Archive | October 14, 2014

Good News! We still outperform Robots!

Three years ago, Foxconn director Gou promised to have deployed a million of Foxbots to replace the humans making iPhones, three years from that day. This has not happened.

Several tens of thousands of these 20,000 dollar Foxbots have been installed and are working in assembly lines making your Apple products. This sure is a lot, but since the first generation robots was disappointing, the idea of replacing the human workers has not worked out as well as Gou had hoped. This is not the end though, probably many of the workers had already gotten excited about losing their job will just have to hold their horses. As well as the Chinese families dependent on the assembly of consumer electronics, even Dutch politics has recently taken upon the subject of dangerous robotization. The accuracy of recognizing and analyzing video feed has doubled in the last year and for example Google’s recently acquired robots (Industrial Perception) can stack boxes more quickly than I could ever do.

Still, us humans outperform our mechanical counterparts when it comes to accuracy and especially problem-solving thinking. This does not mean that we can not use these machines to help ourselves out a bit, a great example would be Lockheed Martin’s exoskeletons, creating Ironman-like super-strength for shipyard builders. Funny note; did anyone ever notice their company logo and Stark Industries’? Coincidence?

Will robots replace human workers faster than we can find new jobs to do? Probably. When they do, our politicians will have a hard time answering to the unemployed billions, and frankly, I would not be able to provide you the answer either way. Even though the human race has been quite resilient the past 500,000 years, countless more civilizations have suffered extinction than the ones that survived. Let’s just hope those robots will make the iPhone 7 prices drop.

AR and Google Glass will bring people back to the streets

Augmented Reality can be used in several ways. The technology can make information about products more interactive. Car brands are able to show their customers their latest models in 3D, interior brands are able to show their customers if the products will match with their other furniture and toy brands are able to show their customers the final model. The technology can make advertisements more interactive, people are able to watch videos and get access to exclusive content. The technology can create a new shopping experience as well. In combination with mobile devices it is possible to provide personalized advertising and in-store shopping assistance. Although nowadays the technology is not popular. The technology has the potential to increase the shopping experience in stores and get the people back to the streets, back to the brick and mortal stores.

640_tourist-info

With the introduction of the Google Glass, a device that you can wear as a normal glasses, the potential of Augmented Reality can be met. With all the features of Augmented Reality right on your purview without using your hands there is possibly a huge win in popularity. This combination might be the next disruptor in our lives, because it can let our real and virtual world merge into one. It is now possible to enjoy the scenery of the city centre while you get your information handsfree and in your sight. No more people looking down to the screen, but embracing the real world with a new layer to enhance it.

The possibilities become endless and more and more purposes can be filled with this combination. In the shop you can inform the consumer and create personal deals on their purview. You can give your customer the best routes in your shop. The applications of gamification become possible, for example giving discounts for consumers that are looking at your new products. There are possibilities for musea to give information in interesting ways and on city level the city can give visitors very good sightseeing informations. Rates and reviews on your eye while walking through the shopping street, the possibilities seems endless. That is the situation you want to be in if you are a prospective disruptor. I see a good marriage in this combination.

BONUS: Maybe you’ve seen it, maybe you did not. I’ve found a pretty cool video about Augmented Reality and how it can take a wrong turn in the long run. Enjoy watching it!

Edwards, C (2013), Augmented reality peers out beyond Google’s looking glass, Engineering and Technology Magazine, Vol 8, issue 4, < http://eandt.theiet.org/magazine/2013/04/better-than-reality.cfm >

Hofstee, G 2013, ‘De ins en outs van Google Glass’, Digital Economics, < http://www.digitaleconomics.nl/2013/08/17/de-ins-en-outs-van-google-glas/ >

Kar, S 2014, Augmented Reality Makes the Best Personal Shopper, viewed 18 March 2014, < http://siliconangle.com/blog/2012/07/02/augmented-reality-makes-the-best-personal-shopper/ >

 

How Private and safe is Snapchat?

What is Snapchat and what makes it so popular among teens?
It’s really simple you take a picture and write a message and send the picture to a friend. What makes it so popular for teenagers is that you could pick how long the message will appear.  Once your friend gets the message they hold the button to view the message after which it disappears. It’s also possible with Snapchat to send texts, photos and videos. The text messages sent could be saved by both parties by clicking on it.

They offer a false sense of privacy, promising that they erase the photos.
The ugly truth however is that at the moment there are many apps that offer users to save incoming snaps. Amongst the most popular ones are apps like Snapchat saver, SnapCrack and SnapSave who all have the same functionalities of saving photos, videos and stories.

We could say that because of these unsafe third-party apps Snapchat is also unsafe, because these apps are exactly the contrary of what Snapchat is all about.

According to business insider one of these third party apps was hacked lately and the hackers claim that they have at least 100.000 Snapchat photos which include nude photos of underage kids. The collection photos that include photos of child pornography might be released very soon by the hackers.

Even though the app itself had some flaws before like people that could just take a print screen of the sender’s photo or the possibility of taking a photo of the snap with another mobile phone. With the hack of these third party apps there is another flaw revealed that questions the company’s commitment to security.

First of all if Snapchat did enough to protect its software it wouldn’t be so easy for other parties to hack the platform and offer these services like saving snaps. Secondly with the existence of these apps in the apple and google store they haven’t yet convinced them to keep the third party hacks out of the stores. That says enough doesn’t it?

What do you guys think of Snapchat and their privacy?
References:

http://money.cnn.com/2014/10/10/technology/mobile/snapchat-not-private/index.html
http://www.businessinsider.com/snapchat-hacked-the-snappening-2014-10
http://www.1mtb.com/top-5-best-apps-to-save-download-snapchat-photos-videos-stories-ios-android/

The end of banks?

Global payment business is growing, especially Asia-Pacific has the largest share of payment revenues and will remain to be the engine of growth. Digital transformation of payments is possible through smart phones and tablets and is currently responsible for the growth of merchant payments. It is questionable if banks are able to adjust to this trend and if they are innovative enough to stay in business. Large, tech-savvy companies as Apple and Google have plenty treasuries and are currently fierce competitors of banks. The reason why they are such evident competitors, is that they own hundreds of billions of dollars and customer relationships which can be turned into value, online banking is the key component. Traditional banks were perfectly able to use transaction data and understand customer risk. However, a credit card company called Capital One developed a lot complex models of customers and their payment behavior. More recent, new companies find a way to compete by addressing new sources of information like social networks and location based data, which can be combined and turned into new products. One of these companies is a very new one and launched today, namely CardBlanc. This is a Social Commerce App that aims to provide a better shopping process. It is a financial platform for easier mobile checkout and social activity features resembling Pinterest or Wanelo. Purchases are publicly shared within the CardBlanc environment, but users can switch this option off. However, it is the social feature that makes it more special, especially in this generation where people are more open to share. The application works with over 100 retailers already and creates an effective mobile-sized shopping mall where sharing with friends, getting feedback through comments and likes are centralized.

Mobile shopping couldn’t be easier, according to CardBlanc. What do you think, are applications like this example or websites the reason of the extinction of banks? Will online banking replace banks?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomgroenfeldt/2014/10/14/banks-face-powerful-competitors-in-the-payments-business/

http://techcrunch.com/2014/10/14/social-commerce-app-cardblanc-puts-a-shopping-mall-on-your-phone/

Will IENS succumbs to their own business model?

While talking to a few restaurant owners, something came up in consensus. Review and rating platforms do not necessarily help your business, even if you are graded and reviewed very well. In this particular case we take the website IENS. The company IENS is an online platform where people can explore where to eat. It has all the tools to simply answer your question on your journey: ‘Where do we eat?”. The locations, types of kitchen, reviews, ratings, it is all in there. They call themselves the essential link between restaurants and their (potential) guests.

IENS is built on User Generated Content. More and more restaurants submitted information on the platform with the incentive of future customers. With a new online way of obtaining information consumers did explore IENS to look where they wanted to eat. The overview and filters are great to navigate yourself to the eatery you want. And the supply of restaurants were just getting bigger and bigger.

iens

There is another important factor on this website. It is the input of the content of the restaurant guests. Lots of reviews and ratings are on the platform, giving other potential guests more information about the restaurant. A 2013 global survey of Nielsen researched the trust of us in opinions of other people online. The research made clear that 68% (!) trusts other peoples vision on a certain subject. With this fact in mind, it seems like IENS got gold in hand. They have loads of information, an active consumer base to generate content and thousands of restaurants indexed. So, what is the problem?

Did you ever thought of the business model of companies like these? Actually, there is none. Only third parties can contribute to the platform, by paying for advertisements to reach out to the consumer on IENS. In general, this is the only way to receive money. The value proposition is pretty solid monetized for the different stakeholders on the platform, but not for the platform itself.

Reason enough to do something about the business model, since IENS is not making any profits anymore in the last four fiscal years. A way to go along with the incoming cashflow is to extend your services. IENS is trying to do this now in collaboration with SeatMe, an online reservation service coupled to the restaurant pages on IENS. If you look at the company from a theory perspective, it tends to a platform mediated network with two main sides. The restaurants on the one hand and the consumers on the other.

Because the willingness to pay of the consumers will be very low in this situation, you should subsidize that side. The restaurants on the other side provide the direct quality of the platform, so you could charge the side providing quality. IENS actually is doing this at the moment, giving restaurants an option to be premium partner and buy their position to the top. In my opinion IENS loses their independency with that move, leaving restaurants who do not want to pay for a high position with a choice to switch to another platform. Because of this spunky move my question would be: Will IENS succumbs to their own business model?

http://www.marketingfacts.nl/berichten/wat_is_het_business_model_voor_user_generated_content_deel_1

http://www.between-us.com/1053/how-tripadvisor-yelp-vivino-iens-and.htm

https://www.iens.nl/over-iens

http://www.bistropiaf.nl/

Digital Transformation Project – Group 9 – Holland Casino

Since 1975, Holland Casino has been the only Dutch casino with a license to operate as a full casino. The aim of the government with permitting just one license to only one casino was to provide people with a legal, reliable and controllable supply of gambling. However, Starting from 1st of January, online gambling with real money will become legal in the Netherlands. This will lead to a restructuring of the gambling business within the country.

Our report focused on analyzing the current use of Holland Casino’s IT applications, after which we proposed a business model that involves an innovative IT-enabled service in order to transform the business. For Holland Casino in particular this means that we focused on the development of an online gambling platform, something that has not been legalized in The Netherlands at this moment.

After the legalization, the market will become newly easy to enter because of recently emerged technologies such as tablets and mobile phones and the changes to government regulations. Innovative and quickly adapting companies can use this to earn more competitive advantage and market share. On the other hand companies who are not so flexible will start losing business value and position.Currently the online gambling market is attractive to attack because of the large player base that would prefer to play on their native language – Dutch. A lot of the players will be happier if they have immediate access to gambling, especially when it is in their native language. A big part of the population who have not enough time or do not like playing poker on premise will be attracted to the online game.

The role of information in a company like Holland Casino is hugely important. The collection of information at Holland Casino already starts when customers enter the building However, because we are talking about a casino here, there are some more regulations that require Holland Casino to store their clients’ information.

We decided to summarize the benefits and limitations for developing an online poker platform for Holland Casino in a SWOT table.

Strengths:

  • Already established brand name and image
  • Relatively low hardware and infrastructure costs
  • Small amount of competitive products
  • Relatively low Buyers Power
  • Huge demand for such products

Weaknesses:

  • High development costs
  • High government taxes
  • Very high competition rivalry on international level
  • Relatively high Suppliers Power

Opportunities:

  • First mover advantage
  • Can keep player base through lock in strategy

Threats:

  • Other already established game companies can enter the market
  • Potential conflicts in restructuring the company’s organization and strategic plans

Holland Casino is operating in a business environment, where online gambling becomes more and more popular. With the new regulation coming in 2015, legalize online gambling in the Netherlands, there arise new opportunities for this well-known casino. Holland Casino could expend their market share on the online gambling market and offer their customers in the Netherlands multiple gamble experiences (online or in the physical casinos).

References:

Holland Casino (2013), Annual Report

Click to access jaarverslag_2013_en.pdf

Dropbox Hacked, Snowden says “Get Rid of it”

As some of you might have heard, Monday night nearly 7 million usernames and passwords from Dropbox, the free cloud service for storing your photos, videos, and documents across devices, were stolen and leaked onto the internet. According to Dropbox, there was no breach in their actual system, but were the account usernames hacked from third party services. And there are so many of these third party services that it is impossible to track down the service(s) that were hacked. This is an apparent downside to integration. Without allowing third parties to integrate your product or service, you will not get the network effects and Word of Mouth benefits that you usually get from it. But if these third services get hacked and your user account information is leaked, it is not (only) the reputation of the third party services that gets affected, but yours. To play safe, it would be a wise decision to change your Dropbox password. The process doesn’t take long and is well worth it.

Coincedently, the (in)famous Edward Snowden made a comment about their privacy a few days earlier. Snowden is a former contractor for the CIA, who left the US in after leaking to the media details of extensive internet and phone surveillance by American intelligence. Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, faces espionage charges over his actions.

A few days prior to this, Edward Snowden stated that if users value their privacy, they should delete their dropbox account.He said that this is because they do not support encryption, which dropbpx denies. Snowden also came with an alternative file storage program quickly: he says SpiderOak should be the user’s preferred system. This service encripts the data while it is actually on your computer, while Dropbox does this while the data is on the company’s servers or “in transit”. So Snowden does seem to have a point.

But still, it might be questionable what Snowden’s motives are. Maybe he has a friend at SpiderOak, or a grudge against Dropbox? Eitherway, it would probably be a good move for Dropbox to make sure they also encrypt the data, since it is always better to accept the critique and solve it than resist it. Whether it was really Dropbox fault or not, the hacked accounts are still their responsibility. And their responsibility to solve. Maybe they should re-assess their integration policies and select the services that can integrate Dropbox more strictly, or seriously consider the other encryption method to work SpiderOak out of the market.

Battling Crowdedness at the Erasmus Gym – DTP Team 34

gym

A thorough analysis of the Erasmus Sports Center (ESC) Gym (and its IT usage in particular), ranging from social media analyses to scanning system analyses, enabled us to prioritise business needs of stakeholders at the ESC Gym. In addition, by conducting interviews with the ESC Gym coordinator it became clear that the current usage of IT systems is not yet at an optimum. Gym members reported that availability of equipment is one of the most important aspects of the gym. With this information, we proposed that an effective information system could benefit the ESC Gym and could radically change the business environment it is currently in. Building on the work of Dimitrova et al., (2014) we suggest that the ESC gym alters its current scanning system. At the moment, members are required to check in, but not to check out. If the ESC Gym would implement a scanning system that tracks the checking out of members, it could provide information of real-time crowdedness. This real-time information should be visible on an app that is free to download for all users.  This way of customer informedness could tackle the problem of crowded gyms, negative WOM of the gym being too crowded and could lead to increased revenues. The mentioned benefits of this option, based on our anticipated outcomes, are highly likely to outweigh the costs, justifying the needed investment.

Benefits would not only result from a higher retention rate and more memberships sold, we also envision several add-ons. As far as revenue is concerned, an important add-on is the advertisements for the Erasmus Sports Café. The Erasmus Sports Café is adjacent to the ESC Gym and accounts for almost 20% of the revenue for the Erasmus Sports Center in general. Currently, visibility, informedness and communication could be improved for the Erasmus Café. If the Erasmus Café would be able to advertise daily deals and other information on the app, it could yield more revenue in the future. Another add-on is opportunity to link with friends. The application allows you to follow friends and to be followed, incentivizing friends to work out together as well as enabling the application to be a social platform.

Furthermore, such an information system may provide additional convenience to students all around campus, not only limited to the gym. All places prone to getting crowded can benefit from such an application. One example of such a situation will be to use it to inform students about the level of crowdedness in the University Library and suggest other quiet study places such as the H building and the G building. Taken even further, such an application can also be used in the T4 Cafeteria or the Food Court, for instance.  As students are constant users of their mobile devices while on campus, this can provide the opportunity to implement technology to the benefit of their convenience in everyday life.

Sources:

Dimitrova, V., Laenge, J., Helmrich, M., Verspeek, T. & Hatenboer, J., 2014. The Erasmus Gym Application. Rotterdam: s.n.

Erasmus Sport Foundation, 2014. Year Report 2013, Rotterdam: Erasmus Sport Foundation.

EUR-Students, 2014. Survey_ESC Gym [Interview] (15 September 2014).

Giljamse, M., 2014. Interview [Interview] (16 September 2014).

There is only one Hewlett-Packard (HP) ?

hp-logo

The answer will soon be no .

Silicon Valley giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co plans to split into two companies as it looks to put more focus on the faster-growing corporate services market. Hewlett-Packard is to separate its PC and printer arm (the new HP Inc) from its software and corporate hardware business (the new HP Enterprise), which have more market potential. Although HP dropped the idea of spin-off in 2011, CEO Meg Whitman thinks now is the right time to make that move and catch up with changing in the industry.

Spin Off

A spinoff is a type of divestiture; a corporation creates a spinoff by distributing 100% of its ownership interest in that business unit as a stock dividend to existing shareholders. In this way, the divisions of companies or organizations that then become independent businesses with assets, employees, etc. The motivation of company doing this is because shareholders can have more options regarding the spinoff business, such as selling and IPO.

HP is the latest in a line of companies to spin off operations in an attempt to become more agile and to capitalize on faster-growing businesses. In recent year, HP has struggled to adapt to the shift towards mobile computing, and it has been overshadowed by younger rivals. HP’s market value of $66 billion is dwarfed by Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp, and it has also been overtaken by aggressive Chinese PC maker Lenovo, which is now the world’s No. 1 PC maker by shipments. After spin-off, HP Enterprise is expected to accelerate its cooperation with other mobile device brand vendors to answer its enterprise clients’ demand for mobile applications. Such increase will not only benefit HP Enterprise’s operating profit, but also draw investor’s attention and thus raise more money.

And online auction company eBay Inc also said it would spin off electronic payment service PayPal lately.

References:

Steven Burke:

http://www.crn.com/news/data-center/300074293/report-hp-to-split-into-two-companies-pc-printers-and-enterprise-computing.htm

HP News:

http://www8.hp.com/us/en/hp-news/press-release.html?id=1809455#.VD1ptHlwX8c

Netflix Unchained

Netflix created a platform where the consumers (the money side) pay for unlimited access to on-demand content. This is a contrast to the traditional linear viewing model offered in subscriptions from cable providers such as UPC and Ziggo. On the other side, the movie studios (the subsidy side) supplied the content, which Netflix had to pay for.

A very nasty threat that Netflix has had to deal with in this setup is the stifling bargaining power of the movie studios. Movie studios logically want to generate as much revenue as possible from the content they produce. They do this by creating time frames of availability for their content on different mediums. From theatre screenings to DVD rentals to TV screenings, the movie studios plan the most profitable route. Netflix has to deal with the limitations imposed by movie studios, which means that it often can only offer popular titles and series for a limited time or maybe even not at all. Exclusivity deals between studios and competitors also prevent Netflix from gaining access to content. In the past, deals with competitors have prevented Netflix from providing blockbuster titles. Even worse, the movie studios also impose regional limitations, which means that Netflix is not able to offer the same content worldwide and has to renegotiate its agreements in each country it is active in. This puts a strain on pricing since Netflix has to invest in new content. In the past, Netflix had to raise prices to cope with the high costs of adding new content.

Untitled

What is Netflix’ solution?

To address this problem, Netflix has taken several measures. Firstly, the company focuses on the quantity of content to make sure users have enough choice. Earlier this year, Netflix took on a debt of $400 million to start investing in expansion (Bushey, 2014). Investment in original content has produced very popular shows (like Orange Is The New Black and House of Cards) that have helped Netflix increase its subsidy side user base, while decreasing its dependency on the subsidy side. Competitors have followed suit. Amazon has also invested in original content with its Amazon Instant Video subscription service. Cable providers, TV stations and even movie theatres are exploiting their longstanding relationships with movie studios to provide their own on-demand services that have earlier access to new content than Netflix.

Why is this important?

For Netflix this is a good strategy since it will allow the company to take control of its platform. However, the company also risks alienating the movie studios since they are now not only customers but also competitors. This strategy seems to work for Netflix, since the company has surpassed HBO in revenue and the Redbox Instant service, a result of a partnership between cable provider Verizon and Redbox, announced that it will be shutting down (D’Orazio, 2014). There is still room for competitors in the streaming video market and TV stations and cable providers have the benefit of an existing user base that can help them to envelop Netflix’ business. But with its own exclusive content, Netflix is putting the pressure on will have a strong competitive advantage against cable providers that are invading Netflix’ business.

The Fear of Online Dating

Though websites and apps such as OkCupid and Tinder are growing in size and number, social acceptance is still lacking. Just recently in New York´s Upper West Side local residents wanted to put a stop to a wine bar getting a liquor license for its outdoor seating area. The reason? They were afraid the bar and its lack of food on the menu would attract seedy ‘Internet People’. One resident said:

“I have seen people say, ‘I met you on the Internet,’ and you’re putting that on the sidewalk? I don’t want children walking near ‘Internet people’ meeting.” (DNAinfo, 2014).

This fear raises a question: do more people have a fear of online daters – is this common? And, is this really what they are afraid of, or is it just technophobia?

The emergence of online dating
Match.com was one of the first successful online dating sites, starting in 1995. Before that, online dating mostly took place in online chatrooms that emerged in the ‘90s. Since then, millions have met online or even got married because of these platforms. According to a 2013 research by Pew research, 5% of Americans who are married or in a long-term relationship met their partner online. This gives proof that online dating can actually work and result in a serious relationship. Nothing seedy about that!

What is so bad about online dating?

The lack of social acceptance can be explained by the stigma of online dating. There is a slight misconception about these websites. Cyber Dating Expert Jula Spira claims: “Some people still believe that meeting someone from an online dating site is the same as having cybersex in chat rooms from the dial-up Internet days.” Apparently, even in liberal cities such as New York this misconception still lives. Also, there is a small trend detectible of former online daters deleting their profiles to try and find true love spontaneously (DNAinfo, 2014).

Perhaps one of the major difficulties is that online dating has people step out from behind the screen and into the real world. That is very different from an important pride of the internet: users’ anonymity.

If there is such a fear towards online dating, shouldn’t there be the same fear for blind dates? Somehow, this form of dating is well-accepted among the public, though there is not much difference between the two. It is still two stranger meeting and getting to know each other.

Some dating apps play into this lack of social acceptance by eliminating the mystery and making use of users’ online social circle. Hinge is an example of this, where it could very well be that a friend of a Facebook friend could be your next match. Tinder – though seen as more of a hookup culture promoter – is another example, as it connects you to other users in the area.

Though online dating is far from perfect, what type of dating doesn’t have downsides? Where these New Yorkers clearly have never used a dating website, there are many people who have. According to a survey compiled by Christian Mingle and JDate, both dating sites, 85% of young singles say online dating is ‘socially acceptable’. This groups also claims the system is fairly successful: 80% of young singles say it’s better at finding a match for them than family members, and 78% believe it’s better than friends.

Online dating is still fairly new, but it looks like it is here to stay. Social acceptance will eventually grow in all social segments, people just need to get used to this new way of dating. The stigma will then disappear by itself. To end on a positive note, “Anywhere that you can find love is a good place.” (Spira, 2014).

References
http://mashable.com/2014/10/14/online-dating-discrimination/

Click to access State-of-Dating-Report2014.pdf

http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/10/21/online-dating-relationships/

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140922/upper-east-side/why-some-new-yorkers-are-dumping-online-dating

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20141003/upper-west-side/locals-want-pull-plug-on-bar-they-say-attracts-online-daters

Qik, Skype’s new weapon in the selfie trend

Today, a message from Skype came through that they will launch a new online video service in the form of an application called ‘Qik’. With this app a user is able to send video messages with a maximum of 42 seconds to multiple friends at the same time. In contrary to the most famous services where we know Skype from today, video calling, Qik videos can be send without the necessity for the receivers to be online. In other words, Qik is designed around asynchronous video messaging. Wherein ‘asynchronous’ refers to the fact that being online on the same time is not necessary anymore. To a certain extent, Skype’s new video service can be seen as a way of leaving a voice mail massage, but now with the addition of video content.

Once received, the video messages will be deleted after a period of two weeks automatically. However, users are also able to delete their sent videos earlier than the two weeks. When a sender decides to delete a sent video, it also becomes impossible to view the video anymore for the receiving person.

With this new service, Skype is trying to respond to the current ‘selfie’ trend in which people make photos or video’s of themselves and share them via the world wide web. Moreover, Skype’s new service is very similar to Snapchat that also benefit from the selfie trend and offers a same sort of service to the costumer.

I think that this other app, Snapchat, will play an important role in the question whether Qik will be a success or not. When I read about the launch of Qik today, I immediately made the link with Snapchat. Their value proposition is quite the same in my opinion.

Do you guys think that you will make use of this new application and, besides this, do you thus think that Qik differs enough from competitor Snapchat?

Kraan, J. (2014) http://www.nu.nl/internet/3903256/skype-lanceert-app-sturen-verdwijnende-videoberichten.html, 14 october 2014

Perez, S. (2014) http://techcrunch.com/2014/10/14/skype-launches-a-new-video-messaging-app-for-the-mobile-first-era-skype-qik/, 14 october 2014

Summary Group 14 – Digital transformation in the first class of the NS

Introduction:

In the Netherlands the NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen or the Dutch Railways) is the biggest operator when it comes to the trains in the public transport. The NS serves approximately 1 million train travelers each day with 32 thousand employees (Nederlandse Spoorwegen 2013). Part of their services is the option to travel first class. For an additional fee you can have more comfortable chairs, a power plug to charge your devices and overall calmer environment. The problem is that currently too few people are opting for the first class, because the price quality in relationship to the offered product is not in sync, as first class does not offer significantly more benefits.

Transformation:

Through customer interviews with customers with different types of travel patterns, allowed us to get a better insight on what the customer needs and wants. As a result we found that customers’ valuation of the first class often does not justify its high price. We therefore recommend a digital transformation to make the first class more appealing to customers. The transformation is the implementation of an in-train entertainment system for the intercity trains. The in-train entertainment system would be a screen in the back of a train seat and an integrated laser-keyboard that projects the keyboard onto the folding table. A partnership with Netflix will provide the traveler with a wide range of films and TV shows to watch. Also, it will be possible for the traveler to conduct simple work, like e-mailing, browsing the internet and work in documents. From the customer interviews we have derived that this would persuade more long-distance travelers to take the first class of the train instead of second class or instead of taking the car.

Revenue model:

As the fee for first class passengers is already high in comparison to the second class, we aim to create more value for the same amount of money. By doing so, we hope to attract more customers to travel first class. Next to gaining higher revenue by more first class travelers, there is another option to gain money from the system. In case passengers decide not to use the system, the system can serve as a poster or slideshow with different advertisements from other companies that pay to the NS for their advertisements. In case passengers decide to use the entertainment system to watch a movie, short breaks can be inserted so that commercials can be shown. Additionally, when the system is used for business purposes travelers can be shown logos of advertisers.

Is it possible?

Systems like the in-train entertainment systems are not completely new. Probably during an intercontinental flight, you’ve seen an in-flight entertainment system. Furthermore, foreign railway companies have used these types of technologies in their trains as well. These examples helped us in our research to gain insights in the financial and technological feasibility. From those analyses we concluded that the project would be feasible!

How should it be implemented:

We suggest that the NS runs a test with this idea and implements the in-train entertainment system in one of their trains that runs on the longest trajectory in the Netherlands. If the acquired results meet the required success criteria, the NS could integrate this system in the rest of their intercity and HiSpeed trains. It could increase both profits and customer satisfaction.

Source:

Nederlandse Spoorwegen. (2013). Annual Report 2013. NS Jaarverslag. Retrieved on October 7 from http://www.google.nl/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ns.nl%2Fbinaries%2Fcontent%2Fassets%2FNS%2Fover-ns%2Fjaarverslagen-pdf%2Fns_annual_report_2013.pdf&ei=yZQzVKjNAs31avvXgcAN&usg=AFQjCNFsYlznPQcOkQ147lCLMzd7Gzhlfw&sig2=v3B6PpOAVg-W6rJDyDLnBQ&bvm=bv.76943099,d.ZWU

It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s a balloon!

How often don’t we hear the phrase: “Everyone is on the Internet”? While this may be true in our Western countries, this definitely isn’t true for other countries. Actually, two-thirds of the world’s population doesn’t have Internet access yet!

Could this become a thing of the past? Say hi to Google’s Project Loon!

Project Loon is being developed by Google’s semi-secret (probably the reason you might not have heard about it yet) facility called Google X, which is dedicated to making major technological advancements.

What is Project Loon?

Project Loon is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters (Google, 2014).

Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? But how does this exactly work?

The balloons communicate with specialized Internet antennas on the ground. An antenna on the ground ‘talks’ to a balloon in the sky. In turn, the balloon ‘talks’ to neighbouring balloons and then back to the ground station, which is connected to the local Internet provider. Thus creating a network in the sky.

google-project-loon-designboom00

Let’s get a better picture about the revolutionary balloons.

The balloons are so-called superpressure balloons filled with helium. They stand 15 metres across and 12 metres tall when fully inflated. The balloons are equipped with solar panels to keep it running, while also charging a battery for use at night (Wikipedia, 2014).

google-project-loon-600x399

Furthermore, the balloons can travel by using the many layers of wind in the stratosphere. Since every layer of wind varies in direction and speed, the balloons can go where they are needed simply by rising or descending into a layer of wind blowing in the desired direction of travel.

Since we’re not here to simply advertise new technologies, let’s try to get some food for thought in!

After all, Google is still a company. So what’s in it for them? How can they benefit from this seemingly philanthropic idea?

Assuming this project succeeds (which, I know, is a big assumption) and Google manages to provide Internet access to third world countries, they become world’s biggest Internet provider. Furthermore, Google’s search engine as well as their other products (e.g. Gmail and YouTube) will have to deal with massive increases in usage.

Extending our scope beyond Google, imagine the possibilities for access to education and information in third world countries! People can receive information about health and hygiene without the presence of a doctor!

What is the first thing that comes to your mind?

Whether Project Loon will be as philanthropic as it seems or Google is just thinking about massive stacks of money, it sure is an awesome revolutionary idea!

Sources:

http://www.google.com/loon/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Loon

Summary DTP group 7 – The use of Google Glass in Erasmus MC

This project is exploring the current IT strategy of Erasmus MC. The current business model of Erasmus MC is based on three key pillars, namely patient care, research and education. Those three are all supported by the central ICT-department. As a result of the SWOT analysis of the current IT strategy, much more efficiency could be achieved when a new technology is implemented properly into a hospital. Not only an increase in efficiency possess an opportunity but business in a hospital could also be managed in a much more data driven way. Therefore, this project proposed the implementation of Google Glass within the hospital.

Google Glass can innovate all three key pillars and improve quality and efficiency. An overview of the impact on each pillar will be given below.

Patient Care
Patient care can be improved with the use of Google Glass. Physicians need information regarding the current status and charts of a patient in surgery and Google Glass can be a great application to provide this information. The video of a surgery can be simultaneously beamed to colleagues and experts all over the globe, who are now able to watch the surgery in real-time and give the surgeon advice during the surgery. Additionally, an app for glass might be able to detect observations that a surgeon might miss during a routine surgery. These two applications both reduce the chance of error and therefore increase patient care as a whole. Further, a nurse wearing a Google Glass can communicate with a doctor on the way over to the bed to enhance the vision and perception of the doctor. This is an improvement in the efficiency of patient care. An increase in the quality of patient care can improve patient flow and reduce hospital occupation.

Research
Research departments of Erasmus MC are continuously researching several topics concerning syndromes to be able to offer efficient treatments in the future. This ongoing research results in an enormous amount of data. Google Glass can be an innovation in this research to offer more efficient and better treatments since doctors will be able to give hands-free treatment with the Google Glass.

Education
Google Glass has great potential to improve the traditional form of education. An integration of Google Glass in the curriculum of physicians has several applications, including anatomy courses, hospital rotations and skills training. Secondly, patients can wear the Google Glass to give students a view of themselves from the patient’s perspective. This way they can be trained to become more engaging and empathic physicians. Additionally, the visual perspective of the doctor can be shared easily and student can visually access surgeries in real time. These applications can also make education more efficient since professors, of whom time is scarce, no longer need to be physically present in the classroom anymore.

All concluded, the use of Google Glass can contribute to more effective and efficient patient care, education and research. It is an important technological innovation which can make healthcare better and cheaper.

Group 7

Is Uber liable? A platform perspective

On the 27th of September the San Francisco Chronicle was the first to report on an assault that weekend by an Uber driver on one of his passengers. The authorities reported that the driver allegedly fractured the passenger’s skull after an argument about the car route. In subsequent days the physical condition of the passenger deteriorated, and he risks losing one of his eyes Uber responded to this incident, and subsequent investigation, by immediately suspending the driver and cooperating with the authorities. In a later statement an spokeswoman for the company declared that safety is Uber’s “number one priority” and that Uber takes “reports like this seriously and [is] treating the matter with the utmost urgency and care.” However, this is only the latest in a number of incidents between Uber drivers and passengers. A notorious case is former Uber driver Daveea Whitmire, a formerly convicted felon, who was also charged with assault. These incidents have sparked discussions with regards to if Uber is in some way liable for these serious cases. This is an interesting debate, since it fits needlessly into the area of platforms and networks discussed in recent lectures.

As you may be aware, Uber is a ridesharing service. The company uses a Smartphone application to connect customers with drivers of vehicles. For this case the company sees itself as only being a mediator between these groups, or in short a technology company, not a transportation company. It claims it is not liable for any circumstance where you experience discomfort or more serious harm from their service. This can be traced back to their terms of service which stipulates that “you expressly waive and release the company from any and all liability, claims or damages arising from or in any way related to the third party transportation provider”. But can this defense hold, or is Uber more than just a mediator. Can people expect their real world service from a Smartphone application.

Normally, internet platforms such as Ebay or MySpace are legally protected from the activities that involve the different users offline. For instance Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act offers immunity to providers for the information they publish that is provided by others. As a result, Ebay is not liable if the signed picture of Steve Jobs you purchased, was actually forged by Stephen Jobs from Nottingham. It is also the same rule of law that Airbnb has successfully applied to protect itself from claims when guests vandalize homes. Uber argues that this legislation also applies to them, since as previously mentioned, they deem the company as a mediating technology company. However, as Eric Goldman a law professor points out, they appear to show more features of a retailer than an online platform. Passengers are not really free to pick the Uber drivers themselves, as it is partly dependent on geography. Furthermore, Uber largely controls the prices that the driver charge. Combining this with the components of a platform defined in relevant literature, such as Eisenmann et al, 2008, it might be possible to defend such a position. Perhaps Uber does share more characteristics with Amazon than with Ebay, which can have significant implications for their liability. “Real” taxi companies have been held responsible for the actions of their drivers, and have often used insurance policies to pay claimants. Obviously, these insurance costs put them on a competitive disadvantage compared to Uber, as long as they are not liable in any way .so far Uber has been able to escape significant liability, as judges have often ruled the drivers as being individual contractors, not employees. However, this new incident can impact such rulings.

So what does the world of business think? Is Uber only a mediator, or should they be held liable similar to other private transportation companies

Sources:

http://www.realestatelegalupdate.com/tags/airbnb/

http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Uber-driver-accused-of-hammer-attack-on-San-5783495.php

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenhuet/2014/09/30/uber-driver-hammer-attack-liability/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenhuet/2014/09/26/uber-driver-allegedly-fractured-his-passengers-skull-with-a-hammer/

Google exploring modular technology

It is suggested that Google is interested in a new technology for displays where the screen consists of several parts. These parts can be clicked together while staying seamless.

These building blocks can be clicked together like Lego to form screens of several sizes. The clickable screen will be developed by a team led by Mary Lou Jepsen, who is also involved with the One Laptop Per Child-project and worked previously as professor at the technology insititue MIT. It is rumoured that Jepsen is leading a division in the secret Google-X lab.

A big innovation of the modular technology will be to make display modules “seamless” so that people looking at a giant screen wouldn’t see the borders between the modules. The project remains at an early stage and has been kept secret, even within Google, partly because the technical challenges are as large as the planned screens

Google is already working on a modular technology named Project Ara, a smartphone concept. It has been announced that the several parts of the new modular phone will be hot-swappable. This means that the several parts can be changed without switching off the smartphone. Only the removal of the CPU or screen part requires the system to switch off. This will give the consumer many personalized options. Interested in a high-end camera? Instead of opting for basic 8-megapixel module you could grab a hefty 13-megapixel sensor with optical stabilization, or maybe something better than that. Not interested in camera’s? Just don’t buy a camera module then. The consumer is able to design a phone specifically for its own needs.

Google already announced Project Ara some time ago, but the eventual product has not been released. The company expects to show a prototype at the developers conference in December. The modular phone is expected to be released one year later. It is however unclear if the modular screen will also be used for Project Ara. It is more likely that Google will use the new technology for bigger screens, like televisions.

Time reports that Ara could arrive as a buyable product as early as the beginning of 2015 and for a price as low as $50. Meanwhile, Google has dropped hints that it plans the Ara to be available for as many as 6 billion people. But again, you spend as much or as little as you want to get the phone you want. Ara will come in three size variants at first; “mini, medium and jumbo”, which will cover all currently popular sizes from compact to phablet. While nothing specific has been said, in theory each size variant could offer a smaller or greater number of module slots.

Needless to say, the Ara and the big modular screen are shaping up to be a real game-changers. In the future, your screen could be built from screens and your phone can be composed of a battery lasting a week and a basic camera, whatever you like. Any ideas or comments on this (disruptive) technology?

Resources

Know Your Mobile, (2014). Google Project Ara: The Future Of Smartphones Is Modular. [online] Available at: http://www.knowyourmobile.com/google/project-ara/21923/google-project-ara-future-smartphones-modular [Accessed 13 Oct. 2014].

Mashable, (2014). Google X Lab Working on Lego-Style Modular Screens, Report Says. [online] Available at: http://mashable.com/2014/10/06/google-x-modular-screens/ [Accessed 13 Oct. 2014].

McCracken, H. (2014). Project Ara: Inside Google’s Bold Gambit to Make Smartphones Modular. [online] TIME.com. Available at: http://time.com/10115/google-project-ara-modular-smartphone/ [Accessed 13 Oct. 2014].

A wristband that punishes you.

So here’s something new.

We all know Mr Pavlov and his conditioning experiments, where eventually the dogs in the experiment not only to salivated when they tasted meat powder, but salivated to the sound of a ringing bell. Now you can do the same conditioning to yourself, without the help of someone else. Although rather unpleasant, a bracelet named “Pavlok”may help you to get rid of some or all of your unpleasant habits.

To start with, you will have to tell Pavlok what exactly you want to change. Whether you want to go to the gym more often, visit certain websites less or even sleep less: The bracelet then measures these habits by tracking your location to make sure you’re at your gym, using a Chrome plugin to make sure you don’t visit certain websites and by tracking movements in order to make sure you’re awake. And these are just a few examples of its use. According to the founders, Pavlok then gives you small electronic shocks every time you fail to behave according to these predetermined goals. These can range from annoying to painful, depending on personal preferences and pain thresholds.

Therefore, as opposed to other bracelets, Pavlok does not at all measure your habits, your sleep or your movements. Instead of giving you the opportunity to change your habits and improve your lifestyle it controls them by punishing you with electroshocks or even small payments to be made whenever you fail to comply. As soon as you start complying, instead of being punished through negative enforcement, the positive enforcement phase starts and you can even win little prizes.

Similar to some of the critics you may now say “We’re not dogs! And we can just take the bracelet off!”. But will we really take them off? Or will we develop a need to “win” against the bracelet that can make us change our habits? Can we let this little device take control over our lives in this way or will we overpower it by ignoring the little shocks and finding new ways to cheat our ways through?

To read more about the functions and additional features of Pavlok, click here:

http://techcrunch.com/2014/09/30/pavlok/

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/9786/20140707/pavlok-fitness-band-gives-you-a-shock-if-you-dont-exercise-hard-enough.htm

Amazon being radical

Amazon just announced to open its first physical store. This is big news, because the official name of Amazon is Amazon.com and Amazon is one of the largest online retailers in the world. The announced about the first store therefore raised questioned about their business strategy.

Amazon is an e-commerce company operating since 1994. Their main revenue is in the US and therefore they decided to open their first store in Manhattan, New York. Even though this store is an experiment to provide face-to-face experience, this step is quite radical. Over the last twenty years there was not any physical possibility to contact Amazon.
The new megastore in New York will function as a pickup center for customers who ordered same day delivery on the internet, but also for other pickups, returns and inventory. Though this store will mainly issue packages and will not provide advice about products by store employees. CEO Jeff Bezos sees this store as an attempt to connect with customers and they store should open before the holiday-shopping season start.

I think this first store of Amazon is a radical decision which will change their business model. Critiques are quite harsh and it is not clear in which direction Amazon wants to head.

Jeff Bezos wanted to run the biggest e-commerce company in the world and now they are adapting the traditional brick-and-mortar model. I think this has something to do with the huge losses Amazon had to deal with this year. Losses are even higher than predicted and in terms of market capitalization Alibaba is the winner.

I think Amazon is just opening a first physical store to gain lots of publicity and put Alibaba more in the shadow. The IPO of Alibaba became global news and the news about Amazon stayed out.
Therefore this new store is a good publicity move, but I think Amazon has not thought this whole project through. Since they are already focusing for 20 years on internet sales, how do they want to make this store a success. Why should customers want to pick up packages themselves and will the cost of this huge building in Manhattan, New York be worth it?!

Sources:
http://bright.nl/amazon-opent-mogelijk-fysieke-winkels
http://www.cio.com/article/2827553/google-considers-amazon-as-its-biggest-search-competitor.html
http://www.ecumenicalnews.com/article/amazon-first-physical-retail-store-to-open-soon-in-new-york-city-26791

Tech firms and health concerns

Why are Google an Apple suddenly so concerned with our health. With iOS8 Apple wants to connect with peoples physique with the so called Health-app. In this Health-app people can fill in their body mass index, how much they work out, what they eat, how much sleep they will get. And when this isn’t enough even a Medical ID can be made within the application. Google just announced they are going to digitally connect patients with doctors. When people search for medical ailments on Google will get a suggestion for a video call with an actual doctor. And when this isn’t enough Google and Apple are even working together at Calico, a health company which is trying to come up with innovative solutions to the current age problems.

healthblog

These are just examples of the two major players in the business, but why are these companies so interested in our health? Or is it because the society, including me, is suddenly obsessed with being healthy and in shape? I think it is fair to say that on one hand Apple and Google are really concerned about people’s health. Especially in the United States where more than two-thirds of the adults are overweight or obese, Corporate Social Responsibility in health issues should be major thing for them (Ogden et al., 2014). It could also be turned around. When people are really more concerned about their health, Apple and Google should off course give in to that demand and come up with new apps, like discussed before and new hardware, for example smartphones with pedometers and smartwatches with heart rate and blood pressure monitors.

 

Source: Ogden C. L., Carroll, M. D., Kit, B.K., & Flegal K. M. (2014). Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. Journal of the American Medical Association, 311(8), 806-814.

DTP Group 10 – Google Glass in the Operating Room at Nederlands Kankerinstituut/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Ziekenhuis

Google-Glass-Impacting-the-World-of-Medicine-Video-650x365

For our DTP wefocused on Google Glass in the operating rooms of the Nederlands Kankerinstituut/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Ziekenhuis (NKI-AVL). Prof. dr. Ruers, a surgeon at the NKI-AVL, explained that the main business problem that must be dealt with daily, in the operating room, is that physicians have no real-time images during surgeries. Currently the only images available are from before the surgery, while circumstances are subject to change during the operation. These circumstances may be for instance, the positions of organs and tissue. Consequently, many complications such as leaving malignant tissue behind during a surgery arise. Together with a team, Prof. dr. Ruers is developing a technique that uses Augmented Reality (AR) to create these real-time images.

Following, we started to search for possible ways in which this newly developed technique could be applied and we came across Google Glass: an augmented reality glass (Google Plus, 2014). As we learned more about Google Glass we saw that it is much more than a fancy tool: there are many possible applications to it that can add value to the NKI-AVL. We limit our analysis to the operating room because 1) this is where the business need is most urgent and where most value canbe added and 2) because focusing on applications of Google Glassin the entire hospital is beyond the scope of this report.

Google Glass can contribute considerably towards increasing the quality of surgeries and reducing the costs that are caused by complications. Furthermore, efficiency can be increased because Google Glass will reduce surgery time. Applications for Google Glass that facilitate these improvements in the OR include; augmented reality, guidance throughout surgeries, decision-making support, immediate access to EHR, hands-free surgery and increased learning. Implementing these applications will decrease the gap between NKI-AVL’s information- and businessstrategy. As a result, it will help the NKI-AVL to offer the best possible healthcare and to strengthen its position as one of the best hospitals for cancer treatment in the world.

Based on our findings an augmented reality application on the Google Glass has the highest added value and therefore priority for surgeons in the OR. Augmented reality would be a ground breaking technology that would aid the development of cancer treatment during operations substantially. Hence, we recommend that this application should be implemented as soon as possible, once the hardware is purchased. For all other proposed applications except for guidance throughout surgery, software is readily available for the Google Glass. Hence, these applications can be implemented simultaneously with the development of the augmented reality software. In total, we expect the full implementation of the Google Glass with all the needed applications to constitute roughly 4 years.

In conclusion, we believe that the NKI-AVL can greatly benefit from implementing Google Glass in their operation rooms. There are several applications that will decrease the number of complications, which will result in a decrease overall costs of surgeries. Even more importantly, Google Glass in the operating room will increase the quality of surgeries; improving the duration and quality of its patients’ lives.

Group 10

Anonabox. A tiny box that puts a condom on your internet.

Yes, a condom on your internet. A portable hardware ‘condom’ on your Ethernet cable.

Privacy protection like you have never seen before, whereby Anonabox protects your anonymity on the web using Tor. The software by which it does this (Tor), encrypts Internet traffic (web browsing, instant messaging, email etc.) and bounces it through random computers around the world. Privacy-focused developers are planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign for the $45 open-source router Anonabox.

It’s  as tiny enough to fit two of them in a pack of cigarettes.This means that users can take the device along with them anywhere, plug it into their office Ethernet cable for sensitive work, or even in China to evade the Chinese Great Firewall.

anonabox-inline1

“The open-source router automatically directs all data that connects to it by Ethernet or Wifi through the Tor network, hiding the user’s IP address and skirting censorship”. How about the developers that made the Anonabox, won’t they know through the Tor network themselves which IP address belongs to which person? I doubt that they wouldn’t know, as the data goes through their own network, which gives off the vibe of: “Use this device made by us, nobody will see what you’re doing”. It just sounds fishy at first. As it is not tested yet, we’ll just have to wait and see whether it’s security promises uphold.

However, I believe that if they hold up to their security promises, that this could be something of interest to users around the world where the Internet is being filtered or blocked such as China, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Burma etc. Which is also the target market they want to help, as they say. Even though the people of these internet-repressive regimes have their own ways of reaching the Internet as we (‘Westerners’) see it, the Anonabox could provide to be extremely useful and at a low-cost. It (if fully functioning as promised) decreases all the hassle, whilst your anonymity remains protected.

I believe that the goals of the developers are noble and true, yet still worry if their security promise is achievable. What do you think?

Sources:

Greenberg, A. (2014). “Tiny box can anonymize everything online.” Accessed on 13/10/2014, Available at: http://www.wired.com/2014/10/tiny-box-can-anonymize-everything-online/

Mearian, L.  (2014). “Tiny Anonabox to offer online anonymity through Tor”. Accessed on 13/10/2014, Available at: http://www.computerworld.com/article/2825065/tiny-anonabox-to-offer-online-anonymity-through-tor.html