Tag Archive | mobile

Tired of waiting at what is supposed to be a fast-food restaurant?

As part of the Digital Transformation Project, we are proposing the implementation of a pre-ordering smartphone application for McDonalds Netherlands. On the base of our study conducted with university students living in Rotterdam, a pre-ordering application would be very well perceived at a fast-food chain like McDonald’s. Respondents indicated that, even they associated McDonald’s with quick service, they still had to wait up to 10 minutes for their food. The implementation of an app, that would take care of the ordering, as well as the payment in advance, would highly increase time-efficiency at the restaurants for consumers, as well as employees.

This digital transformation would go in line with McDOnald’s business model in terms of a reciprocal relationship since the implementation of a pre-ordering service would increase time-efficiency, which is a big part of McDonald’s business model. Being an IS Innovator (as they typically are one of the first companies to apply new technologies, as it was the case with NFC bank card payment), the prer-ordering app would moreover enable McDonald’s to secure its market leadership through fostering a relatively new type of innovation. Few companies in the industry have already applied such applications, however, more and more are joining the trend. In order to reassure its market position, McDonald’s should join the trend rather sooner than later.

The application is proposed for the Dutch market, where consumers are very much focused on time efficiencies and are very familiar with the use of smartphones, which leads to the assumption that the application will be accepted and anticipated by consumers. According to McDonald’s, the Dutch market furthermore shows great potential for growth, making it the ideal starting point for the introduction of such an application. The conducted survey confirmed these assumptions since a great majority of respondents indicated that they would make use of such an application if this would mean they would not have to wait for their ordered food.

As for any innovation, financial factors are important to be considered. The cost of the application, including the creation costs, the costs oft he IT expert team, the neccessary machines, and the marketing costs in order to raise awareness about this new ordering channel, are estimated to be approximately US$ 4,650,000. However, McDonald’s can be assumed to have enough financial resources to finance the development and implementation of the suggested application. Furthermore, its in-house tech team can decrease the costs for most kinds of technical issues.

In the end, there are also risks associated with the implementation of a new app, primarily stemming from its development, launch, user surface, and technical quality.

Those risks could involve no interest of acceptance by customers, and therefore more losses than revenues financially. There is furthermore the risk that franchisees will go against the company and not want to buy a license and install the use of the application. Finally, problems could surface due to technical issues, feasibility, and ease of use for certain smartphone operating systems and due to the competitors being further along in the innovation process which applications already further developed, which would turn McDonald’s into a laggard for innovation.

However, overall the implementation of such information technology has great potential and should not be offset because of the possible risks. McDonald’s should implement this application in order to not fall behind in the Industry, where other companies are already successfully employing such technology, and to improve their time efficiency, which is a crucial part of their business.

Team 34

Advertisements

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…

The Smartphone: The Conglomerate of Life

I found it rather interesting, that professor Ting Li mentioned mobile payments during the lecture on Monday, as an example of a conglomeration attack. Smartphones would become even more important.  It is already almost the ‘end of the world’ to the average smartphone user when they lose their phone, imagine how much worse it would be if all payments were also mobile… The devastation one would feel when their battery is dead…

Smartphone the king

Personally, I have never been too interested in the concept of mobile payments, and it has been around for quite some time already. Google Wallet launched in 2011. The reason it stood out to me during class is because of something that happened this summer. My mum and I were driving, and we needed to get gas. She went in to pay, and as she wanted to pull out her credit card, the clerk told her the payment was already done. My mum looked at him not understanding, she did not even take her credit card out of her bag! That is the moment we realised the credit card company had implemented a new system. The scary thing about that system, however, is that if someone were to buy something right after my mum, the machine could accidently charge her instead of the next customer…

2015 has been called the ‘year of mobile payments’. This is reflected by many company’s initiatives. Starbucks already has mobile payments implemented in thousands of its stores in the USA. Similarly, numerous fast food chains have done the same. Subway and Paypal are currently working together to integrate Paypal’s OneTouch mobile checkout experience in the updated version of the Subway app, this would work across the 27,000 locations in the USA before the end of the year (Perez 2015).

With credit cards, the implementation is quite easy, as one card works in all locations that offer the service. The cards are the same for all users. However, in the mobile payment industry… How can one mobile-based financial solution cater to all markets?

Mobile payment systems are actually most successful in developing countries. There the choice was simply between either cash or mobile payments, which made the benefits of mobile payments, stand out. In Zambabwe, for example, a large mobile payment player called EcoCash made its debut in the mobile money space. It also offers many opportunities for businesses in developing countries to reach business beyond Africa’s borders. Earlier this year, three of the key players in Africa signed an agreement to work together, so that users from the three different services can easily transfer money to users from one of the other two services, creating a large mobile-payment community (Nidugondi 2015).

In developed markets, customers already have a wide variety of choices when it comes to payment methods, so why would they use mobile devices for financial transactions? However, considering the increasingly big role mobiles are starting to play in the purchasing experience, there may be a future for mobile payments. The Subway example is a perfect illustration of how mobile payments could enhance customer experience, customers would be able to assemble their sandwich and pay all through the mobile application. They would no longer have to stand in line, and could simply come pick up their sandwich once it is done. Furthermore, opportunities lie in customised offerings and location-based offers.

The statistics are quite impressive, actually. In Japan, NFC wallets are used on close to 65 million handsets by 15 million users initiating 30-50 million transactions per month with 750,000 merchants. Globally, mobile payments are expected to generate between $450 and $1 trillion in transaction value by 2015.

Although numerous projects have been launched in more than 35 countries across the globe, mobile payments still have a long way to go in terms of market penetration. Google Wallet is a perfect example (Nidugondi 2015).

I am very interested to see whether smartphones will be able to overtake the payment industry.

Bibliography

Nidugondi, S 2015, ‘The Year That Was And Will Be In Mobile Payments’, TechCrunch, 6 June, viewed 15 October 2015, http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/06/the-year-that-was-and-will-be-in-mobile-payments/

Perez, S 2015, ‘Subway Teams Up With PayPal On Mobile Payments’, TechCrunch, 29 July, viewed 15 October 2015, <http://techcrunch.com/2015/07/29/subway-and-paypal-team-up-on-mobile-payments/#.gs8fgo:Tp23>

Security as a unique selling point

While Apple and Samsung are competing fiercely at the higher end of the smartphone market, a new niche market is emerging in the industry. Instead of ever improving the specifications of their flagship smartphones, these new devices do not even come close to their hardware level. Yet, they are offered in the same price range. If it are not the specs, then what else is it that adds so much value to these phones?

Truth is, it is the security they offer. A few days ago, Archos – a French manufacturer that has not produced anything of note in recent times – introduced the GranitePhone. This smartphone was developed in a partnership with SIKUR, a Brazilian vendor of encrypted company-focused communications apps (Androidpolice, 2015). The phone is the latest to enter the emerging global market of ultra-secure smartphones, in which manufacturers  are anticipating growing concerns regarding the protection of data. That the software is coming from a Brazilian company might not come as a surprise. In 2013, the president of the country, Dilma Rousseff, cancelled a state visit to the United States, after Edward Snowden released documents which indicated her email and phone calls were monitored by the U.S (Bloomberg, 2015). The Granitephone is not the first of this type. Precedents include the Blackphone, produced by Silent Circle, and the Boeing Black smartphone. Interestingly, none come from established smartphone manufacturers and offer these companies an entry position in the entire smartphone market.

In this market, which surpassed 1 billion yearly smartphone sales in 2014 (Gartner, 2015), the advantages are well known. The devices have become an extension of daily life and are often trusted with our most intimate data. In addition, they generate enormous amounts of new data about the users. This is also where concerns are being raised, as the data appears to be less private and secure than is often realized by the user. (Jeon, et al., 2011) identify eight threats apparent to smartphones, of which four are caused by external attackers and the other four by the unawareness of the user:

  1. Malware. Malware can alter or expose private information and abuse costly services and functions.
  2. Wireless network attacks. An attacker can corrupt, modify, or block information on the wireless network.
  3. Denial of service. The risk of availability due to attacks on base stations and networks, or using radio interference.
  4. Break-in. An attacker gaining partial or full control of the device.
  5. Malfunction. The user can mistakenly disable their device.
  6. Phishing. Exposing private information due to phishing activities.
  7. Loss. The user can lose his/her smartphone.
  8. Platform alteration. Intentional alteration of the smartphone (e.g. jailbreaking).

The GranitePhone offers a solution focusing on the first four threats. It encrypts all outgoing messages and calls by storing them on SIKUR’s cloud based platform, which is only accessible through various layers of authentication (Tech Times, 2015). The Boeing Black smartphone even tackles one of the user-related threats, as it self-destructs in case of loss or theft. As the example of the Brazilian president above indicates, it are not only consumers which should be concerned about their mobile privacy. For corporations, politicians and defense the benefits of a secure phone might be even greater, as they possess more sensitive information.

So, are there no limitations of the Granitephone? Sure there are. As mentioned before, the hardware specifications of the phone are nothing special. The functionality is also limited. Currently, there is no internet browser available. In addition, it seems unlikely that productive applications like Gmail will be available on the device. It is even unclear if third party software can be installed at all. Then there is the price. It currently costs $849, around the price one can buy the newest iPhone for. In addition, there is debate about the actual security of the platform and the transparency around it.

Hence, it is unlikely that the phone will appeal to the mass consumer market. However, for certain corporate and political positions it might be the solution to safeguarding their most valuable information. Maybe more importantly, it adds to the existing debate on the security and privacy of mobile data, which governments and other companies seem take into account less and less.

  • Bas van Baar (358545sb)

Androidpolice, 2015. Archos Enters The Niche ‘Secure Phone’ Market With The $850 GranitePhone. [Online]
Available at: http://www.androidpolice.com/2015/10/10/archos-enters-the-niche-secure-phone-market-with-the-850-granitephone/
[Accessed 10 October 2015].

Bloomberg, 2015. Brazilians Are Developing an Untappable Phone. [Online]
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-24/brazil-s-untappable-phone-seen-buoyed-after-rousseff-spy-scandal

Gartner, 2015. Gartner Says Smartphone Sales Surpassed One Billion Units in 2014. [Online]
Available at: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2996817

Jeon, W., Kim, J., Lee, Y. & Won, D., 2011. A Practical Analysis of Smartphone Security. Human Interface and the Management of Information, pp. 311-320.

Tech Times, 2015. Techtimes. [Online]
Available at: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/94336/20151012/archos-announces-security-enterprise-focused-granitephone.htm
[Accessed 12 October 2015].

Is Apple trying to slowly kill Google? And what ad-blockers have to do with it?

Is Apple trying to slowly kill Google? Since they are fierce rival this scenario does make sense, but how would ad-blockers play a part in that strategy?

Let’s take a step back.

Google in 2014 announced total revenues of $66 billion (Investor.google.com, 2015). Can you guess what portion of the $66 billion comes from advertisement? Whatever you guessed is probably wrong, because the vast majority of Google’s revenues, $59 billion in fact, comes from advertisement. Specifically in 2014 68.3 percent of Google’s revenue came from advertising through Google sites and 21.2 percent through advertising via Google network sites.

Distribution of Google's revenues from 2001 to 2014, by source

Distribution of Google’s revenues from 2001 to 2014, by source

If we focus even further we can observe that for 2014 Google had roughly $12 billion ($11.8 billion) in mobile search revenue, almost 20 percent of its total revenues. Of that $12 billion roughly $8.8 billion was attributed to iOS devices. Taking into account that half of the search volume for Google comes from mobile devices, we can infer that in the future that percentage Google makes from mobile devices is only going to grow (Sterling, 2015).

Distribution of Google’s revenues from 2001 to 2014, by source

A permanent threat of Google’s revenue is ad-blockers. Ad blockers are separate programs or add-ons for browsers that remove or filter advertising content in a webpage, or an application. There are ad-blockers available for all operating systems (Windows, Linux, OSX), mobile platforms (Android, iOS, Windows) and browsers including Firefox, Chrome and recently Safari. The obvious benefits of using an ad-blocking tool for the user is the faster, lighter (in terms of data) and cleaner portrayal of websites and also a frustrating-free navigation experience without annoying pop-ups or videos loading without your permission. Another important benefit of using ad-blocking software is the increased privacy since ad platforms cannot track your personal data. Furthermore security issues can be a reason of using ad-blockers, since dangerous malware is sometimes hidden in advertisements (Navaraj, 2014).

Despite the obvious benefits mentioned above, ad-blockers are a threat to content providers (such as websites, publishers and video producers), which depend on advertising as their main source of income either every time ad is shown to a visitor, or every time an ad is clicked, but also to advertising providers such as Google, which depend on users viewing or clicking their ads on behalf of their advertisers.

There is a growing trend in the use of ad-blocking software. Globally the number of active users surfing the web behind an ad-blocking software in 2009 was 21 million, but has quickly grown to 121 million in 2014.

Global Ad Blocking Growth

Global Ad Blocking Growth

In 2015 the adoption rate of ad blockers globally increased by 41% in 2014 amounting to 200 million users and is expected to grow even more (Blog.pagefair.com, 2015). So in the last 6 years the users of ad-blockers has been multiplied tenfold. The amount of lost revenue due to ad-blockers is beyond imagination. It is estimated to be $41.4 billion by 2016. That has dare consequences for publishers and content providers in general as well as provider of ads, mainly Google.

You might wonder ok, what does Apple has to do with Google’s revenue model, the wide spread of ad-blockers and how does that involve Apple trying to kill Google?

Well recently Apple introduced a feature on its mobile devices which allowed the installation of ad blockers.

Can you see it now?

Apple is indirectly attacking Google’s revenue model (which is based on advertisement) by enabling iOS users to filter and block all advertisement from Google. That is a war and has huge consequences for Google and publishers that depend on revenues from ads on their websites that now can be avoided.

The question now is how Google is going to respond and how publisher are going to survive without their main source of revenue.

Athanasios Zias

Student number: 401028

References

Blog.pagefair.com, (2015). The 2015 Ad Blocking Report | Inside PageFair. [online] Available at: http://blog.pagefair.com/2015/ad-blocking-report/ [Accessed 10 Oct. 2015].

Grossman, L. (2015). The Great Ad-Blocker Battle. [online] TIME.com. Available at: http://time.com/4065962/our-attention-is-just-a-pawn-in-the-great-game-of-silicon-valley/ [Accessed 12 Oct. 2015].

Investor.google.com, (2015). 2014 Financial Tables – Investor Relations – Google. [online] Available at: https://investor.google.com/financial/2014/tables.html [Accessed 12 Oct. 2015].

Investor.google.com, (2015). Google Inc. Announces Second Quarter 2015 Results – Investor Relations – Google. [online] Available at: https://investor.google.com/earnings/2015/Q2_google_earnings.html [Accessed 12 Oct. 2015].

Navaraj, M. (2014). The Wild Wild Web: YouTube ads serving malware. [online] Bromium Labs. Available at: http://labs.bromium.com/2014/02/21/the-wild-wild-web-youtube-ads-serving-malware/ [Accessed 12 Oct. 2015].

Patel, N. (2015). Welcome to hell: Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook and the slow death of the web. [online] The Verge. Available at: http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/17/9338963/welcome-to-hell-apple-vs-google-vs-facebook-and-the-slow-death-of-the-web [Accessed 12 Oct. 2015].

Sterling, G. (2015). Report: Google Had $12 Billion In Mobile Search Revenue, 75 Percent From iOS. [online] Marketing Land. Available at: http://marketingland.com/report-google-had-12-billion-in-mobile-search-revenue-75-percent-from-ios-130248 [Accessed 12 Oct. 2015].

Is the Fairphone 2 ready to beat competition?

Without a doubt, it can be stated that competing with gigantic smartphone brands such as Apple, Samsung, LG and HTC is tough. However, the startup Fairphone apparently saw a niche market for a new type of smartphone.

The introduction of the ‘smartphone’ was probably the last major change in the telephone industry. However, the working conditions and salaries in the manufacturing companies that produce those smartphones, have been heavily criticized. In 2014, an undercover BBC investigation discovered poor treatment of factory workers in Chinese factories that assemble iPhones, which confirms that Apple broke their promises to protect factory workers (Bilton, 2014). Even worse, in 2010, 14 factory workers under the age of 25 committed suicide at Apple’s biggest manufacturer, Foxconn (Moore, 2012).

Bas van Abel, the founder of Fairphone, believed there is a demand for a fairly produced or ‘fair trade’ smartphone. Therefore, he first started to raise awareness about ethical production of products and creating a ‘buzz’ around that idea. Fairphone’s goal was to establish collaborative, fair and transparent relationships with their manufacturers in order to ensure worker representation, safe working conditions and fair pay (Fairphone, 2015). In addition, they aimed to extend a smartphone’s longevity by improving the life span of the product and increasing repairability by making use of a modular design.
Moreover, millions of smartphones are thrown away every year, generating mountains of electronic waste (Reardon, 2012). Fairphone aimed to find a solution for this problem by by creating a simplistic modular design that allows users to repair their own phone by replacing the old parts with new parts, thereby reducing electronic waste.

With the above mentioned ideas in mind, they started developing the Fairphone, but instead of moving to investors or venture capitalists, they directly went to the end users, because they believed the phone should be funded by the public. In their Kickstarter campaign, they were looking for 5,000 people who were willing to pay 325 euros for a mid-range Android device, with no special specifications or industry changing features (Best, 2014). Therefore, the value proposition was the story behind the product, and they needed to fully leverage the social message behind the product in order to be successful. In their first campaign, they sold even more than 10,000 Fairphones upfront, indicating that the production could be started right away.

After the success of their first model, they launched the Fairphone 2 two weeks ago, on September 25. Compared to the first model, the Fairphone 2 has a better life span and it is even more fairly produced. In technical terms, the software got upgraded, the phone is equipped with a faster processor and a better screen resolution (Van Lier, 2015). However, the Fairphone two has a price tag of 525 euro, which is, looking at the hardware and the specifications, rather expensive (Verlaan, 2015).

The-Fairphone-2-Dissassembled_2

For smartphone users that often drop their phone, the Fairphone might be a cheaper option, since all parts are easily replaceable. Also, the device has a considerably long life span, but I think consumers often wish to buy a new smartphone after 2 years.

To conclude, the most important ‘feature’ of this smartphone is that it is produced in a fair and ethical way. As the trend in the organic meat industry shows, more and more people care about how food and products are made. This is the probably the only reason why there is a demand for this product, because if you compare the Fairphone 2 with a smartphone that has equal specifications, you are very likely to find a cheaper option. So, the Fairphone 2 is expected to be successful in their niche market if they fully leverage the media attention and word-of-mouth effect that this product can bring, but they will not evolve into a real ‘competitor’ of Samsung or Apple.

References:

Best, J. (2014). The gadget with a conscience: How Fairphone crowdfunded its way to an industry-changing smartphone [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.techrepublic.com/article/the-gadget-with-a-conscience-how-fairphone-crowdfunded-its-way-to-an-industry-changing-smartphone/Verlaan, D. (2015, July 14).

Bilton, R. (2014, December 18). Apple ‘failing to protect Chinese factory workers’. BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30532463.

Fairphone. (2015, October 09). Our roadmap to a fairer phone. Retrieved from https://www.fairphone.com/roadmap/

Moore, M. (2012, January 11). ‘Mass suicide’ protest at Apple manufacturer Foxconn factory. Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/9006988/Mass-suicide-protest-at-Apple-manufacturer-Foxconn-factory.html

Reardon, S. (2012). Will we ever be able to buy a fair-trade smartphone?. New Scientist, 214(2860), 18.

Verlaan, D. (2015). FairPhone 2 Preview: aan de slag met de eerste modulaire smartphone [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.androidplanet.nl/reviews/fairphone-2-preview/

The success of King’s “Candy”

Nowadays there’s many more ways to make money on the internet than a simple webshop. As discussed in class, you can adopt a subscription model, an advertising model, a utility model (the cloud, like Dropbox), or one of many other options. Often the combination of several models is what leads to the biggest successes.

Since a decade, the ‘freemium’ model is the dominant business model among internet start-ups and app developers (Kumar, 2014). The term is mostly used to describe the combination of advertising and subscription models. Think of Spotify, which is free as long as you listen to the ads, or is without adds as long as you pay. LinkedIn is another company that offers additional benefits when the customer pays (a ‘premium’  membership). In the world of game applications, a successful app is not where one hás to pay, but where one cán pay. This refers to the in-app purchases, which is responsible for over 65% of iOs and Android appstores’ revenue (Valadares, 2011)!

So why are not all games that offer this model successful? When looking at my own mobile gaming behaviour, most apps are deleted within one month. I get tired of them or I have to pay for the next level and for these kind of reasons I just stop playing. Accept for one app that has been on my phone for over two years now: Candy Crush Saga. I would not usually describe myself as an addict, so that raised questions about my own behaviour: why is Candy Crush Saga so addictive – especially on the long term?

Many psychologists name several factors that contribute to Candy Crush’s success. First, people are responsive to the ‘sweetness’ of the game. Second, the fact that a user can only play for about half an hour, makes sure the user is still fond of the game on the long term (Dockterman, 2013).

But the success is not just about psychological factors. The integration with Facebook is probably the key factor of the game. First of all, this set up provides a cross-platform usage of the application, as this account can be opened on phone, tablet and computer. Another advantage is the communication to other Facebook friends, using Facebook’s network effects. The technology in the app shows users at what level their friends are. As competitive as people are, this makes them even want to play more. As it turns out, it might be a part psychological factor after all.

Another smart move of King, yet other developers do this too, is to increase switching costs for users. The in-app purchases can only be done with ‘golden bars’, Candy Crush’s currency. When users still have golden bars on their account, the human urge (yet another psychological flavour to this) is to continue playing, and so a virtual circle begins.

Many other factors can be described about this success within the mobile gaming industry, but I decided to stick to these few to stress my point. The IT departments are important, but not solely responsible for making a good social game. Users are people, and marketing and psychology need to be integrated into the information strategy to make sure the game is successful on the long term.

References: 

Dockterman, E. (2013) ‘Candy Crush Saga: The science behind our addiction’. Accessed at 27 September 2015 through http://business.time.com/2013/11/15/candy-crush-saga-the-science-behind-our-addiction/

Kumar, V. (2014) ‘Making Freemium Work’, Harvard Business Review, Mei 2014: 27-29

Valadares, J. (2011) ‘Mobile Freemium Games: Women Thrifty, Men Binge’. Accessed at 27 September 2015 through http://www.flurry.com/bid/72755/Mobile-Freemium-Games-Women-Thrifty-Men-Binge#.VPWucvmG-So

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

Big Data and Mobile Data Security: Two bagels and a Cup of tea

Every day you wake up with that same daily ritual: alarm goes off, you get ready, you leave the house. Given your high environmental consciousness (or the lack of a driver’s license), you take as part of your morning ritual to set off on a train to get to your destination. To help you kill time and make your ride more enjoyable you take your mobile phone out of your pocket, connect to the train’s Wi-Fi and complete your journey as most of the people in the train.

What seemed to be a normal day may come with an unpleasant surprise. We often make use of public hotspots to save a few of those megabytes that consume our bill at month end. However, what is often neglected is the security of these connections.

Hannes Muhleisen is just an Amsterdam citizen who happens to live in a boat. In one regular afternoon he was setting up his internet connection when his laptop recognizes the Wi-Fi network very familiar to many of us, the “Wifi in de trein”, as a train passed by. Curious, Muhleisen decided to experiment by setting up equipment to ‘listen in’ into the devices of the train’s travelers (Maurits, M 2015). Would NS provide such an unsecure connection to its customers? With two antennas and some open software, Hannes was set to test. Thus, you are probably wondering: what kind of information was he able to pickup?

  • 114,558 different MAC-addresses over 5 months
  • Unique numbers of devices, time and data
  • Device history of web-browsing and app usage
  • Types of devices the travelers were using (e.g. Apple, Samsung, etc.)

For the additional fun, Muhleisen even created a model evaluating Wi-Fi usage based on the weather.

Weather

Muhleisen’s example is just one in many of the big data security and privacy concerns. However, these extend further than simply individuals’ data security, it also affects society and organizations. Among the top 10 big data privacy risks are (Herold, R 2015):

  1. Targeted marketing leading private information to become public.
  2. The need to have one piece of data linked to another to make sense would make your data impossible to be anonymous.
  3. Based on the previous point, data masking could easily be overrun and reveal personal information.
  4. Big data can be used to influence business decisions without taking into account the human lives involved.
  5. Big data does not contain rigorous validation of the user data, which could lead to inaccurate analytics.
  6. Big data could lead to discrimination of job candidates, employee promotion and more because it is an ‘automated’ discrimination.
  7. There are only few legal protections to involved individuals.
  8. Big data is growing indefinitely and infinitely making it easier to learn more about individuals.
  9. Big data analytics allows organizations to narrow documents relevant to litigation, but raises accusations of not including all necessary documents.
  10. Due to the size of big data it makes difficult to make sure patents and copyrights are indeed unique.

SensitiveDataTheft

All these implications lead to major concerns towards IT security investments, paranoia and conspiracy theories. How to tackle all the ethical implications that come with big data? If one man with two cheap antennas can collect enough data to learn what you ate for breakfast, what can corporations do to trigger behaviors using first-of-line equipment? Whether you are an iOS or Android user, the big brother is watching.

Lilian Shann, 342890ls

Sources:

Marits, M (2015). De wifi in de trein is volstrekt onveilig (en de NS doet er niets ann), [Online], Available at: https://decorrespondent.nl/3166/De-wifi-in-de-trein-is-volstrekt-onveilig-en-de-NS-doet-er-niets-aan-/97373496-af07ccc1  [Accessed: 13 September 2015].

Herold, R (2015). 10 Big Data Analytics Privacy Problems, [Online], Available at: https://www.secureworldexpo.com/10-big-data-analytics-privacy-problems [Accessed: 13 September 2015].

Damato, T (2015). Infographic: What’s threatening your mobile apps?, [Online], Available at: http://blog.vasco.com/application-security/infographic-whats-threatening-mobile-apps/ [Accessed: 13 September 2015].

:: 4G spectrum auction ::

Paul Prins – 4min. read

31st of october 2012, the auction for the ‘4G spectrum’ started in The Netherlands and finished 1,5 month later at the 13th of december 2013. This auction took longer and raised more money than expected. Both the Dutch market leaders, KPN and Vodafone, bided each about €1,3 billion, T-Mobile €911 million and Tele2 – a fairly new player in the market – €161 million. KPN paid (relatively) so much that the dividend payments for 2012 and 2013 were actually cancelled.

 Why did it take so long? And why is there so much money involved – almost 4 times more than was expected?

To put it shortly, all of these companies were aiming at getting access to chunks in (mainly) both the 800MHZ and 900MHz spectrum (more about these frequency bands later). The licenses for these spectrum bands are valid until 2030 in order to provide faster mobile data [LTE] services all over the Netherlands. The roll-out was, by then, planned to start in Q2 2013 until – expected – the end of 2014.

Shortly after the auction, the real rivalry between the companies took off. KPN was the first player that actually ‘launched’ it’s mobile 4G connection for her customers. But this was only for their premium data plans and they also didn’t foresee that some early adopters started to pick on KPN that their 4G was not compatible with the – just released – iPhone 5. On the contrary, Vodafone has recently fired a marketing campaign as a reaction to KPN, claiming that they are the first provider in The Netherlands offering a 4G connection for the iPhone 5 – truth to be told: just for now, only in the 4 main rural cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and Den Haag.

 But what’s the fuzz all about? – Why emphasis on the iPhone 5?…let’s clear things up.

First of all – and without getting in too much details yet – the iPhone 5 is one of the most popular high-end mobile devices that, as it turned out, doesn’t support the initial 4G-rollout  frequency (800MHz) from KPN, whereas the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and Nokia Lumia 920 do. Why? Because the iPhone 5 for the Dutch market doesn’t support 800MHZ, but only 1800MHZ. A great opportunity for the marketing departments of Vodafone to make public to their customers that they have already started rolling out their LTE services in the 1800MHZ band – for the record: KPN will also start to roll-out the 1800MHz band in 2014 as well.

 But what about these frequency bands?

Back in the days, when you went to a country abroad you needed a separate mobile device in order to connect to a local network – or you were one of the lucky fews, owning your own satellite phone – since all countries had their own ‘rules’. Luckily for us, things changed and international standards for the mobile spectrum have been adopted. Just like any international agreement, the real results of these standards are visible many years later. For example, in The Netherlands the 800MHz band was exclusively used for analog television. Therefore, this bandwidth was not available for telecommunications, otherwise nobody was able to watch television back in the days.

But for this new digital age, 800MHz is not exclusive for analog TV anymore. Why? The first reason is that probably nobody watches analog TV anymore, but more importantly because 800MHz main characteristic is that it can can cover a wide distance, whereas bands in the higher frequencies cannot. For the same reason the GSM network is provided through the 900MHz band.

So what does it mean for Telecommunications in the Netherlands?
The final results of the Dutch 4G auctions give a pretty clear overview:

At this point is not specifically known which provider will use what specific band, but a rough expectation shows the following:
2G / GSM: 900MHz
3G / UMTS: 2100 MHz
4G / LTE: 800, 1800, 2600 MHz

Back to the iPhone:
As mentioned before, the initial roll-out is focused on the 800MHz frequency, hence the fuzz about the iPhone 5 that ‘only’ supports the 1800MHz band. The good news is though, that the new iPhone models (5S and 5C) will support all three LTE bands

And that is exactly what it’s all about for LTE: device and mobile carrier support:
Band 20 (800MHz) – Vodafone, KPN, Tele2
Band 3 (1800MHz) – Vodafone, KPN, T-Mobile
Band 7 (2600MHz) – Vodafone, KPN, T-Mobile, Tele2, Zum (Ziggo)

Thus, the bottom line is: if you want to know wether you will see that new beloved 4G icon in the top of your screen, not only check if your provider supports LTE access (and you are actually paying for it) but also if your phone supports it.

Technology of the Week: Tagwhat and QR code

So upcoming Monday our group will provide you a full presentation about Tagwhat and QR code. Here’s a summary of our findings:

QR Code

QR code is an acronym of Quick Response code. Literally, it is a code that contains information that responds quickly when recognized. QR codes can be recognized when scanned by feasible devices such as QR code readers or scanners. When the QR code is recognized, it provides the user with the relevant information of the product or service that the generator of the QR code intends to provide.

Three main trends in the QR field have led to a significant increase of use of QR codes. Besides the shift from QR codes embedded with website URL’s to more user friendly mobile versions URL’s, the use of QR codes in the marketing field has contributed significantly to the increase in QR usage. By using QR codes as an educational tool for the increasing connected customer and as a convenient purchasing tool, the current trends in the QR field are promising for the coming years.

SWOT:

Strengths:

  • Easy access and to use QR codes
  • Free or at minimal cost to create and to distribute QR codes

Weaknesses:

  • Easy to copy
  • User must be equipped with a smartphone and download the applications first

Opportunities:

  • Continuously growth of smartphone users
  • QR code technology can be used in different fields, other than just marketing

Threats:

  • Competing technology and competitors: NFC (Near Field Communication), Stickybits and Blippar
  • People know the technology, but do not use it

Tagwhat

Tagwhat is a mobile device application that uses the user’s current location to display web information about the places around the user. The application determines the location of the user by using GPS and a digital compass. The digital information is displayed in order of proximity in an image-based interface. Aside from photos and videos, the user can also receive audio and narratives when the user taps on a Tag.

The main trends for Tagwhat at this moment are the increasing number of people that surf the Web on their mobile devices instead of from their desktops. Next to this trend, is the demand for location-based content of importance. Moreover, the use upcoming trend of augmented reality advertising contributes to the growth of Tagwhat, and in general to augmented reality.

SWOT:

Strengths:

  • Easy to use
  • Tagwhat provides business opportunities
  • Mix of augmented reality and social world

Weaknesses:

  • User must be equipped with a smartphone (Android and Apple) and download the application first
  • Not high user awareness

Opportunities:

  • Continuously growth of smartphone users
  • Tagwhat can be used in different fields

Threats:

  • People are not aware of this technology

Comparison

When we compare the current trends for Tagwhat and QR codes, we can see that the increasing number of people that use their mobile phone to surf the Web or purchase product online is root to the growth in both augmented reality and the use of QR codes. Furthermore, we can make a comparison in the way both information goods are used; as a marketing tool. QR codes are used to ease the purchasing process for the customer by directing him directly to the company’s website, where augmented reality is targeted very specifically to customers nearby.

When we compare the strengths and weaknesses of both technologies, similarities and differences can be seen. QR code is an “older” technology than Tagwhat and therefore has a larger user base. Where QR code can be created for free or at minimal cost, businesses need to pay license to create an interactive layer in Tagwhat. Another difference in strength is that Tagwhat really combines the augmented reality with social interaction and with the QR code social interaction is limited. At final both technologies are dependent of the use of smartphones, the continuing increase of smartphone users will benefit both technologies.

During the presentation on Monday we will extend this brief summary with more details about the two technologies and are looking forward to see you. Thank you and see you then!