Archive | September 24, 2013

Displays everywhere?!

Rotterdam – The impossible made possible. Nu.nl has just recently announced that researchers linked to the University of California have managed to make elastic screens[1,3]. This screens would not shatter when you drop them, crash when they are stretched and break when you would fold them. What more could a consumer wish for?

For now it seems the age of broken and shattered windows on your mobile phone is coming to an end. But just replacing these screens with the more flexible screens you aren’t using all of the capabilities of these screens. For example, researchers mention these examples as potential applications [2,3]:

• curtains that light up the room

• smartphones that can be enlarged up to two times their original size

• electronics in clothing

Potentials uses of these screens are amazing. Personally, I am very interested in the business side of the potential use. I could imagine for example that people would wear clothes with enormous changing advertisements on them as they go to work using the subway. In that way the reach of conventional advertisement is enlarged, a new opportunity for businesses arises!

Another really interesting use would be the screens that could be enlarged multiple times. For now, the screen has a resolution of 5×5 pixels, but it is expected that the resolution will increase exponentially in the near future. Hopefully screens are also able to be extended even up to 10, 20 or maybe a 100 times. In that way you do not buy a television, tablet, mobile phone and laptop separately, but you will always have your screen with you which you connect with the device you want. You just expand your screen to watch a soccer match and afterwards you let it shrimp, fold it and take it with you upstairs to watch the written summary of the game on your screen you now use as a tablet.

 

References to used sources:

[1] http://www.nu.nl/tech/3583732/elastisch-scherm-kan-worden-gevouwen-en-gerekt.html, 24 september 2013

[2] http://nutech.nl/gadgets/3583729/onderzoekers-maken-elastisch-scherm.html, 24 september 2013

[3] http://www.nature.com/nphoton/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nphoton.2013.242.html#access, 24 september 2013

 

Lets Play!

‘When done right, games exert a strong psychological influence over consumers’
This is a quote by Amy Jo Kim, a game designer and PhD graduate in behavioural neuroscience.

This quote by Kim introduces the term gamification. Gamification has been used in the business context since 2004. However since 2010 more and more companies have understood this term; it has increased the number of return visitors at some sites by 20%.

Moxsie, a website that sells clothing from independent fashion designers, uses gamification by implementing game mechanics to encourage customer feedback. The company rewards the customer with virtual ranks, such as “senior buyer” or “guru”, that affects the customers status. Also Foursquare is a classical example of gamification. This is a smartphone app that lets people “check in” to places and rewards frequent usage of a site or service. Even LinkedIn has gamification features; when members log in to the portal they see a progress bar aimed to let them add more information to their profiles.

So, what does this trend of gamification entails? Different companies use different definitions, but the main idea of gamification is the following. Gamification is the process of using game thinking and mechanics to engage audiences and to solve problems. It involves interactive design elements encouraging competition among peers, and grants public rewards and recognition to those who excel. Examples are leader boards, reward programs, badgets, and free gadgets. The aim is to motivate people to complete actions.

Research firms measure the market for gamificaton apps and services around $400 and $500 million by the end of the year 2013 and forecast this market to grow to 2,8 billion by 2016. More than 70% of the companies listed in the Global 2000, will at least use one gamified application by 2014.

I find that the game feature attractive as it is a pleasurable online experience where you are able to receive rewards and social recognition. Therefor I think that this trend will be successful in engaging customers in the company and I think this has a positive effect on customer loyalty. I am excited to see the game features companies will surprise us with!

diy_gamification

Angelique Nanning – 327920

Sources:

– Zuk, R 2012, ‘Get in the game: How communicators can leverage gamification’, Public Relations Tactics, 19, 2, p. 7, Business Source Premier.
– Business Insider <http://www.businessinsider.com/mobile-gamification-done-right-2013-7#ixzz2fpvar78U>
– Businessweek <http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_05/b4213035403146.htm>

Fairphone: the first social responsible smartphone?

In the year 2010, a new initiative was born: creating an ethically sourced smartphone with the aim to raise awareness about conflict minerals in electronics and the devastating effects of wars on sourcing these minerals. After 3 years of research on means to realize this product, finally in 2013 the Dutch social enterprise Fairphone was set up through crowdsourcing and additional funding. Fairphone’s vision statement – “a seriously cool smartphone that puts social values first” – embraces it all: Fairphone is launching a Samsung Galaxy and iPhone look-a-like smartphone based on a fair process of designing, creating, and producing.

Nowadays, most of the minerals included in our smartphones come from so-called conflict zones: sources for electronics-minerals are often held by warlords and armed groups in some of the most dangerous and poor regions in the world. Imagine that at least 30 minerals are needed to create a decent smartphone… The damage done by the demand we put on the market for smartphones, and the amount of people affected hereby is therefore tremendous. Fairphone is striving to create a 100% ethically-sourced smartphone, with the hope to change the industry from within and make supply chains more transparent. The Fairphone would enable other companies to more easily join this ‘social responsible’-movement and access ethically-sourced minerals.

However, it has been admitted that 100%-ethical sourcing currently is impossible. At the moment, only 2 out of 30 minerals – tin and tantalum – are sourced ethically in the DR Congo, implying that 28 minerals still have an unknown source. The term ‘ethical sourcing’ indicates that the minerals are conflict-free: rebel groups do not have access to any profits. Ethical sourcing is realized by partnering up with NGOs, thus in order to source all of their minerals ethically, their network of reliable suppliers need to be extended. However, the term ‘ethical sourcing’ does not cover fair labour practices necessarily. Nevertheless, the small-scale production in China is supported by a fund to assure fair wages and good working conditions. The set goal is to improve sourcing and production with every incremental improvement of the Fairphone. 

The Fairphone will be available in December, for the price of €325. Currently 15,562 pre-orders have already been placed. Production will start once the amount of 25,000 pre-orders has been reached. As mentioned before, the appearance of the phone is somewhat between the Samsung Galaxy and the Apple iPhone. The phone will be unlocked, supported by different carriers for network connection, and the phone will run on a custom version of Google’s Android. Additionally, to improve the phone’s lifespan and discourage waste, Fairphones are easy to open up and an instruction manual will be provided so that users can execute repairments themselves. Another attractive feature is that the phone has to SIM card slots, which enables users to merge their personal and business lines.

An official introduction provided by Fairphone.com

http://vimeo.com/66409578#

Honestly, were you aware of the damage the production of smartphones is causing? Would you be willing to buy such a smartphone (not considering your current financial funds)?  Or is it simply not relevant to consider what our smartphones are made of?

 

Sources:

Why It’s Hard to Make an Ethically Sourced Smartphone?

Business Week, 20th of September – Caroline Winter

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-09-20/why-its-hard-to-make-an-ethically-sourced-smartphone

www.fairphone.com

Are we being falsely informed?

The State of New York is penalizing companies that post fake reviews on the internet. This is stated on a Dutch news website, which is called Nu.nl. These companies have posted fake reviews on search engines such as Google and Yelp. The companies included a bus-company, cosmetic companies etc.
Since customers find it more and more important these days to gather information about products and companies, reviews are very important to companies. Customers can either decide to buy or not to buy a product based on the reviews that previous customers have posted on the website of a company. The brand image or reputation of a company depends on these reviews.

The level of consumer informedness (Li et al., 2013) depends on the information that is available to the customers about products and such. This information can be derived from the reviews on the websites for example. When the reviews, which are posted on the website, are false; customers will not get a reliable image of the company or product they want to be informed about. Companies, which post the fake reviews, could get an advantage over competing companies because consumers base their preference on these reviews.

In the article on Nu.nl Eric Schneiderman (2013), who is the prosecutor, states “what we have found, is worse than old-fashioned false advertising”. He also mentions that posting fake reviews is even worse because consumers assume that the reviews that they read on Yelp are opinions of customers. I agree with this statement, but I also think that you always have to scan all of the reviews posted on a website. If a company only has loving reviews, it probably is “too good to be true”.

What do you think? Do you read the reviews that are posted on a website? If you do so, do you only read the last reviews? Or do you scan through the reviews and compare them with each other?

References
http://www.nu.nl/internet/3582604/new-york-beboet-bedrijven-neprecensies-internet.html 23-09-2013
Li, T., Kauffman, R.J., van Heck, E., Vervest, P., and Dellaert, B. 2013. Consumer Informedness and Firm Information Strategy. Working Paper