Smart tech is a new term for tech that connects to the Internet or communicates machine-to-machine. It has a rapid development these years, from heating our homes, leading people to recycling now to keep a watchful eye on people’s daily lives. Recently, Chinese search engine Baidu has created chopsticks (known as “Kuaisou” in Chinese) -that can detect whether the food is safe to eat (The guardian, 2014).
How does it work?
In early Spring of 2014, this idea of the device was born of an April Fool video in China, but then it generates lots of excitement that encourages this joke idea to become a reality.
The version 1.0 pair of smart chopsticks was revealed in the beginning of September 2014, it runs alongside a smartphone app to judge the freshness of the oil used for cooking, when you placed the chopsticks in three cups of cooking oil, sensors attached inside are able to tell the temperature, PH levels and also calories. If the oil is not fresh, the chopsticks flash a red light.
Although now this idea is not being commercially produced yet, it can give rise to the public concerns since it is a marvelous example of how technology can be used for the power of food—not just making our lives more convenient, but actually leading people a safe life. It detects any anomalies within their food in such fast, easy and averagely accurate manner that everyone can use/check it.
It is said that China has the largest market for this product because of the severity of food safety, specifically the food threats such as pork spray painted red to make it beef or food coated in paint can be solved. Even in Europe there are also food scandals such as poisonous cooking oil, dioxin laced chickens, which can be solved by this technology. In addition, the intelligent part of it is not chopstick itself but the sensor implemented inside. That good idea can later on also be used in folks or knives as a smart device.
However, I am considering that will this technology be over-sensitive, if all people turn to care more about the detailed food elements since they start to use the chopsticks to check, will it be a kind of risk that people are afraid of eating some food which should have be fine to be eaten but get bad results through this pair of chopsticks? Then can people still enjoy the food? Moreover, whether and how to make this tech go into commercial production? As the development is still in its first stage, the company just made only a few limited run of prototypes, there is no exact release date or a pre-set price for that. We will see how Baidu define its international market in the near future.
Bea, F., 2014. A spin on Google Glass and smart chopsticks on Baidu’s menu. [blog] Available at: <http://www.cnet.com/news/a-spin-on-google-glass-and-smart-chopsticks-from-chinese-search-company-baidu/> %5BAccessed 26 September 2014]
Donews, 2014. Tech.ifeng.com [online] Available at: <http://tech.ifeng.com/a/20140903/40785057_0.shtml> %5BAccessed 27 September 2014]
The Guardian, 2014. China launches chopsticks that tell you if your food is safe to eat. [online] Available at: <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/04/baidu-china-search-engine-smart-chopsticks-food-safety> %5BAccessed 26 September 2014]
Nowadays we keep talking about the advantages and opportunities of e-commerce, actually when the platform has gradually transformed from the Internet to mobile phones, it is even worth to explore the m-commerce. Mobile-commerce, literally is the use of wireless handheld devices such as phones/pads to conduct commercial transactions online. M-commerce transactions continue to grow dramatically, and the term includes the purchase and sale of a wide range of goods and services, online banking, information delivery and so on.
As mobile commerce and payment transactions boom over the world, Tencent, the burgeoning Chinese internet company with its prime instant messenger app-WeChat is ambitious to become a key international player.
The latest version of this app(WeChat 5.0) integrated online-payment functions in order to verify service accounts running on its platform. Service Account is one of the public accounts that companies or merchants can apply for, relying on it companies are able to do business directly with its subscribed users(Incitez China, 2013). For example, Nike’s official account is able to sell products to its WeChat followers. Furthermore, WeChat is going to widen its app payment options so that users will not have to leave the app or have more procedures to make any purchases.
Early 2014 there is rapid penetration of WeChat payment among Southern Asian users. On the one hand, Tencent pushes its payment service through the cooperation with domestic Didi Taxi in the mobile taxi-hailing market, which enables WeChat payment to go into daily lives of common users as it subsidizes taxi-hailers who use WeChat to pay for cab fair. On the other hand, the POS payment service that can conquer the O2O market has already been launched in many cities in China. After users buying something in a physical store, the merchants types the total amount in the WeiPOS machine that will generate a QR code, and then the consumer will scan this code using WeChat and will be redirected to WeChat payment to confirm the transaction.
Generally, many pioneers have made active attempts at a viable business model of WeChat m-commerce which has been established with a mature industry chain. In addition, WeChat-based third-party platforms sprung up to provide small and medium-sized merchants with website design, data services and other operations services in order to make it easier for vendors to establish mobile presence on WeChat. Furthermore, along with the development of user behavior, customers are now willing to purchase items or get convenient services via WeChat.
As the WeChat is trying to go global, there will be many struggles. It (Tenpay system) not only has to compete with Alipay, but also has to check if its APIs can work well in western society. So my question are; Have you considered using WeChat in the future to purchase goods online or offline? What are the main things this Chinese tech giant needs to pay more attention to when it is trying to go global?
Collins, A., 2013. WeChat Goes Global – Watch Out West. [blog] Available at: <http://www.business2community.com/social-media/wechat-goes-global-watch-out-west-0562484> [Accessed 22 September 2014].
Incitez China, 2013. Chinainternetwatch.com. [online] Available at: <http://www.chinainternetwatch.com/3357/trilogy-wechat-service-account/> [Accessed 21 September 2014].
Xiang, T., 2014. Technode.com. [online] Available at:<http://technode.com/2014/03/05/wechat-payment-open-to-all-businesses/> [Accessed 21 September 2014].
Our Technology of the Week Project focused on B2C e-commerce. We have critically analyzed the e-commerce platforms Bol.com and FindTheBest.com (FTB). Nowadays, increasing consumer informedness has changed consumer’s buying behaviors and also has led companies to provide more products or services online to satisfy their customers. To influence buying decisions and willingness-to-pay, ‘pure’ online sale channels are no longer sufficient. Potential buyers are not only interested in viewing what people with similar preferences have bought but also what their experience with the product was. Furthermore, they expect personalized product suggestions based on their browsing history and discounts.
Bol.com is one of the largest online retailers in the Netherlands. On Bol.com customers can compare products, see reviews and ratings. It is also possible to buy second-hand goods there. Moreover, it uses ‘Plaza’, a platform to sell third-party products. It is a way to expand its offered product range by allowing competitors to sell their products on it. In addition, Bol.com earns a percentage and fixed amount from them.
FTB.com is more like a search engine. It allows product comparisons based on prices, smart rating and other product specifications. The biggest difference here is that it does not own the product but it will provide links from trustworthy and affiliated online shops to purchase the selected product. FTB.com goes beyond a traditional search engine and comparison engines. Besides aggregating the data from a wide variety of sources, it also offers a ‘smart rating’ system that combines the expert rating and its own quantitative rating systems based on attributes.
Both companies use big datasets to simplify and customized customer search results. Bol.com reviews are mostly made by consumers. On FTB, however, there are many analytic graphs and processed information to elaborate on the comparison of prices or product properties. In addition, FTB has launched a function that allows users with blogs to embed the exact product information from its page on their own blogs. This way of blog marketing causes a wider effect of word-of-mouth. As for trading down/out, Bol.com gives customers the option to search for the best discount offering, while FTB focuses on where to buy it, enabling stronger trading down from a customer perspective. Both company strategies support ‘trading out’ by helping customers to find products that perfectly fit their needs.
After analyzing Bol.com and FTB, we came to conclusion that they offer similar products but the means by which they try to achieve their goals are different, since the two business models highly differ. Bol.com is a sophisticated online retailer that owns the product and hence has a different risk level. However, FTB as a price comparison engine, aggregates big datasets and offers structured information to users and help them make the ‘best’ decisions.
Ahold, 2012. Press release: Ahold aquires leading online retailer Bol.com [online] Available at: <https://www.ahold.com/Media/Ahold-acquires-leading-online-retailer-bol.com.htm?channel=mobile> [Accessed 18 September 2014].
Ahold, 2014. Bol.com creates personal shop environment on the smartphone [online] Available at:<http://pers.bol.com/2014/09/bol-com-creeert-persoonlijke-winkelomgeving-op-smartphone/#more-2896> [Accessed 15 September 2014]
FindTheBest, 2014. FindTheBest.com. [online] Available at: <www.findthebest.com/get-to-know-us> [Accessed 16 September 2014].
FindTheBest, 2014. FindTheBest.com. [online] Available at: <http://www.findthebest.com/our-company> [Accessed 18 September 2014]
Goodwin, D., 2012. Organic vs. Paid Search Results: Organic Wins 94% of Time. [blog] Available at: <http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2200730/Organic-vs.-Paid-Search-Results-Organic-Wins-94-of-Time> [Accessed 17 September 2014].