Tag Archive | Information technology

Wonder which country is going to become the world’s first cashless nation?

cashless

Cash may no longer be a part of this country. This country might soon stop printing notes. With no notes, no coins, people in this country would have one of the lightest pockets in the world. Soon, attempting a paper money transaction at a bank in this country might provoke a suspicious stare or a report to the police.

Wondering which country it is? If you want a clue: It is a part of Scandinavia and the country is so clean that it once even ran out of trash.  Read More…

Digital Transformation Project – Hotel Okura Amsterdam

Imagine entering your hotel room after a long flight. You are hungry and tired, but realized you forgot to make a reservation in your favourite restaurant within the hotel. You turn on the television, and you are greeted by a message stating that there are still two more tables left in your favourite restaurant. You indicate that you would like to reserve a table for that evening. When unpacking your suitcase, another notification pops up, asking you whether or not you would like to order a steaming cup of hot chocolate, as you have regularly ordered after a long flight.

mockup okura

Hotel Okura Amsterdam (HOA) is a five-star Japanese hotel located in Amsterdam. HOA recently acknowledged the urge for an interdepartmental IT system integration to improve personalization and therewith customer satisfaction; the company currently operates 40 different operating systems. These insight together with many others were obtained during an in-depth interview on business and IT strategy with Okura’s Rooms, Engineer and IT manager. The business strategy of HOA is dedicated to being ‘’Unique and Complete’’, making striving for a high level of customer satisfaction key; a question in this is how a customer can be convinced of the uniqueness of HOA.

The interview brought to light that the non-integrated structure results in inefficiency. Each division registers its own data and information between divisions is transferred verbally instead of it being retrievable from a centralized data system; many opportunities are lost due to this. The current business strategy is to be improved by integrating an IT infrastructure with IT related processes. The proposed solution therefore strives for a high level of integration. However, due to the issue of scale and the importance of (financial) feasibility of the project, the first generation will solely focus on combining the F&B (Food & Beverage) system with the hotel room system. The solution itself, the infotainment which is further explained below, does have a long term focus of eventually integrating all of Okura’s 40 different operating systems.

The trends of superpersonalization and big data to enhance customer value, in combination with the need for responsive service and modern facilities in the room (current guest satisfaction regarding room technology is low), result in the following proposed solution. To cater for the business need of HOA, we propose to provide real-time personalized information in the hotel room of the guest through a television application. Various systems will be able to communicate with each other and can provide the guests with useful information (or upselling). The system will include the reservation process for the restaurants, the room service information and the room service ordering process. The F&B is initially focused on as this is the main source of income from hotel guests for HOA and it limits the initial investment. Additional functionalities can be added at a later stage.

Authors (BIM2015 – Team 6): 

  • Stéphanie Visser – 407153
  • Job Deibel – 407756
  • Dirk Breeuwer – 329445
  • Jord Sips – 421144
  • Colin van Lieshout – 414788

Modern Wars: How Information Technology Changed Warfare

Modern Wars: How Information Technology Changed Warfare

On the 30th of September Vladimir Vladimirovitsj Putin, President of Russia, announced that Russia conducted its first air-strikes in Syria targeted at ISIS (or ISIL). However, in the days after the United States of America and other countries began to question Russia’s motive and use of old school bombing technology which might cause harm to civilians and inflame the civil war in Syria (CNN/Time, 2015). According to US official’s Russian bombing technology is a lacking behind American weaponry in terms of accuracy. As such moves increase the tensions between the East and the West and businesses use information technology to reach their goals, I started to research how information technology has changed warfare over time.

A B-2 stealth bomber refuels.

A B-2 stealth bomber refuels.

The main goals of warfare have not really changed, but the way wars evolve and are waged certainly have. Just hundred twenty years ago, armies marched to battle in their uniforms, lined up against one another, and mainly used weapons with a short effective range. Thus, people who killed one another were always in close proximity. Later on, longer-range weapons emerged, and the distance between the soldiers became larger and larger. Today, some countries have the capability to destroy towns without having to be physically at the site or even have a within a hundreds of miles. All due to the introduction of IT in modern warfare which enables people to fight wars with the touch of button. This instantaneous transfer of information through the Internet and availability of the Internet around the world increases the number of participants in war. Unarmed actors thousands of miles away can participate in a conflict even by sitting at their computer, providing funding or (video/picture) information through the Internet or deep web.

Read More…

The New Era of Humanitarian Aid?

Syria-refugees-elearning
ICT helping Syrian Refugees

Is the era of humanitarians distributing physical goods to refugees with clipboards in their hands over?
More and more Syrian aid efforts are being digitalized in order to efficiently handle the high amount of Syrian refugees. By the end of 2015, the number of Syrian refugees is predicted to be around 4.3 million according the the United Nations. Most of these refugees, as well as the countries that are acting as hosts (e.g. Lebanon or Jordan) are quite tech-savvy. This allows the integration of Information and Communication Technology, that helps to allocate aid to where it is most needed.

These technologies help with the registration process, the delivery and allocation of goods, the prevention and treatment of illnesses and diseases, as well as the access to education.

The registration process no longer consists of paper-back registration forms but is now conducted in a more time-effective manner by collecting the data digitally. This allows the exchange of data with the appropriate aid insitutions in a timely manner. It also secures the validity of the data. Often refugees used to register multiple times with different names in order to receive more help. Nowadays, the UN’s refugee agency even uses iris scans for registration. A total of 1.6 million Syrian refugees have already been registered using this method.
These iris scans are also used as tools for the delivery and allocation of goods. Humanitarian aid no longer focuses on giving refugees physical goods but they provide them with financial help in order to buy those goods themselves from designated stores, giving them higher variety and preserving their dignity. This not only reduces the allocation of unneeded goods, but also fosters the local economy of the host country. Financial aid may be distributed through different channels: while SmartCards may be used as payment method in other areas, in Jordan the iris scanner can be used to withdraw a refugee’s cash entitlement from ATMs. Soon, refugees might be able to purchase food according to their entitlement in supermarkets cash-free, simply by using iris recognition.
The application of ICT furthermore facilitates the prevention and treatment of illnesses and diseases. Through online real-time consultation of e.g. US specialists, doctors in host countries such as Jordan and Lebanon receive support while treating the vast amount of refugees. WHO Lebanon and WHO Jordan together with national governments are furthermore currently working on a program to monitor refugees’ health and to prevent diseases from breaking out.
ICT can also greatly help with the education of Syrian children. 700,000 Syrian children in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey do currently not receive any education, since the host country facilities cannot cope with the high amounts of new students. In order to find a way to educate those children, UNICEF is currently developing a distant education program that can be used virtually (Favell, 2015).

So, do these ICT-based processes really introduce a new era of humanitarian aid or is it just a one-time-thing?
I believe that, as mentioned above, there are a lot of advantages that come from the use of ICT in this context. It is fascinating, how ICT can be used in this context to facilitate the helping of all those people in need. However, it should not be ignored that Syria is quite a special case. People had widely had access to technology before they had to leave their country and they are therefore rather familiar with its usage. Those processes that need actual interaction might, however, not be transferable to refugees from other countries. If we consider humanitarian aid in African countries, people might not necessarily be familiar with technologically savvy programs. This could lead to refugees not being able to take advantage of the help they are granted. It is therefore necessary to assess the tech-affinity of future refugees before introducing these ICT processes in other contexts. More hands-on learning would be required to educate refugees on how to use these technologies and to explain their significance. For Syria, however, this application seems to be very fitting and highly valuable. Other cases of humanitarian help will need to be considered when determining whether this process can be used widely in the future and therefore whether it is the beginning of a new era.

Favell, A., 2015. How technology is helping deliver aid to Syrian refugees in the Middle East [online]. ComputerWeekly. Available at: http://www.computerweekly.com/feature/How-technology-is-helping-deliver-aid-to-Syrian-refugees-in-the-Middle-East [Accessed 7. October 2014).

Electronic Markets, Computing Power and the Quants: Volatility & High Frequency Trading

Electronic Markets, Computing Power and the Quants:  Volatility & High Frequency Trading

Markets can be – and usually are – too active, and too volatile”

Joseph E. Stiglitz – Nobel prize-winning economist

As some of you might have noticed, the oil market is currently showing wilder fluctuations at a higher frequency than before: volatility has increased. This happened after the market enjoyed relative stability price stability during the last few years. Of course, this is partly due to U.S. shale oil production, quite high supply and lower demand due to the financial crisis aftermaths, and growing demand and supply uncertainties. However, another factor affecting volatility is the increased usage of trading indicators in combination with changes in trading practices: an increasing number of players in the financial markets tend to use algorithmic and high-frequency trading practices (HFT).

Like other derivative based markets, also the crude oil market has a wide range of market players of which many are not interested in buying physical oil. HFT traders are probably drawn towards oil futures due to the market’s volatility. Because, the greater the price swings, the greater their potential profit. HFT is not an entirely new practise, but as technology evolves it is increasingly present in today’s electronic financial markets.

These players make extensive use of computing and information technology in order to develop complex trading algorithms, which are often referred to as the “quants”. HFT trading firms try to gain advantage over other competitors which are still using mostly human intelligence and reaction times. The essence of the game is to use your algobots to get the quickest market access, fastest processing speeds, and perform the quickest calculations in order capture profits which would have otherwise been earned by someone who is processing market data slower (Salmon, 2014). At essentially the speed of light, these systems are capable of reacting to market data, transmitting thousands of order messages per second, as well as automatically cancelling and replacing orders based on shifting market conditions and capturing price discrepancies with little human intervention (Clark & Ranjan, 2012). New trading strategies are formulated by using, capturing and recombining new information with large datasets and other forms of big data available to the market. The analysis performed to derive the assumed direction of the market makes use of a bunch of indicators such as historical patterns, price behaviour, price corrections, peak-resistance and low-support levels, as well as (the moving average of) trends and counter-trends. By aggregating all this information, the databases and its (changes of) averages are usually a pretty good predictor of potential profits for HFT companies.

This information technology enabled way of trading is cheaper for the executors, but imposes great costs on workers and firms throughout the economy. Although quants provide a lot liquidity, but can also alter markets by placing more emphasis on techniques and linking electronic markets with other markets (as well information as financial linking). In most cases, non-overnight, short-term strategies are used. Thus, these traders are in the market for quick wins and use only technical analysis in order to predict market movements instead of trading based upon physical fundamentals, human intelligence or news inputs.

Recent oil price volatility increased

Recent oil price volatility increased

Although, some studies have not found direct prove that HFT can cause volatility, others concluded that HFT in certain cases can transmit disruptions almost simultaneously over markets due to its high speed in combination with the interconnectedness of markets (FT, 2011; Caivano, 2015). For example, Andrew Haldane, a top official at the Bank of England said that HFT was creating a system risks and the electronic markets may need a ‘redesign’ in future (Demos & Cohen, 2011). Further sophistication of “robot” trading at decreasing cost is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. This can impose a threat to the stability of financial markets due to amplified risks, undesired interactions, and unknown outcomes (FT, 2011). In addition, in a world with intensive HFT the acquisition of information will be discouraged as the value of information about stocks and the economy retrieved by human intelligence will be much lower due to the fact that robots now do all the work before a single human was able to process and act on the information (Salmon, 2014). For those interested in the issues of HFT in more detail, I would like to recommend the article of Felix Salmon (2014).

However, it is important to mention that not only HFT and automated systems and technicalities do cause all the volatility. Markets have known swift price swings for centuries. For example in the oil industry, geopolitical risk can cause price changes as it is an exhaustible commodity. As most people know, also human emotions can distort markets as well as terrorist actions. Even incomplete information such as tweets from Twitter and Facebook posts can cause shares to jump or plumb nowadays. As markets are becoming faster, more information is shared and systems can process and act on this information alone quickly due to (information) technological advancements, which will in turn increase volatility. Therefore, it is more important than ever that there are no flaws in market data streams, e.g. the electronic markets and its information systems need to have enough capacity to process, control, and display all the necessary information to market players in order to avoid information asymmetries.

In my opinion, HFT is strengthened by the current state of computing technology and cost reductions of computing power now enable the execution of highly complex algorithms in a split-second. As prices go down and speed goes up, these systems will become more and more attractive as they outperform human intelligence. This can potentially form an issue in the future: volatility might increase and it is this volatility that provides many opportunities for traders, but not the necessary stability for producers and consumers which are more long-term focussed.

Therefore, in the future action is necessary toquality-efficiency-speed-cost restrict, or at least reduce, HFT. Examples might be big data collection by regulators to monitor risk and predict future flash crash or volatility events. Another option can be the introduction of a “minimum resting period” for trading. So traders have to hold on to their equity or trade for a pre-specified time before selling it on, reducing the frequency and thus volatility. Also, widening spreads will help as it makes quick selling and buying more costly and thus HFT less attractive.

Given that the financial market’s watchdogs currently have difficulties with regulating automated trading. Some HFT firms have enjoyed enormous profits from their trading strategies (Jump trading, Tower Research capital, DRW). For example also during the last turmoil of August this year, a couple of HFT firms earned a lot of money (Hope, 2015). Due to these successes, new players enter the market and competition is growing. As speed is essential (even milliseconds matter) HFT firms try to place their servers physically near the exchanges (such as the NYSE), so they can increase their advantage. The HFT firms are expected to stay in the market, ultimately resulting in more price volatility (Hope, 2015).

What do you think, how far should we let our technology intervene with the financial markets? Do we really need to allow algobot’s or similar automated trading systems to influence our financial markets as they can perform the human job faster, fact-based and at a lower cost? Or should the financial markets be always human intelligence based, which might be ultimately better for the economy as a whole and also provides a richer knowledge base of the real world economy (as it this information remains valuable and numbers do not always say everything)?

In case you are interested in this dilemma, I can also recommend reading Stiglitz’ speech at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in 2014.

Author: Glenn de Jong, 357570gj

Read More…

Technology of the Week: Programmatic Marketing vs. People-based Marketing

DoubleClick vs Atlas

Information technology has a huge influence on electronic marketplace transformation. Electronic market integrates multiple functions such as advertising, product ordering, product delivery, payment system and after-sale service.

Online advertising, one element of electronic market has drawn increasing attention in the modern society. In 2014, the costs of global digital advertising reached to $146.42 billion (Statista, 2014). For advertisers, the online advertising spending is cost-efficient only when the ads are served to the target audience; however, according to the data provided by Nielsen, only 60% of online ads are successfully reach to the target audience. DoubleClick and Facebook Atlas Solutions are two ad serving companies which provide different intelligent automated technologies to search the right customers for advertisers.

 

DoubleClick

The disruptive technology used by DoubleClick is called programmatic advertising. This technique utilizes the cookies from banner ads for tracking each user’s online behavior and building a profile of a user from these data. According to the cookie-based data, advertisers are able to deliver online ads in the right context, monitor their performance and further maximize the return on investment for a certain online advertising campaign.

 

Facebook Atlas

Facebook Atlas Atlas uses real-time data and Facebook’s knowledge of user preference, demographic and browsing history to guide advertisers to promote and deliver their products to the right audience. Moreover, Atlas monitors and traces people’s online activity through multiple device platforms to deliver real-world data which has a strong impact on both online and offline world. With Atlas, advertisers can deliver cross-device ads to the target audience more efficiently and create more value for the business.

 

Comparison

Both DoubleClick and Facebook Atlas offer a way for helping advertisers deliver the product ads to the target consumers on the electronic market and auction market. However, they use different technologies for tracking and measuring online people browsing history. Instead of cookie-based technology which applied by Google, Atlas measures the behavior of real users and counts the number of ads each individuals has actually been exposed to.

 

Future Perspectives

DoubleClick is in the process of rolling out their programmatic marketing model to television screens and placing ads in online streaming and video on demand TV content across various interlinked devices. When this comes out it will be a one of its kind platforms for brands to advertise in online TV content. This might also prove to be very effective since the choice of TV content itself will give brands a good start to pinpoint on their target market.

On the other hand, Instagram and WhatsApp together accumulate 1.3 Billion users (Rany, 2015). With this quantity of users at disposal, it is only a matter of time that the people-based marketing of Atlas would soon hit these popular social platforms. Moreover, with Facebook integration the efficiency of their marketing would be strengthened to greater lengths as they will have much more background information for targeting consumers.

 

Source

Statista. (2014). Digital advertising spending worldwide from 2012 to 2018. http://www.statista.com/statistics/237974/online-advertising-spending-worldwide/

Nielsen. (2012, 2 21). Measure the true audience for online ads campaigns.

Rany Ng, A. K. (2015, 3). Evolution of TV: The Promise of Programmatic TV. Retrieved from Think with Google: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/evolution-of-tv-programmatic-tv.html

 

Team 25

437457aj        Amogh Jain

437682et       Ewa Tulodziecka

429370gk      Gaurav Kumar

367347hl       Hanzi Li

441728zh       Zsofia Hajnik

 

Technology of the Week “B2C e-commerce”: The future of shopping

deprives-you-of-tangibility

Since the rise of the internet in our everyday life, a lot has changed. Firms had to revolutionise their product strategies, adapt to a whole new 4Ps conception, and serve a whole new platform of markets, namely e-markets. The trend of e-shopping was then introduced in order for firms to increase sales via the e-commerce channel. This lead to further innovations in order to contrast the vicious competitive environment of e-markets, while trying to transfer the in-store shopping experience directly online. With that being said, this article will introduce two new emerging technologies that are involved in the realistic transition between in-store and online shopping through Augmented Reality (AR).

Social Shopping

Social shopping is an e-commerce methodology bridging social media and online shopping together. Social media impacts the shopping behaviour in a way in which other people like friends, family, bloggers and celebrities recommend and suggest certain products and services to the consumers. The idea behind a social shopping website is that it provides the potential customer with blogs and virtual communities to help him in his decision in buying consumer goods and services. This is achieved by the average consumer share his shopping ideas, exchanging opinions on products, and recommending one another on what to buy and what not to buy.

A research on social shopping in 2010 found out that consumers’ trust in product recommendations had not only a direct and significant positive effect on their purchase intentions, but also a strong indirect positive effect on buying the product from that specific website where the information was originally found. The intention of a consumer to purchase a good directly from the website could in that case directly be affected by the trust in the website, thus creating an incentive to build a online shopping platform (Yu, 2010).

To better understand this, we used Shopcade as an example to analyse the technology further, and base conclusions.

shopcade

Shopcade is a website and mobile app that creates a community of fashionistas and allows anyone to easily purchase the items that they see posted. The site has two main sections: the trending section and the feed section.

The trending feed is curated by the app itself. This means that it is a section with content posted only by the Shopcade team. This content comes usually in the form of blog posts regarding different fashion trends, whether it is for clothing, accessories or other items (for example, one post gave the most recent trends in duvet covers). Being a content provider as well as a service provider definitely adds value for the customers of the company. On the other hand, the feed section contains content created exclusively by bloggers and members of the community. This adds even more to the social aspect of Shopcade, giving a very Instagram-like feel to the whole social experience. This is what Shopcade does successfully. It actually created a situation where online shopping offers an experience that would be awkward to achieve in the store.

Below, the SWOT analysis of Social Shopping can be observed. It is directly applicable to the case of Shopcade.

Schermata 2015-09-24 alle 18.43.52

When it comes to their revenue model, Shopcade offers nothing new. As can be expected from such a business, they make money from affiliate marketing and sales. This means that they receive commission for all the purchases made from their website. In addition, some brands want more exposure, which requires them to pay more money to Shopcade.

Virtual Fitting Room (VRF)

Fitsme-has-built-a-virtual-fitting-room-platform-that-can-be-easily-integrated-onto-the-sites-of-online-retailers.

VRFs are the online substitution of in-store fitting rooms. It is available on PC-laptop and mobile devices. VFRs rely heavily on Augmented Reality (AR), which employs specialized software and hardware to merge the digital and the physical worlds by immersing digital information into real video to generate persuasive looking scenes in real-time. Personal measurements can be included online to allow the framework to build a 3-D avatar of the customer fitting the item. It’s built on a three-step algorithm: it builds/scan the user body through data measurements (size, width, length…), reference points (i.e face and figure) via AR, and finally, it builds the avatar incorporating the clothes on a superimposed 3D image.

Software companies such as Virtusize, Fits.me and Clothes Horse have all adapted this new technology providing it to big retail companies, attempting to tackle the fit challenge with a range of technology-based solutions, from “morphing mannequins” to size recommendation engines, all with the goal to simulate the physical fit and sizing experience (G. Randall, 2015).

Often enough shoppers complain about long waiting lines in shops and poorly set up fitting rooms. Conditions such as terrible lighting and a lack of space in the room tend to dominate the endless list of complaints. The slow but steady introduction of VFR has revolutionised the shopping industry, specifically the e-commerce aspect of it.

Using VRFs could actually increase the pleasure of shopping in many ways. Firstly, there is no hassle of having to physically put on several different clothes. The ability to take pictures whilst “trying on” these clothes means that customers can easily compare outfits. Furthermore, many side-menus can be added into the technology, this would be up to a firm to research what sort of features its customers need when trying on clothes. Some great features that many shoppers and experts posted include the ability to like and dislike garments, save pictures of outfits for later, see reviews and prices of products, as well as the ability to call in real-time service (LinkedIn, 2015).

Below, the SWOT analysis of Social Shopping can be observed, applicable to every aspect of the VRFs. As it can be observed, it is filled with opportunities leaving thoughts and space for improvement.

Schermata 2015-09-24 alle 18.53.09

Future perspectives

With the VFR component only, the customers missed the social element of shopping. On the other side, the current social shopping services do not offer a developed VFR experience yet, making a visit to the store easily a necessity. We believe these technologies will merge together as the result will provide an improved customer experience. In the future those various digital resources – VFR and Social Shopping included- will be combined in an overall bigger market. Indeed, as someone will be shopping from his home -trying out clothes through the VFR system-, the person will be able to ask the opinion of a friend or a shopping assistant; involving social shopping (IBM, 2010).

The combination of those two technologies presses the question whether physical retail shops will exist in the future. It seems not to be a question of “If” but “When” physical stores will become obsolete. The reader should ask himself in how much time this change would have taken place: 5, 10, 20 years? It is difficult to say. Humans tend to think linearly, however the rate at which technology imposes itself on the world rather corresponds to an exponential curve as Ray Kurzweil and the institution of Singularity University (2012) are professing.

Sources:

Yu, K.-L. H.-C.-Y.-P. (2010). Antecedents and consequences of trust in online product recommendations”, Online Information Review.
Randall, G. (2015). Fashion ecommerce: are virtual fitting rooms the silver bullet?. [online] Econsultancy. Available at: https://econsultancy.com/blog/66058-fashion-ecommerce- are-virtual-fitting-rooms-the-silver-bullet/ [Accessed 18 Sep. 2015].
LinkedIn (2015). Virtual changing rooms will revolutionize fashion retail [online] Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/virtual-changing-rooms- revolutionize-fashion-retail-moles-mba

Team 13:
Claudio Corti
Maximilian Wiedmaier
Alex Furnica
Maxim Gggurevic
Paul Grandjouan

Your News

Everyone wants to stay up to date, and wants to be aware of the latest news. This results in a booming market of news applications. We are all familiar with NU.nl for the basic news and funny facts, NOS.nl if we would like to have some more insights and a lot of people have installed Bright nowadays to be able to get to know the latest innovations and lifestyle trends. All these news applications are slightly different and we want to have access to them all on our mobile phone to stay up to date. But is there no easier way to read this variety of news articles?

Let me introduce you to Recent News. This news application is launched in September 2015 and is taking care of the importance of customization. Recent News will first ask their new users to fill in their interests and what kind of articles they are looking for. There are many subjects and specializations to choose from. After this artificial intelligence will take over. A learning system is integrated and Recent News will customize your news based on your preferences, past reading behaviour and similar users. The news application is able to learn your interests and will propose exactly these articles you may like to read (Bright, 2015; Recent News, 2015).

In my opinion Recent News is one of the innovations that is able to serve the future. Nowadays users will ask for more personal and customized products and services. Because of the Internet the market is more transparent than ever, consumers are better informed and they can find exactly what they want (Clemons, 2008). Firms have to make sure that they will respond to these needs; firms have to be able to customize their services the best they can. Clemons (2008) shows that this trend called resonance marketing; the firm should find the perfect fit with the customer.
Another feature of Recent News will also fit the latest trends: the location-based suggestions. Recent News will propose the users news articles based on their location. According to Ghose, Goldfarb and Han (2013) mobile Internet differs from Internet on personal computers. They show that mobile Internet is an important driver of the rise of location-based services. In our case Recent News will respond closely by proposing articles to their users based on their location, within news application local news becomes more important and preferable.

I am curious about how the future will look like. How can we still improve customization and make products and services even more personalized? Is artificial intelligence the future of businesses to customize the services and is this the way to really get to know the customers? Besides that I am wondering if news applications such as Recent News are able to replace the variety of news applications that exist these days? Let’s count the number of news apps that we have right now and compare it to the number we will have over two years.

References:
Bright, 2015. ‘App van de week: Recent News’ http://www.bright.nl/app-van-de-week-recent-news, last visited: 20 September 2015.
Clemons, E.K. 2008.  How Information Changes Consumer Behavior and Consumer Behavior Determines Corporate Strategy. Journal of Management Information Systems 25(2) 13-40.
Ghose, A., Goldfarb, A., and Han, S. 2013. How is the Mobile Internet Different? Search Costs and Local Activities. Information Systems Research. Articles in Advance. 1-19.
Recent News, 2015. http://www.recent.io/, last visited: 20 September 2015.
Author: Lizan Bakker

How computers can make you look good – Ipsy

Last Monday (14th of September) the beauty products start-up Ipsy of YouTube celebrity Michelle Phan raised about 100 million dollars.

Even though being an online celebrity with almost 8 million subscribers (Youtube, 2015) gives you a great edge in starting up a beauty company, it was not because of Michelle that they raised this dazzling amount of money. For a long time already, beauty and fashion startups are trying to create software that learns and anticipates on what people want to wear. Ipsy believes the future is super-intelligent software that knows your tastes so well it will send you products that you’re guaranteed to like. (CNET, 2015)

Customers are paying a monthly $10 subscription fee to receive a so-called ‘glam bag’ full of beauty products. The fun thing about Ipsy is that the content of the bag is customized for the individuals. Customers have to fill out a quiz with 12 personal questions (think of skin color, eye color, etc), after which software will analyze their answers and determine which beauty products they probably like. Customers can review their products online, which is taken into account for their next order. (Ipsy, 2015)

michelle-phan-glam-bag-2

You may recognize this kind of business model, because Netflix did exactly the same in the movie industry, by offering recommendations based on what users liked to watch. I think we all know what kind of movement they have started. (CNET, 2015)

Ipsy is not the only company trying to use software to recommend products in the beauty industry. Competitor Birchbox is also shipping boxes of beauty products for a $10 monthly fee. The only thing that sets them apart except the boxes they arrive in. is the market they are aiming for. Birchbox is more aimed towards body/skincare and Ipsy is distributing make-up. (Brooke, 2015) With worldwide revenue for beauty care products expected to grow towards $461 billion in 2018, the market may be large enough for both.

Even though raising $100 million dollar and having three profitable years shows us that the algorithm they are using is getting pretty good, it is not fool proof yet. Problems range from products for the wrong skin color to inaccurate product descriptions. (Penninipede, 2013) Ipsy’s CEO says that there are still a lot of problems to work out: “That’s where the algorithm is not foolproof”. (CNET, 2015)

Author: Sven Sabel (354240ss)

References:

https://www.youtube.com/user/MichellePhan/about

http://www.cnet.com/news/f-u-n-d-e-d-silicon-valley-bets-100-million-that-its-computers-can-help-you-look-good/

http://help.ipsy.com/customer/en/portal/articles/1465221-what-s-a-glam-bag-

http://www.thesmallthingsblog.com/2013/06/battle-of-boxes-ipsy-versus-birchbox/

http://www.sammithebeautybuff.com/2013/09/why-i-cancelled-my-ipsy-subscription.html

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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Pay-as-you-go Personal Assistants

After reading the articles about electronic market places and auctions for the upcoming session and thinking about the business solution we have to come up with for Designing Business Applications, I started to think about how we make and create business around us. ‘Apps’ are entering the market place on a daily basis; people manage to come up with ‘solutions’ where some people did not even know a ‘problem’ existed. Thus, we are not always using information (i.e. disgruntled people) to come up with solutions. As technology is within reach for most of the developed world, many of the proposed solutions are technical in nature.

However one can also create a business by letting people tell them about their problems, instead of making them up ourselves. Fetchamsterdam.nl is an example of such a business. This Dutch company basically acts as a temporary employment agency. Or, put in terms of the upcoming lecture: Fetch has created an electronic marketplace for personal assistants. People can come up with the most bizarre requests; Fetch will scour its pool of PAs and find someone to do the job. Look at the request of the week below:

Fetch

For non-Dutch speakers: someone lost his/her keys in a drain in front of their house while in a hurry. They requested Fetch to send someone to dig for the keys, lock the bike and leave the keys on a table as the person in question had to go to work.

This way, Fetch simply sits back and waits whilst people inform them about their hitch. Customers mention in detail what they wish Fetch to do and the company selects someone from their pool able to do the job (they also have people skilled in plumbing, (house) repair work or willing to book your concert or flight tickets). Using social media and word-of-mouth, Fetch manages to use technology to create a very low threshold for people to approach them with their (often bizarre – check out the other “request of the weeks” on their Facebook) problems. Besides, having an actual PA is simply too posh in the down-to-earth Dutch culture. Also, people know exactly what they want Fetch to do and thus provide the firm with detailed information, leaving less room for errors.  So, would you pay someone to FETCH your problem?