Archive | October 10, 2015

A Cup full of Innovation

 

Naamloos3Nowadays we can find a big influence of IT in our daily life. Also soccer has experienced a great transformation established by IT. Decades ago the broadcast of soccer matches in colour was a great breakthrough. Meanwhile, lots of innovation has been taken place in the world of soccer. One example is the tracking information of players on the pitch.

We can keep track of all kind of information of the players. Passes completed, shot attempts, ball possession and the exact distance covered by players are examples of the detailed information available. In addition we can collect more information about the physical condition of the players as blood pressure, heart beating rate and calories burned.

During big soccer events as the FIFA World cup and UEFA Champions League these kind of information are shown on television during the broadcast. To accomplish this, FIFA is hiring the Italian company Datatre who is making use of their system called Matrics.

Matrics by Deltatre, Italia
Naamloos2
Datatre emphasis that data combined with context and insight is powerful storytelling tool. Matrics is a live system that combines automated collected data with information that has been entered by operation teams located at the venue. This data is aggregated and evaluated at Deltatre’s Operation Center.

Operation Centre
The Operation Centre is a fully connected production hub. Processes done at the production hub are HD video downlinking, ingestion, live streaming, video and data production, transcoding and publishing. The Operation Centre is equipped with 48 operation desks and associated equipment. This offers the ability of editorial and production services at short notice (Deltatre, 2015)

Tracking system
Deltatre combines portable optical tracking cameras with intelligent data analysis to provide real live statistics with a 99% accuracy, promised by Deltatre. It makes use of three cameras located at various positions at the soccer field. These three HD cameras use image recognition to recognize the 22 players, the referees, and the ball (Cherney M., 2014)
The image recognition technology works not completely automatic. Before the match starts operators have to tell the machine which team plays in which colored jersey and the same for the referees. Also they put in manually each player on the pitch. The system tracks the XYZ coordinates of each of the player. It relays the information to a digital workstation where 74 people pour over the data on-site, supported by another 20 back in Italy.
Besides the cameras, the company has written lot of algorithms. These calculate the passing stats, ball possession and other statistics, 350 in total. A human operator is watching a slightly delayed version of the match broadcasted. He/she validates each the info before it is sent back to the web or TV.
An alternative option to track information from player is done by GPS tracking system. However Deltatre is using cameras to optically track the players. Reason for this is that some soccer players have resisted adding GPS tracking technology into their equipment like shoes.

This is just one example of how IT is implement in sports and in our daily life’s. The opportunities for coaches and trainers to train and analysis has improved enormously and this available data can ensure that teams are reaching to their peak potential.

360681vn

References:
Deltatre, (2015) http://www.deltatre.com/onstage-solutions/matrics/ Accessed 10 Oct. 2015
Cherney M. (2014) via Motherboard. http://motherboard.vice.com/read/this-system-turns-the-beautiful-game-into-big-data Accessed 10 Oct. 2015

 

Team 46: Platform Mediated Networks – Slant News vs. Blendle

In the publishing industry, traditional publishing companies suffer significant decreases in revenues, while new business models arise as a result of technological innovation. Two of such innovative business models, Slant News and Blendle, introduced information technology as a source of competitive advantage, providing aggregated journalism that respectively competes and sustains the existing publishing companies.

This year, Slant News introduced a refreshing, innovative way to provide news articles from new sources and a dispersed variety of perspectives, combining crowdsourcing journalism with professional feedback (Slant, 2015). Blendle – founded in 2012 – is its ‘better-known’ and more matured counterpart that aggregates articles of a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, redistributing existing journalism on a pay-per-article basis (Blendle, 2015)

Both companies developed a platform-mediated network to connect multiple sides of the market that exchange value; Whereas Slant connects readers with amateur writers to achieve ‘cross-sided’ network effects incrementally, Blendle depends on existing publishers (including exceptionally big users, also referred to as ‘marquee users’) with large supplies to achieve large network effects to create value for its ‘money side’, the readers. (Eisenmann et al., 2006) As result of this difference regarding the ‘supply side’ of the platform, the bargaining power of the suppliers requires different approaches. Whereas Slant communicates with its content creators by digital (non-personal) channels with editing as key activity that connects them, Blendle is convinced that their (complex) message is best transmitted via direct communication, mainly through personally visiting the publishers to avoid miscommunication and build strong relationships.

On the other side of the platform-mediated network, the buyer side, another key difference can be found. The revenue model of Blendle is based on a pay-per-article base, in which the price of the individual articles – ranging from 10 to 89 euro cents, dependent on the publisher and length of the article – automatically gets deducted from the user’s account balance once the article is opened. Slant actually subsidizes readers as well as the writers of the articles in order to attract advertisers to gain revenues on a pay-per-click base. Important in this difference in revenue model is that Slant competes with the existing publishing companies, while Blendle provides an innovative business model that sustains the traditional publishing companies that suffer decreases in revenues.

Based on the findings, the authors predict that the concept of information technology to aggregate journalism in the publishing industry will grow in the future and will likely continue to put pressure on the existing publishing businesses. Especially the advantages of increased informedness and improved distribution lead to the scalability of customization (Clemons, 2008). Demands will be easier to match for both price- as well as quality sensitive consumers due to first and second order effects. The business model of Blendle is expected to be more successful than that of Slant News, as strong positive (cross-side) network effects in combination with the valuable and unique value proposition could result in a strong competitive advantage.

Geert Kriek (440801gk)

Koen Hut (416751kh)

Maxime van Egdom (409346me)

Siebe Kylstra (412656sk)

Stefan van Winden (421142sw)

Blendle Blog (2015) Blendle Blog: Archive [Online] Retrieved September 27, 2015, from: http://blog.blendle.nl

Clemons, E.K. 2008. How Information Changes Consumer Behavior and Consumer Behavior Determines Corporate Strategy. Journal of Management Information Systems 25(2) 13-40.

Eisenmann, Thomas R. and Parker, Geoffrey and Van Alstyne, Marshall W., Opening Platforms: How, When and Why? (August 31, 2008). Harvard Business School Entrepreneurial Management Working Paper No. 09-030.

Slant. (n.d.). What Is Slant? A Note From The Editors. Retrieved September 27, 2015, from https://www.slantnews.com/story/2015-06-23-what-is-slant-a-note-from-the-editors

Cryptography evolved. Let’s call it information security

Starting with cryptography

To start, we must state that cryptography is not a new subject. People always wanted to transmit information but also hide it from others to whom they did not want to give access to. The classic cryptography methods consisted of transposition ciphers that rearranged the row of the letters in a message. Even hiding ciphers in someone’s hair was used as a method for hiding information.

Modern cryptography though uses other techniques as for the most part messages are sent by computers. Its main objectives are confidentiality, integrity, non-repudiation and authentication. Analyzing the first two of  the above mentioned concepts, we must notice first that confidentiality refers to the concept that the information can not be interpreted by someone to whom it is not intended for. Integrity on the other hand refers to the concept that information can not be altered without the alteration being detected. Non-repudiation and authentication introduce two new concepts.  The first refers to the fact that the sender of the message cannot deny at a later stage his/her intentions for the transmission of the information. Meanwhile. authentication suggests that sender and receiver can confirm each others identity.

What about information security?

Information security does exactly what cryptography does. It hides information from unauthorized access. Modern date information are not transmitted by ciphers from one place to another. It is not even sent from another computer to another. As we all well know it is being stored in large servers, even more lately in the cloud, and authorized persons can access it from anywhere. But unauthorized people want to have access too. So, there comes information security.

Confidentiality, integrity availability and non-repudiation play a crucial role when it comes to information security. As we see main concepts in information security remain the same as in cryptography. Of course, the term of availability is now more that ever important as people who need to and are authorized should be able to have direct access to data.

Trends in information security

As in 2014 many threats were detected and many data breaches were achieved, information security now seems more important than ever. Experts claim that five majors trend dominate/will dominate 2015

Cyber crime 

Cybercrime, hacktivism, increased cost of conformity to deal with  regulatory requirements and relentless advances in technology while continuous under investment in security departments, can all combine to cause great threat.

Privacy and regulation

Ever growing state regulations will cause organizations to treat privacy as a compliance and business risk issue, in order to reduce regulatory fees, sanctions and business costs.

Threats from third party providers

Security chiefs everywhere are growing more concerned about dealing with numerous risk factors when it comes to supply chains providers who are nonetheless a vital part of any business.

Bring your own trends in the work space

Employees bring mobile devices, applications and cloud-based storage and access in the workplace and so information security risks rise like never before

Engagement with your people

Employees behavior need to be shifted in order for them to be the first line of defense in the organization’s security and not a potential threat.

As we have seen cryptography evolve into reaching modern day information security techniques, we can’t help but wonder what the future will bring for the concealment of our precious data…

Sources:

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

http://searchsoftwarequality.techtarget.com/definition/cryptography

http://www.cio.com/article/2857673/security0/5-information-security-trends-that-will-dominate-2015.html

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

Author: Anargyros Michaletos

Team 47 – Technology of the week: Lexa vs. Tinder

Modern technologies have broadened the audience for online dating providers. In this blog, we compare two platform mediated networks operating in this market; Lexa and Tinder. The preferences on online dating have partly switched from building a sustainable relationship towards ‘quick dating’, on which we will further elaborate.

Lexa
Lexa is an online dating website, where singles can buy a membership. Users get the opportunity to search for people of their interest based on preferences. Lexa also organizes ‘single drinks’, where singles can meet and look for their potential partner. (Lexa.nl, 2015)

Tinder
Tinder gives people with an account the opportunity to swipe through pictures of potential partners. When interested, the picture can be approved or declined. When two people approve each other’s picture, a match is made and the users can start a chat. Since 2015, a TinderPlus (paid) account can be bought, which allows an unlimited amount of approvals. (Hoek, 2014)

Comparing Tinder and Lexa
Commonalities
Lexa and Tinder are both operating in the C2C dating market. Both platforms facilitate a network and services for users to find a dating match, based on algorithms and a large database (Twentyman, 2015). Lexa and Tinder are both one-sided platforms, which provide services to only one type of users. Furthermore, both platforms earn revenue from advertisements and paid subscriptions.

Differences
First of all, activities of Tinder are limited to the online environment, while Lexa expands the platform with offline activities. Another difference is that Lexa provides customer care, which Tinder does not. Third, Lexa only enables chats when users have paid membership, while Tinder enables its users to interact using the free application. Besides that, Tinder runs completely on word-of-mouth and does not focus on marketing campaigns, while Lexa uses a push strategy with large radio- and TV campaigns. Another interesting factor, is that Tinder only searches for matches on the basis of age, gender and distance, while Lexa also considers the members interests (hobbies, religion, lifestyle) and what he or she is searching their partner.

From a technical perspective, Lexa built its own platform-mediated network. In contrast, Tinder is built on the platform-mediated network: users of Tinder can register with their Facebook account.

The Future: picture-swiping versus sustainable relationships
With the creation of the Tinder application, a new segment in the online dating market was born. This segment concentrates on finding ‘quick impressions’ instead of long-term relationships. The creation of this new market also opened a world for niche markets. New applications like Grinder (for bi- or Innercircle are concentrating on quick dating for a smaller population. We expect a growth of

both Lexa and easy-to-use applications, since they both serve a different segment. However, the competition for applications like Tinder will increase.

Team 47
Jack Cornelisse 342660jc
Arvin Moensi 349430am
Belinda Roos 357398br
Marieke Struijk 354283es
Eline de Wit 360608ew

References
van Hoek, C. (2014) Dating app Tinder groeit naar 10 miljoen ‘matches’ per dag [online] available at: http://www.nu.nl/tech/3714137/datingapp-tinder-groeit-10-miljoen-matches-per-dag.html

Lexa (2015) De site [online] available at: https://www.lexa.nl/signup/smart_landing_v2.phsl?tpl=20150312landing_reg_small_nav_sem_b

Twentyman, J. (2015) Tinder swipes right database service rackspace [online] available at: http://diginomica.com/2015/03/13/tinder-swipes-right-database-service-rackspace/

Team 49 – Technology of the Week: Platform Mediated Markets. A Comparison between YouTube and Netflix

When you come home from a long day of work and classes chances are you’ll switch on the tv to see what’s on. At least, that is how it used to be. In today’s world, there’s an even chance you’ll boot up the laptop to put on a YouTube video. Or maybe you’ll watch some Netflix. Since the early 2000’s these two companies have been competing for your attention with other forms of entertainment. It’s time to compare these two platforms, and see what makes them so successful.

YouTube and Netflix are both companies that provide video entertainment. In YouTube’s case this entertainment is made by users, for users. The revenue comes from advertisements. Netflix provides professionally made moves and series. Consumers pay a fixed monthly fee to watch as much as they want.

First, both companies are subject to significant Network effects. Network effect means that your platform becomes more valuable the larger its network becomes. When YouTube has a lot of users, it gets more content. When YouTube gets more content, it attracts even more users. When YouTube gains more users, advertisers can reach more potential customers through YouTube. Netflix is subject to similar network effects. When the platform gains more users, the more feasible it becomes to serve niche content, and the more consumers of this niche content are attracted as users of the platform. This makes Netflix well suited to serve the long tail of demand.

Second, YouTube and Netflix both provide information goods. This means that expanding the network comes with very little marginal costs. This allows for an opportunity to expand and capture the market that both companies try to utilize. Netflix for instance, is currently mainly serving the America’s and Western Europe, but plans to serve every country by the end of 2016.

These Network effects have the potential to create a dominant position for both Netflix and YouTube. So much that the question arises, “is there room for competitors in this market?” The answer to this question depends on two more factors: homing costs and user uniformity.

Homing costs are the costs users pay to make a platform their “home”. For YouTube, this just the time it costs to register. Netflix on the other hand, has a monthly subscription fee. Hence, users are more likely to use YouTube and a similar platform than Netflix and a similar platform. The other factor, uniformity of users also influences the threat of new entrants to the market. When people like the same content, one platform can serve them all. When people have different tastes, there can be multiple platforms catering to multiple niche tastes. YouTube offers people the opportunity to serve their own niche, but Netflix does not believe it is competing with similar services like HBO, but is just one of many options.

What do you think the future for these companies will look like? Let us know in the comments so we can compare our ideas.

Psychology of a Pirate

Cartoon pirate

Have you ever visited a file-sharing website to download something for free to avoid paying for it? You can be honest, we’re all friends here. I am just curious why you did it. Maybe you thought it is not really like stealing. You’ve got a point. Software, music, and other pirated goods are information goods after all. When you download something, it does not increase the marginal costs. You just gained something that you value without it costing anyone a penny. According to economic theory, you just increased your welfare, and thus society’s by the monetary amount you’d value your software for. If a game costs 50 euro, and you value it at 30, you can either not download it, increasing nobodies welfare, or download it and at least increase your own. This piracy stuff is all fair and logical!

To allow people to pay what they consider a fair price companies have started pay-want-you-want pricing models, like the humble bundle for games. This model has been discussed in a blog post by Euclid Alexis Haralambidis, of which I have posted a link in the references. If you can pay what you want, you can actually pay a fair price, and share the welfare gains between you and the producer.

The problem is that it is hard for you as a consumer to determine a “fair” price. Some people might forget that information goods are subject to substantial sunk costs. You pay not only for the marginal costs, but also in part for the development costs. When you can pay what you want, the temptation to understate what the software is worth might be too strong.

How then, can we make sure people pay a fair price for information goods? Harsh punishments don’t help. People who share information goods often believe themselves they are at a lower risk than other populations. (Nandedkar & Midha, 2012) Instead, an appeal to people’s morals might be the answer. Al-Rafee and Rouibah (2009), Chiou et al. (2005). Such an approach would be better if it comes from the developers themselves. It is one thing to avoid paying a nameless corporation, but when your downloading behaviour makes life difficult for the indie developer with which you talked over the forums, or who showed his face in a cool YouTube tutorial, you might think twice about the consequences of your actions.

What do you think the solution to internet piracy is, if there even is one? Did you ever download a game and felt remorse? Do you buy all your information goods, or are you an unrepentant pirate? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

-Martin Braakhuis

333718mb

References:

Al-Rafee, S. & Rouibah, K. (2009). The fight against digital piracy: An experiment. Telematics and Informatics, 27, 283–292.Bandura, A. (1991). Social cognitive theory of moral thought and action.

Chiou, J., Huang, G. & Lee, H. (2005). The antecedents of music piracy attitudes and intentions. Journal of Business Ethics, 57(2), 161–174

Haralambidis, E. A. (2015) Humble Bundle (Pay whatever you want) Information strategy <https://informationstrategyrsm.wordpress.com/?s=humble&gt;

Nandedkar, A. & Midha, V. (2012). It won’t happen to me: optimism bias in music piracy. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(1), 41–48.

Road map to millions $

Since last year a remarkable percentage of 10% of the Business Information Management graduates was entrepreneur, 12 months after graduation I thought it might be interesting to write a blog post about the emergence of tech startups. Considering this fact, I assume that a large group is interested in launching a tech/internet related startup, and that even some of you might have chosen for BIM in a pursuit of their dreams to become the next tech millionaire.

As many successes stories appear on the tech sources we use to feed our curiosity in the field of BIM, some of you might have observed what makes tech/internet startups so attractive. For the ones who did not notice, the point is that tech/internet related ideas for startup can become very big in a short time with relatively less fund. Funding is in most cases only needed for hiring the right people with the right knowledge for the development of your idea. Since the value of such a company is mostly based on its potential, its really hard for an investor to claim a large part of the shares as an investor already admits that the company has potential by investing in it. This way the one behind the startup idea can raise fund at the start of the development of his/her idea in exchange for a unnecessarily large part of the shares. This boosts the over all value of the company making it even more attractive for more investors to do the same trick the next round of raising fund. In addition, innovative startup ideas are interesting content that easily can be spread over the web or even could go viral.

For example, the Dutch internet related startup Blendle, or e-market in terms of BIM, was found in 2014 and was valuated at an amount of €13.000.000,- after New York Times and Springer saw the potential of the company (Angel.co, 2014). This company claimed to be the ‘’iTunes of press’’. This company was found by two journalists which even more emphasizes that the only thing needed to become as successful as these guys is having a good idea and executing it smartly. The point I am making here is that we have chosen to act in the best and most dynamic field of business. It is our advantage that we as Business Information Management students are home in the area of internet and new technologies. It even might be assumed that all of use know how to develop and execute good software ideas at the end of the year.

Other successful startups from RSM alumni that has gained global awareness with publication in Business Insider are Housinganywhere and Symbid. Housing anywhere is a platform where the demand and supply of short term accommodation can come together. It is a simple yet effective tool which increases the amount of short term accommodation available to incoming exchange students (Housinganywhere.com, 2015). Symbid is a funding network where companies get fund and grow (Symbid.nl, 2015).

The ideas entrepreneurial BIM student are looking for need to be disruptive in order to gain global scaled success. Therefore, here are 4 points listed that can be adapted to businesses to become more disruptive (Inc.com, 2015):

  1. Innovation: Disruptive companies are one of a kind.
  2. Marketing: People want what disruptive companies have to offer.
  3. Business model: Disruptive companies make things affordable.
  4. Attitude: Disruptive companies are led by delusional and disagreeable people.

I would like to close this blog post with telling you about Cheeky. It is a platform where new startup ideas and gaps in society are discussed. The website provides one idea per day and helps you to extend your creativity. Finally, some feed for commenters; referring to the significant percentage of BIM alumni that become entrepreneur, what could Erasmus University Rotterdam organize in order to stimulate our creativity and stimulate collaboration as well as the rise of new startups that can serve as business cards for our university?

References

Angel.co, (2014). Blendle. [online] Available at: https://angel.co/blendle [Accessed 9 Oct. 2015].

Housinganywhere.com, (2015). About us | Housing Anywhere. [online] Available at: https://housinganywhere.com/about [Accessed 10 Oct. 2015].

Symbid.nl, (2015). Over ons|symbid. [online] Available at: https://www.symbid.nl/pages/about?locale=nl [Accessed 10 Oct. 2015].

Inc.com, (2015). 4 Disruption Concepts to Help Your Pivot Your Startup. [online] Available at: http://www.inc.com/neil-patel/4-disruption-concepts-to-help-your-pivot-your-startup.html [Accessed 10 Oct. 2015].

Blendle vs Flipboard

Introduction

 

We are currently living in the Information age, which according to Hutter (2003) “is a shorthand term for a state of society in which communication is ubiquitous and knowledge is instantly available”. We experience this in our personal lives through the constant flow and availability of information through web-based applications on our e-devices.

Nowadays, it is also unimaginable that business could be conducted without the constant IT-enabled flow of information. Yes, our lives have become very dependent of information and we are constantly searching for new and innovative information goods.

The distribution of information or news has changed through time. Where old villages had a central place to shout the news to all the villagers, we developed the news by introducing newspapers, news channels on the television, and the availability of news online. The latter is the current trend in news and this development is still going through some rapid changes.

Important players in the modern news

 

Taken the new era of news, we looked at two pioneer news firms who have responded well to the new industry.

Blendle

The first company we looked at was Blendle. Blendle is a Dutch online kiosk that offers customers the possibility to buy articles from newspapers and magazines per piece. Blendle offers customers an online kiosk with a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Customers can scroll through a list of articles, when a customer decides to read an article; he or she pays for it with an online wallet. Blendle uses a pay-per-view revenue model in which Blendle is an intermediating party that receives 30% of the price that is paid by the customer for viewing an article. The remaining amount goes to the publisher of the article Blendle gets its main competitive advantage from offering the customer a large variety of both newspapers and magazines combined with the pay-per-view option. This combination is not offered by the competition in the Dutch market.

Flipboard

Flipboard’s original goal was to build a simplistic, magazine like, application wherein users can easily find readings of their interest. These readings are directly sorted to the users’ interests and are directly readable on demand. By clustering content by topic or interest areas, Flipboard is then able to present the reader with only content he or she is actually interested in. In this way the interface presents itself as a personalized magazine.

Flipboard attempts to take the entire user-search process out of this equation by using the information provided by both the news publisher and reader. Flipboard is able to provide a unique value proposition to the reader by building a user- tailored magazine-like interface that immediately shows content the reader is interested in. This strategy is highly customer-solution oriented and enables online publisher to get in contact with their intended reader.

Differences

 

difference between the two is their revenue model. Blendle earns money per article they sell. They share the earnings with the publisher. Therefore only paid content is offered. This revenue model empowers them to offer their services without any advertisements. Flipboard does not profit from selling paid articles, they don’t share earnings with publishers. Their revenue model is based upon advertisement. Their position between readers and publishers is where they get their earnings from: they can offer advertisers the possibilities for targeted marketing, seeing the fact that they have good knowledge about the interests of the readers.

Conclusion & Opinion

We believe both companies reacted well to the changing market and therefore will have a fortunate future. Still they need to adapt to new trends in the news industry and be careful for new entrants that could threaten their current business. Considering the fact that both companies have a first mover advantage, the new entrants will have a hard time in taking over the position of Blendle and Flipboard.

Max van Hilten (417357mh)

Thijs Sicking (350118ms)

Marco Stoppini (44015ms)

Victor Vink (345936vv)

Rutger Vogelsang (435718rv)

Price discrimination in Practice

Sometimes, we as consumers are not aware of the practice of price discrimination. In addition, price discrimination does not always occur in a righteous manner. Then the following question pops up into the mind; is price discrimination actually an honest way of doing business?

Price discrimination

While, there are actually people who as customer discovered an unfair way of dealing of the company Telenet. According to these customers, Telenet applied different policies regarding the price increase of their subscription among different customers of the company. This company gave multifarious amount of discounts to different customers and this just depended whether how actively they had complained about this issue or not (Reijerman, 2015). According to me, some kind of price discrimination can be a righteous manner of handling, but the policy should be fixed, transparent and be made public at beforehand. The way Telenet has done business is an unacceptable manner.

Additionally, many web shops, but also banks, credit card companies and insurances companies try to estimate how much their customers can spend to optimize their incomes. Subsequently, they adapt their prices to the information they have gathered. And this again differs per customer. The main weapon of these companies are ‘cookies’, these cookies help them to collect all kind of information of their (future) customers (Groot, 2012). As it may have attracted many of our attentions, almost all of the websites we visit ask to accept their cookies to make optimal use of their websites. Actually, sometimes I am forced to accept these cookies even if I do not want it as otherwise I cannot see the content of a specific website. What do you think of this situation?

Cookies

However, fortunately, these online price discrimination actions can be beaten. Maybe you know them already, but it is not bad to mention them. According to Carmi Levy you can play the waiting game with online web shops. When you are thinking of buying an item, just put it into your shopping chart, do not check out and just leave it that way. He has experienced that they will return to you, and well, with a discount coupon. Secondly, always adjust your cookie settings. By doing so, you remove the data advantage of these web shops. And last but not least, you can ‘turn on private or incognito browsing’. This just minimizes the amount of data that is shared with online shops (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/online-price-discrimination-exists-and-it-can-be-beaten-1.3072746, 2015). Maybe this will not remove price discrimination, but it is a way to diminish the power of the online retailers. What is your opinion regarding this topic?

370681pd

Sources:

Groot, A. (2012) ‘Digitale schaduw en prijsdiscriminatie’, last visited on 10 October 2015 via http://www.radartv.nl/columns/archief/detail/article/digitale-schaduw-en-prijsdiscriminatie/.

‘Online price discrimination exists – and it can be beaten’ (2015) last visited on 10 October 2015 via http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/online-price-discrimination-exists-and-it-can-be-beaten-1.3072746.

Reijerman, D. (2015) ‘Boze klanten beschuldigen Telenet van prijsdiscriminatie’, last visited on 10 October 2015 via http://tweakers.net/nieuws/100897/boze-klanten-beschuldigen-telenet-van-prijsdiscriminatie.html.

The cons of IT

Ever thought about the cons of IT? Probably not, because most of the time, only the advantages of the developments in the IT sector are highlighted. And yes, there are some great developments. But, there are some serious drawbacks on several IT-projects too. In this blog I’d like to point out a few of them.

Think of printing your assignment at the university. This is only possible for the owners of a smartphone, since you have to pay for it with the MyOrder application (Erasmus University Rotterdam, 2015). This is a serious limitation for people who do not own a smartphone or are not able to use one. It implicates that you have to keep move with the times, otherwise you are limited in your possibilities.

Yet another example within the university: why do we have to work with four different IT-systems? I’ll explain: you make use of Blackboard, Sin-Online, Osiris and have to retrieve the Course Guide from another system. Each of these system works different, so four times you have to find out how work with the system. And on top of that, the connection between the systems is not always optimal. This is annoying and time consuming.

Another thing that bothers me is the emission scandal at Volkswagen. A car does have a lot of software, by which comes a lot of advantages. However, this opened the possibility to gain a lot of money, by trespassing the laws regarding the allowed emission (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2015).

These are only three small examples of the disadvantages of IT. When working with and developing new IT-systems I think from this follow several guidelines: Make sure that the implementing of an IT-systems does not limit but does extend possibilities! Don’t make IT-systems too complex to work with. And probably the important hardest: always behave ethically, although it may be hard to insist.

Arjan de Winter

372092jw

References:

Erasmus University Rotterdam. (2015). Printing at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved October 10, 2015, from http://www.eur.nl/fileadmin/ASSETS/ssc_ict/documenten/Flyer_Print.pdf

United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2015, September 18). Notice of Violation. Retrieved October 10, 2015, from United States Environmental Protection Agency: http://www3.epa.gov/otaq/cert/documents/vw-nov-caa-09-18-15.pdf

Will public transport be the next Uber?

So if you have been living in the Netherlands you noticed a few things about public transport. First the public transport seldom brings you from your house door, to your destination’s door. Secondly the public transport never seems to be on your schedule. For example, if you need to be 9 am at the university, and the distance is just a 30 minutes by car. But the bus only drives by at the nearest bus stop at 8 am and 9 am, you will have to wake up earlier just for that. And let’s be honest, sleep is important.

Tired

Beaten down by the alarm

But what would happen if you could decide how late the bus picks you up and needs to bring you at your destination? And what if it was offered for the low prices of taking the bus and not the expesive cab fare? In Finland 2013 Kutsuplus started offering the citizens of Helsinki this publictransport-service-on-demand. Users need a smartphone and the application installed on it. When ordering the ride and filling in the destination, the application shows the busfare. The bus fare is just 5 euros. What is higher than the public transport, but much lower than taking a taxi. Two years later 15 busses are riding in the city and 9000 bus ride are being completed per month and 30.000 useraccounts have been made (Cohen, 2015).

The travellers pay a low price, but right now the service isn’t making a profit. The costs per ride are around 40 euros.These costs are being subsidzed by the city. The chairman of the Kutsuplus says that the service is cheaper than building a railroad or new road. In 2020 they expect to be able to operate in the black numbers. Another reason to keep this project going is the goal of decling car usage in the city.

Helskinki isn’t the only city with this service. In the US bus operator Bridje offers the same service in the cities Boston and Washington DC. And we can’t forget about car sharing services like Snappcar, or carpool services like Bla Bla Car. These services share two main goal for the consumer: lowering the travel cost and delivering a comfortable travel.

Personally I have used Bla Bla Car once and had a good experience with it. Snappcar and other car sharing services are still new to me, but I am willing to try them out. But I think that the public transport will have my preference. I don’t need to negotiate about a carpool price or car sharing price. So I am eagerly waiting for the public transport to transform into an on-demand service. Just the thought of not needing to wake up earlier just to catch the bus, makes me happier in life.

What do you think? Will the public transport evolve into an on-demand service? Or do you think that this is just a phase in Helsinki?

References

Barry, K. (2013) “New Helsinki bus line lets you choose your own route” [Accesed on 10 october 2015] http://www.wired.com/2013/10/on-demand-public-transit/

Brustein, J. (2014) “Helsinki’s Uber forbuses is stuck in first gear”. [Accesed on 10 october 2015] http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-05-16/helsinkis-uber-for-buses-is-stuck-in-first-gear

Cohen, R. (2015) “Een paal waar op vaste tijden een bus langsrijdt is passé’ [Accesed on 10 october 2015] http://fd.nl/morgen/1121283/een-paal-waar-op-vaste-tijden-een-bus-langsrijdt-is-passe

Wijk van, K. (2015) “Ritje Kutsuplus kost bijna 40 euro” [Accesed on 10 october 2015] http://www.ovmagazine.nl/2015/01/ritje-kutsuplus-kost-bijna-40-euro-1343/

The future of how we interact with our devices, or better: how they interact with each other

The Internet of Things is here, and it will not hesitate with its introduction. It seems as if more and more apps and devices that solve everyday problems are emerging by the second. We now have smart thermostats that adjust the temperature automatically based on time of the day, what room in the house is being used the most, and many other variable inputs. We have smart watches that measure your blood pressure, track your steps taken throughout the day, how often you stand up..etc. Name almost any everyday task, and undoubtedly someone will have come up with a way to automate it.

The question that arises here: What do we do with all of this information?

The rate at which data is created is enormous, in fact its so fast that its almost impossible to fathom the actual amount of data that exists. But as we gain more and more data on things like our habits, we must figure out ways to use them efficiently. It is not efficient to have a million devices that each measure something independently, nor would anyone want to have that (unless maybe they are a gadget geek). Rather, what we strive for in the Internet of Things age is to integrate and combine devices, to create communication between devices that actually works. We are hoping to negate having to manually enter for example your food log from your iPhone app to your grocery list so that you don’t forget to restock on your bananas for tomorrow’s study session in the library.

This brings me to the topic of APIs (application program interface), or in other words basically the ground rules of how one software interacts with another. With the increasing number of products that interact, comes an increasing complexity in the APIs. In light of this, companies such as Google are creating a move towards an API-centric future, creating a standard that will make the interaction between devices easier. This movement is currently on the rise and developers must step into the game and join. It is predicted that those who fail to join this movement could fall out of business, as products such as self-driving cars for example are great examples of the importance of acquiring and training talented individuals that work with the APIs.

Do you think that the world is ready for such a fundamental shift, or will firms lag behind or fail to acknowledge the importance of this movement?

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/27/the-future-of-coding-is-here-and-threatens-to-wipe-out-everything-in-its-path/?ncid=rss&cps=gravity_1730_-931760535667349867#.ydy9vl:jsCV

Pingbell: The solution to find your lost bicycle by simply pinging your bell!

Imagine after a nice night of going out when you decide to go home and you have to search for your bicycle! That is very annoying and time consuming! I think a lot of students have experienced this problem! There are mobile apps available that can help you to find your car back, but what will a bicyclist do when he or she lost the bicycle somewhere? There is a solution: Pingbell!

Frolic a design studio in Amsterdam started a Kickstarter campaign for Pingbell. Kickstarter is a large American funding platform for creative projects.
Using a special bicycle bell and your Smartphone, you can easily find your bicycle! You do not have to look for a needle in a haystack anymore (Paymans, 2015).

How does it work?
The bicycle can be found back, because of a built-in Bluetooth receiver. An application has to be downloaded and are available for iOS and Android. The application will show a map where the bicycle is located (Pingbell, 2015).

A second way to find your bicycle is to ring your bell by just push the Ping-button in the app. The sound of the bell will help to locate the bicycle (Frolic Studio, 2015).

There is one last way that can be used to find the bicycle. The mobile app has also a to function to turn on a small light on the bell, which can be very useful finding your bicycle while it is dark and you do not want to make noise (Frolic Studio, 2015).

The bell should be charged via an USB-cable. It is not necessary to charge the battery regularly, charging once a year is sufficient. (Frolic Studio, 2015).

Design
The design is very simple like Frolic mentions: “We’ve simplified the design and user-experience so that it fits right into your life without demanding your attention.” (Frolic Studio, 2015)

Not to forget, this bell can even be used as a normal bell. It does not look like a high-tech gadget. The chances the bell will be stolen are therefore very little (Paymans, 2015).

Crowd funding
Frolic needs 40.000 Euros to realise this project and therefore started a crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter. They already collected 11000 Euros. People who support this project with an amount above 39 Euros, and the project will succeed, will receive a Pingbell (Van Veen, 2015; Paymans, 2015).

I think that people who often lost their bicycle will really appreciate this idea. It is very useful, especially in cities where a lot of people travel by bicycle. Frolic could also try to use opportunities like collaborating with bicycle manufacturers. The Pingbell could be already on the bicycle when people will buy it.
The idea of the Pingbell is very creative and original, but I doubt that the amount of 40.000 will collected. Although, I have my fingers crossed!

What do you think about this project? Will it be successful in the Netherlands? Would you support this project and eventually use the Pingbell? Would it be a good idea for Frolic to approach bicycle manufacturers to make this project a success? Will this new project have an effect on the amount of stolen bicycles?

Author: Arvin Moensi – 349430

References:
van Veen, S. (2015) Vind je fiets terug met Pingbell [online] available at: http://appevent.com/nieuws/vind-je-fiets-terug-met-pingbell

Paymans, L. (2015) Pingbell: met deze slimme fietsbel raak je jouw fiets nooit meer kwijt [online] available at:
http://www.iculture.nl/pingbell-slimme-fietsbel/

Mixed Grill (2015) Nooit meer je fiets kwijt dankzij Pingbell [online] available at: http://www.mixedgrill.nl/2015/09/14/nooit-meer-je-fiets-kwijt-dankzij-pingbell/

Frolic (2015) Pingbell [online] available at:
http://pingbell.frolicstudio.com/

Facebook is going to provide internet from space

Facebook and Eutalsat (a French company that provides satellite communication services) announced a partnership in which they will be working on a new initiative to give more African people access to the internet. To make this happen the companies launch a satellite, called the AMOS-6, in the second half of 2016.

Internet.org

This new initiative is part of Facebooks other initiative called Internet.org.
Internet.org is an initiative lead by Facebook
which main task is to provide an internet connection for two third of people living on earth that currently don’t have access to the internet. They try to do this with the help of big technology companies (like Samsung and Nokia), NGO’s and local companies. (internet.org, 2015)

The Satellite

Satalite connectionThe AMOS-6 satellite, which is still under construction, is being equipped with high gain spot beams. A spot beam is a
beam of radio signals directed to a specific area on earth (See picture) (techfaq, 2014), in this particular case the sub-sahara region. With this high gain spot beam the satellite is able to send an internet signal to millions
of people living in the sub-Sahara region. Internet.Org will work with the local partners in the region to help potential users get access.

Form of altruism or self just interest?

What is the main reason behind this initiative of Facebook? Is it really a form of altruism? No, not really. The free services offered by the internet.org initiative only offer a select number of free services. One of those services is Facebook. This is possible because these were the terms the local carriers (the service companies that provide the internet) agreed upon during negotiation with internet.org. Earlier this year a group of Indian publishers and companies (which also consists a lot of startup companies) removed their services from internet.org, because they think internet.org violates the basic principles of the internet, the internet neutrality. They believe that the services offered by internet.org have an advantage over other services that aren’t available on the app. (Lapowsky, 2015)

To conclude, it is a good thing Facebook is trying to make the world a better place. A world where everyone has a connection with the internet.  But the reasons behind it are a little bit concerning.  The only one that benefits from it are Facebook and its partners. The, mostly, poor people living in those ‘helped’ regions have never seen the internet before. They don’t know what it is and don’t know all the features and possibilities it consists of. By giving them connection with only a small number of free services the net neutrality, which is so ‘supported’ by Mr Zuckerberg’, is in danger. People never heard of the internet, but they sure know Facebook.

 References

Eutelsat (2015), Eutelsat and Facebook to partner on satellite initiative to get more Africans online, http://news.eutelsat.com/pressreleases/eutelsat-and-facebook-to-partner-on-satellite-initiative-to-get-more-africans-online-1228638, 07-10-2015

HindustianTimes (2015), Dear Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is not, and should not be the internet, 17 april 2015

Internet.org (2015), https://internet.org/, 07-10-2015

Lapowsky (2015), Mark Zuckerberg Can’t Have It Both Ways on Net Neutrality, http://www.wired.com/2015/04/internet-org-zero-rating/, 08-10-2015

Shu, S. (2015), Facebook And Eutelsat Partner To Deliver Internet To Africa From Space, http://techcrunch.com/2015/10/06/facebookeutelsat/?ncid=rss&cps=gravity_1462_7901987268675740304, 07-10-2015

Tech-Faq (2015) http://www.tech-faq.com/spot-beam.html

Wall, M. (2015), Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg hits back in Internet.org India row, http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-32349480, 09-10-2015

How SMS technology has changed the world for thousands of people in India’s rural areas

Nowadays, we can not imagine how life looks like without access to internet and telecom. Using the internet and telecom is learned to use by our parents, teachers and by finding out ourselves. For instance, it’s a common practice that we transfer money to one another through an app on our phone and that we check the weather before we leave the house.

 In countries such as India and especially the rural area’s of India, mobile telephony and the internet are not so widespread and access to it is very limited. More than half of the Indians does posses a cell phone and only uses the basic functions such as texting and calling. Technology has advanced so quickly, but for this part of the population the means are not available to take advantage it. Reasons for this may be that the costs are to high, cell towers do not reach so far, there is not enough electricity to charge the devices or simply because of the lack of knowing how to use a mobile phone.

 What we can see arising these days is the emergence of functions that the western world is currently using, applied to the technology of ten years ago. The applications are very widespread, from giving farmers farming advice to notifying the labor force of job opportunities and even educating citizens and sharing views on topics is done via calls and texts.

 One of my favorite applications is one giving mothers access to healthcare aid and information. Through Interactive Voice Response (the technology behind the annoying choice menu’s, when you try to contact your bank, for example), women can consult doctors that can give them the appropriate aid and advice. Through cell phones, it is also possible to find the exact location of these women, so that if necessary help can be guided to the right direction. The system also provides benefits to the government itself, as the mothers have the ability to register themselves and their newborns, providing them with additional demographic information. The government will also be able to track the births, the deaths and their possible causes, to improve their services.

It is nice to see how innovations can still occur in technologies that are basically worn out by the western world. And I am very curious what will follow next. Which technology – written of by the western world – can improve the lives in the rural areas in India?

PS: Did you know that merely one third of the Indian population in the rural areas has access to a toilet as opposed to more than the half of these citizens possessing a cell phone.

356897

Sources:

http://www.w3.org/2008/02/MS4D_WS/papers/cdac-mobile-healthcare-paper.pdf

http://www.mhtf.org/2014/05/05/using-mobile-phones-to-report-informal-fees-requested-for-maternal-health-care/

http://e-mamta.gujarat.gov.in/

http://zeenews.india.com/exclusive/mobiles-preferred-over-toilets-in-rural-india_3499.html

Kickstarter is now a Public Benefit Corporation

It is a common criticism of tech companies these days: They say they want to change the world, but what they really want to change is how much money they have in the bank (The New York Times, 2015). Businesses like Uber, Airbnb and Dropbox have all raised billions from venture capitalists and big money managers, with the aim of large profits. The Billion Dollar Startup Club, venture-backed private companies valued at 1 billion dollars or more, became three times as big in less than two years (Wall Street Journal, 2015).

And then there is Kickstarter, the popular online crowdfunding website that lets people raise money to help fund all manner of projects. The co-founders of Kickstarter could have tried to take their company public or sell it, earning millions of dollars for themselves and other shareholders (The New York Times, 2015). Instead, last month they announced that Kickstarter is the first big tech company ever that is reincorporating as a Public Benefit Corporation.

Public benefit corporations are a relatively new designation that has been signed into law by a number of states in the US. Benefit corporations are for-profit companies that are obligated to consider the impact of their decisions on society and the environment, not only shareholders (Kickstarter, 2015). Under the designation, companies must aim to do something that would aid the public and include that goal in their corporate charter. Board members must also take that public benefit into account when making decisions, and the company has to report on its social impact (The New York Times, 2015).

Kickstarters’ co-founders say they want to make choices that are in best interest of the company. Personally, I think this is a bold, positive step. They can be more focused on their overall mission and less on the value of their equity. They still can make profit, only consider profit to be the means and not the exclusive end goal of their business. I think companies that align their values with their customers and society will benefit over the long term. Let it be an example for the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Sources:

https://www.kickstarter.com/blog/kickstarter-is-now-a-benefit-corporation

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/technology/kickstarters-altruistic-vision-profits-as-the-means-not-the-mission.html?_r=0

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/daily-report-kickstarter-becomes-a-public-benefit-corporation/?_r=0

http://graphics.wsj.com/billion-dollar-club/

 

Why you will never meet Bob: The takeover of Ticketfly by Pandora

Ilistening-music_0magine sitting in a train. Take a look at the person on your left hand side. Meet Bob. You don’t know Bob, and you will never get to know Bob, as Bob is staring out of the window with his headphones on. Look straight ahead again. There is a couple sitting opposite of you, sharing a set of earphones and head-banging on music you cannot hear. At the back of the train, you suddenly see your friend Denise, and you call out her name; unfortunately, she does not seem to hear you as she is fully engaged in a new Spotify playlist she just discovered. You decide to pull out your headphones and put on the new album of Mumford & Sons.

Music is everywhere. Music has been everywhere for decades, yet recently, a new technological development disrupted the entire industry; streaming services. Companies such as Spotify, Rdio, Apple Music, Pandora and Tidal are all engaged in fierce competition to attract most paying customers. However, these companies face two problems. Firstly, although customers seem to grow very fond of music streaming services – almost 15 billion numbers were streamed in the United Kingdom in 2014 (The Guardian 2015), and United States music streaming revenues surged to over 1 billion dollars in the first half of 2015 (Statista 2015) -, these services still do not make enough revenue to become profitable. Secondly, artists do not love streaming services as much as users do. We all can recall the moment that Taylor Swift decided to withdraw her music from Spotify, and other artists as Beyonce and Ed Sheeran have also attempted to get around the influence of these streaming services. As can be derived from the ongoing discussion regarding streaming royalties, it seems that artists do not feel treated fairly by these businesses (The Economist 2015).

However, yesterday Pandora announced a takeover that might mark a change in the relationship between artists and streaming services. With its takeover of Ticketfly, an online concert ticketing service similar to Ticketmaster, Pandora will soon be able to directly sell concert tickets to music listeners. Whilst services as Pandora and Spotify were already promoting the sales of tickets through ads leading the listener to third-party websites, Pandora has now decided to move the entire purchase process to within its own ecosystem.

Pandora can use its experience in data collection to specifically target customers that might be interested in concert tickets from a certain artist. Apart from strengthening the ties between listening to music and visiting a concert hence increasing the music experience for users, Pandora also strengthens bonding with artists by this takeover. As concert tickets sales is still booming business (Techcrunch 2015) and has even become the main source of income for artists (Forbes 2015), artists will eventually be able to leverage the enormous user database of Pandora and even specifically target their ideal customer, without having to pay any additional promotion costs.

For Pandora itself, the acquisition of Ticketfly might also create more opportunities to generate revenue, and perhaps turn into a profitable business on the long-run. Pandora seems to have found a unique way to use its massive amounts of data to increase value for both parties simultaneously in its two-sided market, therefore increasing pressure on competitors such as Spotify and Apple Music.

Do you think that with this step, Pandora has revolutionised the music streaming service industry once again, ensuring that Bob can get involved even further with his favourite bands? Do other music streaming services have to follow? Or do you think there is another answer to low profits and weak bonds with artists?

Sources:

The Economist 2015, The dry stream of musicians’ royalties. Viewed 9 October 2015. Accessible via <http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2015/09/music-business>.

Forbes 2015, Pandora’s purchase of Ticketfly finally good news for shareholders. Viewed 9 October 2015. Accessible via <http://www.forbes.com/sites/bobbyowsinski/2015/10/08/pandoras-purchase-of-ticketfly-finally-good-news-for-shareholders/>.

The Guardian 2015, Streaming: the future of the music industry, or its nightmare? Viewed 9 October 2015. Accessible via <http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jan/02/streaming-music-industry-apple-google>.

Statista 2015, Music streaming revenues surpass physical format sales. Viewed 9 October 2015. Accessible via <http://www.statista.com/chart/3852/us-music-industry-revenues/>.

Techcrunch 2015, Pandora Acquires Ticketfly for $450m to sell concert tickets. Viewed 9 October 2015. Accessible via <http://techcrunch.com/2015/10/07/pandora-acquires-ticketfly-for-450m-in-a-bid-to-sell-tickets-to-live-music-shows/#.db6ey8:pyx4>.