Archive | September 27, 2015

Fast fashion & rapid fashion – at which cost do they come?

While most fast fashion retailers simply copy styles from the runways, Zara takes another step and actually monitors its customers to determine the next clothing line for each store. Due to a centralized system, shop employees collect customer data on shopping behavior and feed it back to the hub in Galicia, Spain. This allows fast adaptation to new trends. Zara does not even need to rely on fabric suppliers as the company produces basic fabric and dyes it in the “trendy” color in-house. More importantly, Zara has perfected the practice of fast distribution. Once clothing items are finished, they are ironed, checked and wrapped, including price tag, and then shipped to its destination. This process from design, manufacture and delivery takes on average 15 days. The inventory optimization system is the pillar of this strength. As inventory often means death, Zara keeps its stocks small, which also increases exclusivity of their products. Customers are more likely to buy an item now due to limited stock and the ever-changing collections in-store.

Those types of fast fashion retailers have mastered the high fashion market. But now, new players have entered this market and they are doing things even faster and cheaper. Misguided is one of them, and as its founder and CEO, Nitin Passi, explains: “I like to say we’re the quickest […]. If [the high street] are fast fashion, we’re rapid fashion.” What they do differently is that they copy the looks of celebrities rather than looking at international runways. Another example is Boohoo.com, whose founders began selling their items to stores, and over time, started to sell directly to the consumer via an online shop, as it was more profitable. New items are usually available within a few days. How are they able to do that? Like many of those rapid fashion companies, they are actually located in the UK where they have been previously involved in the local fabric manufacturing industry. The proximity to the factories enables to create limited amounts of samples that can be extended, if the product “takes off”. Data collection and analysis on online shopping behavior is becoming even more important in this model. Additionally, stock issues are avoided since they are not serving any physical stores. They can replenish without having to ship the merchandise to the next store. Information technology has enabled this development and provided better and faster practices. However, it should not be forgotten, how some abuse these newly gained abilities.

With the trend of fashion going increasingly faster and cheaper, there are many implications, which I personally find rather disturbing. There are environmental factors as most of these garments are made of synthetic fabric, which is not easily recyclable. This model encourages consumers to buy more in quantity, change their wardrobes more often, and wear clothes for a much shorter time. Consequently, there is an intense production of cotton and other fabrics ending up as large amounts of waste (of which some is difficult to dispose sustainably). Moreover, the low prices of the fast or rapid fashion retailers often imply sweatshop practices where workers are treated unethically. And, this is actually destroying more than we are gaining from it.

http://www.economist.com/node/4086117

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/magazine/how-zara-grew-into-the-worlds-largest-fashion-retailer.html?_r=0

http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2015/apr/07/fast-fashion-online-labels-boohoo-missguided

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Technology of the week: BlaBlaCar & Getaround

The words that describe this last decade the best are: globalization and digitalization. Getting from point A to point B has never been easier, you just search online for your preferred means of transport and voila; a list of options will appear. Nowadays, simply finding an option that gets you to your preferred location isn’t enough, it also needs to be the most cost-efficient option. We have decided to compare two companies who try to fulfill this need through electronic markets: BlaBlaCar and Getaround.

BlaBlaCar is French ridesharing company who connects drivers who are going to a certain location to find passengers going the same direction. This way the empty car seats are filled, so the fuel costs are shared and people have someone to talk to (hence the name BlaBlaCar).

Getaround is an American company who does not offer rides but offers actual cars. The website/application enables private car owners to rent their cars to individuals. However Getaround does not just connect car owner and car searcher, it also provides a full insurance when a deal has been made, so there can be no question of the safety of ones car.

Both companies fulfill the functional requirement of getting a person from 1 place to another, however while the means seem similar there are a lot of important differences. Getaround has a lot of problems with information asymmetry, specifically adverse selection. When a deal is made on the Getaround website/application it has to be paid immediately, resulting in a situation where the car provider can give inaccurate or false information about the car without the buyer being able to verify this information. BlaBlaCar has a problem with its easy to copy concept. Because they provide no other services except of being a middleman, any successful competitor can become a big threat for them, especially when the competitor would ask a lower fee.

As with most C2C e-markets, these companies are heavily subjected to network effects, the worth of their website/application is largely decided on how big their (active) user base is. In established markets this is an advantage, however expanding to other markets will be very difficult. Because the network effects for 1 market cannot be used for another market. For example; having a lot of ridesharing options in Germany is useless for someone looking for a ride in China. This is however the main difference between these 2 companies, while Getaround has a local expansion strategy within the USA, BlaBlaCar uses an aggressive expansion strategy where they want to be active in as many countries as quickly as possible to gain some market share before competitors get active within the market. Therefor we predict that BlaBlaCar will be active globally, while Getaround will remain in certain areas in the USA.

References:

– Dimoka, A., Hong, Y., and Pavlou, P.A. 2012. On Product Uncertainty in Online Markets: Theory and Evidence. MIS Quarterly. Forthcoming.

– Granados, N., Kauffman, R.J., and King, B. 2008. How Has Electronic Travel Distribution Been Transformed? A Test of the Theory of Newly-Vulnerable Markets. Journal of Management Information Systems 25(2) 73-96.

439290dl – Daniel Lanier

439212fb – Francesco Benedetti

439206ma – Marius Aarstein Andersen

345516yn – Yuran Najl Hossaini

Technology of the Week – Electronic Markets and Auctions: Catawiki and Freelancer.com

Auctions have been prevailing for decades and constitute one of the most appropriate tools to measure the value of unique products. Inventions in information technology have favored a shift of retail markets towards more dynamic pricing mechanisms and engendered a significant and disruptive industry modification, which is the emergence of online auctions. Freelancer.com and Catawiki are two examples of auction platforms that facilitate buyers and sellers with a marketplace where transactions are mediated through bidding mechanisms.

Freelancer.com

Freelancer.com is an online outsourcing marketplace for freelance services that connects employers to freelancers (B2B) in over 240 countries through a reverse auction model. An employer uploads a description of its desired service (such as design or accounting services), after which freelancers can place a bid in the form of a price they charge to carry out the job. The employer then chooses which freelancer gets the job, based on both the price and the freelancers’ reputations.

Catawiki

Catawiki, headquartered in Assen, the Netherlands, is an online auction house for collectables and exceptional items. The most popular auctions include the sections art, jewelry, stamps, coins, watches and classic cars. With over 31 million objects sold and more than twelve million visitors per month it is currently the fastest growing European auction house.

Business model comparison

Freelancer.com has a very broad market scope (i.e. desired services range from design to legal advice) while Catawiki has a strong focus on the niche of collectables (i.e. exceptional items only). In addition, whereas Freelancer.com is a platform for B2B (freelancer to employer) buying of services, Catawiki has C2C (consumer collector to consumer collector) platform based upon goods (exceptional items). Another important distinction is related to the market mechanism on each platform. Freelancer.com is a reverse auction in which sellers compete, while Catawiki is a regular auction. Further differences regard the revenue models (Catawiki uses commissions only, while Freelancer uses subscriptions and fees for additional services besides its commissions).

SWOT comparison

At first, both platforms have a large online community of buyers and sellers, which provides Freelancer.com and Catawiki with significant network effects. However, the drawback for both online auction marketplaces is the tremendous dependence on their online community. For both platforms, an opportunity for external growth exists by acquiring smaller competitors, which can potentially lead to an even larger online community, and subsequently, higher network effects. Both Catawiki and Freelancer.com enable the buyer to evaluate the seller in order to guarantee quality control. At Freelancer.com, the integrated rating and review system gives freelancers a huge incentive to a provide good quality service. At Catawiki experts assess the authenticity. On the one hand this can result in an improved quality control, but on the other hand, this increases the fixed costs as Catawiki has to employ experts for this task. Another difference is the commission that the platforms charge compared to their competitors. Freelancer.com charges 13% commission per contract, whereas its two main competitors charge only 10% (Rawson, 2013). Catawiki however, is cheaper than traditional (collectibles) auction houses, 9% compared to 19-25% (Kort, 2014). As the biggest difference between the two platforms we identified their visibility on search engines. While Freelancer.com heavily uses Google’s search engine for marketing reasons and is always in a leading position for Google inquiries, whereas Catawiki is nearly impossible to find on Google when related key words are used.

Future predictions

The influence of internet auctions as a general business model seems to be floundering. In fact, the trend of changing customer preferences towards posted prices and convenience shopping has significantly impacted the demand for online auctions. Auction sites, who were supposed to change the way people shop (Seo, 2013), have to find a solution to their declining share of business and their decline of online auctions, which has commenced last decade, can be expected to continue. Firms like Catawiki or Freelancer.com need to discover innovative solutions in order to remain profitable. Focusing on high-value niche products can be an option, but what is really crucial is to diversify business strategy beyond simple bidding.

Group 30

Robert Boer (356365)

Dennis Bout (342947)

Henning Kleb (440006)

Hugo Krier (441418)

Jonathan Peene (343244)

References

Catawiki (2015). Catawiki auctions. Available at: http://www.catawiki.com/ [Accessed: 19 September 2015]

Freelancer.com (2015). About us overview. Available at: http://www.freelancer.com/about [Accessed: 20 September 2015]

Kort, S. (2014). Te koop bij Sotheby’s of Christie’s? Nee, bij Catawiki, NRCQ (25-10-2014). Available at: http://www.nrcq.nl/2014/10/25/te-koop-bij-sothebys-of-christies-nee-bij-catawiki [Accessed: 19 September 2015]

Rawson, X (2013). oDesk vs Elance vs Freelancer and 99designs – Infographic. Available at: http://biz30.timedoctor.com/odesk-vs-elance-vs-freelancer-and-99designs-infographic/ [Accessed: 19 September 2015]

Seo, M. (2013). Online Auctions become more competitive. The Huffington Post (03-11-2013). Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-seo/online-auctions-become-mo_b_2850786.html [Accessed: 17 September 2015]

The success of King’s “Candy”

Nowadays there’s many more ways to make money on the internet than a simple webshop. As discussed in class, you can adopt a subscription model, an advertising model, a utility model (the cloud, like Dropbox), or one of many other options. Often the combination of several models is what leads to the biggest successes.

Since a decade, the ‘freemium’ model is the dominant business model among internet start-ups and app developers (Kumar, 2014). The term is mostly used to describe the combination of advertising and subscription models. Think of Spotify, which is free as long as you listen to the ads, or is without adds as long as you pay. LinkedIn is another company that offers additional benefits when the customer pays (a ‘premium’  membership). In the world of game applications, a successful app is not where one hás to pay, but where one cán pay. This refers to the in-app purchases, which is responsible for over 65% of iOs and Android appstores’ revenue (Valadares, 2011)!

So why are not all games that offer this model successful? When looking at my own mobile gaming behaviour, most apps are deleted within one month. I get tired of them or I have to pay for the next level and for these kind of reasons I just stop playing. Accept for one app that has been on my phone for over two years now: Candy Crush Saga. I would not usually describe myself as an addict, so that raised questions about my own behaviour: why is Candy Crush Saga so addictive – especially on the long term?

Many psychologists name several factors that contribute to Candy Crush’s success. First, people are responsive to the ‘sweetness’ of the game. Second, the fact that a user can only play for about half an hour, makes sure the user is still fond of the game on the long term (Dockterman, 2013).

But the success is not just about psychological factors. The integration with Facebook is probably the key factor of the game. First of all, this set up provides a cross-platform usage of the application, as this account can be opened on phone, tablet and computer. Another advantage is the communication to other Facebook friends, using Facebook’s network effects. The technology in the app shows users at what level their friends are. As competitive as people are, this makes them even want to play more. As it turns out, it might be a part psychological factor after all.

Another smart move of King, yet other developers do this too, is to increase switching costs for users. The in-app purchases can only be done with ‘golden bars’, Candy Crush’s currency. When users still have golden bars on their account, the human urge (yet another psychological flavour to this) is to continue playing, and so a virtual circle begins.

Many other factors can be described about this success within the mobile gaming industry, but I decided to stick to these few to stress my point. The IT departments are important, but not solely responsible for making a good social game. Users are people, and marketing and psychology need to be integrated into the information strategy to make sure the game is successful on the long term.

References: 

Dockterman, E. (2013) ‘Candy Crush Saga: The science behind our addiction’. Accessed at 27 September 2015 through http://business.time.com/2013/11/15/candy-crush-saga-the-science-behind-our-addiction/

Kumar, V. (2014) ‘Making Freemium Work’, Harvard Business Review, Mei 2014: 27-29

Valadares, J. (2011) ‘Mobile Freemium Games: Women Thrifty, Men Binge’. Accessed at 27 September 2015 through http://www.flurry.com/bid/72755/Mobile-Freemium-Games-Women-Thrifty-Men-Binge#.VPWucvmG-So

Changing your own grades?

Hacking a computer by just inserting an USB stick? Yes it is possible. If you have some spare time please watch this documentary (Dutch) to keep yourself protected from hackers.

This documentary is unfortunately only available in Dutch, but no worries I will summarize the context. The video shows how easy it is to change your own school grade by hacking the computer of the teacher. By simply inserting an USB stick with malware into your teachers computers you can possibly gain access to all of their personal information. In this video the hackers are trying to steal login passwords for the grade system Magister. By handing out free USB sticks to teachers with information about stress reduction, the hackers succeed in stealing personal information. The human species is very curious , that is why hackers will always find a way to hack a system. The school system might be secured against hackers from the outside, but the teachers still lack knowledge of the potential threats nearby. You might assume that teachers are aware by these threats nowadays, but I have seen Erasmus University professors that are not fully up-to-date of the potential threats. Just think about it, how hard is it for you to insert a USB stick into the teachers computer? I personally do not think it is that hard. I recently had to give a presentation in front of a class, without any problem I inserted an USB stick into the professors laptop. Luckily this USB stick only contained a power presentation, but what if it contained a virus?

Warning: Don’t hack your teachers computer, it could get you kicked out of school.

It is very hard to avoid this USB hack, because everyone uses USB sticks nowadays. It is not only hard for individuals but also for companies to deal with this problem. Changing your own grades has a relatively small impact compared to the famous malware Stuxnet, this computer worm disrupted Iran’s nuclear program via an USB stick. The virus delayed the nuclear program for a couple of years and more than 16.000 computers were infected with the virus. Some military organizations nowadays have closed all their USB ports with glue to close out all potential USB threats (Brandon , n.a.).

References

Brandon, J. (n.a.) ‘Voorkom het lekken van data via USB-sticks’ . http://computerworld.nl/beveiliging/75294-voorkom-het-lekken-van-data-via-usb-sticks, Last visited on 27-9-2015

Woollaston, V. (2015) ‘When USBs attack: hackers create spy plug inspired by NSA’s surveillance kit – and it just cost 13 pounds to make’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2920419/When-USBs-attack-Hackers-create-covert-spy-plug-inspired-NSA-s-Cottonmouth-surveillance-kit.html, Last visited on 27-9-2015

Kumparak, G. (2014) ‘This little USB necklace hacks your computer in no time flat http://techcrunch.com/2014/12/18/this-little-usb-necklace-hacks-your-computer-in-no-time-flat/, Last visited on 27-9-2015

Kushner, D. (2013) ‘The real story of stuxnet’ http://spectrum.ieee.org/telecom/security/the-real-story-of-stuxnet, Last visited on 27-9-2015

http://www.npo.nl/hackers/13-08-2015/VPWON_1245757

Technology and law: is government lagging?

It may not surprise you that the government is currently lagging behind in embedding technology innovations into the juridical system (Tweakers, 2015; Stoter et al. 2010). Because of the nature of legislative process, implementing new laws takes 620 days (1,7 years) on average. Meanwhile, technologies emerge at a fast pace.

To really grasp the extend of this problem for information strategy, just look at some examples of the current blanks in our juridical system regarding new technologies:

  1. Clinically testing new applications of Bio Printing of organs is still prohibited, which imposes a big barrier on research in this area. If you think about all the possibilities that this technique can have, for instance solving the current organdonar shortages, there really are lives at stake here.
  2. The internet of things raises many juridical questions that are currently not answered. For instance: if your ‘smart’ fridge auto orders groceries from the supermarket, who is actually legally bound to the contract?
  3. Major firms are involved in making cars smarter and even self-driving. This poses the question: who is liable when an accident occurs?

It is clear that the government can’t keep up with all recent developments. There are however ample examples of real life situations that do demand a clear juridical answer. Ultimately, this comes down to an increased pressure on courts to deal with these issues.

This is problematic for a couple of reasons:

  • Letting courts decide on how to deal with new technologies, undermines the separation of powers (trias politica) principle. According to this principle, the parliament must make laws, as the parliament is checked by our democratic system. On the other hand, the courts need to be independent in their application of the law to specific circumstances. When courts need to make a decision on an issue that currently has no laws regulating it, the democratic check is missing.
  • When laws are missing, businesses struggle with uncertainty. It is risky to invest in a technology if it is unsure which rules apply to it. This problem occurred with the Segway for instance. From 2007-2008 Segways were not permitted on the road, because there was no vehicle category that the Segway fitted into. Politicians concluded that its not a scooter, nor is it a bike. (Keep in mind here that the classification is pretty important. To name one feature: you need to have a license to drive a scooter. So, the classification can dramatically change your business model and potential market)
  • It takes a lot of time and money to institute legal proceedings. As it is the task of the parliament to make laws, businesses should not have to pay for a decision simply because the parliament doesn’t do its task.

What do you think? How can the government improve its law making to be more compatible with the rapid technology innovations?


Sources:

Technology of the week: Business models compared Blendle vs. iTunes

Summary

Technology of the Week: Electronic Markets and Auctions

The business models of iTunes and Blendle compared

In recent years, information technology and the internet have drastically changed how markets and auctions work. In electronic markets, supply and demand meet by means of an electronic platform. An e-market as market maker provides a new potential source of revenues for all involved participants; namely customers, suppliers and the e-market provider itself, which is iTunes in the music industry and Blendle in the publisher industry. The ones who come up with an innovative idea can have a very disruptive impact in its industry. So were the founders of Blende thinking: ‘Why pay a monthly or even a yearly subscription fee of the newspaper while only interested in just a few articles of the paper?’. Blendle is an electronic market where various individual newspaper and magazine articles can be bought for a small price. This relative new startup has disrupted the publisher’s industry like iTunes has caused a major shift in the music industry. Where traditionally music was bought in whole albums or cd’s, iTunes enabled customers to separately purchase songs. This way, customers are now buying single articles and songs which they might have never bought if they had to buy the whole newspaper or album (Malone, Yates and Benjamin, 1987).

iTunes was the first to disrupt the music industry by providing an online platform where consumers can buy any song separately out of the biggest base of music globally available. This began with a great success which makes it remarkable that it took the publishing industry so long to come up with a comparable platform, because this research has made it clear that the business models have many aspects in common. Therefore, the business model of iTunes seems to be successfully applicable for Blende as well, which might be the reason that investors consider this relatively new startup as extremely promising. It turned out that iTunes missed the technological development of music streaming, which, in spite of the strong positioning of iTunes, has made room for new competitors resulting in a big loss in market share in the music industry (AdWeek, 2015).

A remarkable similarity is that both business models are e-markets that bundles suppliers to make a personalized offer for customers, resulting in an easier way for customers to find what they want as well as a way to offer a customer the broadest offer globally available, the so called long tail principal. This has been made possible by the internet and is the main driver for the success of both business models. They serve the mass market as well as the niche market on a worldwide level. Therefore, this kind of companies tend to be or become very profitable as they both charge a fee for every item sold. In addition, both business models leverage the network effect it has gained as first mover, this includes that their platforms become even more powerful while its customer base increases. Finally, it can be seen as advantageous that the costs are limited to platform maintenance and business development.

iTunes has clearly shown that its business model not necessarily has to hold on regardless of the strong position gained by both companies. As a result of technological developments, namely music streaming, iTunes suffered from a huge loss in market share. This technology has made it more attractive for customers to offer unlimited consumption of music for a monthly fee, enabling new entrants to develop more advanced options with the collected data. So far Blendle competes only with physical publications as there are no signs of technological developments that could disrupt the industry again. Although the possibility of giving customers unlimited access for a monthly fee seems to be preferred by customers, looking at what happened with the music industry, Blendle might be aware of the impact that a new entrant introducing this business model could have. Apple has introduced Apple Music in an attempt to fix the incurred loss in market share. Blendle could avoid being forced making such a strategic move if they timely investigate what kind of business model its customers prefer. Some argue that only the Spotify-model will work in the long run, other think that publishers will only do business with Blendle as a Spotify-model would be destructive for publishers own businesses, since consumers would not have an incentive to subscribe for a newspaper or magazine if they contribute to a Spotify-model (De Nieuwe Reporter, 2013).

Team 29

Floris Hol                                419214

Tim Prein                                346786

Wouter Bakker                       357176

Jesse van Hofwegen              375283

Jeroen Gelderblom                 371908

Government vs Technology

I think everybody knows tech startups like Uber and Airbnb, which disrupt the, in this case, “old-fashioned” taxi and hotel market. Many see these companies as heroes who change the rules of the market. However, the government and the traditional companies are not that happy with these companies as they create unfair competition. This has led to many lawsuits in order to forbid these kind of companies. Is it the task of the government to intervene to restore the traditional market or do they need to embrace these companies as they innovate the industry?

I personally think that the government has to embrace these companies as they just found a more profitable way to deliver the services/ products. Survival of the fittest as Darwin would say. These companies show that the current regulations are old-fashioned and that it is time to review the regulations in order to improve the technology. During our Bachelor Business Administration we all read cases where companies failed, because they did not adapt to their changing environment. If companies have to adapt, I am convinced that the government has to do the same.

Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator, stated that “The greatest threat to this country is incompetence of governance”. He says that the government has to adapt faster to the rapidly growing technology, otherwise there will be a mismatch.

In order to keep up with technology, policy makers have to collaborate more with these disrupters to innovate the rules. For example, currently many different companies are investing in self-driving cars, but for these self-driving cars you will need to have modified road rules.

It is important for the government to adapt and react faster to technology. As the Conversation states “New technology will force new rules, whether we like it or not”.

Source:

http://theconversation.com/keeping-up-or-holding-back-the-regulation-challenge-for-government-47915

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/blog/techflash/2015/09/y-combinator-s-sam-altman-sees-dark-future-if.html

Youtubers’ remuneration

Ever heard about PewDiePie, Michelle Phan or Olga Kay? These famous YouTubers managed to make money out of their videos. How is the remuneration of YouTube videos settled and how to maximize it?

When asking about the remuneration of a video, the typical answer is $1000 per view. But this is not correct. Indeed, some factors must be taken into account to calculate the remuneration of a video.

As remuneration on YouTube is based on advertising, the salary will depend on the remuneration model used by advertisers. They can either pay based on the cost per click (CPC), or on the cost per view (CPV). The CPV or CPM indicates how much advertisers pay for a million views. Each ad unit has a specific CPM and ad units can of course be cumulated if you have more than one ad unit on your post/video. Typical CPM varies from $0.50 per thousand views to $7 or $12 per thousand views.

Knowing your CPM or CVC, you can easily calculate the total revenue you can expect according to the number of views or clicks your video has reached. YouTube works with Google AdSense, which is a program that allows publishers to generate revenues by placing ads in their content, in this case videos. AdSense takes 45% of the income of the Youtuber.

How to boost your remuneration?

Advertisers can be interested and wanting to pay the YouTuber to have his product mentioned in the first 30 seconds of the video.

What you should also know is that advertisers are more interested in specific target audience. This is the reason why YouTube is now working with the video ad format TrueView which allows for the viewer to choose which ads he prefers to watch. There exist 4 types of TrueView ads: In-stream, In-search, In-slate and In-display depending on where the ad appears on your screen. Trueview allows for advertisers to better target the audience it wants to reach and to pay only for viewed ads or when the 30 first seconds have been watched.

References :

Videopower, 2015. ‘How many views to make money on YouTube?’ http://videopower.org/how-many-views-to-make-money-on-youtube/ Last visited : 27 September 2015

Business Insider UK, 2015. ‘The biggest stars on YouTube make huge income… yet they can’t keep most of it’ http://uk.businessinsider.com/money-youtube-stars-actually-make-2014-2?r=US&IR=T Last visited : 27 September 2015

Fast Company, 2013. ‘ A million YouTube views won’t pay your rent but tubestart could help’ http://www.fastcompany.com/3018123/a-million-youtube-views-wont-pay-your-rent-but-tubestart-could Last visited: 27 September 2015

Wikipedia, 2015. ‘ AdSense’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AdSense Last visited : 27 September 2015

The Future of Working

The internet of things is currently a hot topic and has the potential to disrupt the way industries an we as individuals work and live (Gartner, 2015). Yet in our daily lives many of these technologies we see are not connected to each other to make a truly integrated system. There is however a new office building in Amsterdam called the Edge, who declares itself the world’s most sustainable office building.


The Edge, which opened its doors on 29 May 2015, is a multi-tenant office building that is far ahead of its time in terms of quality, sustainability and user comfort (The Edge). The moment you wake up as an employee, your connected to the building. Your schedule is checked, and when you arrive at the office, your car is recognized and you are directed to one of the parking spots with electric powering for your electric vehicle. When you enter the building you are appointed to one of the types of desks in the building based on your schedule (sitting desk, standing desk, work booth, meeting room, balcony seat, or concentration room) (Randall, 2015). By using this appointing technology the office is able to provide 2,500 employees a working space with only 1,000 desks. Once you arrive at your desk, the temperature and lighting changes to your preferences. Currently the office provides 39,673 square meter of floor office, whereby 92,3% is rented and there are in total more 28,000 sensors in the whole building. Data is constantly stored and used for big data analysis to optimise every possible aspect of the building.

The British rating agency BREEAM, gave the the Edge the highest sustainability score ever awarded: 98,4 percent. Not only do employees experience the comfort and stimulating working environment, the building produces more electricity than it uses. Thermal energy is stored 130 below the ground and generates the required heating and cooling of the building. In the summer when it is hot, warm water is stored and isolated below the ground and in the winter this energy is used.

While this building provides us an insight of what the future of working might hold, the question is if office building and possibly homes will look this way in the future? Or is this just a prestige project carried out by multiple partners? What aspects do you think will be implemented in offices in the near feature? What are your thoughts on this?

Works Cited

Gartner. (2015). The Internet of Things Enables Digital Business. Retrieved September 27, 2015, from Gartner.com: http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/internet-of-things/

Randall, T. (2015, September 23). The Smartest Building in the World. Retrieved September 27, 2015, from Bloomberg Business: http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2015-the-edge-the-worlds-greenest-building/

The Edge. (n.d.). Info. Retrieved September 27, 2015, from The Edge: http://www.the-edge.nl/en/info

Could our personal data solve for poverty on earth?

Your personal data is worth something, and actually we do deserve the value of these (our) data. Meanwhile are the large companies, such as Google and Facebook, the ones who collect our data as input and use it to transform it in valuable output. Via personal devices they record every step we take save it into their datacenters, these datacenters are the heart of what is called Big Data. A treasure of valuable data and new insights derived from e-mails, location based services, photo’s and many more sources most ordinary people are even not aware of.

Companies are willing to pay huge amounts for our personal data. Not only for advertising, but they can also use it to predict your future behavior. They are able to find indicators of a persons purchase intent and interests that we may be giving subconsciously. Some argue that Google’s business model is a threat, because its directly making money from what they have in control. They key is to regard data as an asset, as something valuable that’s our property and maybe we should even think a little bit about it like it’s money. Thinking different about it is controversial, data has always been used to sell goods and services, nowadays it’s the product.

Viktor Mayer Schonberger, author of ‘The Big Data Revolution’, found that companies do already look this way at big data so they’ve created new business models. Companies such as Facebook and Google have valuations of respectively $225 billon and $376 billion. All created with the value of our data. That’s why Jaron Lanier, author of ‘Who owns the Future’, wonders out loud, and so do I, weather we should get paid for this data supply. He estimates that the data should be worth hundreds of dollars for each person that’s active on the internet, if not thousands for some people. Every company nowadays sees data as a potential asset to generate value with, and we give it away to every company that we use services from because we don’t know how to possess our data and turn it into value ourselves.

Recently people fear that advances in technology will throw people out of work. The answer to this has always been ‘’No we are just making new ways of work that are even better than the previous ones’’, but the problem is that as things become highly automated and highly efficient because of digital technology, the question remains; can we still make that answer work? If cars are driving themselves and our products are printed by 3D printers instead of manufactured in a factory, is there then still anybody making a living? Then the only possible answer is that you can make a living with your information, because information is what becomes valuable in an highly advanced society.

So the value of personal data is going up which raises the question will this ever reach the poverty line? So weather the average value of information for a person in a certain country will be as much as the poverty line at some point. Jaron Lanier has made calculations and thinks that this is something that could happen. If information could eliminate poverty, then there are new ways to think about society, that might be something we should think about.

As a ambitious and entrepreneurial BIM student this futuristic philosophy keeps me thinking about ways to facilitate this shift from giving data to selling data. Feel free to leave a reply or contact me if you would like to share any thoughts about this.

Bibliography

Schonberger & Gukier, V, M. & K (2013) The Big Data Revolution, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Lanier, J. (2014) Who Owns The Future, Simon & Schuster.

Kim, Eugene (2015) Uber has grown faster in its first five years than Facebook did, http://uk.businessinsider.com/uber-vs-facebook-valuation-in-years-one-through-five-2015-6?r=US&IR=T 09-13-2015.

Forbes, (2015) The World’s Most Valuable Brands, http://www.forbes.com/companies/google/ 09-13-2015

Through the lens of Periscope

periscope  Being an exchange student, I have done a fair bit of travelling round this fascinating continent in the past month and many a time when I see something amazing, I feel the urge to instantly show it to my friends and family back home. To address this, I was rummaging through play store when I came across this wonderful app called Periscope. Now for the uninitiated ones, Periscope is a live broadcasting app owned by Twitter, which you can use to record and create videos on your phones which can be watched in real time by others. For those of you who are couch potatoes. this app is equally attractive since it allows you to select and watch from a range of videos which are being broadcast live and are available for public viewing.

hearts periscopeThe differentiating factor for Periscope is that everything is instantaneous here. For example if you are watching a live feed and want a different angle or view, you can immediately message the broadcaster and request the same. You can also ask any questions or ask them to repeat a certain portion you missed out on or applaud their effort. Similar to Facebook where you press the like button, here you generate “hearts” each time you tap the screen. The number of hearts accumulated acts like a feedback for the broadcaster and tells him about the current popularity of his live stream.

Using the app is also super easy. You just need to log in through your twitter account ( create one if you don’t have) and you can view which of your friends or any popular broadcaster is currently broadcasting live. To start your own recording, locate a red camera icon in the bottom right corner of the screen which is the record button. Select a title for the broadcast, pin point your location, choose your viewers ( public/private) and you are ready to go live!!

Having described the app, I will now tell you why I feel this is such a good tool to possess and its pros and cons.

Real time nature of the app

The most amazing feature is that everything on this app is instantaneous. You broadcast a video of what you would like your select audience to see, receive comments, requests, suggestions and applause from them, all on the fly. This creates a really interactive environment for both the broadcaster and the viewer and enhances the experience for both. This is the BIG differentiating factor this has over Youtube is that this is real time and hence is a lot more fun too.

A travelling companion

Now one can share one’s experiences with friends and family across the globe using this app. Be it sailing under the magnificent Erasmus bridge or skydiving from a plane or a mesmerizing show at the opera, you can share everything with them and enable them to see the world through your eyes. Their reactions and comments will just make travelling with a Periscope that much more amazing.

Live news reporting tool

Imagine yourself as a news reporter who has gone to cover a world cup final. You want your news channel to be the most updated and the fastest to broadcast the next goal or the next red card. This allows you to do exactly that using this tool. Using Periscope can give a news agency a big boost during major political or sports events as the live feed will soon draw a lot of traffic to your news channel’s twitter account. The faster you manage to get the video on TV, the faster your channel’s TRP ratings will shoot up.

Sometimes you may be alone without a video cameraman and other aids. If you come across an incident which you feel needs attention or must be broadcast instantly, then Periscope is a great aid in such circumstances: For example, you re driving down the highway and come across a growing bush fire.

Communication Platform

It can also replace official media press conferences since an announcement can be made through a live broadcast and all the reporters and media personnel can interact using the app. This greatly simplifies proceedings where in an urgent press conference needs to be called. Who knows very soon presidential addresses might be given through the Periscope!!

It can also prove to be a worthy competitor to Skype and other video calling platforms.

Piracy: a big concern

Like most good things, the Periscope app too has a downside because live broadcast features are an invitation for video piracy of authorized content. This issue was highlighted when several users of the service used it to illegally broadcast the fifth season premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones live. Similar concerns were raised during the highly watched boxing match on May 2, 2015, between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, which was widely pirated live on Periscope as compared to its being televised via a pay per view that cost approximately US$90. Such issues need to be addressed at the earliest in order to protect the interests of the affected parties as well as show Twitter’s strict stand against piracy or any other illegal activity.

Conclusion

All in all, I feel optimistic about the future scope of the app. It is a serious challenger to other broadcasting channels like Youtube primarily due to its real time and interactive nature.With the popularity of social media, Periscope broadcasts will really enable faster information sharing and transfer across the globe.It being part of a social media mogul like Twitter will ensure its visibility and acceptability as there are no switching costs involved for users. Certain security features like providing restricted access to using Periscope only to authorized personnel during sports events or pay per views can curb down its usage as a piracy tool. But its here to stay and am confident its soon going to be an integral part of most of our lives.

Please let me know through your comments if you have used Periscope before and if you have shared any interesting experiences using it. I would also like to know of your views about the app overall and if you can think of any other use to which it can be put to.

Cheers 🙂

References

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/google-android/how-use-periscope-on-android-3613985/

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/mar/26/periscope-review-twitter-live-streaming-service-meerkat

http://www.engadget.com/2015/03/26/periscope/

Next Level Radar by Google

Google has been working on something new, and it is spectacular! The project is called Project Soli, and they are using radar technology to revolutionize the way we interact with our wearable and portable devices like smartwatches, smartphones and tablets. The project is founded by Ivan Poupyrev, who works for Google’s ATAP (Advanced Technology And Projects) department.

The basis of this new technology is RADAR (Radio Detection And Ranging), which we all know is used by bats and the army. Radar technology was first patented in 1904, but wasn’t really used until the 1930’s when armies all around the world started using it. The way radar works is when you emit a sound wave, it will bounce off of objects and return. Knowing the speed of the wave, you can then calculate how far away the object is. This was the first application of radar. Radar is a lot more developed these days, and you are able to know whether an object is moving, how fast it is moving and how big it is.

So that’s pretty much how radar works. What does Google have to do with it? Google’s Project Soli is working on a new interaction sensor using radar technology. The sensor will be able to detect the finest gestures we are able to make with our hands. So for the first time radar is used to track micro motions instead of large aircrafts and such. If you watch the video below you will see the possibilities this new application brings to our future.

As you can see the chip Google developed is small enough to put it in every wearable technology, the smallest smartphone or even smartwatches. The sensor is running at 60 GHz, giving it a capability to track up to 10.000 frames per second. When you compare the application as seen in the video above with the way we have been controlling our devices, you can see the opportunities to gain are enormous.

 

Sources:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QNiZfSsPc0

http://tweakers.net/reviews/4040/2/technologieen-van-de-toekomst-vier-projecten-uit-googles-researchlab-project-soli-bewegingsdetectie-met-radar.html

http://computertotaal.nl/overige-elektronica/wat-is-google-project-soli-66267#wh56BiJhfi0K2UEO.97

How will Information Technology and Automation fundamentally reshape fundamentally the labour market and economies in the near future?

Fear for technology taking over jobs and leave people unemployed is nothing new. With the invention of the steam engine – for example – a vast amount of factory workers saw their fear become reality and got laid off. However new jobs emerged and economies kept growing. What’s different this time is that’s not muscles that are going to be replaced by machines, but brains. And that is predicted to have drastic, far-reaching consequences.

McKinsey acknowledges ‘the automation of knowledge work’. Researchers from Oxford University predict that ‘the coming wave of technological breakthroughs endangers up to 47% of total employment in the US’. The Boston Consulting Group foresees that ‘by 2025, up to a quarter of jobs will be replaced by either smart software or robots’. Zooming in, Deloitte claims that ‘2 to 3 million jobs in the Netherlands are endangered by technological advancements’. We’re not talking about the long-term future, let’s say 75 years from now. The forecast is that this will happen within 25 years.

Which jobs are on the line? Take for example ‘Cashiers, butchers, bakers, pharmacists, translators, drivers, architects, construction-workers, journalist, accountants, medical specialists, bartenders, administrative employees’. Here are some more detailed examples, some of which you might not been thinking off:

  • Call centre employees. IBM is working on a computer that’s about to replace entire call centres in the near future. I work in B2B sales via telephone there’s about 99.00% chance that will become an historic job. (Luckily we have chosen the right studies 😉 ) 
  • Finance and accounting professionals. The way accountants and finance professionals will do their job will change tremendously with increasing possibilities with IT solutions. And there won’t be enough work for everyone. The BBC offers an interactive tool (link below) from which I averaged all the different Finance and Accounting jobs, and there’s a 64% chance that they’ll lose their job to a computer. (Tell that to your MSc Finance and Investments roommate 😉 ).
  • Truck- and taxi drivers. With companies like Uber, Tesla, Google working on self-driving vehicles it is only a matter of time before they’re widely accepted and drivers will loose their jobs. To give you an idea of the scale: in the US there are up to 3.5 million drivers and 5.2 million additional people directly within the industry (BBC, 2015)
  • There’s technology that’s becoming more and more advanced. It is already possible to let a computer write a short article about a sports match, without people recognising the artificiality.
  • They examine en interpreter medical pictures (e.g. X-ray, echo, MRI). At the moment they’re among the best-paid medical specialists. However, various companies are working on advanced scanners that can do the same. Machines will do it better, and for a fraction of the money.

As said, work replaced by technology is something of all times (e.g. working horses, steam engines, the early computers). There will be new jobs replacing the old ones, as always. Besides, scientist agree that social interaction and creativity are human skills that are very difficult to replace with computers

What is different this time is that employment rates and productivity – the two were always closely correlated – are now growing in different directions. MIT professor Eric Brynjolfsson calls it ‘the great paradox of our era, productivity is at record levels, innovation has never been faster, and yet at the same time, we have a falling median income and we have fewer jobs. People are falling behind because technology is advancing so fast and our skills and organizations aren’t keeping up.’

As a result, economists, researchers and policy makers foresee a growing inequality. Slightly exaggerating their fear; they predict that the middle class will slowly disappear and a poor, largely unemployed lower class and a superrich, machine-controlling upper class will emerge. These are real and big challenges for society and global stability. Technology is often hailed as progress and a source for innovation, albeit value. But what if the value will only flow to a relative small part of the worlds – ever increasing – population?

What do you think are the consequences of technology breakthroughs for the coming 50 years? Are we really shifting towards a world in which wealth is fundamentally divided unequal? Or is everybody inevitably moving into the emerging IT/computer/robotic workforce? Or are we finally going to let the machines do the job and get our 8-hour-work-week? Please let me know in the comments below.

WATCH:

READ:

http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/publications/view/1314

http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/515926/how-technology-is-destroying-jobs/

http://thenextweb.com/shareables/2015/05/27/what-are-the-odds-of-losing-your-job-to-automation/

https://decorrespondent.nl/298/De-race-tegen-de-machine/57888722782-236c49e8

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150805-will-machines-eventually-take-on-every-job

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-33327659

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34175290

http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/nl/Documents/deloitte-analytics/deloitte-nl-data-analytics-impact-van-automatisering-op-de-nl-arbeidsmarkt.pdf