Archive | September 29, 2015

The Data Lovestory Of Amy Webb

One ultimate lifegoal is to find a partner, with whom you can spent the rest of your days.  Having the right person to found a family is highly desired. Everybody is looking for love – so does Amy Webb. Amy is a lecturer on emerging technologies and media at the Columbia University. Her age is unknown, according to Wikipedia, she is in her late thirties. She is a successful woman with a stable income and lives in Philadelphia. Amy has a big family – many of her relatives were starting to found families, which put her in an uncomfortable situation, because she couldn’t find a right partner. Hence, Amy decided to join dating websites. Using dating websites can be a convenient way to find a partner. For instance, if you approach an attractive person on the streets and ask for a date, you could be rejected which is awkward for you and for the other person. In contrast, dating websites provide a comfortable distance between the users. If you are being rejected, it doesn’t feel as bad as being rejected on the street, because you cannot see the other person physically.

Dating websites work with algorithms. Before signing up, users have to fill out questionnaires about their hobbies, their age, gender, sexual orientation and what activities they like to do. Based on these data, an algorithm program will propose profiles that might be interesting to the user. Hence, Amy decided to sign up for a dating website. The online portal proposed many matches to her, so she ended up with meeting many people from the dating website. Unfortunately, none of the dates were pleasant for her. For example, Amy met Steve in one of the most expensive restaurants in Philadelphia. At first, the date was pretty good. Steve shared a lot of interests with Amy like music from the eighties or technical gadgets. Both talked a lot and enjoyed classy meals. Than Steve stood up to go the toilet. Unfortunately he never returned back, leaving a bill over 1300 dollars for Amy.

Being frustrated about the bad dates, Amy recognised, that the algorithms of the dating websites were not detailed enough. Hence, she made an attempt to re-engineer the algorithm system by stating attributes for her desired man. For example, one criterion for Amy was that her partner shall weigh twenty pounds more than herself. Other attributes were that the man should be smart and jewish. She ended up with 72 criterions and grouped these into a three stage importance ranking. Every attribute was linked with a certain amount of points, depending on the ranking. The criterions in the highest importance stage were associated with the most points. Hence, Amy only contacted dates that received a certain number of points. To be more specific, different scores were linked to specific actions:

With a score of 700 pts: Amy contacts the match via e-Mail

With a score of 850 pts: Amy would be willing to go on a date with the match

With a score of 1500 pts: Amy could consider a long term relationship

Using the scoring system, Amy could filter profiles that were not appealing to her in a rational and quantitative way. Apparently, one match scored high on the importance ranking, hence Amy decided to contact the man behind the profile. However, she did not consider the possibility that the counterpart wouldn’t respond, which indeed happened. Being frustrated about the missing response, Amy investigated which kind of profiles were likely to receive a high response rate. Her analysis was based on ten fake profiles, that she created herself. These profiles included different attributes like a profile picture that displayed an attractive women, who showed a lot of skin, or a personal profile description that was linked to an open minded and adventurous women. By analyzing her findings of her research she was able to create a profile that was very likely to get a high response rate. Attributes of this “super-profile” were:

  • A short profile description about the user herself with an average text length of 97 words
  • Including simple, optimistic language, thereby avoiding specific academic terms in the user description was benefitial to the response rate
  • Timing matters: profiles with high response rates waited 23 hours on average, before they continued with the e-Mail conversation with the match.
  • Profile pictures that showed some skin were linked to high response rates.

By creating the super profile, Amy indeed found an interesting date that appealed to her. The profilename of the match was Thevenin. He scored exactly 850 points on her importance ranking, hence Amy decided to date him. The relationship between Thevenin and Amy went pretty good, after one year Thevenin proposed to Amy in Jordan during holiday. They married two years after the first date and shortly after that, their daughter, Petra, was born.

Amy’s data lovestory shows, how incredible valuable data can be.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Webb

Finding your iPhone… And a news story

Who does not know the Find My iPhone function? Better yet, who has not used it before7e2d040d9?

That little moment of panic when you feel your pockets or look into your purse and it’s gone. Most of us find it within an hour, because we simply misplaced it. But for the less fortunate amongst us, the iPhone may really be stolen. Luckily, we nowadays make use of the Cloud, in which we store all our pictures, notes, reminders, video’s… Basically, our lives. When your iPh
one disappears, it is hard to believe that it is actually “stolen” and will be used again by someone else, who will, like you did
, use this iPhone. Naturally, your content on the iPhone will be erased, and the content will slowly but surely reflect the
life of someone else. This happened to Maura, who lost her iPhone in the Hamptons and, after purchasing a new one, realised that pictures of her old phone appeared on her Cloud, giving her a glimpse in
o the lives of Yemen family members. This news story was all over the Internet. Looking at the pictures, you can imagine why..

1cb3e815a

In class, we have learned a lot about the impact of new technologies, how these technologies can transform industries, disrupt businesses and change consumers’ needs. Throughout the past years, news industries were forced to change their information strategies by, first of all, making the big switch from offline to online news, slowly moving to more devices and platforms, delivering news which is personal and personalised. However,
no news story, regardless of its perspective, platform, or device, can compare to the stories told by people who are living the news… Like the Yemen family through Maura’s iPhone.

This story also shows the vulnerability of the news industry. As the news industry relies on information sources and is, through new technologies and platforms, very easy to distribute,  it can be considered an economy of scale (Shapiro & Varian, 1998). While the distribution costs are consistently close to zero, the production costs depend on variables such as distance, emotional appeal, accessibility etc. Up until now, news corporations have taken on the responsibility of creating news items, however, the increasing importance of emotional appeal and true nature of stories, shift this role from news creators to the people “living” the news. After all, they are much better at explaining, communicating the feelings they are going through, capturing their stories in pictures, providing background information on the topic, and so on. Using the literature by Granados et al (2008), one could argue that, due to these emerging characteristics, the news market is turning (once again) into a newly vulnerable market. It is easy to enter, attractive to attack and difficult to enter (Granados et al, 2008). Nonetheless, the big difference with the traditional form of competition is the underlying purpose of publishing such news information: While news corporations want to make money, locals want to tell their story – for free. The fact that technology is slowly but surely disrupting developing countries, too, means that individuals can cheaply distribute their news stories worldwide  and that everyone can gain access to information without being dependent on news corporations.

I do realize that this approach may be far fetched, but the example does illustrate threats to the news market which are in line with the literature we discussed in class.

Do you think news corporations will be redundant in a few years? How should they change their production, distribution and pricing strategy to compete with individuals that do not want to earn money of sharing their information? What is the role of news corporations in the future? How do you think the developing countries will react to the disruptive technologies in terms of information provision?

 

 

Sources:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/09/what-are-those-kids-doing-with-that-enormous-gun/405769/

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.

Shapiro, C., and Varian, H. 1998. Pricing Information. In Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Is 2015 Instagram Year?

On 9th of September 2015 Instagram has introduced its worldwide Advertising service to the public. The service is available to all companies ranging from small to large ones. The Advertising service has been in testing phase for the past 2 years.

instagram

The Advertisement service works as self-service platform and any company can create the advertisement using the Facebook’s selve-serve platform, Power Editor or easily though Instagram’s Ads API system which is a software, that helps the advertisements to be automatically created (Business.instagram.com, 2015).

Instagram offers easy to follow manual with tips how to create the content which will fit the platform and make users love it rather than hate it. The Ads work on the same Ad Auction system same as Facebook, which selects the best suitable Ads based on the maximum bids and Ad performance. Since Facebook is a parent company of Instagram, Instagram also has access to targeting tools which Facebook already has in use, which helps Instagram since a lot of capital is saved and marketers know what quality of targeting to expect. The short time span within which Instagram managed to enter the Online Ad market was this fast mostly to the boost which it gained from Facebook (Sloane, 2015).

The main 3 types of new advertisement on Instagram Image Ads, Video Ads (30 seconds) and Carousel Ads consisting of multiple pictures. The types of advertising are shown in the picture below (Constine, 2015).

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 11.11.28

There are 2 million advertisers on Facebook today—that’s the size and scale we’re looking at. Plus expanding from eight markets to 30 and then global, that gives you a sense of the broadening of availability.” said James Quarles, Instagram’s global head of business and brand development (Boorstin, 2015).

According to eMarketer research, Instagram will generate almost $600 million in ad sales this year 2015. It also predicts that Instagram will earn $2.81 billion in ad sales by 2017, which would make them overrun Google and Twitter in U.S. display ads (Sloane, 2015).

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 11.17.02

Secondly on 22nd of September 2015 Instagram has reached 400 million users. The increase from 300 million to 400 million happened only within 9 months. Instagram is at the moment having more users then Twitter, which has lastly reported 316 million users (Olanoff, 2015).

instagram-30m-chart1

Instagram offers a guide in which the companies can customise their advertisement in a way that they blend with the rest of users content and user is not disturb by the sponsored posts. When Instagram first introduced the sponsored images, there was a clear disagreement from the users who didn’t welcome posts from brands they weren’t following (Sloane, 2015).

The increase of numbers of users clearly shows that people did not start leaving the platform after the Instagram Ads have been introduced as the first waves of reactions were hinting.

Do you think that the fact that Instagram will overrun Google in advertising revenue is feasible in the near future? Further do you think that this is the right way which Instagram should lead themselves and following and implementing what Facebook is doing or will it lead to customer loss?

Author: Natalie Jonasova

References:

Boorstin, J. (2015). Finally! Here comes Instagram’s big ad push. [online] CNBC. Available at: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/08/finally-here-comes-instagrams-big-ad-push.html [Accessed 27 Sep. 2015].

Business.instagram.com, (2015). Instagram Business. [online] Available at: https://business.instagram.com/advertising/ [Accessed 28 Sep. 2015].

Constine, J. (2015). Instagram Ads Go Global, Including New 30-Second Commercials. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/08/all-grown-up-and-ready-to-make-money/#.ziat7a:e8eu [Accessed 26 Sep. 2015].

Olanoff, D. (2015). Instagram Hits 400M Users Just 9 Months After Announcing 300M. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/22/instagram-hits-400m-users-just-nine-months-after-announcing-300m/ [Accessed 28 Sep. 2015].

Sloane, G. (2015). Instagram Unleashes a Fully Operational Ad Business. [online] AdWeek. Available at: http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/instagram-just-unleashed-fully-operational-ad-business-165117 [Accessed 27 Sep. 2015].

Sloane, G. (2015). Instagram’s Ad Sales Are Expected to Top $2 Billion by 2017. [online] AdWeek. Available at: http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/instagrams-ad-sales-are-projected-more-2-billion-2017-166111 [Accessed 27 Sep. 2015].

Kiva.org – loans that change lives

Roughly 4 billion people in developing countries do not have access to financial markets, such as credit, savings and insurance (Rabobank, 2015). Formal financial institutions like banks usually refuse to serve poor households and micro-enterprises because of the high transaction-costs involved.

However, access to financial markets and the resulting increase in entrepreneurial activities is often the only way for developing countries to get out of poverty (King & Levine, 1993). Another important function of financial markets is the prevention of newly arising conditions of poverty through, for instance, accidents.

Micro-financing institutions help the poorest of the poor to get access to money, but often do not have the financial resources to serve many people.

Thats where Kiva.org comes in:

Kiva is a non-profit organisation with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty (Kiva.org/about). The organisation brings small loans to entrepreneurs all around the world to start their own businesses, by cooperating and supporting micro finance institutions all over the world. The company provides their services through a digital platform, that connects you, the lender, with people looking for micro loans.

100% of every dollar you lend on Kiva goes directly towards funding loans; Kiva does not take a cut.

I am lending on Kiva for around 1,5 years now. The relatively small amount of money that I invested (25$ per month for the first 6 months = 150$ ), has been relent over 3 times now (450$). I have been able to support 17 entrepreneurs from 7 different countries. The fact that you are not donating, but lending money to motivated individuals who will be empowered to ultimately strengthen their local economies is very inspiring – and FUN!

Sign up and see for your self!

References:

http://www.kiva.org/about

R.G. King & R. Levine, 1993, “Finance, entrepreneurship and growth”, Journal of Monetary Economics, 32(3), pp. 513-542

Rabobank, 2015, “The Rabobank View: Access to Financial Services in Developing Countries”

Click to access access_tcm64-75165.pdf

Big data only matters if you have a question

Everybody is talking about “big data”. The possibilities of collecting, generating & storing data are endless. Because of its popularity, big data is also more and more becoming a buzz. It has assumed such a variety of terms that it big date has become an unclear term if it is not further specified. When somebody is talking about big data, chances are slim that everybody in the room is thinking about the same thing.

big-data-scroll-meme1

Today, every company feels the need to start using big data. Everybody is talking about it, more and more companies are doing it, hence we need to use it as well ! But often they forget a very important thing

…data on its own is meaningless. The value of data is not the data itself – it’s what you do with the data.

First you need to know what data you need and only after that you should start collecting. Because why would you put so much energy and effort in collecting data that you cannot use to deliver relevant business insights?

Many people try to start with the solution; “we need to use big data”, rather than start with the problem. In order to have a successful data strategy, you need to begin with defining the insights needed to identify the pathways towards growth, otherwise you will drown in all the data available. The focus should always lie on the questions and not on the solution. Big data can offer many answers but it will always require a person to frame the question, identify the data that will be able to provide an answer and interpret the obtained results. Then these results can be used to create a strategy that can add value to your business.

                       questionquestionquestion

For example, if you wish to enter the weight management market, questions you will need answers to might be, ‘How many people are overweight?’, ‘how many people are interested in losing weight?’, ‘what is the average income of these people?’ and so on. Identifying what needs to be done in order to collect this data will then be a lot easier.

Everybody now has the opportunity to use data. Availability is not the issue anymore. However answers to things that don’t matter, won’t bring you any further. If you focus on the relevant questions first, and tackle them with big data, then the power of data will be of great value to your company.

By: Melanie Pieters, 420914MP

References:

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6868-5-things-about-big-data-small-businesses-don-t-understand.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2015/08/25/big-data-too-many-answers-not-enough-questions/

http://blog.minitab.com/blog/understanding-statistics/everyones-talking-big-data-but-size-is-not-what-matters

Human Attention Span shorter than a Goldfish

According to the National Center for Biotechnology information the average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds. The average attention span of a human being, however, has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8.25 seconds in 2015. This is not the only change in human behavior. 25% of the teens forget major details of close friends and relatives and 7% of the people forget their birthdays from time to time (statistic brain research institute, 2015).

Research showed that Canadians with more digital lifestyles struggle to remain focus for extended periods of time, in the long-term. This is because of the thrill of finding something new. While connecting consumers are jumping from one experience into another the neurotransmitter dopamine is released. This neurotransmitter makes them feel rewarded (Gausby, 2015).

This only happens in the long-term. Early adopters and heavy social media users have more intermittent bursts of high attention. Therefore, tech adoption and social media usage is training consumers to become better at processing and encoding information through short bursts of high attention. Consumers are able to do more with less through higher bursts of attention and more efficient encoding to memory (Gausby, 2015).

Multi-screening also impacts consumers. It trains them to be less effective at filtering out distractions because they are seeking for the trill of finding something new (Gausby, 2015).

Our shrinking attention span and the trill of finding something new is especially important for marketers. They need to find ways to grab the attention of a consumer and to keep it long enough to get their message across. It takes 10 seconds for a consumer to decide whether they will stay on the webpage or not (Conner, 2015). Therefore, it is important to eliminate distraction and stick to the main message. Moving and rich media ads help to capture attention and to improve engagement. This is also shown in the figure below.

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 15.43.44

Shifting between different tasks and thereby demanding different cognitive skills also helps to capture attention. Multi-screening behavior plays an important role in shifting tasks. Research has shown that multi-screen environments do not only improve overall attention, but hat they also improve emotional connection and encoding to memory. While consumers are looking at there mobile phone (rather then television), they are still responding to auditory cues, like laughing at jokes. Also ‘calls to action’ within content were effective in encouraging consumers to look up at key moments. While consumers may not be watching they are likely listening (Gausby, 2015).

In order to fulfill the thrill of something new it is also good to encourage consumers to seek out additional content on other devices, for example a website.

Technology introduces some challenges but is not a threat or problem for marketers. Digital media consumption is a given, multi-screening increases, social media becomes integrated in different ways, and consumers continue to adopt new technologies. This is not only happening in the young generation, but in the entire population (Gausby, 2015).

Therefore, it is important for brands to find different, more creative and increasingly immersive ways to market themselves and engage with consumers.

References

Connor, M. (2015), ‘The vanishing attention span of consumers’. [online] Infographic. Availablet at: http://www.business2community.com/infographics/vanishing-attention-span-consumers-infographic-01222971 [Accessed 29 September 2015].

Gausby, A. (2015), ‘Attention Spans’, Consumer Insides Microsoft Canada, Spring 2015.

Statistic Brain Research Insitute (2015), ‘Attention span statistics’, [online]. Availble at: http://www.statisticbrain.com/attention-span-statistics/ [Accessed 29 September 2015].

Trello: A Great way to organise your group work

No need to look further, whether you’re in need to organise your personal life, working on a group project or even when working on a software development project, I have got the perfect tool for you. Let me introduce you to Trello. I have started using Trello myself as I was involved in a software development project. At the moment I am also using it to organise my personal life.

Trello is used by over 5 million people these days. It has won its popularity by adding an extra layer into the traditional to-do lists while keeping its interface easy and understandable for everyone. It is like a digital whiteboard filled with post-its that can be easily moved around. So imagine a big whiteboard on which you can make lists, for example “Technology of the Week Assignment” and put in cards or to-do’s related to the assignment. Your cards could be something like “Ideas” or “Blogpost”. All these cards can be edited by adding, deadline dates, checklists, attachments, images and even discussion notes from others. Through Trello you can easily divide the tasks, engage in discussions on the topics and track work others are doing and which tasks are already done.

Two weeks ago, Trello has introduced Trello Business Class, focusing on the business needs of its consumers. What is new about Business Class is that you can install so called power-ups. This enables you to incorporate all the other applications that you are using into one place. You are now able to connect applications such as Dropbox, Twitter and Slack to Trello. Connecting Slack for example, enables you to come back to a task at a later moment and getting a reminder in Slack. What is even more interesting, developers can connect GitHub to Trello, enabling them to add pull requests, commits and issues to cards. The details that are relevant are shows directly on the card.

Do you think Trello can make a difference in organising your personal life? And do you know any other tools that do similar things as Trello?

http://uk.businessinsider.com/trello-kanban-app-for-agile-programming-hits-10-million-2015-9?r=US&IR=T

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-use-trello-to-organize-your-entire-life-1683821040?sidebar_switch=on&utm_expid=66866090-53.WJHsK0uiTqG2KukuD0irIA.2&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.nl%2F

http://computers.tutsplus.com/tutorials/everything-you-need-to-know-to-work-productively-in-trello–cms-21450

http://blog.trello.com/introducing-the-all-new-trello-business-class/

http://oss-watch.ac.uk/resources/pullrequest

Internet a human right?

Internet.org_-1140x632

Last Saturday, Mark Zuckerberg plead that internet is a key enabler of human rights as he joined a group of speakers from global NGOs at the UN. He wants the world to understand that Internet access should be a basic human right and that Facebook’s role in this whole process is driven by his deep social belief that in this way, poverty will be eliminated. As he said: “Research shows that when you give people access to the internet, one in ten people is lifted from poverty”.

Even though it is hard to imagine this highly innovative world without Internet nowadays, still two third of the world still does not have any access to this amazing feature. Internet.org is an initiative of Facebook brining technology leaders, nonprofits and local communities together to join the part of this planet that is not connected.

But how is Internet.org planning to do this? Of course this process goes with baby steps, the application Free Basics by Facebook is a good start. This application provides free basic services in markets where Internet access is too pricy. This app allows people to browse selected health, employment and local information websites without data charges. As Free Basics is already available in parts of Africa, Latin America and Asia, it will continue to more countries around the World.

Of course is there also a lot of criticism involved with this project. Even though the initiative of Facebook is very noteworthy, it still does not contribute to the fact that most of the people in developing countries does not even have the equipment to go online as smartphones of computers are not part of the most necessary attributes to survive. Furthermore, the motivation of Facebook to start this project is not always clear, which leads to the following types of comments: e.g. “Hundreds of millions of emerging market users will think that Facebook and the Internet are one and the same”. According to Zuckerberg, the only thing they want is for as many people to join the internet so that everyone can be connected.

Besides the motives Facebook may have, if this project might help even the smallest amount of people to escape their current living conditions, why not be supportive?

http://www.wired.com/2015/09/zuckerberg-to-un-internet-belongs-to-everyone/

https://internet.org/about

http://www.siliconbeat.com/2015/04/17/mark-zuckerberg-defends-facebooks-internet-org-says-he-supports-net-neutrality/

Consumers actually don’t like online auctions

The recent lecture on auctions discussed many examples of auctions and why they work well. If auctions are so great, then why are offerings on online marketplaces increasingly dominated by fixed prices (Einav et all, 2015)? Take a look at the distribution of price formations at eBay in figure 1.

Figure 1: eBay sales by value in the US (The Economist)

Theoretically, auctions should be better for both buyers and sellers due to the efficient allocation of goods to the person that values them most highly. Online platforms like eBay make connecting enough buyers and sellers together both cheap and convienent. Due to eBay’s first mover advantage, the theoretical desireability of auctions, and network effects we should see an ever increasing amount of online auctions. Why then, is the exact opposite happening?

It turns out that the theoretical desireability of auctions doesn’t transfer well to the real world at eBay. Most new users use an incremental bidding technique -they manually place a higher bid when they are outbid- and don’t use an automatic reserve based system. This opens them up to auction sniping, and apperently people really don’t like getting ‘sniped’.

So what is sniping? Snipers place bids in the final seconds of auctions with predetermined ending times (like those at eBay), with the aim of getting the deal. In this way, incremental bidders can lose an auction at a price that is still under their reserve. Bidders respond strongly to sniping, when someone gets sniped they are between 4 and 18 percent less likely to return to the platform (Backus et al, 2015).

Other than sniping, there is the required investment of time and energy associated with auctions. Einav et al suggest that users don’t want to spend that time and energy when shopping, they want to spend it on social media instead.

So as it turns out, consumers don’t like online auctions that much. They think they are too labor-intensive and care a great deal about the sniping problem.

Sources:

SALES MECHANISMS IN ONLINE MARKETS: WHAT HAPPENED TO INTERNET AUCTIONS? Liran Einav Chiara Farronato Jonathan D. Levin Neel Sundaresan

IS SNIPING A PROBLEM FOR ONLINE AUCTION MARKETS? Matthew Backus Tom Blake Dimitriy V. Masterov Steven Tadelis

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21662595-economists-may-idolise-auctions-most-people-do-not-block

Customer Centricity in a Digital World

In this blog, we will take a look at how the digital world is having an impact on the consumer of today. What are the characteristics of the modern consumer? Consumer behavior changed, and is changing, drastically over the past few years. There might be more characteristics, or others, than I mention, but these are clearly visible.

sharing6

1. Personalized products and services

Personalizing products is one of the important features of the modern consumer. These days, the perfect and ideal segment size is 1. We are moving towards a situation where everyone has their own services and products. And more and more companies are meeting that need.

For example: the company called ‘Normal’, form New York (https://nrml.com/). They produce personalized earphones, different for each customer. What you need to do is pretty simple: you take 5 pictures from your ear, and based on that pictures the company makes custom-made earphones, just for you. They are made in their shop, and your package is adjusted by a 3D-printer, so that your earphones fit perfectly.

2. Fast and easy

Everything has to be fast and easy for the consumer these days. Speed and simplicity is the new base for customer loyalty. If a product or service is not easy enough, than consumers would no longer consume. All new interfaces (with the help of IT applications) makes life easier. Companies that are not born in the digital world, often have difficulty with this aspect. Their succes criteria are still more like ‘complete and perfect’. This will make their product or service big and complex, and customers don’t love that. Extreme simplicity is crucial for the modern consumer.

3. Personal approach

Empathy, passion and creativity are difficult aspects for a computer. However, these (human) aspects are of great value for consumers. Honest human interaction is still appreciated and requested.

4. Awesome companies to buy from

Consumers want to link themselves with cool companies. Companies that go further than only delivering products or services. They typically have a vision that will change the world, in their opinion. For example: Apple, Google, Tesla, Coolblue. Consumers like to buy from them.

sharing5

Conclusion: It’s about digital ánd human skills. When you, as a company, are good at data, user interfaces and simplicty, but also at personalization, story-telling and attitude, you have much potential! (check slideshare link for interesting LinkedIN slideshare about this subject!)

Harm-Jan Rijneveld

370370hr.

Sources:

How Virtual Reality is more useful than just a new way to watch Porn: Combining Virtual Workplaces with Virtual Reality

Now that I’ve grabbed your attention, take five minutes of your time to read this post.  What do we know about virtual reality? Virtual reality can be understood as a three-dimensional world generated with the aid of computers. It allows users to participate and interact on a virtual and simulated setting using tools such as head-mounted display (HMD) and a DataGlobe. The HDM can be described as a helmet which allows the user to hear the sounds and see the images that are being simulated and the DataGlobe allows the user to interact in this virtual world with his/her hands.

But where are virtual workspaces affected when using only conventional means such as video-conferencing or telepresence?  For instance, under a training scenario at a hospital; there is a master operator (the chief surgeon) and performer (subordinate surgeon). The master operator is in the central hospital, while the performer is at a remote hospital. The master operator goes first (teaches a certain surgical method), and the performer tries to replicate the operator, while the two communicate via real time video-conference.

Now after understanding the concept, we see there are two extreme design schemes, i.e.: the method by which the video-telephony or video conferencing method can be performed:

  • The performer is another surgeon; In this case the master surgeon’s actions can be seen as instructions from a remote location. The feedback concerns the interpretation of the remote surgeon’s vocal remarks and some images of the operated patient. Here the technologies used by the master instructor are simple: microphone, camera, keyboard, graphics, etc.
  • The performer is a kind of surgical robot without any autonomy, he must follow what the master surgeon is performing. The master’s actions are occurring at the very low level. This means that the surgeon must guide the subordinate since the surgical act is made by the adequate tool but through subordinate guidance. The feedback must occur at a very low level as well. Indeed, the surgeon must feel on the same wave-length of the subordinate .

The important point to notice is that the control and the feedback depends on the autonomy capacities of the remote performer. It is also to be noticed that in any case, the performing surgeon’s behavior is unknown to the master surgeon, thus he cannot really predict what the surgeon will do (even when the master is giving instructions).

Now, if we imagine the same scenario again, but this time the performer has now used the VR device to understand what surgical action to carry-out with the help by carrying out the scenario in the pre-programmed situation. While creating a reality-like setting of being in the theatre room, the master surgeon can assign a scoring based system for every correct method that the performer has performed. The surgical process which was autonomous before has now become interactive, and in the supposed ‘surgeon game,’ it is possible to create a training situation along with an assessment situation. To continue, the VR device has now solved several of difficulties and costs with teleworking method. The VR device will reduce the difficulties in repeating the same process for many individuals, the same program can be run simultaneously for many different surgeons, regardless of whether time, place, or connectivity. The learning process has also now presumably become ‘fun’ as the gamification of the process can lead to higher levels of interest.

Now, don’t you think it’s the part of the real VR future?

Sources:

Kheddar, A. Tzafestas, C. Blazevic, P. Coiffet, Ph, 1998, ‘Fitting teleoperation and virtual reality technologies towards teleworking.’ Laboratoire de Robotique de Paris. Available on: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download;jsessionid=9E6FA81C6715C3DD13B54A48E9D92AA6?doi=10.1.1.45.2873&rep=rep1&type=pdf

iFlow: ICT support for the daily trade of floriculture

Can we structurally improve and better stabilise the price-setting in the daily trade of floricultural products? How can revised logistics contribute to this process? To answer these questions, growers and traders along with Wageningen University and Rotterdam School of Management, part of Erasmus University, initiated the project iFlow. The goal of iFlow is to support the daily trade between growers and customers by providing information on prices, suppliers and skills and ultimately to strengthen the power of the Netherlands as a marketplace. The information for traders and growers will be accessible via various ICT tools (http://www.floraldaily.com, 2015).

The clock has always been an effective and efficient tool in the determination of a good market price and in the rapid processing of many logistics and commercial transactions. The direct flows between growers and customers, however, are greatly increased. The process of pricing on the clock is still very decisive for the pricing in the overall market. At the same time, this way of pricing is under influence of various factors and therefore has become less stable over the past few years.

download

The use of new and advanced IT tools to support decisions, make it possible to renew the daily trade process and the associated supply chain network, to make it more competitive and more sustainable. Research by RSM has shown that it is possible to support growers and customers in making better decisions about buying and selling flowers and plants (http://www.rsm.nl/about-rsm/news/detail/4927-iflow-working-on-smarter-decisions-in-the-day-trading-of-floriculture-products-strengthening-pricing-in-day-trading/, 2015).

Besides selling the flowers at the auction, it is also possible for growers to opt for a contract with a floral wholesaler. The grower hereby receives a fixed price per flower during the whole season. However, the wholesaler has much power, as the prices are low at the auction, and therefore it would have been better for wholesalers to purchase through the auction, the wholesaler will whine at the grower of quality, even though it might be good. It happens regularly, in that case, that the wholesaler can take the flowers for a lower price than the price of the contract or that flowers are rejected. The grower brings the flowers over to the auction if the flowers are rejected by the wholesaler. These actions between wholesalers and growers also affect the price volatility in the auction. If there appear more flowers at the auction, as a result of rejection, the price drops even further. This can be explained by the supply and demand mechanism.

Do you think iFlow can (partly) solve the problem of price instability in the floriculture industry or do you think that the power of the wholesalers is too strong in this industry?

 

 

http://www.freesianet.nl/freesia/nieuws/project-om-prijs-met-daghandel-omhoog-te-krikken/, 2015, last visited 29 September 2015

http://www.floraldaily.com/article/2090/Netherlands-IFlow-working-on-good-and-stable-price-setting-in-day-trade, 2015, last visited 29 September 2015

http://www.rsm.nl/about-rsm/news/detail/4927-iflow-working-on-smarter-decisions-in-the-day-trading-of-floriculture-products-strengthening-pricing-in-day-trading/, 2015, last visited 29 September 2015