Tag Archive | BIM

Vending Machines in Japan: The Next Marketing Tool?

You are rushing to get your train but want to grab a drink before getting on. Next thing you will probably do is heading to the “kiosk” or the vending machines. In the Netherlands, for a small amount we can easily get a drink or a candy bar from the vending machines at the stations. However, in Japan, the vending machine is much more than that.

Vending Machines in Japan
At first glance, the vending machines are not that different than the ones we are used to. You put coins in the machines and you will get the product that you have selected. However, what makes them remarkable is that there are a bunch of them in Japan. It is estimated that there is about 5.52 million vending machines in Japan, which is even more than the total population of New Zealand (Jnto, 2015).
The vending machines in Japan also include bizarre contents which makes it unique: hot meals, fresh lettuce, cup noodles, flowers, umbrellas and even used underwear. You name it, they have it!

Next-generation vending machines
Vending machines has been already for over 50 years in Japan. However, technology is the key behind that keeps it evolving. For instance, there are vending machines with solar panels and touch panels that can sense the demographic of the customer. This allows the machine to suggest a drink on the display (Ryall, 2010). This is just a small example as there are tons of new features that could be added by companies to make a better user experience.
Recently, the company Kirin even implemented a selfie feature in their vending machine. The vending machine is fitted with a large LCD display and camera. The idea is that you can take a free selfie and share it with your friends through Line, a popular smartphone-messaging app in Japan. The service will be only offered free for those who buy a drink (Ashcraft, 2015). This is definitely a fun and exciting experience for customers. However, in my opinion there are lots of implications and potential in this Selfie Vending Machine. There could be branded backgrounds and localized digital content right there in images with you. Or when the Vending machine is not in use, the display can also show advertisements for products.

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Japan is famous for its vending machines. However, it is not just the sheer number that exists in the country what makes it fascinating, but how they make these machines their own in a unique way. In combination of Technology, they keep improving their vending machines and create a better user experience for customers. There is huge potential in these vending machines and seems to unlock new ways of branding. So what do you think? Would we be able to improve our vending machines like the ones in Japan?

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References
Ashcraft, B. (2015) ‘Japanese Vending Machines Now Taking Selfies’, http://www.kotaku.com.au/2015/10/japanese-vending-machines-now-taking-selfies/, October 8, 2015.

JNTO(2015) ‘Vending Machines’ , http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/indepth/cultural/hj/vendingmachines.html, 2015.

Ryall, J. (2010) ‘Japanese vending machine tells you what you should drink’,  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8136743/Japanese-vending-machine-tells-you-what-you-should-drink.html, November 16, 2010.

Detecting Anomalies in Large Data Sets

Data has become a common concern recently. Both companies and individuals have had to deal with information in multiple ways in order to improve or obtain insight from operations. IT has allowed unprecedented new levels in data management for both these parties. This blog, however, intends to focus on companies’ management of data–more specifically, in the auditing sector.

Fraud has frequently taken place in markets historically. I like to think of Imtech as an example, for those who aren’t familiar with the company there’s no need to worry–I’m sure you have an example of your own. Drawing back to the topic of Data and Fraud, it is becoming increasingly difficult to accurately determine potential fraud cases with the increase of information available. This has given rise to the use of computer algorithms to detect these cases (Pand, Chau, Wang & Faloutsos, 2007).

An interesting way to tackle this challenge is to use mathematical laws for large numbers in order to determine anomalies within these data sets. One particularly interesting example is the application of Benford’s Law to detect these cases of fraud on company documentation (Kraus & Valverde, 2014). In short, Benford’s Law states that 30.1% of random, naturally occurring numbers starts with a 1; 17.6% with a 2; 12.5% with a 3, and so on. Logically this makes sense given our counting structure. This can be expressed as,

Where, is a number {1,2..9} and is the probability of the number starting with d.

Despite the fact that this method seems promising, Kraus and Valverde (2014), could not find any outstanding peculiarities from their data set that contained fraud perpetrators. However, this law does serve a starting point for a drill-down approach to discovering perpetrators. Which brings us to the more strategic topic of whether IT will ever develop a way to outsmart fraud perpetrators in this context? Is an eternal drill-down chase ever going to take the lead?

What do you think? Will this ever be the case? Is there any way you thought this might work out?

I think it’s pointless-of course, as everything, IT methods have their degree of accuracy. However, I firmly believe there will never be a way to completely ensure an honest and transparent market. Not long ago I heard a man say, “Does anybody here know what EBITDA stands for? Exactly. Earnings Before I Tricked the Dumb Auditor.” It’s human nature, and that might take millennia before it changes ever so slightly.

I’d like to say it was nice to write a couple blogs here, till the next time!

References

Kraus, C., & Valverde, R. (2014). A DATA WAREHOUSE DESIGN FOR THE DETECTION OF FRAUD IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN BY USING THE BENFORD’S LAW. American Journal of Applied Sciences, 11(9), 1507-1518.

Pandit, S., Chau, D. H., Wang, S., & Faloutsos, C. (2007, May). Netprobe: a fast and scalable system for fraud detection in online auction networks. InProceedings of the 16th international conference on World Wide Web (pp. 201-210). ACM.

New tech rivalry at hand?

Grab your popcorn and take a seat. We might have another Silicon Valley tech feud on our hands. This time it’s Tesla vs. Apple. There have been rumors circulating for a long time that Apple is working on a self-driving car. After reports that Apple was poaching key automotive talents from Tesla, Musk told the German business newspaper Handelsblatt: “If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple.” The Tesla CEO went on to say “They have hired people we’ve fired. ”We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla graveyard.”’ When asked whether or not he took Apple seriously as a competitor in the automotive market, Musk replied, laughing: “Did you ever take a look at the Apple Watch?” He then chuckled.

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This is a classic Goliath vs. David scenario. Some believe Musk is simply jealous, since the Apple Watch made more profit in three months than Tesla will in 2015. Musk has already taken a step back, as he tweeted that he doesn’t hate Apple and that he thinks it’s a great company with a lot of talented people. He’s still not convinced about the Apple Watch, as he said ”the functionality isn’t compelling yet, by version 3, it will be.” The Apple watch will bring in $4.4 billion in revenue this year. This is not a grand number, since Apple will be good for $233 billion in revenue in total this year. However comparing it to Tesla, who’s expected to achieve around $5.4 billion in revenue, it is pretty big. Especially when looking at the profit margins on the Apple watch.

muskBoth companies have a stellar reputations in the tech space. Yet, I do get the feeling that Musk is taking Apple lightly. He said: ”Cars are very complex compared to phones or smartwatches.” ”You can’t just go to a supplier like Foxconn and say: Build me a car.” Although he has a point, one should never count Apple out. Over the past decade or so, Apple has been very successful at fundamentally reshaping the personal-computing industry.

You’d think that the car industry is very different from the personal computing market (notebooks and phones), however Tesla’s processor supplier NVIDIA stated earlier that cars are basically supercomputers that require ”parallel processing, extensive software based architectures, and deep learning technology.” Then all of a sudden it makes a lot of sense that Apple wants a piece of the automotive market. Looking at Apple’s track record of building game changing computing devices, one should not underestimate them.

Apple has not yet responded to Musk’s comments. If Steve Jobs were still CEO at Apple this could have been very different, as he was never one to mince words. He used to be feared and famous for his tech-feuds. Jobs vs. Adobe Flash, Jobs vs. RIM, Jobs vs. John Sculley, Steve Jobs vs. IBM and of course Jobs vs. Microsoft/Bill Gates, to name a few. Apple does not shy away from taking off its gloves, as can be seen during the more recent feud between Apple and Samsung, filled with all kinds of legal assault.Gates

But let’s not get too carried away. After all, Musk has already apologised in his own way and Apple is still far away from becoming a direct competitor of Tesla. Even if they do clash, the car market is not a clear winner takes all market, so there should be room for Apple and Tesla to coexist. Right now, Tesla has other things to worry about, as its stock has dropped 11.3% in the last three months.

If you liked this blogpost and want to read more about tech feuds, check out this link: The 10 Best Tech Rivalries of All Time.


References:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/oct/09/elon-musk-apple-graveyard-fired-tesla-staff?CMP=twt_a-technology_b-gdntech

http://www.cnet.com/news/elon-musk-no-no-i-dont-hate-apple/

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/elon-musk-yo-i-dont-hate-apple-2015-10-09

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/10/10/should-tesla-motors-inc-ceo-elon-musk-really-be-di.aspx

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2391784,00.asp

http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_25661955/apple-v-samsung-jury-begins-deliberations-epic-patent

What is the future for Windows Phone?

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It was in 2010, when Microsoft brought a new innovation to the Mobile OS market, with its Windows phone 7. Although it did not turn out to be a game changer in the market, it had really brought in some interesting innovations for a mobile phone OS. ‘Live tile’ was the most important of them. It allowed users to see all the information they needed from the start screen. And they were not standalone icons like in iOS, but live tiles, which kept on updating real-time. Windows phone came at a time when Nokia was seeing its initial downfall in the market and was looking for a solid OS to compete with the likes of Samsung (Android) and Apple (iOS).

With the introduction of Windows Phone 8 in late 2012, its devices started to see some significant growth in the market. Nokia introduced Windows Phone 8 in the market with its Lumia 920 and 820 range, following it up with a low-cost Lumia 520. The devices turned out to be a hit and windows phones started seeing more than 100% year-on-year growth. Unfortunately, that saw windows phone’s last smile.  Despite the growth, Nokia could not manage to financially lift itself up from the big losses it had undergone in the previous years and ultimately ended up being acquired by Microsoft in late 2013.

What seemed to be a good deal for the growth of windows phone, turned out to be more or less the beginning of downfall of the Operating System. Since then, windows phone is making news for the wrong reasons more than the right reasons. The most important of them was seen in July 2015, when Microsoft decided to write down Nokia’s acquisition deal of $7.5b, which indicated nothing but negative signals for the future of windows phones.

A recent article published by PC Mag claimed “Microsoft Doesn’t Really Want to Sell Windows Phones in the U.S“. In the US, Microsoft Lumia devices are only available with AT&T.  Does it mean that no other carrier is interested in Windows Phones? Apparently, that is not the case. Almost every carrier in the US is open to having windows phones, but Microsoft gives them the cold shoulder. Infact, the CEO of T-Mobile, John Legere, himself had tweeted saying

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 23.59.47

Is Microsoft deliberately trying to jump into the well?  It does seem so.

What is the future for windows phone? Will it continue to exist? Was Microsoft too ambitious when it had decided to become a smartphone device maker, rather than just a software maker? Would Microsoft and Nokia have remained better off without the acquisition?

These are some of questions that pop up in everyone’s mind and unfortunately, are still debatable.

Author: Gaurav Kumar


Sources:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2492850,00.asp

http://www.computerworld.com/article/2945371/smartphones/microsoft-writes-off-76b-admits-failure-of-nokia-acquisition.html

http://uk.businessinsider.com/even-microsoft-is-giving-up-on-windows-phones-2015-7?r=US&IR=T

Let’s Talk About Sex: The Future of the Porn Industry

james-bond-007Welcome to the adult world. We love sex. And therefore, we love porn. Although reliable public statistics are difficult to find, porn is estimated to be a $97 billion dollar industry (NBCNews 2015). According to The Guardian (The Guardian 2013), traffic on adult sites easily surpasses traffic on social media- or shopping sites in the UK. And at the same time, Mindgeek, exploiter of amongst others PornHub, claims to attract over 100 million visitors a day who consume over 1.5 terabyte per second (The Economist 2015). According to above, one can easily state that the porn industry is still booming. But what makes the porn industry as successful as it is? From an information technology perspective; nerves of steel. 

Before the rise of the Internet, porn used to be exclusive. Amongst others, regulations and taboos ensured that porn was not easily available, which drove the price of porn up. When the Internet got widely available, many traditional industries faced a massive challenge – yet the professional porn industry, contrary to many other industries, quickly picked up the opportunities presented by the Internet to enhance and enrich their business model. The porn industry proved to be extremely technology-driven; according to CNN, many nowadays widely-used online technologies, such as credit-card verification and streaming video, can all “be traced back to innovations designed to share, and sell, adult content” (CNN 2010). Business Insider even states that “the concept of e-commerce (…) owes much of its early existence to porn” (Business Insider 2013). And not only did the porn industry experiment with different types of technologies; several online sales methods can be traced back to the adult industry as well.

20150926_IRC846On the other hand, the Internet has posed challenges to the professional porn industry, mainly in the form of porn tubes. A massive surge in availability of amateur porn partly contributed to the shift of porn from a speciality good to a commodity good, hence significantly lowering the price of porn. Although professional porn producers have found ways to strategically use tubes to draw customers to their sites, this industry still suffers from lower profits than before.

The porn industry tries to restore its profits by, again, embracing technological innovations and models. PornHub recently announced a crowdfunding initiative for a porn movie (shot in space); an add-free Netflix-like streaming service has been introduced; and options as Virtual Reality and robotics are currently heavily explored.

We all love sex. How do you think that the porn industry should modify its business model through information technology, in order for it to increase profits? What is the future of the porn industry?

Sources:

Business Insider 2013, Porn: The hidden engine that drives innovation in tech [online]. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-porn-drives-innovation-in-tech-2013-7?IR=T [Accessed 1 October 2015].

CNN 2010, In the tech world, porn quietly leads the way [online]. Available at: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TECH/04/23/porn.technology/ [Accessed 1 October 2015].

NBC News 2015, Things are looking up in America’s porn industry [online]. Available at:

www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/things-are-looking-americas-porn-industry-n289431 [Accessed 1 October 2015].

The Economist 2015, Naked capitalism [online]. Available at: http://www.economist.com/news/international/21666114-internet-blew-porn-industrys-business-model-apart-its-response-holds-lessons [Accessed 1 October 2015].

The Guardian 2013, Porn sites get more internet traffic in UK than social networks or shopping [online]. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/jul/26/porn-sites-internet-traffic-uk [Accessed 1 October 2015].

Your Strategy to Information

How do you stay up-to-date on what is going on in Tech world?

Living in a society in which nothing goes unseen, one should be selective  on what he or she chooses to see, otherwise you might be overwhelmed by all kinds of impressions which might not at all be relevant to your interests. Traditionally, a lot of knowledge came in through the local newspaper, a type of media which limits the control you have on learning what you want to learn. Nowadays, the News is a rapidly developing industry. News can be followed through traditional channels such as the television or the mentioned newspaper, but recently, multiple new channels have been added to the possibilities.

A good example of this is the Dutch company Blendle, which allows you to only buy specific articles of papers and magazines which you are interested in. Another is the phone application Appy Geek which allows you to only receive news about very specific topics within information technology. The web blog we are using now is a good example as well. To this, numerous other websites, applications and social media pages can be added, which can provide you with the news you are interested in.

However, how do you get to part of the internet which perfectly matches to your desires? I would say helping each other out would be a great way to start. I am sure most BIM students would like to be aware of what is going on in the world of technology. Some of us might be very familiar with the ins and outs of Information Technology and Strategy, some might not…

Therefore, my request to all of you is, to SHARE with us the media you are following to keep up-to-date on News which might be interesting for the whole group of BIM students. Facebook pages, LinkedIn groups, News applications or websites, Youtube Channels, Journals, Television programs and anything else you can possibly think of. Also, a motivation on why and how your suggestion is interesting for all of us is of course always welcome. I am very much looking forward to your comments!

Author: Colin van Lieshout
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