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How will we interact with the world around us?

Do you also sometimes feel the need to get more info from a physical object, such as knowing where the nearest cinema is from the movie on the poster you just spotted at the bus stop? Or know a bit more about that historic buiding you’re in front of? Sometimes you see a QR-code present and you need to look in your phone to find that scanner app if you even have it. Well Google is developing a new standard for the way we will interact with the world around us (the internet of things) using the physical web.

How does it work?
The physical web is a new approach for smartphones to interact with objects on demand while not having to download an app first. Through the use of a Bluetooth low energy beacon, a physical object is able to send a URL once every second. Such a small device can maintain power for five years on a single charge. Once you get your phone out of your pocket, you can see what Bluetooth devices are nearby trough the Bluetooth scanner (off course the user has to give permission). If your scanner picks up something, the most relevant links to webpages are displayed, the same as if you search for something on Google. Once you click on the link you will be redirected to the webpage.

Why URLs?
URLs are the most understood, flexible and accepted form to visit a webpage. These links can send you to a website, a specific webpage or even deep link into a native application on your phone.

An example
You as a user walk up to a parking meter in order to pay for your car. You get your smartphone out of your pocket and scan your surroundings for nearby devices. You click on the parking meter and are redirected to a webpage. Through the use of an internet socket you are connected to the specific parking meter. On the webpage you select the preferred time, and you click on pay and you’re on your way.

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The physical web standard of Google is only used for making the initial connection from the device to your smartphone. Once you as a user click on the transmitted link the rest is handled in the cloud through the website.

Other examples:

  • A cat collar that lets you find and call the owner.
  • A bus can tell you when its next stop is.
  • Equipment that lets you find the manual.
  • Movie poster that tells you when the next screening is at the cinema.
  • And many more.
  • Vending machines that let you choose a product and pay, instead of needing NFC or other types of payment.
  • A table at a restaurant that lets you order drinks though your phone.

Final thoughts
As the internet of things is becoming bigger and bigger, new standards have to be developed to let the users communicate with these devices easier. I think Google’s physical web standard is doing a good job in making these connections as easy as possible. To be successful in my opinion such functionality will have to be implemented standard in every smartphone operating system to reach a large user base. Do you think this is the way we will connect with our surroundings?

References:
https://google.github.io/physical-web/

http://postscapes.com/googles-physical-web-suggests-urls-not-apps-are-the-future-of-the-internet-of-things

http://radar.oreilly.com/2015/04/googles-physical-web-vs-apples-ibeacon.html

The Future of Working

The internet of things is currently a hot topic and has the potential to disrupt the way industries an we as individuals work and live (Gartner, 2015). Yet in our daily lives many of these technologies we see are not connected to each other to make a truly integrated system. There is however a new office building in Amsterdam called the Edge, who declares itself the world’s most sustainable office building.


The Edge, which opened its doors on 29 May 2015, is a multi-tenant office building that is far ahead of its time in terms of quality, sustainability and user comfort (The Edge). The moment you wake up as an employee, your connected to the building. Your schedule is checked, and when you arrive at the office, your car is recognized and you are directed to one of the parking spots with electric powering for your electric vehicle. When you enter the building you are appointed to one of the types of desks in the building based on your schedule (sitting desk, standing desk, work booth, meeting room, balcony seat, or concentration room) (Randall, 2015). By using this appointing technology the office is able to provide 2,500 employees a working space with only 1,000 desks. Once you arrive at your desk, the temperature and lighting changes to your preferences. Currently the office provides 39,673 square meter of floor office, whereby 92,3% is rented and there are in total more 28,000 sensors in the whole building. Data is constantly stored and used for big data analysis to optimise every possible aspect of the building.

The British rating agency BREEAM, gave the the Edge the highest sustainability score ever awarded: 98,4 percent. Not only do employees experience the comfort and stimulating working environment, the building produces more electricity than it uses. Thermal energy is stored 130 below the ground and generates the required heating and cooling of the building. In the summer when it is hot, warm water is stored and isolated below the ground and in the winter this energy is used.

While this building provides us an insight of what the future of working might hold, the question is if office building and possibly homes will look this way in the future? Or is this just a prestige project carried out by multiple partners? What aspects do you think will be implemented in offices in the near feature? What are your thoughts on this?

Works Cited

Gartner. (2015). The Internet of Things Enables Digital Business. Retrieved September 27, 2015, from Gartner.com: http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/internet-of-things/

Randall, T. (2015, September 23). The Smartest Building in the World. Retrieved September 27, 2015, from Bloomberg Business: http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2015-the-edge-the-worlds-greenest-building/

The Edge. (n.d.). Info. Retrieved September 27, 2015, from The Edge: http://www.the-edge.nl/en/info

Technology of the Week: Ordering your food online: Jumbo pick-up points and HelloFresh

In the 20th century, during the internet bubble, there was a lot of doubt about the role of the internet. People had the idea that brick and mortar locations would become less and less important. Nowadays people buy their groceries online which makes it much faster. An important question to ask ourselves should be, if this new formula for the food market could be successful?

In the Netherlands, the electronic food market is quite innovative. This blogpost focuses on the business models of two innovative firms; Jumbo e-commerce (Pick Up points) and Hello Fresh. Jumbo pick-up points are chosen instead of AH online ordering, due to the successful profit formula Jumbo uses and their market leadership with pick-up points.

Jumbo Pick-up Points
Jumbo, founded in 1921, is a supermarket chain operating in the Netherlands with over 500 stores and is currently the second largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands with a 20.6% market share as of 2014. Since 2014, Jumbo started operating online with several options within its innovative model. First of all, people can choose to pick it up at ‘Walk-in Pick Up point’ in local stores, avoiding queues. Secondly, Jumbo introduced the drive-through at several stores. Lastly, Jumbo created ‘Solo Pick Up point’ for customers who travel a lot by car. Jumbo uses their success formula for every physical and now digital store(s):

Best service + Biggest assortment x lowest prices = Jumbo.

Hello Fresh
HelloFresh was founded in 2011 in Germany by two guys looking to stir up the way people purchase and prepare their meals. Their idea involves people visiting the HelloFresh website where they can order healthy and simple meals of their choice from numerous different recipes. Currently, HelloFresh serves 4 million meals per month, spread over 7 countries. The revenue model that HelloFresh employs is a relatively simple one that is subscription based.

Comparison
The first similarity between the two business models is defined by their incentive; both make it more convenient for the customer to buy their groceries. Secondly the market opportunities, HelloFresh and Jumbo operate both in the electronic food market, which is expected to grow to a 5% share of the total food market by 2015 and 20% by 2020. Jumbo is currently the market leader in pick-up points which gives them an advantage. On the other hand, HelloFresh boosted themselves with aggressive marketing tactics, which gave them a positive brand name.

Conclusion
Both Jumbo and HelloFresh operate in the e-grocery market, but via different business models. Although Jumbo was not the first to enter this market, they have established themselves well by being market leader in pick-up points. HelloFresh, is also an innovative concept, but easy to copy. They will have fierce competition, and will need to overcome this by having a sound strategy. It will be interesting to see how these companies will operate in the future and what innovations they will make.

References
Impact online food retail. food-circle.nl. Retrieved 15 September 2015, from
http://uk.businessinsider.com/e-commerce-disrupting-huge-grocery-market-2014-12?r=US&IR=

Smal, E. (2015). Jumbo gaat boodschappen nu ook thuisbezorgen. nrc.nl. Retrieved 13 September 2015, from http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2015/08/25/jumbo-gaat-boodschappen-nu-ook-thuisbezorgen/

Insights (2015). Visie op Supermarkten – Insights. Retrieved 13 September 2015 from
https://insights.abnamro.nl/visie-op-sector/2014/visie-op-supermarkten/

Emerce.nl (2015). Emerce.nl – Jumbo Supermarkten opent Webwinkel Jumbo.com. Retrieved 14 September 2015, from http://www.emerce.nl/nieuws/jumbo-supermarkten-opent-webwinkel-jumbocom

HelloFreshGroup,com (2015). Welcome To HelloFresh. Retrieved 13 September 2015, from
http://www.hellofreshgroup.com/

Gorczynski, T., Kooijman, D. (2015), The real estate effects of e-commerce for supermarkets in the Netherlands, The International Review of Retail, vol 25: 379-406.

Team 20
Daan van Amelsvoort   – 370068
Daan van der Vleuten – 437197
Stefan Bouts – 440300
Rick Vrouwenvelder – 419282
Bram van der Doelen – 374642