Archive | October 4, 2015

Now Click a Selfie to Make Payments


The introduction of MasterCard’s new technology “Selfie Pay” may sound the death knell of passwords. Passwords have become a cause of great inconvenience when it comes to online shopping. MasterCard had commissioned a survey of 10,000 people, and the findings support the hypothesis that bio-metrics will be the future of online authentication. According to the survey results, 53 percent of the shoppers waste on an average 10 minutes per week in resetting account passwords. Another important problem is that a lot of online shoppers discontinue the transaction owing to not being able to remember the password. Since the payment page lapses after a certain time, they have to reconnect, which in turn leads to large dropouts for merchants.


With this new technology called MasterCard Identity Check, shoppers would be able to pay for things by simply clicking a selfie. For someone shopping using mobile phone, payment authentication would be done by mapping the selfie taken with a stored with MasterCard. Obviously the selfie taken has to be a clear picture of the person’s face without anyone else in the shot. To ensure that no one uses someone’s picture, the mechanism asks for the person to blink. MasterCard wants to make the already available facial recognition technology more robust and fool proof. The company is already running trials to gauge the viability of Selfie Pay. It is being tested on a group of 200 employees at First Tech Federal Credit Union in California. A second three-month trial is being conducted with a group of 750 ABN Amro credit card users in the Netherlands. MasterCard has ensured that it would not be saving actual pictures of people, rather only use algorithms for the mapping process.

Whether the concept of paying bills by clicking selfies will prove successful from a security perspective is yet to be seen from the outcome of the trials. But the idea is definitely a cutting edge exploration of bio-metrics.


Picnic, will this be the future?


Picnic is possible competitor of Albert Heijn and other supermarkets. A lot of startups tried to accomplish to be an online supermarket. Picnic is one of them. The different with Picnic is that the delivering costs are low because of a good logistic system, unlike other startups. Picnic does not have francize companies and does not have expensive buildings. Overall, this can lead to a low cost online supermarket company (, 2015). Online shopping will be the new standard as if people are getting used to the fact that the daily groceries at scheduled times are delivered to the door. The consumentus digitalis is coming. Albert Heijn was for a long time the only supermarket with a delivery service. Nowadays, Jumbo also Jumbo started online shopping and a delivery service. Picnic is the first company that get guarantee very low delivery costs.

The online supermarket phenomena has a quite interesting history. In the United Kingdom, according to research of IDG, less than 5% of the daily groceries ordered online. So overall, as if it is possible for consumers to order groceries online, firms are losing money. In Netherlands less than 2% of the consumers orders daily groceries online. But, as I told before, as if people are getting used to it, it can be the new standard. Overall, selling food over the internet is not easy, but there are more products of which everyone mistakenly thought that no one would buy them digitally. A very good example is shoes. Zalando disrupted this market.

On the other hand, Albert Heijn targets consumers also in a inventive way. Albert Heijn opens stores, which are close to the consumer in terms of location and product offering. Molenaar (2013): in the Netherlands, we see a growth of one-person households. Smaller quantities, get something to eat on the go and not necessary eating at home are characteristics of this people. AH to go creates value for this kind of consumers.

What do you guys think? Will Picnic be the next big thing? I’m curious what the future holds.


FD (2015). Boodschappen bezorgen heeft de toekomst. Available at:, (2015). 3 redenen waarom Picnic Albert Heijn en Jumbo pijn kan doen. [online] Z24. Available at: [Accessed 22 Sep. 2015].

Rijlaarsdam, B. (2015). Zo maak je Albert Heijn weer succesvol. [online] NRC Q. Available at: [Accessed 22 Sep. 2015].

The smart glove – a bridge between people with and without hearing disabilities

imagenThose who have difficulties with spoken language or hearing can find communicating difficult. This problem may be intensified if others do not understand sign language, which replaces words with gestures. However, designer and media artist Hadeel Ayoub may have found a solution to the problem with her invention the ‘SignLanguageGlove’.

Hadeel Ayoub is a Saudi student from Goldsmiths University of London who has just completed her masters in computational arts. The smart glove that she developed translates sign language from hand gestures into visual text on a screen and converts the text to spoken words. This will allow speech- and hearing-impaired people to communicate with those who do not understand sign language; as most people.

How does it work?

The gloves are equipped with sensors on the fingers to recognize sign language. The sensors in combination with an accelerometer detect and keep track of how a person bends its fingers as it signs and how the user orientates its hand as it signs. A computer programme then translates these recorded motions into a visual language displayed on a screen. In addition, the glove includes a ‘text-to-speech chip’ that enables an audible dialogue.

How original is the solution?

Even though the SignLanguagueGlove is novel, in the last few years others have come up with similar smart gloves. In 2012, for example, a team of four Ukrainian students developed the ‘Enable Talk Gloves’, a prototype that won a software design competition. Likewise, Mexican researchers developed a prototype that transmitted the glove wearer’s signs via Bluetooth to a mobile device capable of translating the movements into text and speech to facilitate communication between people. According to Ayoub, her glove is different from current designs in matters of size (more compact) and the fact that it enables multilingual translation features.

Future and developments

Besides incremental improvements, progress is being made to develop smaller versions for children. In addition, next prototypes are expected to include a smart phone and tablet app which can receive the glove’s output over Wi-Fi within a reasonable range.

Hadeel Ayoub has already been approached by several companies interested in taking the glove into production. The gloves have already gone through three prototyping stages and the fourth is expected to cost around €300 per piece to produce.


Personally, I see some challenges in incorporating the arms, body and facial expression parts of sign language into the system. However, I truly believe that the smart glove has a big potential in successfully breaking down language barriers and to improve communication between people with and without different (hearing and/or speaking) disabilities.


Amazon bans the sales of the Apple TV and Google Chromecast.


Amazon has decided to ban the sales of the Google Chromecast and the Apple TV from its website. The online retailer sent all of its marketplace sellers an email saying it would stop with the offering of the video-steaming products. They announced that no new listings will be allowed and that all inventory will be removed the 29th of October.

Amazon claims the ban has to do with the compatibleness of these devices with the Prime Video service, Amazon’s version of Netflix. This service isn’t easy accessible through the devices of Google and Apple. The decision to ban these products underscores Amazon’s dedication to put more effort in its home-grown hardware, such as the video streaming service. Over the last three years Prime Video has become more and more important to Amazon, and they find it important to sell steaming-media players that interact with this service they offer. They believe it can cause customer confusion to sell devices that do not support their service.

However, there is also being said Amazon bans these products because these two companies are the company’s biggest competitors when it comes to steaming TV. Some people are saying it is up to Amazon itself, to make their service compatible with the devices of Apple and Google. This will simply be possible by creating an app for the devices. The incentive for Amazon to do so, seems quite obvious. Amazon spent an enormous amount of money building op there service Prime Video, and is probably concerned that these competitors could threaten the rise of this new media.

The ban is announced just before the start of the holiday season, the period when retailer make the most money. Banning the steaming devices of Google and Apple means they will ban two of the most popular products form their webstore. Which will probably result in a loss in sales not only for Apple and Google, but for Amazon as well.  Although Amazon claims they have other excellent choices present in their shop, which will allow you to stream content on your TV, we still expect a significant loss in sales in this division. Experts believe this will also have a bad influence on Amazon’s long term results. Amazon is known as a store where everything is available, this will no longer be the case. Furthermore, it can occur that Amazon itself isn’t able to offer the specific service customers want and they cannot profit from the sales of its competitors anymore.


Author: Jessica Dooper (358278)

References: [04/10/2015] %5B04/10/2015%5D %5B04/10/2015%5D %5B04/10/2015%5D

So…how are airfares calculated and can you trick the system to your advantage?

Airplane in airport
Today, reading about personalised pricing in chapter 2 of Information Rules got me thinking about the idea of companies selling products at a different price to each consumer. I wondered to what extent are companies tricking us into paying more than we should. The airline industry immediately jumped into my mind as the main suspect for such a strategy.

Airlines employ a technique called yield management that constantly adjusts flight prices in order to maximise their revenue. Different customers have a different price sensitivities; personalised prices allows airlines to sell as many tickets as possible.

Discriminatory Pricing

So…how exactly are airfares calculated?

Airlines use complex mathematics and a variety of factors  to calculate the price of each ticket. While I knew some factors (such as the amount of weeks in anticipation before departure), the more I researched the more surprising information I discovered:

  • Day and time of booking – Airlines adjust their prices based on supply and demand at different times and days of the week (source). Fridays and weekends tend to be expensive. Many airlines role out offers on Mondays and Tuesdays; analysis by found out that Tuesday at midnight is the best day of the week to book.
Flight prices per time of day
(Image credit – Huffington post)

  • Weeks in anticipation – Prices for flights usually increase as the date of departure arrives (source). The largest hikes usually come after 20 days before departure.

Effect on price - days before departure

  • Where you book your ticket from – Some airlines use your location to determine how much you should pay for an airfare (source). Buying a ticket from AMS from BCN from Thailand can be cheaper than buying it from the Netherlands.
  • Cookies and tracking – Airlines place tracking cookies in your devices. Some airlines increase their prices after they notice you checking a certain flight and not buying it immediately (source).
  • Seasonality – Some destinations are more expensive during certain times per year than others. For example Barcelona in summer can be over 50% more expensive than in Winter.
  • Hub or not hub – “Airlines often price tickets from one city to another through a hub cheaper than flights that terminate at the hub. More details here.

Can I trick the system to my advantage? 

  • Easy – Price alerts: Websites like Momondo, ExpediaKayak, and Skyscanner can provide you with price alerts and other information that can help you asses whether the current price is overpriced or underpriced. I especially like Momondo since it provides statistical predictions for price increases based on days before booking, day of the week for departure, and season.
  • Easy – Smart booking times – The best time to book a ticket is Tuesday around midnight or Wednesday morning, avoid booking on Fridays and weekends.
  • Easy – Clear your cookies – Clear your cookies or use Chrome’s Private browsing.
  • Medium – Change your location – This article explains the concept.
  • Pro – Fuel dumping – The final price in an air ticket consists on several things including 1) The base fare for the airline, 2) Country and airport Taxes, 3) Airline surcharge (YR). There is a whole community in the internet that is dedicated to finding hacks to reduce or completely eliminate the airline surcharge (which in many cases can be even larger than the base fare. Here is a basic guide to give you an idea.


**Sources within article**

Author: Dirk Breeuwer – 329445

Technology of the Week, PayPal v.s. Apple pay

PayPal v.s. Apple pay                                                 team 32
For our technology of the week we compared the business models of PayPal and Apple pay. These particular companies have been chosen because they both provide innovative payment solutions that eliminate the need for physical payment cards. PayPal is an already worldwide known online transaction provider which is probably familiar for the majority of us. Apple pay is a recently released mobile payment provider, which is not yet available in the Netherlands but has high expectations to live up to on a global scale. Where PayPal has already established its position in both B2B and B2C market, Apple pay has to face a lot of competition on the mobile payment B2C market. Customers of payment services are considered to be reasonably loyal, which makes this market highly competitive. Additionally, technology upgrades of instore payment panels and mobile devices are required for Apple pay to be able to provide their service on a large scale.
Similarities of both companies can be found in their value proposition. Both aim to provide simple, flexible, low cost, convenient and secure payment possibilities. We are convinced that both solutions are simple and convenient but some aspects of both companies are not that clear. Since there is much theft and fraud in this industry, both PayPal and Apple pay need a strong security against this. A difference in privacy security is that PayPal stores all transaction information and Apple does not. Privacy is a hot subject of discussion and could be or become a reason why people prefer one service over the other. Additionally, these two companies have totally different revenue models. PayPal earns its revenue from transaction fees and the revenue of Apple pay consists of interchange fees. This is the strength of PayPal to obtain their position.
apple paypal

Future prediction

As both companies come from different backgrounds, they have the same goals. PayPal has launched an updated app for iOS and Android that expanded its mobile app capabilities by allowing users to search for local shops and restaurants that accept PayPal payments. Since they have the largest market share, they need to keep innovating themselves to stay ahead. One essential task which they can improve is the customer service that is currently lacking.

Apple is wide known and has a strong brand image. However, some of the few constraints Apple faces are the availability of price. Apple should make Apple pay available for all their devices if possible, but also lowering their hardware prices will trigger customers to buy their products. If Apple succeeds in this, they will become and sustain the largest market share in the smartphone industry. Finally, reassessing their revenue structure can enable Apple pay to enter different markets.

Roy de Beest     | 376122
Shan Yee Chan | 436735
Hosni Sefiane   | 433785
Romy de Vries   | 361372
Cynthia Yuen     | 354737

TOTW: TicketSwap vs. SeatGeek

This week’s topic is focused on the technology behind ‘Electronic Markets and Auction’. Through the advancements of information technologies, the time and cost of communication have been greatly reduced, allowing the possibility of electronic brokerage in computer-based markets. The two companies that we have put in the spotlights are TicketSwap and SeatGeek, both operating in the secondary market of the e-ticket business and provide an online ticket brokerage platform for its customers. Although the two companies are still considered to be newcomers in the e-ticket brokerage market, they both have transformed the way of conducting business in this field by making use modern information technologies and mobile applications. First we will explain how their business model works and then provide a SWOT analysis comparison between the companies.

Ticketswap is an online and moblie platform where consumers can quickly buy and sell event tickets in thTicketSwape secondary (C2C) marketplace. To maintain fair prices, sellers are only allowed to ask a price up to 20% above the original face value of the ticket.The goal of TicketSwap is to offer consumers a protected environment to increase the safety for their private transactions. In order to reduce fraud as much as possible, users are required to link their Facebook account for accessing the online platform, making it easier to trace back the identity of the seller. So how does TicketSwap earn money? From every transaction, TicketSwap receives 10% as commission, equally charged among the seller and buyer.

In comparison to TicketSwap, SeatGeek is a B2C online search engine platform that aggregates all the available tickets from the online secondary market. It is essentially a meta-search engine making use of multiple other search engines to produce its own results (Kauffman, Li & van Heck, 2010). Additionally, SeatGeek proseatgeekvides an advanced algorithm called DealScore to assign a metric (1-100) rating to the tickets based the price and seat location (Fatbit, 2015), hence the consumers are able to see which deals are best suited for their needs. The tickets on the online platform are not sold or owned by SeatGeek itself, they solely provide the aggregating search service. Revenue comes from the 8-10% commission paid by the ticket sellers/owners for each ticket sold through the SeatGeek online platform.

Through the SWOT analysis we have found that the both companies have a strong online and social media presence where they promote their offering and brand. Each also has their own mobile application that has proven to boost their sales by a significant amount. SeekGeek’s mobile application has actually generated almost 45% of the total revenue in 2014 (Forbes, 2015). Currently, the assortment of tickets available on TicketSwap are limited to music events and festivals, while SeatGeek also offers sports, theater and other entertainment events. Therefore we think TicketSwap has a great opportunity to grow by expanding their ticket catalogue into other areas. A big ongoing threat is of course competition, both existing and new entrants. Soon after the succes stories of TicketSwap and SeatGeek, many competitors followed their footsteps by developing their own online marketplaces. However, with strong integrated mobile applications and superior customer service, TicketSwap and SeatGeek can stay competitive in the future.


Buhr, S. (2015). SeatGeek Raises $62 Million In A Series C Led By Technology Crossover Ventures. TechCrunch. Retrieved 19 September 2015, from

Huismans, S. (2015). TicketSwap nog veiliger: je krijgt voortaan een gloednieuw kaartje. 3voor12. Retrieved 19 September 2015, from

Li, T., Kauffman, R. J., van Heck, E., Vervest, P., & Dellaert, B. G. (2014). Consumer informedness and firm information strategy. Information Systems Research, 25(2), 345-363.

Solomon, B. (2015). The hottest ticket in mobile: SeatGeek helps you scalp the scalpers. Retrieved 17 September 2015, from, (2012). Top Secondary Ticket Sellers | TicketNews. Retrieved 17 September 2015, from

Team 24

F. A. Amier 442000
L. Argiroúlis 437685
V. O. Galaktionov 438190
J. Jing 440693
F. H. van de Zande 347379

Technology of the Week: Group 35

In the wake of the digital revolution, it has been the print media publishers who have suffered the most in keeping up with other forms of media content providers, in terms of retaining a large user base. This week, we bring you two such digital services, Flipboard and Blendle, who have been doing their bit to ensure that publishers find an attractive platform to reach their target segment. Flipboard, one of the most successful apple apps ever (I-Pad app of the year, 2010) allows the users to create their own customized magazine based on their interests. Its feature of running full page ads has made it highly popular with advertisers and publishers alike. On the other hand, Blendle is an upcoming Dutch start-up which works on a pay-per-view model. It is similar to how I-tunes operates and is an attractive proposition for price sensitive users.

Flipboard relies on positive network externalities to boost its profits. It subsidizes its customized service offering to end users and thus ensures that price is not a barrier when trying to attract new customers. This has gained it its 100 miliion user base worldwide and made it a favourite channel for advertisers to reach a diverse user base. Advertisers also favour the fact that they get to run full page ads which are usually more eye catching and not considered a distraction like the banner ads. Hence, Flipboard has currently an elite list of advertisement partners who pay a premium which more than offsets the costs of collecting and distributing information for free, thus making it an economically profitable model. But in the quest to win the clickbait race, Flipboard must guard against compromising on content quality.

Blendle’s model of pay only what you read is bound to find a lot of takers in the occasional readers category. Usually the subscription charges by reputed journals is above the reservation price of a one-time user. But through its novel technique, Blendle ensures that readers get more value of the nominal amount they pay upfront. Currently the pricing power is given to the publisher and the €0.2 price per article ensures that that the cost per article is recovered by the publisher by selling an efficient number “N” of articles. The only challenge with this that publishers should be wary of losing bargaining power as had happened with the music owners in the case of i-tunes. Also, many users differ in their valuations for information as per their need, so a per-use pricing might prove economically inefficient during low-value periods.

Overall, we believe that both these technologies have reduced transaction costs for readers and publishers. The key challenge is to fight declining ad revenues in the wake of stiff competition. Compromising on quality of articles should be a strict no. To tackle this, we propose a gradual shift towards video ads which not only ensure a premium price but are also more popular with users. This will ensure long term sustainability of these innovative business models.

Cheers 🙂

What a load of Bankers

Currently, as students it is unlikely that we will be able to finance lending a lump-sum to some random individual. However, the chances are that you may have taken a loan from a bank or family member at some point. Would you ever imagine yourself borrowing from a random individual?

P2P lending and borrowing is growing within the financial technology area – or fintech as it often goes by. The fundamental idea behind P2P is taking the middleman out of the process and thereby reducing various costs. In the cases of lending and borrowing, multiple firms offer the option for the two parties involved in the transaction to agree upon their own terms and rates of the loans. This is great for both the loaner (who gets the chance to earn money and gain a return from their ‘investment’) and the loanee (who is hopeful of getting a better deal that what many of the banks are offer, especially in the current circumstances). [1]

Currently there aren’t yet any players or firms which are dominating this industry yet many of them are valued ridiculously high. However, competition may arise from companies such as TransferWise, who are currently operating through providing minimal fees for individuals to send money to a bank in a different currency, for example, from Pound Sterling to Euro. This idea, generated by the creators of Skype and backed by Richard Branson may be the start of moving money transactions away from mobile banking to other sorts of third party applications. [2]

As you can see, in addition to the rapid growth of the fintech area and what seems to be the goal of beating the middleman, does the future of banks look vulnerable? Do these start-ups pose any threat or are the banks just too big and powerful? Do they even care about these revenue generation sources? Why aren’t they doing something about it? What can they do?




Cyber Security – More Important Than Ever

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet Inc., once stated : “Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003”. With the development of e-commerce, consumers’ personal information is increasingly embedded in the web. While increased convenience is a main advantage of ordering online, the privacy issues arising from leaving a digital trace of your personal information are complex, and more important than ever at this moment. Newsweek stated that 2014 was the “year of cyberattacks”, and has made consumers more aware of online security risks than they have ever been. In 2014 alone, the security systems of a variety of companies, including, but not limited to Sony, JP Morgan, Home Depot and Target were infiltrated, causing millions of customer accounts (including credit card information) to be compromised.

The question now is: How do companies regain the trust of consumers, and what needs to be done to improve cyber security software?

The problem is rooted in both technology and business. On the one hand, developers need to find better ways of producing secure software, while companies need to be able to convince consumers that their data is safe with them, and implement the right security procedures.

An obvious result of the above incidents is that firms are continuously investing in cyber security solutions. In 2013, over 1 billion dollars was invested in security firms by VC’s. This number will naturally grow even further considering the incidents of 2014. A main trend is that firms increasingly use Automated Incidence Response Systems. These are systems that not only detect malicious intrusions, but can act on them quicker than humans could manually. This technology acknowledges the fact that no system is 100% secure, but rather limits the damage that is made after a breach is detected, until it is resolved. As security software entrepreneur Kevin Mandia states “ It is no longer about prevention, it is about detection”. While innovation in the cyber security space is developing rapidly, so are the hackers. Firms must therefore focus on understanding the threats and learning to detect and treat them properly.

Deepak Jeevenkumar, an enterprise IT investor, stated that “trust is a main competitive advantage for firms”. Due to the high level of breaches in recent years, rebuilding the trust of the community and consumers is key. He even goes further saying that every company nowadays should employ a Chief Trust Offer, whose sole responsibility is addressing the privacy and security needs of the stakeholders by implementing the correct tech tools. A combination of valuable tech innovations and effective security procedures will be required to accomplish this.

Considering the continuous development of innovations from both cyber security firms, and also hackers, it will be interesting to see which innovations will prevail in keeping customer data safe, and which measures will allow firms to regain the trust of their customers.

What do you think? Which measures must firms implement to convince consumers that their data is being handled properly? Will there ever be innovations that completely solve these cyber security threats?


Jeevankumar, D. (2015). Crossing the Cybersecurity Trust Chasm. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: [Accessed 4 Oct. 2015].

Leitersdorf, Y. and Schreiber, O. (2015). Cybersecurity Hindsight And A Look Ahead At 2015. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: [Accessed 4 Oct. 2015].

Mello Jr., J. (2015). Security Pros Struggle With Cyberthreat Angst | Cybersecurity | TechNewsWorld. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Oct. 2015].

Schlein, T. (2015). The Five Tough Truths Of Cybersecurity Software. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: [Accessed 4 Oct. 2015].

Siegler, M. (2015). Eric Schmidt: Every 2 Days We Create As Much Information As We Did Up To 2003. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: [Accessed 4 Oct. 2015].

Tobias, S. (2015). 2014: The Year of Cyber Attacks. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Oct. 2015].

Would you consider a job at a start-up?


As a graduate business student, there are broadly speaking three options when looking for a job. You can start working at (1) a multinational company, (2) at a SME or (3) become an entrepreneur / start working at a start-up company. According to the RSM faculty, RSM graduates are more or less evenly distributed among these three options. However, when I speak to fellow students and look at the career events organized at the university, I sometimes wonder how many of us are really considering a job at a start-up, or would be interested in starting their own start-up from the beginning. The companies that participate in the events organized at the university are mainly the big multinational companies, which is kind of logical considering their big recruitment budgets. Starting your career at such a company can have many advantages, as it can be good for your future career, working conditions are good  and such a job brings little uncertainty. You might wonder, why start working at a start-up company then?

The Netherlands has everything a start-up needs

To begin with, you are in the right spot. The Netherlands might not be Silicon Valley, but it does have a lot of ingredients to become a mature technology start-up ecosystem.

The Netherlands has got a good combination of technical and business schools with RSM and TU Delft, but also with TU Eindhoven and Tilburg University. With Neelie Kroes as a supporter of start-ups, the government can be seen as supportive. There is space to physically expand growth companies. Furthermore there is a good mix of accelerators, angels and VC’s that are willing to invest. Dutch start-up Adyen recently received a huge investment and is now being valued around $2.3 billion. The only ingredient that might be missing is you: a critical mass of people that want (and are able) to start their own company.

The personal benefits

With the right environment, the opportunity is here. Still the question remains; why work for – or start a start-up company? Working at a start-up brings multiple personal benefits. First, start-ups are the new sexy. Explaining at a drink that you started your own company in the tech business is simply more interesting than you talking about being the master of the universe because you are a king in making Excel-calculations. Just as IT loses its dusty image, start-ups are becoming more broadly accepted and recognized as good learning schools. Second, start-ups will give you a lot of responsibility – which you will certainly not be getting at a multinational start job. You will be able to call the shots and meet with interesting people. Finally, if you make it, you can make it big. Leading companies such as Google, Facebook and Airbnb didn’t exist 20 years ago and all started small. There are plenty of Dutch start-ups that are making or have made a name for them self as well such as Adyen,, WeTransfer and 22tracks.

There are probably more benefits to come up with, and on the other side there are of course downsides as well. Yes, working at a start-up brings more risk. If the start-up fails you are unemployed. You probably won’t get a car from your employer; the salary and secondary working conditions are way worse. But the potential upside and the personal benefits on the other side can cover for this. Besides; the disadvantages aren’t that bad at this moment in your life. As a student you are used to not having too much money around, not having a car and you probably don’t have kids yet to take care of.

In the end I think there should be a personal fit. If you are a creative, risk-seeking person, starting your career at a start-up might be the best option. If you like routine and want to work in a structured professional environment, starting your career at a multinational might be your best option. As a BIM student, would you consider working at a start-up?


How sensor technology is leading to “Smart Everything”

Sensor technology is becoming more and more popular. As Ron Miller puts it, “we are about to enter the age of smart everything”. Sensors can be considered a valuable trigger in this process, and are already used in a variety of industries. One of their main selling points is the fact that they transmit real-time data to servers or even smart phones, with no human effort, allowing organizations to continuously monitor their operations, and act much quicker than would be possible without sensors.  A network of sensors collecting real-time data must be seamlessly connected to a variety of devices in order to make use of the “Internet of Things”, and thus they are an integral part of these smart networks. Whether it is a large grocery chain tracking the movements of their customers within their store, in order to test the effectiveness of a new marketing campaign, or a football club monitoring the exact motions of their players to predict injuries, sensors have seemingly unlimited applications.

Miller states that the main reason they are not ubiquitous yet is their size and price. However, as the technology develops and the price decreases, he predicts that sensors will be everywhere. The service industry is prime example of how sensors can disrupt business models. For example, consider the plumbing business. Currently, when your sink is damaged, you call a plumber and you pay him. What if a company were to position a selection of moisture sensors around your sink to track problematic areas?  They could offer you a subscription-based service, and ensure that your pipes are continuously monitored and fixed before problems even occur. This is just one example of how sensors could transform the service industry. Especially for small businesses, sensors can prove to be exceedingly helpful in establishing a competitive advantage. Assuming the price will drop increasingly, small businesses can use cheap sensors to receive insights into their customers shopping behavior at a low cost, and tailor their product offerings accordingly.

Sensors are one of the main reasons the Internet of Things is gaining in popularity rapidly. The real-time information transmitted, and the seamless integration with smart phones and other systems is increasingly leading to “smart everything”. This refers to the trend that systems that previously had been unchanged for a long time are now becoming “smart”. For example, Oral B has developed a smart toothbrush, which tracks the time and exact motions when you are brushing your teeth, and gives you advice based on this. The app that goes along with it even offers you the ability to send the information to your dentist. These smart systems are increasingly also being used by parts of the population you might not expect this from. For example, recently an article was posted in a German newspaper that illustrated how a German farmer used a smart network in combination with sensors to optimize his business. As he is the only employee on his farm, the farmer had troubles watching over all 540 cows at once. He decided to make use of a smart network and attached motion and sound sensors to all of his cows, and can now monitor their behavior closely via an app linked to the cloud, on his smartphone. He can track trends immediately without constant personal contact, and it even saves him money, due to his ability to determine when a cow is sick earlier, for example. This goes to show that businesses of all kinds are increasingly becoming aware of the advantages such systems have to offer. Consumer convenience is becoming key, and sensors are a highly efficient way in which this can be achieved.

It is highly likely that sensors soon will be everywhere. The challenge will be in using the data effectively. Especially small businesses will need to develop capabilities they probably do not have yet, and find meaningful ways to use the data they collect. What do you think? Which industries are likely to be disrupted by sensor technology? What are the limits and challenges of using this technology?


Gaddis, B. (2015). How Sensors Will Revolutionize Service Businesses. [online] WIRED. Available at: [Accessed 4 Oct. 2015].

Gisby, T. (2015). Soft Sensors Are Breaking Into Four Major Industries. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: [Accessed 4 Oct. 2015].

Miller, R. (2015). Cheaper Sensors Will Fuel The Age Of Smart Everything. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: [Accessed 4 Oct. 2015].

Crowdsourcing for Innovation

Teamwork builds big idea. If everybody gives a little, it adds up.

Teamwork builds big idea. If everybody gives a little, it adds up.

I recently heard about an Indian movie called “Lucia”, a movie that was completely financed through crowd-funding. With more than 110 investors contributing to the movie through Facebook and a blog run by director, the film became one of the first of its kind in India to foray into this new world of financing. Almost 51 lakh Rupees (~ 78,000 USD) was raised in just 27 days. However, what was more intriguing was that the movie was not only crowdfunded but crowdsourced as well. Audiences came forward and offered all kinds of services ranging from designing, location setting, music and some even for acting.

Crowdsourcing is not a new phenomenon. Science and Academia have been relying on incremental contribution to research for decades. Open source software is also another development through crowdsourcing. Big companies have also been implementing crowd sourcing by creating crowd contests. Very recently, the pharmaceutical company, Merck set up an 8-week contest with a prize money of $40,000 for participants to identify the chemical compound which held the most promise for future testing. The winning solution in fact came from individuals not related to the life sciences field. Lego, Lay’s, Starbucks, Microsoft and Tesla Motors are other establishments that have used crowdsourcing to come up with new ideas, flavors and designs. Wikipedia is also another example of a crowdsourced innovation.

You can find many tips and suggestions online on how to run a successful crowdsourcing campaign. But is crowdsourcing always a good idea? Dows it work for all kinds of projects? While researching, I found that two of the primary conditions required for a successful crowdsourced project is high modularity and low granularity. Modularity has to do with the nature of the project, whether it can easily be broken down into individual units to work on separately and then aggregated back together. Granularity refers to the size of the individual modules in terms of the time and effort that an individual must invest in producing them. Together these conditions enable individuals to make incremental contributions that adds to the overall project. As was in the case of the movie ‘Lucia’, the different aspects of film making could easily be divided into different components and put together to make a good movie. Can you think of other industries that could also implement crowdsourcing?


Will this be the comeback of BlackBerry?


Once the business world was dominated by the smartphones of BlackBerry, because of its great functionality and security. Countless businesses handed out BlackBerrys to its workers and many politicians possesed a BlackBerry. That all changed when Apple and Android enterred the market. It went from a 47% market share in 2009 to a dissapointing 2.1% market share in 2013. In addition, its market value dropped from 55billion US Dollar in 2008 to 4.6billion US Dollar in 2013. They tried to regain their market share by introducing new phones and even introduce a tablet, but BlackBerry was not able to compete with the iPhones and the Android phones. But this might change again. Last month the CEO of BlackBerry announced that BlackBerry will release a new phone WITH Android as its operating system. Will this be the comeback where BlackBerry was waiting for?

A major problem for BlackBerry was that Apple marketed its iPhones directly to consumers instead of the businesses. It had a trendy design, it had user a friendly operating system and apps. After a while people weren’t using their iPhones or Android phones solely for their personal life, they were bringing it to work as well. As a result, employees demanded the iPhone instead of the BlackBerry. Android followed Apple and became very popular under consumers as well. From that moment BlackBerry lost its marketshare in the business world and was not able to compete with Apple and Android in the consumer market.

Another reason, was its own operating system, BlackBerry 10. This operating system was not able to compete with the amount of apps which were made for iOS and Android. For many developers BlackBerry was not a priority as BlackBerry was designed for businesses. Therefore, many apps were not available or became available years after the apps were made for iOS or Android.Artikel_BlackBerryPriv

BlackBerry Priv

With the announcement of the new BlackBerry Priv, BlackBerry tries to compete again in the smartphone market. As we are familiar with BlackBerry, it will differentiate its phone with extra security features (BlackBerry Priv is derived from Privacy). BlackBerry has added their own security apps to their device, such as BlackBerry Safeguard. Furthermore, the BlackBerry Priv has a full-QWERTY keyboard in order to make e-mailing and texting easier. In addition, it will add its own BBM apps, such as Calendar, Tasks and Notes. As mentioned before, the BlackBerry Priv will run on the operating system of Android. This tackles the problem that there weren’t enough apps for the BlackBerry.

It looks like BlackBerry tries to regain its marketshare in the business world via the consumer market. As Apple and Android had many issues concerning privacy and security, BlackBerry anticipates on this to release a phone with its own security features. In addition, they want to reintroduce its features which were very popular for the business world, such as its security features, QWERTY keyboard and its own BBM apps. With its Android operating system, they want to win the customers as it does not have the problem of the lack of apps. Will this be enough to compete with Apple and Android? Will this be the comeback of BlackBerry? Will Obama switch back to Blackberry?


How to make money from the human ego: An online auctioneer’s guide

I found myself bidding on a limited edition Longchamp Le Pliage handbag on Marktplaats last week. Whether you know the iconic handbag or not, it retails for around €100, comes in many different colors/patterns and is a staple in many women’s handbag collections- including mine.

Did I need it? Not really…. but hey it is a different pattern than the one I already own (and it was limited edition duh).

How many bids had been made so far? 8…

What was the current bidding price? Over €150…..

I placed a bid anyway.

And guess what? Within 5 minutes my Marktplaats app notified me my bid had been overtaken and the current bidding price was €160.

I seriously considered upping my bid.

But I didn’t – because I am a strong woman with self-restraint (or a student with a restrained budget – same thing).

Anyways… morale of the story is that upon self-reflection I realized what an idiot I was in the first place for putting that bid. What made me do it?  Would I have been willing to pay that much if it was not being auctioned? Was I rational? Answer = NOPE. Indeed, an estimate even stated that around half of all sales on Ebay auctions turn out to sell higher than the ‘buy it now’ button price (Lee, 2007). How irrational can people be?

Extremely irrational in online auctions apparently. We want to believe in the theory of homo economicus purchaser – the rational informed consumer in the internet age who knows what they want and what their willingness to pay is – however the rationality flies out the window once the online bidding begins. Bidding in an online auction is almost a game in itself, the excitement of a bidding war is many times thrilling – whether you are buying that 2nd hand minifridge you desperately need or, in my case, a limited edition Le Pliage handbag.

After doing some research on consumer behavior in online auctions I found a just-published study by researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Adam, Krämer & Müller, 2015), showing the influence of emotions on consumer behavior in electronic markets based on measuring bidder heartrate and skin conductance. Turns out humans aren’t as rational in online auctions as wished – they are easily morphed into what is known as ‘auction fever’ – unable to stop clicking the bid button. What drives auction fever is social competition and the need to beat other people – not the need to get the item they are actually bidding for. Indeed, bidders are more aroused in high time pressure auctions, leading to higher bids in the English style auctions – however this only happens when the bidder notices they are competing with other real contenders. If they are bidding with a computer, rationality suddenly reappears. Hence, for online bidders it is not is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.

So how can online auctioneers make more money out of irrational people?

Simple – show them they are competing against other real people. Make them not want to win the sale item, but simply beat the other bidders.

Marktplaats has a great illustration. The observational cues it displays are so subtle, yet perfectly created to bring out peoples competitive spirits. In the product pages it shows who is bidding, how many bids and how much they are willing to pay.


Marktplaats also has the courtesy to actually inform you if you have been overbid and by how much through their app or an e-mail. Not only that – but also WHO has overbid you. And this  overbidder has a username – so he must be human. This facilitates the online bidding experience to be even more personal, and makes the auction even more competitive.


Bascially, by making the online auction more competitive through fostering social competition the auctioneer and seller always win. However, don’t tell that to the bidder – they may find themselves with a handbag they never really needed -but hey – they won the bid war right?

Where have you seen observational cues in auction sites? Have they influnced your ego? Let me know in the comment bar!

Author: 441696ts, Teresa Stacey


Lee, Y. H., & Malmendier, U. (2007). The bidder’s curse (No. w13699). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Adam, M. T., Krämer, J., & Müller, M. B. (2015). Auction Fever! How Time Pressure and Social Competition Affect Bidders’ Arousal and Bids in Retail Auctions. Journal of Retailing.

How can IT help to protect Human RIghts?

Going forward?

Social and political systems are getting more complex day by day as well as our lives. Looking back at the history of the humanity, we can state that we have never lived better, wealthier and easier than now. However, there are still many problems left unsolved. One of the most important of them is human rights issue, as if the basic rights of people won’t be respected, all the progress we have already made can be turned against us. Look through the figures below. Scary, isn’t it?


In this article I’m going to present you three cases of how technologies are used for protecting human rights (and even saving lives).

Case 1. The button that can save your life

Unfortunately, human rights are still being violated regularly in most of the countries. Ironically, at most risk are those who are trying to prevent or stop these violations, human rights defenders.


Take GPS technology, smartphone and 3 trusted person and you will get the app “Panic button”, developed by Amnesty International in cooperation with other organizations. It is described in Google Play as an app that allows “to give human rights defenders urgent help from their own networks when facing attack, kidnapping, or torture”.

Functionality of the app is quite simple: you press the button and the app sends information about your current position to your three trusted colleagues.

Case 2. Can an app and a site fight women harassment in Arab countries?

The women’s rights in Arab countries are quite limited. One of the “leading” countries is Egypt with rated as “very high” being on 130 place of 187 countries according to United Nations Gender Inequality index. In Egypt, women harassment took place often and were not considered as a criminal activity.

In 2010 a group of volunteers launched an organization and application called HarassMap with the main aim to engage the whole Egyptian society into creation of the environment that did not tolerate sexual harassment.

They used integrated approach including mass media and communication campaigns and community mobilization, but the main pillar of their activities was a platform that allowed to report and map acts of sexual harassment. The map basically looked like that.


The platform allowed both witnesses and victims to report. What is also important, free services were available for those who had been harassed.  For the span of 5 years they received around 1500 reports, some of women who had been attacked came forward to tell their stories, activists were recruited in more than 28 countries. The platform and people behind it initiated the change in the society

I would like to advise you to watch a TED talk of one of the founders of HarassMap, Rebecca Chiao. Very inspirational and exciting.

Case 3. How to defend yourself from police?

Human rights are being violated not only in Africa or CIS, but in more developed countries too. Your rights could be violated even by those who is meant to protect yous, by police officers. Just type into google something like “Violation of rights by police” and you will see thousands of entries.

The American Civil Liberties Union of California (ACLU) recently released an app that allows to send images and video of questionable police behavior directly to the union. So, even if the phone is destroyed, the footage will be secured. As soon as the is uploaded, specialists of ACLU can screen it and determine whether you rights have been violated.

The video shows how simple it is in use.

Is this all?

Right now, the range of human rights apps are mostly limited with reporting and locating inappropriate behavior functions. Though not so advanced from technical perspective, these apps successfully help to solve real problems.

P.S.: If you know other interesting ways how technology helps to protect and sustain human rights, please share them in the comments.


Wikipedia versus Quora

Our topic of the technology of the week is in connection with information goods, we chose two knowledge-sharing website for comparison, Wikipedia and Quora. Firstly we explained what the information goods are then we introduced the two companies, we made a SWOT analysis and finally we predicted the possible future strategies of them.

As Varian and Hutter say, information goods include anything that can be digitized that is answering to consumer needs concerning telecommunication services, entertainment, education, and other forms of information. Due to low reproduction costs of today’s information goods, ‘access’ becomes more and more important than ‘property’. This explains why nowadays, many information goods are (partly) produced by the consumer himself.



Wikipedia is well-known website by everybody, used day by day, if someone is looking for information in Google the first results are the Wikipedia sites. It was founded by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger in January 2001. Wikipedia is financed through its parent organization, the Wikimedia Foundation. This organization is a non-profit organization that collects donations at its annual fundraiser and through individual donations in order to provide Wikipedia.



Quora is question-and-answer (Q&A) website; it was founded in June 2009 by Adam D’Angelo. Users can ask personalized questions and these are answered by registered users. The answers can be evaluated by the upvoting system. It is a for-profit company, however, not making any revenues at the moment. Due to angel and venture capital investments, Quora is in a position to focus all its efforts on smooth operations, as well as its growth and its user base.


We compare the two website trough SWOT analysis.

They have similar strengths: both webpage are free to use, free from advertisements and protect their users by anonymity. However, Wikipedia builds its business on the neutral and objective articles. These are constantly updated and opened for everyone for editing. One of Wikipedia’s biggest advantages is that it is multilingual. While Quora’s main strength is that the questions and answers are personalized and the answers are evaluated by users.

However the main disadvantage of these sites, that they are not recognized as reliable sources. More, sometimes Wikipedia contains false information and the editing takes long time and done by amateurs. Quora’s disadvantage is that it is available only in English and not every question has answer.

There are many opportunities in front of these companies. The more population has Internet access in the future; Internet is going to be available on more electric devices. People are interested in lifelong learning and these sites encourage them for critical thinking. More, Quora has big potential in access its website in more languages.

The biggest threats are the cyberattacks for these websites and the dependence on Internet.

In the future they develop in different directions. Quora has a big potential to grow, however it is not going to be as big as Wikipedia. The financials are going to be the same, as well as the marketing actions.(no marketing). Quora has more potential in itself, because it was funded later, however Wikipedia can develop too, by introducing sharing articles on social media websites.



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