Archive | October 15, 2014

The revolution of… MEMS?!

Most of the people who read the title will probably have the same question as I did… what the …. is or are MEMS and in what specific area will it be a revolution?!


Let’s start with the first question before discussing the potential revolution of this fairly ‘new’ phenomenon. MEMS is an abbreviation of micro-electro-mechanical systems, small devices that are used in various electronic devices, but are mostly known because of their essential role in the functioning of the smartphones. Due to the smart phone revolution, the price of MEMS (including gyroscopes, magnetometers and accelerometers) have become accessible to the creative people with a lower budget than million dollar companies, these people call themselves innovators. Insiders even expect that the prices will drop to a point that that the use of MEMS in the most daily objects is cost-effective.

The first movers

Various innovators are taking their chances to be the first-movers of MEMS used in the more mundane objects. They are making use of the abilities of MEMS to keep track and respond to a large variety of vital signs of the human body. Netatmo makes use of the MEMS by providing the user of the device the ability to monitor your exposure to sunlight and even gives you a warning when you should (re)apply sunscreen or when to put on your fancy RayBan (or another pair of sunglasses of course ;-)) Another great example of a first-mover is iHealth, a small wristband that always track your blood pressure as long as your mobile phone is on. It is already available for only (?) $79.95.

Open for discussion

This were only two examples out of a already big offer of everyday objects that use the technology of the MEMS. Furthermore the price will continue to drop and the competition will be getting more fierce as soon as the first products will be successful. This technology has a huge potential when used in the right way… so what kind of possibilities do you see?


Hello everybody, since this weeks session discussed two-sided markets I would like to introduce you guys to Bulba. In March of this year together with my team members we created the business application ‘Bulba’ for the course of Next Generation Business Applications.

Bulba, what?

Bulba is an application that can be accessed via Internet on your computer and mobile devices. It monitors energy consumption (demand) of households, and the overall energy supply and prices in the Netherlands.



The amount of green energy is dependent on nature. You can imagine that when there’s a storm at 10pm, the energy supply suddenly peaks while energy demand stays the same. The aim of Bulba was to not only match this energy supply with energy demand but also to lower the overall energy consumption.


The Bulba application can connect with the relatively new smart meters in households. By providing detailed insight in the energy usage of the household, Bulba makes households (you) more aware of their overall energy usage. In addition, Bulba sends personalized ‘challenges’, which make you, adjust your energy consumption to the fluctuating energy supply. By doing the challenge and therefore matching the energy demand with the supply, you can earn points, which can be spent at the Bulba store. Examples of challenges are: ‘Do not watch TV today’, and ‘Do your laundry after 7pm instead of during the day’. After the challenge is completed, the results are measured as change in the energy consumption pattern of the household after which points are appointed to the household. It’s also possible to compete with their friends and family.

Bulba is able to help energy consumers because they will save money but Bulba is also able to help the energy producers because there will be a more stable demand of energy and the government and environmental organizations because will reduce the overall energy consumption.

Bulba Business model

The Bulba business model had three different revenue streams:

  • Sponsors: Because it is of main interest for the system operators (energy suppliers) to have a stable demand of energy throughout the day, system operators could sponsor our app.
  • Independent energy advisor: Because Bulba has data from both the customer (usage data) and the energy supplier (price data), Bulba could match household consumption patterns with the best available energy contract for that consumption pattern. Revenue would be generated in the same way as other comparison websites (start-up costs + cost per click)
  • Third party commissioning: The points that people can earn by successfully completing challenges can be spent in the Bulba store: an online third party store where environmentally friendly products such as LED lights or smart plugs are sold.

What do you think of this application, connecting supply and demand while trying to make a profit? I think we are not that far away from the time where apps like Bulba manage the energy demand and supply to maximize its utility.

Ready to explore the world, with the risk of losing your personal information?

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 19.00.28Do you recognize the stress, waiting and hoping you will receive your visa in time before your next journey will start? In an attempt to make the visa application more efficient, New Zealand announced plans to implement a new technology platform called Immigration Online. The purpose of this platform is to make visa applications no longer dependent on physical offices, speeding up the entire application and greater sharing of information. However the latter is interesting to discuss. Shouldn’t this platform be focused on making sure the personal information is safe and only used for making the visa application efficient?

The Immigration Online platforms main design is to enable uploading scans of supporting documents and identify information such as passports online, photographs and driving licences (Marriagevisahelp, 2013). However, the platform also supports other parties to benefit. The design enables sharing of information between various government agencies and parties. For the latter, this may include employers wishing to check if an individual is eligible to work, law enforcement agencies responsible for preventing immigration fraud and general criminality and educational institutions. The design of the platform, even enables collecting and sharing biometric information. This information is specifically for the purpose of preventing immigration fraud and criminal activity.

The immigration department of New Zealand stress that all personal information will only be shared with an applicant’s knowledge and consent (Marriagevisahelp,2013). However, I believe that sharing personal information with other parties will deter people registering through the platform. Requesting sensitive information already decreases a user’s trust in the website and increase her information privacy concerns. Besides, extant privacy research has examined users’ willingness to disclose personal information and found that information privacy concerns and trust are key antecedents. Last, there is a potentially loss of privacy when a user discloses her personal information to the platform that may be misused to other parties or stolen (Li, 2014). The latter could easily happen when the platform is , like in the UK. There, they already spend more than £347million pounds in Home Offices Immigration platform. Still, the system was practically ‘unusable’ and delays and glitches meant it only ever worked for student visa. It was even incapable of linking with other Government systems (Drury, 2014).

For all these reasons, immigration departments should carefully reconsider if it should allow other parties to their platform, concerning the personal information of citizens. It certainly is a pro, making the visa applications more efficient. However, in my opinion, the personal information should not be used or misused through external parties, in order to increase user’s trust in the online application platform and to decrease her information privacy concerns.

What is your opinion, should the platform only be focused on making the visa applications more efficient, or should it also seek for opportunities to add value for their platform, by enabling other parties to join?


Drury, I. (2014, July 22). Home Office squandered £347m botched IT programme to process immigrants’ paperwork damning report reveals. Retrieved October 11, 2014, from Dailymail:

Marriagevisahelp. (2013, August 18). Immigration New Zealand (INZ) announces new technology platform for partner visa applications. Retrieved October 10, 2014, from marriagevisahelp:

Li, T., and Pavlou, P. 2014. What Drives Users’ Website Registration. Working Paper.

Data Security

Just recently 380 e-mail addresses have been stolen from the Dutch defense ministry. This is just one of the examples of another security breach on the web. The theft of personal data has become a billion dollar industry as most of this stolen information is accessible through the internet. Of course, a lot of your personal information is stored on secure locations, BUT no matter how well these contents are secured, they will never be a 100% safe.

Governments and companies invest millions of dollars in data security. They protect their data by various means. By investing a lot of money in such security methods, the government and companies have been able to establish advanced data protection that are very hard to hack. At the same time hackers are getting more organized, as the amount of money that can be earned has proven to be quite large. Together these organized hackers search for leaks in security systems of designated data. The fact is that every type of data security can be cracked; it’s just a matter of time.

This raises the question if there is a solution to this as it seems that data will always be accessible as long as the data is somehow connected to the internet. Currently, the cyber-crime is being tackled by its roots: governments are trying to track down these organized hackers. As hackers have the ability to hide their true identity it remains whether this solution will be effective.

I do believe that a major part of this cyber-crime can be subdued by enforcing better data protection precautions, inhibiting less organized hackers to crack the security. But in general, I think there isn’t a solution to stop the security breaches on the internet since organized hackers always are able to find ways to hack into databases.

With this ongoing phenomenon I was asking myself if the increasing digitalization of businesses is indeed sustainable on long term. What do you think?

Does Anonabox Provides Enough Security?

The Anonabox is an open source embedded networking tool that enables anonymous browsing. This little tool is very convenient. The only thing that you have to do is connecting this hardware tool with the router or modem and connecting your device with the Anonabox through a Wifi- or Ethernet connection. This tool enables people to access the internet securely. Browsing and location will remain private. The hardware tool also provides to anonymize programs such as Skype and a FTP-browser, since these applications need required complex configurations to run the Tor-network (an anonymous secured network). The team behind the Anonabox initially requested $7.500 of funding at Kickstarter, but the project has since accrued $450.000 so it appears to become is a success. But will the Anonabox really result in a great success?

This device is designed specifically to run Tor. Tor (The Oninion Router) is free software for enabling online anonymity and resisting censorship. The Anonabox transfers data to the Tor-network where IP-addresses are guaranteed so that anonymous browsing will be possible, although it is not necessary to use a hardware box to get access to the Tor-network. This network is also accessible by downloading the Tor-software. However, this network is not reliable enough. Earlier this year this service appears to have been compromised by attackers. They managed to gather information about people who were looking up hidden services. Thereby, it’s easier for hackers to gather information than it is for consumers to protect it. Therefore, it’s important to exercise caution whenever anyone promises to protect data from those attackers.

In order to clarify, this tool provides internet users to browse in a private and secured network. Hence this tool promises anonymous browsing. It means that the founders clarify that it will be impossible to track your browsing behavior when using this tool. It also provides a solution for journalists and activists in countries where the internet is monitored and censured very strictly. A disadvantage what this tool provides, is that criminals or terrorists can do their illegal activities on the internet more securely so this tool actually assists their activities. Accordingly, the usefulness of the Anonabox is not strictly positive. Another counter point to mention is that no one really knows what intelligence agencies do. These agencies feel committed trying to find a different way of tracking browsing behavior, even when such innovations like Anonabox try to block their spy activities. For example, the NSA can target people who visited the box’s Kickstarter page because they were curious about making it harder to track their online activities.

In summary, I think that the Anonabox won’t win the battle against hackers and intelligence agencies such as the NSA and FBI. Thereby, I think that such security/privacy-provider tools aren’t that valuable since one of the main activities of intelligence agencies is to track browsing behavior. They simply will never stop.

What do you think of the impact of this hardware tool and the online privacy?

Swallow Technology, receive Data !

“You have to take the medication 3 times a day” the doctor said. A few days later I stumbled upon the fact that I forgot to take my medication regularly and on time. Fortunately it wasn’t a big issue, but what if someone with diabetes forget to take his medication or someone who has had surgery and forgot to take multiple medications for important health issues?


Based on the problem mentioned above, there have been numerous innovations to monitor and control the use of medication, but none of them took an active role in ‘drug’ delivery.

Medimetrics, a spinoff from Philips , developed the IntelliCap; world’s first intelligent oral drug delivery and monitoring system. The IntelliCap capsule combines five technologies in one device. Besides the already existing technology of monitoring by swallowing electronic pills that are connected to a patch on the body, the IntelliCap is capable of pumping fluids, pastes or suspensions to the right place at the right amount.  This is done by a sensor inside the pill that measures the pH and temperature of the pill’s local environment in combination with an radio transceiver that makes it possible to communicate real-time data to a data-monitoring/control unit and vice versa.

A networked Pill.

Combining the technology of the IntelliCap with the ability to monitor and communicate a person’s wellbeing in an application could be used to create new business models. A doctor could adjust the amount of medicine, decide to take another medicine or stop the use of medicine from behind his desk based on the health information gathered from the Intellicap. From the patient perspective, they may feel more confidence when sent home after surgery knowing that the doctor monitors the patients wellbeing on the application. This also creates the opportunity to cut costs at the customers for staying more nights at the hospital.

The IntelliCap while also open new doors for the pharmaceutical business as the information gathered could be an important tool for drug research. Due to the feedback it will be possible to monitor the results of different drug administrations. This may help improve drug candidate profiling and selection, as well as accelerating the development of new drugs in a more efficient way at a lower cost base.

The questions that arises in my head, who should be able to buy and use these electronic pills fancying that it may be used in an unappropriated way ? So, could this electronic pill be the breakthrough for changing current business model in the pharmaceutical industry and/or could it be the new way doctors help their patients from behind the desk based on gathered data received from the Intellicap ?



Medimetrics :

Philips Research Lab :


Media Markt could save sales if it used beacon technology! (BTP group #23)


As Media Markt strives to always introduce innovations and aims at being as customer-oriented as possible, it has to continually enhance its status as market leader in the consumer electronics retailers market. Not only does Media Markt offer its customers a rich assortment in brick-and-mortar locations, it also provides them with the opportunity to order online through their e-commerce website.

The issue

What is more, according to Media Markt representatives, the number of consumers who try products in Media Markt stores and then purchase them online with competing retailers has grown substantially in recent years. Among in-store shoppers, over 25 % of consumers intended to try out the products in-store and then buy online.  Therefore, Media Markt has been looking for ways to increase in-store purchases by integrating the online channel with brick-and-mortar purchases.

Our Solution: enter (Estimote) Beacons!

Beacons are a low-cost piece of hardware — small enough to attach to a wall or countertop — that use battery-friendly, low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet.

How would this work?

This technology offers more insight into consumer behavior. There is big potential here when data collected via Beacons is coupled with data from customer loyalty schemes. The Beacon device would allow Media Markt to target consumers in a more personalized and relevant way through the use of the collected data from smartphones.

Media Markt could offer:

  • The value of offline store data. Media Markt will be able to track the journey of its consumers from their time of entry to time of exit from the retail store.
  • Optimize store layouts and product placement
  • Suggestions. Media Markt can exploit the opportunity of suggesting promotional offers to customers.
  • Recommendations. In the application related to Beacon, Media Markt could allow its customers to develop their own shopping lists.
  • Special offers. Digital coupons can be presented to consumers.
  • Credit. Beacons can be utilized to authenticate a consumer’s device for digital payments.

Why would this work?

According to a recent Google study, 84 percent of shoppers use their smartphone during in-store shopping experiences, meaning that the reach and scale is high (Google, 2013).

In a recent survey, 33% of 1,300 smartphone owners considered that personalized, direct messages sent straight to their smartphone to ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ influence their purchase decisions. Moreover, 78% of the surveyed mentioned that they would be happy to receive messages and would be ‘extremely willing’ or ‘somewhat willing’  for retailers to use this data if it meant more personalized messages for them (eDigitalResearch).


Source: Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer (2013)

Our opinion

The problem is real and it influences a key aspect of every business, namely revenue. We strongly believe that with the increased usage and penetration of smartphones, beacons could be the next big thing in retail. This is why, if Media Markt were to gain a first-mover advantage, it could once again revolutionize the market!

For more information and references please feel free to contact us or leave a comment!

The Immersion Room, Next Level Skype

As technology and innovation progress, more things have become possible than we ever anticipated. In the field of telepresence, the progression has gone fast and it has enabled us to perform certain tasks more efficiently over the years.

First let me provide an explanation of what the phenomenon of telepresence entails. telepresence, is the phenomenon “in which special sensing and display technology enables the human to feel present at the remote location even though not really there” (Sheridan, 1995).

A form of telepresence we all know is Skype, which enables us to video chat with people using an internet connection. Although quite handy it has its limitations, as the person talking to usually only the area of the head and shoulders is displayed.

Fortunately a next level form of Skype has become available in the form of “The immersion room”, which are rooms that can be rented or purchased by a person or a company that can be used to teleconference. What is new about teleconferencing might be the question. But the immersion room differs from traditional videoconferencing. In the immersion room, camera’s are mounted beyond a polymer see-through screen, enabling eye contact instead of people looking down or up due to camera positions. Furthermore, the immersion room offers a frameless experience which gives the users a feeling of being in the same room, thus taking telepresence to a higher level.

Another aspect that makes the immersion room is the 3D projection. You get to see 3D representations of your colleagues or business partners. The immersion room also enables persons to display 3D objects and use exploding views to look at different parts. This might be useful for developing and construction teams to hold meetings.

In my opinion, the immersion room is becoming a close substitute to face to face meetings, as the only main elements of face to face contact that are missing are Haptics, Olfactics and gustation. Which to me is not that much of a burden as, I personally don’t need to touch, taste or smell my business partners or colleagues to be able to work with them efficiently.

 Works Cited

Sheridan, T. (1995). Teleoperations, Telerobotics, and Telepresence: a Progress Report. ControlEng. Practices, 205-214.

DVE immersion room –

One of the most disruptive innovations you probably haven’t heard of

“one of the most disruptive Web/telecoms innovations in years”

Wow, why am I not aware of this, was the first thought through my head when I read this sentence. After some further reading on the subject I could concur with the statement above and I would have anybody to at least know about it. In this blog I would like to talk about WebRTC.

But what exactly is WebRTC (Web Real Time Communications)? It is an emerging standaWebRTC picrd that enables real-time voice, video and data sharing in a web browser without the need for browser plugins. Whereas browsers normally interact with only one or more Web servers, WebRTC allows browsers to exchange media and data directly and in a secure manner. In simplicity WebRTC is build up by three components;

  • GetUserMedia (camera and microphone access)
  • PeerConnection (sending and receiving media)
  • DataChannels (sending non-media direct between browsers)

WebRTC was introduced in May 2011 by Google as an open source project, but quickly many other interested parties helped develop it. The strength of WebRTC is that ordinary web developers using just JavaScript Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) can easily build video, data and voice collaborations or implement these features without other applications with just some lines of code. WebRTC allows programmers to work with almost no software and not more than a compatible browser. This makes it well more accessible and much more affordable, so WebRTC as a disruptive innovation also encourages new disruptive applications to arise.

Currently Opera, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox as well as their mobile internet browsing applications support WebRTC. Due to the simplicity and interconnectivity of WebRTC it easily links the billions of devices using the above stated browsers and operating systems. So the prediction is that by 2016 three billion WebRTC capable devices exist and one billion individual users use WebRTC. On this moment Safari and Internet Explorer still lack the native support of WebRTC, but several plugins are available for these browsers.

The wide acceptance of WebRTC could destroy products as Skype (direct links through the browser can be made without a program or signup to voice or video call) and sites as WeTransfer lose its benefits since a direct connection can be made throughout the browser. is a website where you can share a file in 10 seconds without any registration. WebRTC makes ‘making connection’ as easy as just creating a link for other people to click on it to establish it. These are just examples of the impact that WebRTC could have (and is having) on the digital world and the way we communicate.


Brent Kelly, E. (2013, May 22). ten things cios should know about webrtc. Retrieved from constellationr:

Paulson, M. (2014, October 11). webrtc world week review coming a browser near. Retrieved from webrtcworld:

TokBox Inc. (2014). About WebRTC. Retrieved from Tokbox:

Dutch government wastes over a billion euro’s on IT

A research conducted by the Dutch parliamentary committee has revealed that the Dutch government has wasted in between the one and five billion euro’s on IT on a yearly basis. According to this committee, there are several reasons why these spendings are out of control.

First of all, the government has not sufficient knowledge of IT and the IT-projects are not under control. Ambitions cannot be converted into reality. The government also tend to not learn from the past. Second reason is that the government also neglects the warnings from the IT-experts and suppliers, who have more knowledge of the technology than the government. And last but not least, there seems to be ‘IT atmosphere’ within the government. They think that IT is the solution to all problems, and ministers make promises without investigating whether this project is even feasible.

Of course, the first reaction that comes to your mind is: let’s reduce the amount of spending on IT projects. But it is easier said than done. First of all, it could be that projects will be more expensive during the development / implementation. Unforeseen problems can result in higher costs. Secondly, IT companies give a way too optimistic view of the costs. What often happens is that IT companies apply for the project against a very sharp price. However, what happens is that a lot of elements of the original project changes, which lead to higher costs, but what is more important, changes the original goal of the project. Non working products are often the result of this, and the government has wasted money on a failing product. Finally, the IT projects for the government are often very complex, and needs to be implemented in a very accurate way. However, providing quality and doing a good job often comes with a price, and therefore it is not easy to save money on these projects.

The commission thinks that setting up an ‘IT-authority’ would help to reduce these spendings. This ‘authority’ will investigate and test whether a project will succeed or not. Furthermore, projects with costs over €5 million, need to have permission from the commission before they can be implemented. I think that this is a very good step in the right direction, because examining the feasibilities is an important step. What do you think? Will this solve the excessive spending of the government?


Schellevis, J. (2014), Overheid verspilt miljarden met ICT,, October 15, 2014

Wi-fi tracking versus Privacy

I’m going to write about my thoughts of wifi-tracking technology in stores. The wifi-tracking technology allows the retail managers to see how many people visit their store. Stores are now able to track mobile devices. These devices constantly are searching for a wifi-connection. While searching for this connection, the devices send MAC-addresses (each MAC-address is linked to a specific customer and has a specific 12-digit code that helps routers to send data to the right recipient) out which are being host by the tracking hardware.

This technology has great benefits as it enables managers to measure customer loyalty. It is even possible to measure their walking routes through navigation functionalities and how long they stop at a certain product. They can also see how many employees they need to schedule. This technology enables managers to make better purchase, marketing and inventory planning decisions. Due to this technology, it is now possible to follow their customers just like how websites can. In the past managers decided how to organize the layout of a store based on their intuition, which didn’t work efficiently. They simply didn’t know how to bring along the customer behavior with the layout of a specific store. Wifi-tracking eliminates this problem. This technology is also being used at retailers and restaurants at airports.

However, this technology doesn’t follow legal privacy regulations. Companies like Dixons, Mycom, iCentre use this technology. The first three companies don’t inform customers that they are being followed. Besides, some unknown companies use this technology in secret. I think that it is not acceptable to follow customers if they are not informed. Even worse, I think that this technology has to be abandoned since the admission to follow customers will create the potential of a world with no privacy in the future. Stores are then even able to measure customer behavior of individuals instead of the mass. This technology creates a threat for companies as they can result in a decrease of customer satisfaction and loyalty which unfortunately will lead to a lower profitability. Thus, wifi-tracking has a negative impact on companies.

Bachmann, J. (2014), ‘To speed up security lines, airports start tracking your smartphone’,

Fung, B. (2013) ‘How stores use your phone’s Wifi to track your shopping habits’,

Henry, A (2013)’How retail stores track you using your smartphone (and how to stop it)’,

How Big data is also changing the publishing industry.

Information technologies led to dematerialization of our lives. We no longer go to the store in order to buy a CD or a DVD, most of us download it and play it on our devices. The same goes for books, more and more people are shifting from paper books to digital books.

When music had its mp3 players symbolised by the legendary iPod, books now have e-readers where the main player is Kindle by Amazon. These shifts transform the whole publishing industry, books’ production, storage and distribution costs go down, increasing publishers’ revenues. They can also now focus mainly on the authors and their promotion, without having to anticipate the number of copies to make or how to distribute them.

As mentioned earlier, author promotion is now more than ever the main focus of publishers. Their main interrogation should than be, which author should I promote in order to maximize my revenues? This is when Big-data plays a new role.

Kobo recently released a report about Big-data and the Publishing industry. Their point is: publishers will not focus solely on the sale numbers of an author but more on the engagement its books generate. They argue that by tracking users’ reading activity, publishers will be aware if the buyer opens the book, if he finishes the book, how fast does he read, at what time, etc… With the following data they can generate rates such as readers’ engagement, being how many buyers finish the book, or opening rate, being how many buyers open the book.

This data can become a key asset for publishers. By checking readers’ engagement, they could spot which small or medium authors have potential to become blockbusters, or which kinds of books generate high engagement and thus higher sales. With opening rate, they can check customer reaction to book tittles or to check the efficiency of a promotion campaign.

Although I prefer the old fashion paper book, I can’t deny the practical aspect of digital books. I believe that as for newspapers, music or movies the ongoing trend will continue and lead to even more digital books. Although the illegal downloading threat is also an issue for this industry, I believe that e-books will benefit publishers that are able to grab the opportunity offered by Big-data.


Click to access Publishing%20in%20the%20Era%20of%20Big%20Data%20-%20Kobo%20Whitepaper%20Fall%202014.pdf