Archive | October 2, 2014

Facebook is watching you; Atlas, the blessing for the marketer or yet another curse?

For many years Facebook stood firmly behind their statement that it would not track and sell our data for commercial purposes. However, during the last years it launched several innovations that, you guess it, withstand their initial ‘supposedly consumer friendly’ position.

Now Facebook has come with a whole new way to earn money out of you. With Facebook’s  new advertising platform, third parties will be able to follow your every move. Even when you are not using Facebook. How exactly? Facebook’s new  ad platform, Atlas, will integrate with all the data that Facebook is storing from its users. Consequently,  Atlas will compile profiles to which companies can buy access to. Every time you will enter a website that is part of the Atlas database, you will add personal information apart from the information it has on you from your Facebook profile. This enables companies to establish advertisement strategies that comply with our social-media based behavior.

How does Atlas exactly works?

Mobile marketing is increasing in popularity but cookies are merely not advanced enough to work effectively on mobile platforms. Ads usually do not show and companies cannot easily measure the impact of the portrayed banners or other ads. With Atlas, our Facebook profiles will be used as substitutes to provide targeted advertisement. Companies will now have a complete image of  how Facebook users came to conversion, despite them using different devices such as mobile, pc or tablet. All that the customers  have to do is to use one Facebook profile and Atlas will keep track of all their steps across different devices.

However, there is more. This also enables companies to link offline purchases to online behavior. Simply gaining your email address will give companies the ability to sneak peek in our lives. Companies won’t have to do serious data mining to create our profiles, instead we are doing it for them. Anno 2014, we live in a society where we have to constantly share information online to create our identity. It almost becomes a rule that we have to stay ‘connected’ to be seen.

Atlas is calling this ‘people-based marketing’ and sure, from a marketing perspective, this creates many possibilities. Companies can effectively change and monetize their advertising strategies while actually reaching their accurate target group.

However, for privacy concerned citizens, this might be rather intrusive and maybe too much of a violation of our privacy. Undoubtedly this will raise many privacy concerns. What do you think? Innovations like these were bound to happen nowadays, but do you think the benefits will outpace the loss on our privacy?

References:

http://www.marketingfacts.nl/berichten/facebook-atlas-de-heilige-graal-van-online-marketing

http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/facebooks-new-people-based-ad-technology-marketing-nirvana-160438

The greatness of Free Riders, and why you should be proud to be one!

Free Riders?

Greetings my fellow students, I want to share a thought, a vision which I have been thinking about for a few days now. We all know the struggle of having “Free-riders” around (not the game;)), people who don’t contribute but still profit, people who only use what others are giving them. Since we were born we knew what free riders are, friends who use your marbles to win their own, friends who use your PlayStation to play GTA and students who are waiting on the social media for somebody else to share their summary. Overall, there is a very negative connotation to the word Free-riders. When we take a look at the actual definition we see that the Free riding theory is defined as the following:

 

In economics, the free rider problem refers to a situation where some individuals in a population either consume more than their fair share of a common resource, or pay less than their fair share of the cost of a common resource.”

 

When we extend this definition to the online there are some problems. Before we can go any further in this subject we have to take a look at a phenomenon called “Information Goods” (lecture 6 people, pay attention). Information Goods are goods which are valued for their information, not for the physical components of the good itself. So for example, you buy a book for the words in it instead of the paper and glue which physically makes the book. You can extend this meaning to the “new era” (I haven’t read a book in 7 years…) when you think about CD’s, DVD’s etc. But also more harder to visualize goods like software and video’s. But there is more, there are so called “online information goods”, information goods which are accessed through the internet and are accessible for the  masses. The best examples are Wikipedia, blogs and Khan Academy, which we have described in our Technology of the week assignment (reading tip, we will post it when it’s finished).

Exactly these new online information goods bring a new insight to the “free” part of free riders. For example, the rise of a platform like Wikipedia or even Khan, couldn’t be realized without these so-called free riders. Without these people who do not contribute but only “use” there wouldn’t be a stimuli to contribute in the first place. Why would you share your knowledge with the world when nobody is listening?  Also, without these people there wouldn’t be a stimuli for founders to contribute financially which makes free online information goods possible (for example, Wikipedia totally runs on funding, just like Khan Academy).

There is more, the free rider problem also provides resources for bloggers, search engines etc,  through revenue generated by advertising income. Again, without these free riders, the platforms wouldn’t sustain. Therefore I think that the definition of Online free riders should be changed to the following:

In the Online community, the free rider phenomenon refers to a situation where some individuals in a user group consume more than contribute, but create value by visiting the medium which facilitates the platform, therefore being indispensable”

 

What do you think? Should we respect free riders much more than they are in our minds? I think so..

 

 

Sources: http://www.speeleiland.nl/free-rider-2.htm (for the exteme gamers among us)

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/free_rider_problem.asp

 

Wakie Wakie!

Do you have difficulties waking up in the morning? Do you hate the sound of your alarm clock at 7.00AM? Now there is an app which makes waking up much more fun! The Wakie app is a completely new experience of waking up in the morning. Although the app is currently not fully available in The Netherlands, it might come to this country in the near future. So what’s the Wakie app all about?

The Wakie app allows you to you set an alarm before you go to sleep, just like you normally do. The next morning though, you are not woken up by a terrible alarm sound, but you are woken up by someone calling you for exactly one minute. So let’s say you set your alarm at 7.00AM. than at that time in the morning, another user of the app sees that you want to wake up and calls you through the app. You than have a conversation with a complete stranger for exactly one minute, because after exactly one minute the conversation will be automatically disconnected. Of course you also have the opportunity to wake someone up yourself. You open the app, see who wants to wake up and start the conversation.

I think it’s is a new and fun app, but it is very important that creepy people do not enter the community in order to keep the app running successfully. So it is a must that there is a sort of rating system or so, so that these creepy people are banned from the community. At this point of time, the community of Wakie seems to be very friendly, but keeping this friendly community is difficult when this community is growing and growing. So I think this app is fun and has much potential, so who knows that within a period of time the whole world is using the app so everybody wakes up with a smile!

So what are your thoughts on this app? Any other positive or negative sides? Are you gonna use it when it’s coming to your country? Let me know!

Sources:
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-29221163
http://wakie.com/

The Influences of IT in the Sports Industry.

It was late 2011 when Sony Pictures released the movie Moneyball. A movie that followed General Manager Billy Bean (played by Brad Pitt) of the Oakland A’s. The Oakland A’s where an American baseball team hosted in Oakland and competing in the Major League Baseball. Having one of the lowest budgets in the Competition Billy was struggling with putting a team together. In order to form a team he ran into Peter Brand, an IT nerd with a new view on baseball. Peter had an IT solution for Baseball and together they made a cheap team of under appreciated players which could be able to win the competition. Although the movie was based on a true story Billy Bean and the Oakland A’s came close, but did not won the league.

IT in the sports grows immensely. A lot of the Top Elite teams competing in for instance the Olympics or the Champions league make use of IT facilities to influence their Sport. Teams keep big data bases about their opponents or use Video Analyzing Equipment to make state of the art analyzes of their matches. Making use of al these technologies sure improves the sport. But at what level?

Data allows us the improve the overall game. Already there are cases where it reduces arbitrary mistakes. Think about the hawk-eye in tennis or the video-referee in hockey. Using statistics makes the game more understandable for average people. Fans now a day can see all kinds of statistics about their favorite player.  These statistics contribute to the overall experience of the Fans. IT also helps coaches make better and adequately decisions about their team. Adidas, for instance, provides a system with wearable devices that obtain information and show the coach which players are performing and which not. This information can really help a coach in a game.

Where are we heading with all these technologies in the sports? As long as we use technologies to improve the overall performance of the game I think we are heading in the right way. Arbitrary can improve with IT to reduce faults in decisions. By offering spectators more statistics it benefits the overall spectators experience. In the last part it can benefit the sporters and their coaches. By using all these new technologies players can become better, which results in games at faster speed and higher levels.

Big Data now a day is a “hot” topic. The list of positive influences of these data to the sport is long. As a trainer and a Coach I absolutely support these developments. It should benefit the sport and make sports a better game, but there is a point where I think we should not make IT influence the game. I draw the line at the point where we are going to use IT for future decisions of the sporters. Sport is a game of mistakes, and sport needs these mistakes to make it attractive. If we are going to tell players what to do, we might as well going to play sports with perfectly designed robots. For me the beauty of the game lies in that short split-second decision moment where a player shows that he is truly brilliant.

Niels Rudolphus

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Sources:

http://www.cnet.com/news/for-data-driven-oakland-as-the-it-coach-sets-the-defense/

http://www.cio.com/article/2377954/data-management/8-ways-big-data-and-analytics-will-change-sports.html

http://www.cio.com/article/2369580/data-center/139303-How-Technology-Gives-the-Sports-Industry-a-Winning-Edge.html

3D printing could lead to a third industrial revolution

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In 2020, the 3D printing industry will have an estimated worth of 8 billion dollars. With the development of a more efficient 3D printing process, it will be possible that the production on small scale is just as efficient as large scale production. With traditional manufacturing, small scale production can be very costly because it is labour-intensive. This is due to the lack of specialized machines and moulds. With more advanced 3D printing, it will be possible that more small scale production and prototyping becomes feasible. With 3D printing, the price of production per item remains constant. Even with a high amount of units. This means that with 3D printing, economies of scale are much less important. This is due to the fact that the software can be tweaked and therefore minor adjustments can be easily made. The cost of labour will decrease because the amount of employees directly involved in producing products will decrease. Therefore, manufacturers could start to switch from mass manufacturing to individualized production in order to respond to customer demand. This means that the design process and the manufacturing process come closer together. As a result, manufacturers could start to move the offshore production (back) to the western countries. According to the Economist, this could lead to a ‘third industrial revolution’.

With 3D printing, manufacturers are able to further develop capabilities such as mass customization, on-demand production and they will be better able to support the ‘long tail’. For specialized products, such as doorknobs and spare parts, it is often not justified to mass produce them. This is due to the fact that the demand is not large enough to cover for the production, inventory and maintenance costs. 3D printing would solve this problem because it gives companies the opportunity to produce customized products from the same platform with minimal ‘retooling’ costs. There are many products that are standard and have a very low demand but that are necessary to maintain (e.g. spare parts).  3D printing solves the problem of storage costs and loss of value over time for these parts. Manufacturers could also support the ‘long tail’ better by switching from designing for complete part replacement to designing for part component replacement.

Do you believe that 3D printing could lead to a ‘third industrial revolution’?

Sources:

– Chalmers, J. (2013) 3D printing: not yet a new industrial revolution, but its impact will be huge, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/11/3d-printing-not-yet-a-new-industrial-revolution-but-its-impact-will-be-huge

– Markillie, P. (2012) A third industrial revolution, http://www.economist.com/node/21552901

– Robbins, J., Webb, S. (2013) Rethinking Industrial Manufacturing Through 3D Printing, http://www.automationworld.com/rethinking-industrial-manufacturing-through-3d-printing

Wholesale meets technology

Increasing digitalizing and the opportunities of Internet are the most important reasons for improvement for wholesalers. ICT determines the success of companies. “It’s gold for the future!”, according to Jack Heijkans of Docdata. Especially trading companies that are responsible for large number of transactions and extensive sales volumes can have huge benefits of ICT.

Because of the increasing influence of Internet and commercial opportunities of “Big Data” a new opportunities for improvement emerges. This was already known for companies in consumer products but even tough it is also relevant for wholesalers in raw materials and semi-finished products.

For example Coolblue is building a new warehouse of 22.000 square feet. Including technologies to accelerate delivery of packages and therewith customer satisfaction. Another example is Bol.com. To monitor millions of SKU’s advanced technology is required. Processes of storage, packaging and returns needs to be optimized. It is combination of technical, logistic and commercial solutions.

The influence of Internet increases because consumers have access to lots of information. Companies needs to be sure that they are one step further than there customers. For a lot of business-to-business companies there is room for improvement. Still there are some companies that are untraceable on the Internet.

A lot of wholesales believe that their showroom is their most important tool to show and sell their product. This role can also be fulfilled through an online shop. Therewith a showroom can get an additional function as a center to share knowledge, to test products and a location for meetings.

Investing in ICT might be a solution to improve decision-making, identifying opportunities and to increase efficiency. This is necessary because last decade the Dutch wholesales grew faster than other branches. Nevertheless last year revenues declined. The reason for this event wasn’t only the economic crisis. Competition increases and it is time for action for the Dutch wholesalers.

References:

http://www.emerce.nl/nieuws/groothandel-vraagt-om-innovatie-impuls

http://www.emerce.nl/nieuws/coolblue-bouwt-magazijn-22000-m2

http://www.emerce.nl/interviews/it-levert-binnen-ecommerce-goud-toekomst

Twice the size of Spotify and you probably haven’t even heard of it

I am talking about Pandora, and not the jewelry from the Scandinavia countries or the cursed box from ancient Greece. I am talking about Pandora the music listening application that has a current total stock value of 4,6 billion US dollars, 250 million registered users and has a total website traffic of 150 million visitors each month. By comparison, Spotify has a total website traffic of roughly 80 million visitors and was valued by investors to be worth 4 billion.

Pandora is a music streaming application that chooses music for you and is based on user’s preferences. You can’t choose the song you want to listen to directly, the program basically chooses songs for you, which can be pretty convent when you have listened to your own playlist for hundreds of time and you know exactly which songs comes next. Pandora doesn’t do this through genre or by selecting songs based on the same artists, but does this based on the thumbs up or thumbs down you and other listeners give a particular song.  Pandora developed a program called the Music Gnome Project which labels 450 attributes to a particular song and plays songs that share common attributes to the one’s you and other people liked. Every song has to be analyzed for its attributes and this is done by experts in the music industry. These experts have on average a degree in music theory that took them 4 years to complete and underwent intensive training by the program to ensure that every song is categorized with the same frame of reference and the same methodology. This is done to ensure that the data quality remains high and reliable. To me it remains mind boggling why computers still cannot analyze music like humans do. I guess music still remains one of the last magic domains that cannot be digitized and automated by computers.

The question that remains however is why on earth haven’t I ever heard of this app? The answer is quite simple and somewhat disappointing. It’s because the music streaming service is not available in most parts of the world, nor can you download the mobile app in the app store.  It is currently only available in the USA, Australia and New-Zeeland. The probability that you even heard from this company is pretty low because you cannot even access their website with IP addresses from the Netherlands. This off course is the result of copyright law and the fear of being sued for billions by record labels because Pandora copyright protection is limited to these countries.

Pandora’s is immensely popular in the countries where it is allowed. In the United States 52% of the music listening desktop traffic was accounted to Pandora whilst the remaining 48% was distributed amongst other major streaming platforms Soundcloud, Spotify and Grooveshark. The other major platforms are allowed outside of the United States and this makes Pandora’s success in the United States even more remarkable. One thing is for sure, if Pandora ever gets released on the rest of the world the other streaming platforms are going to have a difficult time retaining their current market positions.

When I found out about Pandora and its popularity in the US and the fact that we as Europeans barely know of its existence, I started to question my assumptions that the internet in the western world was universal. I always assumed that the popularity of big platforms would be somewhat the same between the western countries. My question to you is: are there other mayor internet companies out there that are immensely popular in their countries that we hardly even know about here?

If you desperately want to enjoy this app outside of the US there are ways you can download and use the app on your mobile phone. I am however, not going to post any links on that subject and you will have to look them up yourself.

http://ycharts.com/companies/P/enterprise_value

http://online.wsj.com/articles/google-considers-buying-spotify-but-finds-the-price-too-high-1406061732

http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/18/the-pandora-one-subscription-service-to-cost-5-a-month/

http://blog.similarweb.com/soundcloud-swot-analysis-not-your-moms-mtv/

Shipping in movement

A couple of weeks ago during the lecture, guest speaker Pieter Zwart told us about the shipping possibilities at his company Coolblue: if an order is placed before midnight, it will be delivered the next day, even if that is a sunday. It is even possible to pay for same day delivery.

Coolblue is not the only company with such high delivery standards. Amazon, for example, offers sellers to let ship their products by Amazon for free within two days, which is enabled by use of a huge, highly efficient warehouse. Ups offers the possibility to let customers track their (international) order in detail. It has different tools which show where the package is at the moment and a shift from place to place can even be visible within half an hour.

But what if you want to ship something easily and quickly and you are not part of a big company? You could sell your product through Amazon or just use a mail company such as UPS of course. However, you still need to put it in a box and bring the package to a post office or a shop.

Shyp solves that for you. You just need to download the app, take a picture of what you want to be shipped and fill in the address whereto it needs to be shipped. Within 20 minutes a so-called ‘Heroe’ picks it up, wraps it up and takes care of further steps of the shipment. You have pay a fee of $5.- up on the usual shipping cost and it is done.

With the recently raised $10M funding ($12.1M in total), Shyp wants to expand its business to New York City. I wonder if Shyp or a likewise company will succeed on a bigger scale. If it will, what would the next innovation with regards to shipment be?

Sources:

http://www.crunchbase.com/organization/shyp

http://techcrunch.com/2014/07/16/shyp-10m-sherpaventures/

http://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resources/track/check/

http://www.wired.com/2014/06/inside-amazon-warehouse/

http://www.wired.com/2014/09/the-next-big-thing-you-missed-startup-aims-to-give-everyone-the-mighty-shipping-power-of-amazon/