Archive | October 3, 2015

Technology of the week: 9292 versus NS Reisplanner


ns-logo logo-print

In this report you will find a comparison between the two most well-known apps for travel advice of public transportation in the Netherlands. This is travel information system of REISinformatiegroep called 9292 and the app of NS called Reisplanner Xtra. These systems are being used for personalised travel information and suggested routes. The 9292 and Reisplanner apps do have some different strengths and weaknesses. A strength of 9292 is their new partnership with Google (9292, 2013). Google Maps has an option to provide customers with travel advice, which is actually taken from 9292. A strength of NS is that they are the dominant player in the public transportation industry in Holland.

The first weakness of 9292 is their dependency on their partners to provide them with information and funding. If the partnerships become unstable at any point, this could have big implications on the future of 9292. The first weakness of NS is that their door-to-door option of their app is based on an API with 9292. This also makes them highly reliable on 9292.

The opportunities and threats for 9292 and NS are quite similar, as these apps are very much alike. They both have the opportunity for an app expansion. However, the focus of expansion would be different for both apps. 9292 should focus more on expanding abroad, as they already have a lot of valuable connections and this could make them stronger in the market while increasing their revenue. The NS app should focus more on expanding by offering more internal services through their app, as they have a lot to offer and this could also increase their revenue.

The main threat for 9292 are new initiatives by partners who also make their own app. NS’ Reisplanner is one example and this could have implications of the popularity of 9292. Also because it is possible for partners to have more accurate information than 9292. A threat for NS would be a lack of focus on their travel app. It can already be seen that they are often not the first mover in competing with 9292, resulting in a dependency on 9292. They should stay alert and not miss out on new developments to improve their app.

Team 37:

344159 P.J. Van Dieren

344206 D. Wijtman

348823 R.L. Spaans

360162 J. van Duijn

441788 N.A. Huisman

TotW [Team 36]: Disruption vs. Digitalization: Apple TV vs. Ziggo TV

Since the night of October 2nd, 1951, when the first Dutch TV-show was broadcasted to 500 TV sets in the Netherlands, the way we consume TV has changed. Especially since the initial introduction of Apple TV in 2007 and UPC Horizon (now Ziggo) in 2010, the landscape in digital TV has changed significantly. The Apple TV has since developed to a device that turns your regular TV screen into a smart TV with a single purchase, while the Ziggo Horizon mediabox is a so-called ‘multimedia gateway’; delivering both traditional and digital media on a subscription basis.

Although the goal of these two products seems similar, when comparing these two new ways of delivering content to the consumer, there are differences that should be noted. The offering of Apple is based on hardware, in combination with the promise of an ecosystem. Ziggo offers a subscription, which includes a hardware component. An advantage of Apple TV is that it allows for integration with other Apple devices, delivering an omnichannel experience. For Ziggo the main competitive advantage is the integration of traditional TV in its offering, as it gives them the opportunity to gain market share through their current clients and business model.

SWOT

Fig. 2: The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of Apple TV and Ziggo TV

As it comes to the future of these two ‘information goods’, we foresee the impact of three high-level trends. The evidence shows (fig. 1) that young people view less traditional TV, demonstrated by a 17% decrease over the past year among youngsters aged 18-24. Although indirectly and limitedly available, almost all TV channels have developed their own (web)apps, providing traditional content online. Simultaneously, the providers of TV-signal (like KPN, Ziggo and Telfort) are moving towards new business models that allow for more customization.

TDG-Consumption-Live-TV-v-OTT-by-Age-Mar2014

Fig. 1: Consumption of Live Broadcast vs. Online TV services in the United States (MarketingCharts, 2015)

Our prediction for the future is that devices such as the Apple TV will become dominant over a product/service such as Ziggo’s Horizon media box. Anticipating the following main characteristics as of why people adapt to a new way of receiving their content; increased importance of ease of use and installation, customers want freedom of choice; they want to watch what they want, when they want, and the availability of content.

To conclude on our comparison and future prediction; the question to Ziggo should be to both compete with Apple and create their own ecosystem by collaborating with third parties, or to become a subscription based app that offers live television on devices such as an Apple TV, and compete with apps such as KPN’s ‘Play’. Because of Apple TV’s ease of use and installation, the freedom of choice it offers and the possibilities created by its ecosystem, we predict that Apple TV becomes the dominant way of watching TV. Where Ziggo digitalized watching TV, Apple will disrupt the way of watching TV. To wrap up, we agree with Apple: “the future of television is apps”  (Apple, 2015).

Do you agree with Apple’s vision? And do you think other trends will impact the way we consume video content in the future?


References
Apple (2015) The future of television. Accessed on 27 September, 2015, retrieved from Apple: http://www.apple.com/tv/

De Beeld en Geluid Wiki (2013) De eerste landelijke televisie uitzending. Accessed on 26 September, 2015, retrieved from Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid: http://www.beeldengeluidwiki.nl/index.php/De_eerste_landelijke_televisie_uitzending

MarketingCharts (2015) Youth Say OTT Video Challenges Live TV in Weekly Consumption. Accessed on 27 September, 2015, retrieved from MarketingCharts: http://www.marketingcharts.com/online/youth-say-ott-video-challenges-live-tv-in-weekly-consumption-41545/

Reijerman, D. (2015, June 24) KPN gaat 22 zenders en Chromecast-ondersteuning aanbieden in testversie Play-app. Accessed on 26 September, 2015, retrieved from Tweakers: http://tweakers.net/nieuws/103886/kpn-gaat-22-zenders-en-chromecast-ondersteuning-aanbieden-in-testversie-play-app.html


Team 36
Thomas Langenberg (346257)
Ken French (360107)
Floris Wesselink (345299)
Bas Louwman (349033)
Juliën Mets (357789)

Would you sell your personal data?

The headline ‘Achmea offers discount for sharing private information’ was all over Dutch news websites last week. The Dutch health insurance company is going to give customers that install measuring devices in their car or house and share data, a discount on their insurance premium. An example is a ‘black box’ in your car that shows your driving habits. If you stick to the speed limit and do not drive reckless, then you get rewarded with a reduction.

People on the internet react indignant to this news. But let’s be honest, companies are collecting and selling data for years now. Every time you visit a website, buy something online or send a message, you leave information. Personal information is valuable for organisations; it has lots of benefits and provides countless opportunities.

But how much are your personal data worth? According to the Financial Times the average person’s data often retails for less than a dollar. Marketers are willing to pay more to reach consumers at major life events that prompt major changes in buying patterns, whether that’s becoming a new parent, moving homes, getting engaged, buying a car, or going through a divorce (Financial Times, 2013). The more intimate the information, the more valuable it is.

What do you think? May your insurer know everything about you, if they give you discount? Or are you afraid that your privacy is violated? One viewpoint is that such sharing of information helps economies and improves our own experiences online. The internet is a largely free service, and sharing personal data is the price we pay (The Guardian, 2014). Others are not happy with this situation, claiming that the use of information with consent is a violation of privacy. They think people should have the right to choose what to share and to be paid for their own information (The Guardian, 2014).

Achmea leaves the choice to its customers. Discount or privacy, what do you choose?

Sources:

Is data the new ingredient for your refined glass of red wine?

Silicon valley, home of the largest tech-corporations, an entire startup ecosystem and where innovation does not seem to have limits. But what if you are the ‘lucky’ one to own a successful startup and decide to sell it resulting in let’s say 20 million dollars on your account – what to do then?

Then you start your own winery just 100 miles north in one of the world’s premier wine regions. Of course being a techie you’re not just going to produce the best wine the old-fashioned way, you incorporate data, because that’s what all companies do nowadays right?

Examples of stories like these are Palmaz winery and Vineyard 29, both data-driven wineries that have proven to produce good quality Cabernet-Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines (Jon Fine, 2011). Bandages with sensors incorporated are attached to the vines in order to keep track of how much water the vines take in. This is send to a computer and can be analyzed to establish a perfect water regime for the vines. Lately the wineries have even been experimenting with sensors attached to specific grapes that can measure the level of water and acidity.

Fruition’ Sciences is one of the first tech-startups that delivers a complete solution for wineries that want to start with a data-driven approach (Julie Bort & Kevin McLauglin, 2013).Their sensors apply heat to the vine stem and measure the temperature before and after applying the heat to figure out how much water is in the plant. The sensors are solar powered and are able to directly send this information to a server.

Although this data-driven approach seems to be a big step forward there are a lot more variables at work in the process of producing wine. It may not be the way to make the perfect wine but it can be a way to enhance the wine’s quality.
I can’t say too much about the taste of a good glass of wine but I can imagine this data-driven approach may change the game of wineries in the future. Being able to monitor exactly how your precious grape is developing and consequently produce high-quality wine may be the next big thing.

Sources:

Will computers surpass the human brain?

Before the ’70, we had the impression that information was finite and raw materials were infinite. “The Limits to Growth”, the 1972-report of the Club of Rome, announced a real change in our view of the world materials are finite. At the same time, the previous century has been characterized by a huge increase in knowledge and information. The amount of available data has become infinite and growths with billions every day. To afford this huge amount of data, computers are considered as a help for us to understand the world. The last decade, computers received a lot of attention. More and more people strongly believe that those machines will be able to surpass the humans and will control everything. But is the digital domination really realistic? In this blog, I will give my own answer to the title. Be aware that this blog is influenced by my own opinion.

Firstly, it is important to explain a difference between discoveries and inventions. When you discover something, that something already exists. People did just not know it was there. Most of the discoveries are explained through existing concepts to make it understandable. Inventions do not have a precedent. They are mental creation of a human. So, for example, the relativity theory of Einstein is a discovery and not a invention. He tried to explain a physical phenomena with well-know physical concepts like acceleration, mass and energy.

Secondly, the world can be divided in two parts: “what the world really is” and “what we think about the real world”. World around us is really complex and to be understandable the human creates simplifications. This can be compared to boxes . “Think out the box” is often cited when we talk about inventions. It is more useful to change this citation in “Think in a new box”. Because humans necessarily creates a new box when they think outside old boxes. Thanks to this boxes, we try to explain the world in front of us.

Finally, the core of the blog. One of the important discussions now-a-days is “Will machines surpass the humans?”. The answer is probably bivalent. Yes, the machines will probably and already surpass the human in the field of discoveries. They can compute and analyze large amount of data without any human interaction. Thanks to logical reasoning and concepts, they are and will be able to discover how to treat some illnesses, etc. But they have one negative point, computers think only in old boxes. They can only approximate the real world through algorithms. The human brain has a main advantage: it can invent new explanations of the real world with new models and concepts. In philosophy, this kind of reasoning is called heuristic.

As a conclusion, it will be very difficult to create machine that will be able to deduce new models from the world in front of us.

In my point of view, computers are useful instruments to make human life more easy and help in new explorations, but they will never be able to surpass the humans in creativity and innovations.

  • “Les choses et les mots de l’entreprise”, Luc de Brabandere
  • “DLDwomen 14: thinking in new boxes”, Luc de Brandere, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh9EMu53nbA
  • the slides of course in “Philosophical approach of technology and innovation” thaught by the Luc de Brabandere at the Louvain School of Management (Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium)

Apple’s Collaboration: The Game Changer it is looking for?

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I think I may assume that everyone here is familiar with a company called Apple. For the people that do not know it; according to its market value, it’s the largest company in the world (Fobes, 2015). But Apple thinks that large isn’t large enough and, apart from its current activities, there’s still a lot of terrain to be conquered. However, besides having a significant market share in every sector they operate, Apple still hasn’t been able to conquer the corporate sector, where big players like Avaya are dominating the playing field.

But recent announcements indicate that the above mentioned will soon undergo a major shift. A month ago, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook announced a collaboration together with Cisco’s Executive Chairman John Chambers. For the people that don’t know Cisco; Cisco is one of the largest technology companies which designs, develops and sells networking equipment mainly to other companies. Just to give you an indicating number; 85 percent of the world’s internet traffic flows through Cisco’s systems, which automatically makes it the world’s leading internet networking manufacturer.

So, what will this collaboration entail, and why are both parties joining forces? The  formal announcement was a bit vague in what both companies exactly are going to contribute, but some further investigation makes it clear that something is about to happen. To speak in Apple’s jargon; Apple devices are going to work together with Cisco networks in a way ‘it has never been done before’. To be a little bit more concrete, Cisco and Apple are now developing a so called ‘fast lane’ for iOS devices. This means that employees or clients of companies which run on a Cisco network will have a seamless integration into this network, with their phones. For example, static dekstop phones (developed by Cisco) can now access the iOS device’s directory through the use of Cisco’s network. Another example; Cisco’s WebEx video conferencing application will run seamlessly with iOS devices.

But the following question still remains; why are both parties joining forces? Both companies have a similar belief that there are not enough hours in the day for people to be more productive. That’s why both companies think that they should deliver better tools. By collaborating through this joint development project, both companies strive to change the way people work.

But do both companies have an individual motive? Maybe a financial motive? It is obvious that Apple has been victim to a decline in sales of their biggest cash cow; the iPhone. By tapping into the corporate sector through this collaboration, Apple not only extends their operational terrain, it may also increase revenues enormously. Cisco’s motive however, has a more strategic nature. Strategic partnerships and co-development are both key pillars of Cisco’s innovation strategy. This relationship highlights the value and innovative customer solutions that result when Cisco does both.

The above predicts that this collaboration will result in  a bright future for both companies. However, some final questions remain unanswered. Will this collaboration be the true game changer that Apple (i.e. Tim Cook) is so desperately looking for? Please feel free to share your thoughts.

Coffee in Bed

“I love cooking, but don’t have enough time tonight.”

“I’m in the library, but I should start my laundry.”

“I’m lying in bed and want my coffee ready when I walk into the kitchen.”

These still may seem like (first-world) daily problems for most of us, luckily thanks to Miele they no longer need to be. Like many companies, such as Philips with its “Hue” campaign, this German company is on the forefront of The Internet of Things for our home.

In order to make this a reality, Miele has announced a collaboration with Microsoft Azure early this year to usher in the next generation of smart appliances.

The first step will be remote programme control and status quires for a range of appliances, what Miele is calling MobileControl. This will become crucial for the demographic buying these devices. The appliances are often associated with chores around the household and the real added value of the internet of things is to alleviate the burden of completing these tasks.

How does this benefit Miele from an information systems and information strategy point of view?

In the past when a machine was sold the company had limited to no information on the usage, now there is an entirely new stream of after-sales data they can take advantage of. The platform would allow for status reports, remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance. This allows the company to improve their customer service by more precisely identifying maintenance problems and on a ‘big data’ level allow them to see trending issues from aggregate status reports and remote diagnostics. Rather than the customer reporting a problem to the company, your appliance has already done this for you. A notification giving advice on how to deal with the issue or a forward to a technician is completed before the consumer is even aware the problem existed.

I look forward to the day I can hopefully own one of these products, but perhaps there are potential downsides I am not seeing in my excitement. If so what could they be?

http://www.miele.de/en/m/miele-at-mobile-app-everything-under-control-2441.htm

http://hexus.net/ce/news/internet/82366-microsoft-miele-collaborate-make-smarter-home-appliances/

https://news.microsoft.com/2015/04/12/miele-and-microsoft-collaborate-to-create-smarter-home-appliances/

PlayStation, School or Girlfriend?

Girls, I am sorry, usually the answer that you are going to receive is… PlayStation.  It will always be the newest game, the coolest game, the most involving story, the friend who asked to play together, more important than the studies, the girlfriend, even the food (in some extraordinary cases). But studies show that actually video games are even a better learning tool and endorphin sources.

According to BBC article “Can video games be good for you?” actually it is scientifically proven that video games affect and improve some parts of gamer’s brain. The results of the study show that gaming improves the hand-eye coordination (as players respond quickly to the action happening on the screen), orientation and spatial navigation (since they interact in a virtual worlds, or few virtual worlds), planning and organization, and even visual activity that tends to get worst with time tends to be improving with the more games played.

It turns out that video games can train our brains, and help us improve. And although it sounds strange, it is logical to some extent. An example is a Dutch doctor – Henk ten Cate Hoedemaker , who even developed a game (Underground) to help keyhole surgeons. The game itself is an underground world where the gamer must escape from “by solving puzzles that require basic laparoscopic skills, cognitive skills and problem-solving skills”.

Overall gaming industry is huge, with 1.2 billion people playing video games worldwide, with an average age of 37 (increasing).  Although general approach to gamers is not good, and non-gamers cannot really understand what is it so special about the video games, actually they have a lot of pros. Aside the learning and brain training effect they have, video games also provide gamers with bigger self-esteem, the feeling of being part of a team, and can even help with depression.

Video games shape the more productive, skillful and happy people, whose presence we may enjoy, of course, after they finish their game. So , be patient and respect the virtual world of the gamer, because not understanding it, does not mean it is necessarily bad.

Author: Ekaterina Marinova

SID: 436554

Sources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zcs76fr

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152466/

http://fortune.com/2015/06/15/video-game-industry-innovation/

“Aldi Life”: Why should a supermarket discounter enter the music streaming industry?

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It´s not the first time that the German based company Aldi is tackling an industry with a low competitive price. This time it is the fast growing music streaming industry. What sounds like a curious sideline business could be a central element for changing the brand in the next years.

Two weeks ago Aldi launched on own music streaming platform in cooperation with Napster. For only 7.99€ per month, Aldi offers more than 34 million songs and audio books. At first it seems to be nonsensical to enter a highly competitive market in which already big competitors such as Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer or Ampya exist. And even that Aldi is cooperating with Napster has only limited benefits, as this brand is only partly known by the young target group.

However, Aldi has a good timing for this launch. The pioneer Spotify has demonstrated that music streaming in a performing and lucrative market. And Apple Music and Deezer are currently highly investing in advertisement and thereby keeping this topic continuously at customer awareness. This enables an opportunity for a low-cost provider.

Aldi has already proven in the past that they provide good multimedia products. In the hardware market they have a very fruitful cooperation with Medion, and in the mobile communication market AldiTalk is very successful as well. These two examples have shown that selling products or service at a low price but with high sales number can be profitable. Additionally, Aldi can use synergies and offer bundles, as mobile services as music streaming are closely connected. For example they can exclude the data volume for Aldi Life from the monthly data volume. Furthermore, they already have an existing customer (data) base. Therefore, the success prospects for Aldi Life are high and it is very likely that this discount strategy will be successful for music streaming as well.

This new tender is strengthening the retail competence within the field of digital and virtual products, a topic that is becoming more and more important in the future. Currently price and quality are the crucial factor which grocery story the customers favor. But, especially in the e-commerce these boarders are diminishing. Amazon Fresh is a good example: It is very likely that customers that had a good (service) experience are getting to know Amazon as a retailer much better then Aldi & Co.

For traditional retail companies the only counter strategy is the development of digital products and thereby getting contact to young customers who have high potential for their core business. And nevertheless, soon or later e-commerce is becoming a non-negligible topic for every stationary distributor.


Additional note: Aldi Life is currently not available in the Netherlands, but it is very likely that is will be available here so pay attention.


References

Medical Identity at Risk

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The healthcare industry has undergone rapid digital transformation over the last decade. Technology has enabled healthcare providers to use networks to store and share medical resources. Innovations like virtual healthcare have been a major step towards disseminating access to quality healthcare to the masses.  But here lies the catch. All this digitization has led to the electronic storage of a great number of medical information and health records. People share their medical information on virtual healthcare platforms. At the same time healthcare providers store a vast amount of patient data to enrich their knowledge networks.

This plethora of personal data is an easy target for hackers as the healthcare industry has not taken any stringent steps towards data security. Medical identity theft can be far more dangerous with serious financial repercussions for the victim. If someone’s credit card information is hacked, the breach is easier to figure out and the card can be blocked. However, one’s medical history is permanent and once stolen, it can be put to many criminal uses. Many such frauds include false insurance claims and fake prescriptions, which can leave the victim’s health records permanently tarnished.

It is indeed true that digitization can help in cost cutting and increased efficiency, however at the same time confidentiality of private data should not be compromised. In an age where security of personal data is of prime importance to everyone, it is quite shocking to see the vulnerabilities that exist in the healthcare industry.

There is a huge scope and need to enhance the security of medical databases. Some ways to do this are to strengthen data encryption mechanisms and make notification system more robust. If people lose trust in the ability of healthcare systems to secure private data, they may stop sharing their private information altogether, and this would ultimately lead to collapse of the technological transformation of the health care system.

References:

Graham, M. (2015) How networks are driving innovation in healthcare

http://thenextweb.com/insider/2015/10/01/how-networks-are-driving-innovation-in-healthcare/

Ollove, M. (2014) The Rise Of Medical Identity Theft In Healthcare

http://khn.org/news/rise-of-indentity-theft/

 

Radcliffe, S. (2015) Patients Beware: Hackers Are Targeting Your Medical Information

http://www.healthline.com/health-news/hackers-are-targeting-your-medical-information-010715#1