships, particularly around entertainment, television and ecommerce. Twitter recently hired former Ticketmaster president Nathan Hubbard to run commerce for the platform and bring shopping to the Twitter feed. The added transparency that comes with filing earnings documents each quarter will mean more features for users.

One thing is certain: Dick Costolo, Twitter’s CEO, won’t be showing up for the Wall Street road show in a hoodie.

Looking forward to your comments with your thoughts!


References used:

Enter your Fantasy: Virtual Reality



Let’s talk about the most interesting thing of the future: Virtual Reality.

You can’t deny that the real world and the virtual world keep getting more intertwined. This progression is caused by development from two sides.

  1. The continuous improvement of 3D cameras allows us to scan and digitalize objects from the physical world more accurately. This development contributes to augmented reality (i.e. bringing virtual things into our physical world) advances.
  2. Graphics- and simulation technology keep improving, which cause virtual worlds to be more realistic. This development contributes to virtual reality (i.e. bringing people into the virtual world) advances.

Augmented reality will become a part of our lives in the very near future (e.g. Google Glass). Even though virtual reality is still in a premature phase compared to the progressions of augmented reality, I strongly believe that eventually virtual reality will become more developed and more accessible to the public. And when it does, it can become one of the most exciting things in life. Among many other uses, virtual reality machines are now actively used to help war veterans overcome traumatic past war experiences (see references). This machine cost $30,000-$40,000, and includes moving/vibrating chairs, and smoke machines that replicate scent. As hardware power keeps increasing, video games become more and more realistic. One day we may reach a point where the difference between real and virtual will be hard to tell. Also the idea of having video technology in front of your eyes has also experienced major developments.

Let’s say that in 200 years from now there will be a virtual reality game, that can replicate vision, sound, touch, scent and gravity. In this hypothetical machine, you could choose your adventure, and you will be able to experience this adventure in such a way, that it will (almost) feel real (comparable to a dream). An interesting question is what kind of impact this will have on human life. It will very likely be a good way to escape from reality (stress relief, or anti-depressive perhaps). It could be that some people preferred life in the virtual reality machine over their real lives, in the same way that heroin addicts don’t want to leave their euphoric fantasy world.

When such virtual reality machines exist, what do you think could be possible effects on human life? If it was easily accessible, would you buy it, or would you be afraid to get addicted to it?

3D printing

Live changing technology?

Being able to design your own cup, print it and then drink coffee out of it sounds like science fiction. But the recent technological developments of 3D printing make this scenario very realistic. 3D printing becomes more accessible for the public and smaller companies. The last couple of year’s 3D printing made the jump to the mainstream consumer market. According to Gartner (2013), it will be even possible to buy a 3D printer for less than $2,000 in 2016.  This price makes it more accessible to print 3D objects from home or at print-shops. (Rivera & Goasduff, 2013)

Imagine yourself the possibility of buying a closet at Ikea and to design the handles, knobs or pulls yourself. You can then print these items at home or at 3D printing companies. The opportunities are endless. There are even developments of an organic 3D bio-printer that can print for instance an organic heart. Can you imagine how this affects people waiting for a new organ? This technology can have a major impact on our lifestyle.

The coming years developments in the field of 3D printing will continue. This means that in the future it will be possible to print objects in various materials or print crude forms of semiconductors.  A major development is the application of 3D printers in the medical field. According to Mironov (2003) in “Organ printing: computer-aided jet-based 3D tissue engineering” it is even possible in a couple of years to print organic materials (Mironov & al, 2003).  It might be possible to print for example an organ for a patient needing a new heart or liver. At this moment patients are still depended on donors for transplantations.  This relates to long waiting lists and the death of many patients while waiting for a transplant. By using organic materials of the patient itself, 3D printers are able to create new organs of the same DNA. The advantage of this is that the patient has a better chance to survive since there is less chance of rejection of the organ, and the patient is not depended on the waiting list of transplants. (Mironv & et, 2008)

Despite these huge advantages from a medical perspective one can consider the ethical discussion about this. What do you think about this ethical consequences?  The debate of organs and cloning is a lively discussion.

Bak, D. (2003). Rapid prototyping or rapid production? 3D printing processes move industry towards the latter. Assembly Automation, 340-345.

de Vries, J. (1994). The industrial revolution and the industrious revolution. Journal of economic.

Mironov, V., & al, e. (2003). Organ printing: computer-aided jet-based 3D tissue engineering. Trends in Biotechnology, 340-345.

Mironv, V., & et, a. (2008). Organ printing: promises and challenges. Regenerative Medicine, 93-103.

Rivera, J., & Goasduff, L. (2013, Maart). Gartner Says Early Adopters of 3D Printing Technology Could Gain an Innovation Advantage Over Rivals. Gartner.

WHO Has Your Back?

In our daily lives, we entrust our conversations, thoughts, experiences,
locations, photos, and more to companies like Google and Facebook. But do we know what these companies exactly do with our private information? Do they
fight for our privacy rights or hand our data over easily?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation examined annually the policies of major
Internet companies to see whether they stand for our rights when the government seeks access to user data. This year, the companies were evaluated on six criteria. A full star will be awarded when the company meets one of these practices. For results: see below.



For full picture/report see:

It is a important manner to know about the policies of the companies who we share sensitive data with. For example, Google scores pretty well with 5/6 stars. This states that the company cares a lot about our privacy, which is quiet ensuring. However, when looking at major company like Apple, it is a bit disappointing. For me, sharing data with the government alone is not the biggest issue. My concern is that the companies who possess my sensitive data do not care about my privacy and are more inclined to sell them to others.

Since the introduction of cloud computing, a lot more private information can be exposed. Even personal identities can be stolen when there is access to our location data, email content, and documents stored in the cloud. 

In summary, users shouldn’t be left in the dark. We have the right to know when others are seeking for our data. But we cannot do it unless companies are willing to make a commitment take a stand with us.


Sources: (2013) ‘Which Tech Companies Protect Your Data From the Government?’ October 4, 2013,

Cardozo N., Cohn C., Higgins P., Hofmann M. and Reitman R. (2013) Who Has Your Back?’, Electronic Frontier Foundation, April 30, 2013: pp. 1-20

The use of HawkEye in football

For many years, hawk-eye technology exists and has been used in for example tennis and cricket. Somehow though, it never made it into the world of football. This was because of it would threaten the authencity of the sport and because the system wasn’t up to FIFA requirements.

Now, it seems as if one of these days the technology will make its entrance into this area where all kinds of technology systems have been averted. The system has been updated and adjusted in such a way that the FIFA feels that it can actually benefit from it.
There are 6 highspeed cameras aimed at one goal-line that register the ball and a computer that uses the data provided by these cameras to determine the exact position of the ball and reconstruct the motion. The referee has a watch that will vibrate as soon as the computer notices that the ball has passed the goal-line.

By updating the system according to the FIFA requirements it has become possible to actually start to use this system that already has revolutionized other sports. This is another example that shows that nowadays technology is influencing almost every part of our society. Even football has now find a way to develop a system to use the technology on hand to their own benefit. This is a development which will go on and increase even more in the future.

Drone: the new superhero?

As long as there is evil, we will need a hero to save us. Superhero’s like Iron man, that combines human knowledge with advanced technology to make the world a better place isn’t fiction anymore: it’s today’s reality.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), also known as drones, are aircrafts either controlled by ‘pilots’ from the ground or increasingly, autonomously following a pre-programmed mission. They are mostly used for surveillance purposes or for bombing. The popularity of the drone has to do with the time an unmanned aircraft can stay aloft (the world record is currently held by ‘Zephyr’, for flying 82 hours nonstop), the significant lower costs than military aircrafts and the reduced danger to flight crew.

In the flooded areas of the state Colorado, a drone mapped the damage because of the inability of helicopters and airplanes to safely take off during heavy storms. You would expect people treating the drone as a hero, but instead the drone got removed from the air by the Federal Bureau. The drone is considered illegal in the area, and to prevent arrest the owner of the drones keeps them safely to the ground.In addition to that Colorado got flooded again, only this time with applications for drone-hunting permits. Next month it will be decided if hunting licenses to shoot down drones will be issued. Will Rogers once said: “Being a hero is about the shortest-lived profession on earth”. Apparently he is right. Way to thank your hero!

In my opinion the drone is a superstar, ready to stick around for a while longer. The scientific department of the American ministry of Defense (DARPA) developed the ARGUS-IS-camera, which with its 1,8 gigapixel camera has the highest resolution in the world. Combine this with a Boeing A160 Hummingbird-drone and you can monitor an area with the size of Manhattan at once. This while being up 4.5 kilometer in the air, and still having enough resolution to see people wave. The possibilities with the drone are endless in terms of monitoring and defense.

Maybe people now are not ready yet to let go of a flesh and blood superhero, but one day we will have to believe in technology saving the day. I already do.


Coca-Cola knows their marketing

Last week Coca-Cola gave a presentation at the event called:  ‘Social Shake-up’. Their presentation was about the marketing of Coca-Cola and how they do it. You might think this is more for marketing students than BIM students, but Coca-Cola puts a lot of effort in reaching people by social media, online ads and a lot of different ways. According to Forbes, Coca-Cola’s brand value was 50.2 billion dollars in October 2012, which made it the third most valuable brand in the world (, 2012) (socialmediatoday, 2013).

Coca-Cola’s presentation was about their marketing strategy and the Coca-Cola told that they follow one important rule: A brand is nothing without a meaning. This looks simple, but many brand do not execute this very well. Coca-Cola always made sure that the most important reason why people buy their products is because they like it. The product needs to have a meaning to be interesting for the customer to buy it (socialmediatoday, 2013).

The last decade changed a lot of thing with the introduction of social media and the rise of the internet. Coca-Cola needed to evolve their marketing strategy just like any other company to adjust to the new ways of interacting with the customers. Nowadays Coca-Cola wants every customer to become its fan on Facebook, follower on Twitter and that they leave positive reviews online about their products and marketing campaigns. This new approach shifted Coca-Cola’s meaning of the brand to happiness.  I think everybody has seen a commercial about this new meaning of the brand so this might not be new for you. But what Coca-Cola wants to do with this meaning might be surprising. They do not want to finish their story about happiness, they just want to make a stand and let you finish the story.  In this way they hope to get everybody involved and interacting with the brand and this is working. They are planning to do some great things on Twitter with the upcoming world cup. Instead of using the hashtag #WorldCup, they put an s after World so  it becomes #WorldsCup. In this way they want this tournament to be a happy place for the world to relax and enjoy life. This is just one of the many examples where Coca-Cola incorporates their happiness campaign into the digital world (socialmediatoday, 2013).

I also think it is amazing how a brand can become so big with just a simple meaning and almost saying nothing in their ads and commercials. Everybody just seems to love what Coca-Cola is doing and how they connect with the people. What do you think about their digital marketing strategy?

References: (2012). The World’s most powerfull brands. October 2012 [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 18 September 2013] (2013) #SocialShakeUp: Coca-Cola Knows the Secret of Marketing. 17 September 2013 [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 18 September 2013]

That’s the way the cookie crumbles

If it’s up to Google, cookies may be a thing of yesterday. A Cookie, also called an HTTP cookie, is a small file that is put on your hard drive when visiting a website. In this way, one visitor can be distinguished from another. This is valuable for a lot of companies, as they can adapt their advertisements for customers specifically.

Google is now developing an alternative that can be used to identify people on the internet. The AdID, which is what it should be called, will supposedly provide better privacy. Advertisers will have to comply with rules that Google sets up, and only then will they receive access to the AdID’s. Additionally, consumers will have more control over their information, as they will be able to change the AdID settings in their browser settings.

Cookies have been a hot topic for a while now, as they allow marketing companies to set up profiles of customers, raising questions as to whether this is in conflict with privacy. Politicians seem to support the constraining of individually adapted advertisements. The advertisement industry, however, is naturally opposed. Some critics also claim that it would give Google too much power, seeing that Google holds around one third of the online advertisement industry. Would AdID merely be a step for Google to get a better hold of the digital advertisement industry?

Google itself, by the way, has not officially confirmed their plans relating to AdID.

For Twitter, Key to Revenue Is No Longer Ad Simplicity

When it comes to making money, Twitter is all about keeping it simple. There are no banner ads, no dancing animations, no ads inserted between screens that you must click to get past.

What they have been able to do very well is develop products that meet the needs of most advertisers without being overly complex,” said Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst for social media at eMarketer, a research firm.

But the simplicity of Twitter’s products is also a weakness, especially when compared with other social networks like Facebook. The company does not have concrete demographic information about individual users, like gender and age, to allow it to sell highly targeted ads at expensive rates. And its marketing efforts have largely been oriented toward large advertisers in the United States, with few sales to smaller businesses and only about one-fifth of its ad revenue coming from overseas, Ms. Williamson said.

As Twitter prepares to sell stock to the public, the company is planning initiatives that will add complexity to its advertising business while also diversifying its revenue stream.

Last week, for example, it announced that it had agreed to acquire MoPub, a start-up that acts as a middleman in placing ads from marketers inside mobile applications. MoPub does something quite different from Twitter, auctioning off two billion ad slots a day in apps like Songza and OpenTable through dozens of ad networks and delivering the ads so quickly that a user firing up the app barely notices.

But Jim Payne, chief executive of MoPub, said the two companies shared a common DNA. Like MoPub, he said, Twitter “was designed to be mobile and it was designed to be real-time.” He said Twitter had promised to let MoPub continue building out its current business even as the two worked together to improve the ad offerings on Twitter itself.

Ms. Williamson, the eMarketer analyst, said MoPub could become a significant source of revenue for Twitter.

“MoPub’s technology will streamline their self-serve platform,” she said. “It gives Twitter entree into the real-time bidding business, the ad network business, mobile app ads.”

Through its Amplify program, Twitter is also aggressively promoting joint ad sales with television channels. ESPN, for example, can show game clips on Twitter that are sponsored by an advertiser, with Twitter and the channel sharing revenue.

As discussed in yesterday’s lecture, online advertisement often is the key source of revenue for platforms like Google, Twitter and Facebook. 
This article discusses a new approach regarding Twitter’s advertising offerings. Thus far Twitter’s advertising strategy has all been about ‘simplicity’ which not only appeared to be their strength but their weakness as well. Throughout the years Twitter has not been able to collect concrete demographic information about individual users, like gender and age, to allow it to sell highly targeted ads at expensive rates. Compared to companies like Facebook, this now turns out to be a weakness.
I think adjusting Twitter’s ad strategy is of great importance, especially when you take into account the following information: ‘Twitter’s eMarketer estimates that the company will bring in $583 million in revenue from advertising this year, and $950 million in 2014. Twitter also makes additional revenue from selling the data in its raw feed of hundreds of millions of messages daily.’ Each day online companies have to cope with huge amounts of Ad money and the attempt of Twitter to start diversifying the way they offer Ads, to me, sounds like a great plan! 
The emerging technology markets are all about big data, real-time, analytics, cloud & mobile. Why wouldn’t you align your strategy and key source of revenue to the new possibilities those markets provide? Overall I think the co-operation of Twitter with other parties towards the next generation of ad offerings definitely is going to be a move in the right direction!


Will we be printing our own furniture in the future?

On Monday, September 16th, the office supply giant Staples released the first online service for paper 3D printing. The Netherlands is up till now the first country where this is possible.

Consumers, businesses and designers can now order their 3D creations trough the website of Nevertheless, designers can afterwards even place their creations for sale in their own online-store on the website. This enables designers to broaden their customer group and not to be contained with only specialised stores. If you aren’t creative enough to come up with your own design don’t worry as you can also choose from a wide range of standard designs offered in the Staples catalog.

Staples makes use of Iris printers from the company MCOR Technologies which create the full color 3D prints by using paper and glue. Staples claims that the Iris printer provides the highest color quality due to the fact that it uses paper instead instead of plastic, like regular 3D printers do. Likewise, the variety of colors and color combinations are quite limited with plastic prints compared to the paper 3D prints which offers over 1 million of color options. Also, this technology makes use of environmentally friendly water-based adhesive and is additionally 40 to 60 percent cheaper than the price per cubic cm of regular 3D prints. The disadvantage of the printed objects is that they are less firm than plastic ‘prints’.

Until now, Staples has no mechanisms built in its 3D print service to prevent any ‘pirate versions’ of 3D objects . The responsibility for any copyright design is thus entirely with the uploader of a file. It will take on average 8 to 14 business days before an order is ready whereupon the design is delivered by a parcel service to the customers.

Will this become a trend in the near future, especially among the average consumers, is still the question. Will we be willing to purchase printed ‘design’ furniture for a lower price compared to non-printed furniture? For now an object printed with this technology is less durable then an plastic or wooden object, perhaps a solution will be found for this problem in the future. The options may be even broader than we even imagine now, it my lead to a totally different target group or concept. A good example is the working gun that was printed out of plastic, as this wasn’t initially the purpose of 3D printing.

The designers aspect of the model might be a smart move for Staples. But was I really waiting for the option to print my own sculpture of even coffee table? To be honest not really, as I believe that you should obtain certain skills to be able to make the right and functional design and not everybody acquires these skills.

Will we be using in the future our own designed paper printed 3D chairs at the dining table or perhaps even paper printed bikes, only time will tell.

What do you think it will be the main purpose of this new business creation?