Monday, December 21, 2015

IBM Shitstorm

The newest campaign of IBM, "hack a hairdryer", which purpose it is to attract more women to the tech industry has gone very wrong and triggered a huge shitstorm on several social media platforms.

„Join the campaign to re-engineer misperceptions about women in tech, one inventive hack at a time. Get inspired and start your Hack-A-Hair Dryer project.“ (Saatkorn 2015)

IBM's intend to attract more women to work in jobs were technical skills are needed and to change the perception of women in the tech industry is exemplary, but they failed horribly in the execution. For some reason IBM thought it was a good idea to let women modify their hairdryers and use them for scientific experiments. The association of women and hairdryers (and this being the only technical invention that women are interested in) is patronising and sexist, as some social media users argue that nobody would ever make a similar campaign asking men to modify their electric shaver.

The shitstorm grew so big that IBM had to apologize on social media and pulled back their campaign by deleting the video and all related entries of IBM on Twitter and Facebook. (t3n 2015)

Nevertheless the video can still be seen on the Youtube channel of Adafruit Industries:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

TWINT - The digital wallet of Switzerland

After we have written about UBS paymit it's time to introduce another treasure on the Swiss App Market: TWINT, the digital wallet of Switzerland. It is supposed to create a new shopping experience in the country, super easy and quick.

TWINT was founded in 2014 with the goal of creating a digital wallet for use in Switzerland. It is a subsidiary of PostFinance. TWINT, just like UBS paymit offers to submit and receive money from friends easily. Additionally you can upload as much credit as you want on your smart phone, what a great way to always have your wallet with you! Berner Kantonalbank and the lilac Valiant Bank have both jumped on the train and decided to use TWINT. Their customers will soon have the possibility to link their accounts directly to the TWINT app. (TWINT, 2014)

We are both very curious to see how the market of mobile payments will develop in the future and how we'll get used to this new means of payment.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Think BIG

In last week's lecture we discussed a very interesting topic that affects us all a lot in our daily lives and will continue to gain even more influence in our daily business lives. 
We are talking about big data. Big data describes the systematic use of the increasing amount of data gathered from all areas to define certain processes and predictable developments. The goal of big data is to provide relevant in-time information to the user.
Important aspects of big data are the data volume, the velocity of data being generated, the variety of the data, and finally the veracity of data insuring data quality.
The biggest issue concerning big data is the data protection of private information.

But what kind of data do we create every single day? To whom and why are these data of interest?
Our own interests can be derived very easily form what we do on the internet. If we for example read the news using our smartphones and are surveyed over a period of time, the data we create will soon show in which topics we are interested the most.
If we are on the road and check the news or look at advertisement which is tailored according to our interests or even make a purchase, our data reveals where we are at the moment we did this, what time it was, and if we make a purchase the data will also show our credit card history, which reveals what we have bought with it before.
If we google something, no matter if with or without an account, Google is able to analyse the things we search for and then adapt the advertisement according to our search. Spotify or Amazon are further examples of companies that use data we actively searched for to make new suggestions for us according to our past preferences. Therefore they do not only use our past data, but also data of other users. This way Amazon can for example suggest to buy the matching phone case for our new mobile phone we ordered, because other people normally ordered these products simultaneously.
Informations about our body are very popular data. There are many different apps that can help us measure different things. For example our blood pressure, or heartbeat, if we are allergic to some products, our weight, or how active we are during a normal day.
All these kind of informations can be for example of interest for an insurance company, because they can see the needs of their customers to adapt their complementary insurances.
There are a lot of movement data, with which it is possible to locate us all day long. Our smartphones for example leave an indirect trace when they connect form one mobile communications antenna to the next, or when we use a GPS function, and we are even traced over security cameras that are installed in a lot of places. These data can be especially useful for predicting traffic jams on the roads or other related information to the movement of people. (Einstein 2014)

All these informations are helpful for businesses to better direct their marketing efforts to our needs and interests. There are several big companies that collect all kind of data about us. Such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Youtube. The amount of data that is uploaded to these platforms every second is insane and seems very unreal to us. On the website “Internet in Real-Time” you can see the extend of data uploaded on the internet. For example, in the first 5 seconds on this website Facebook already has 2’315 new posts, Youtube has 10 hours of new video material, and Amazon sold 255 items. All together 128’600 GB have been created in only 5 seconds! By the time we reach 1 minute, the amount of data has already reached 1'354'440 GB. 

Although so many companies can take advantage of big data, there are also some issues arising.
The problem that seems rather obvious is that big data also needs a lot of space and capacity to analyse the data. The company generating big data needs to think of where they want to store the data, how they can be used, and how they should be analysed.
Another issue we experience with big data is that the data can be biased for some firms, as it may lead us to interpret the data so that we get the solution we want to, as in any other statistical measure. We may also make our decisions too fast and before finishing analysing all the data we collected. This can lead to a false conclusion. Too much data can therefore misguide us and make it more difficult for us to find the right solution to a problem.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The unbranded brand.

Brandless is supposed to be a new concept? I couldn't agree less.

We are living in a world where we are constantly facing brands. Hundreds of items we use on a daily basis are probably branded. Drinks we consume, hand-cream we use, food we eat, games we play, clothes we wear - everything is branded. Isn't this sometimes all a bit too overwhelming?

The hipster scene has shown that covering up with brands isn't so fashionable anymore. The time when people wore t-shirts with bold letters "D&G" are over. The hipster trend says being different is cool (unfortunately they don't realise how much they all look the same). Wearing your grandfathers shirt or the vintage fur coat of your grandmother is the new chic.

Launching a new clothes line called "brandless" is implicitly also branding it by telling people how uncool it is to wear branded items and to wear theirs instead. What a perfect idea in times of the prevailing hipster trend.

Also I think there are already many brands on the market, which find the perfect balance between consciously resigning from using their brand names as a selling argument and still build customers awareness of their distinct product. They are using their brands but in a very classy way.

Let's look at one of these brands with it's headquarter in Switzerland. windsor.

On their website, they communicate that their fashion is more than just clothes. They are a way of life. Windsor customers value great quality and love understatement. Their fashion is timeless, classy and wouldn't ever put too much focus on the brand name.

I'm sure unbranded brands can have huge success, but I really wouldn't say that it is something new and "unbranded" is a very strong statement, which will be remembered by customers and increase the brands brand value.


Friday, November 27, 2015

Build your future

Ever visited a headquarters of a company and just thought: „Wow, this building is really impressive!” 

But why do some companies invest so much money to make their headquarters stand out? 
Well, we can turn this question around and ask: “How can a company best demonstrate its power, wealth, and innovative strength?” (Spiegel Online, 2013)

The answer is through its headquarters. The building from which the company operates is the first thing the world sees when a company enters the market. (Corporate Architecture, 2015) It can reflect the company’s culture and values, as well as demonstrate how much money has been invested and therefore how wealthy and influential the company is.
A building can help a company to strengthen its corporate identity, as the architecture can convey trust and the company’s image. Corporate architecture, to introduce the technical term, can help the company to create an unusual building with lots of character reflecting the company’s values.
If a building fits a company really well, it can even increase productivity, as employees enjoy going to work in a special building and customers enjoy a very special experience when visiting the company. This effect is derived from aligning design, marketing, and functionality with each other.    
Therefore not only the digital appearance but also the real world appearance is very important for a company.(KMU Magazin, 2008)

One example of a company’s headquarters that reflects its core business quite well and has an impressive shape is the sail-shaped building of the French shipping company CMA CGM in Marseille. Another example is the “Laces” headquarters of Adidas that reminds us of shoelaces such as on their sport shoes. The first complete circular building to be built in the Middle East was the headquarters of the real estate and investment company Aldar Properties in Abu Dhabi. (Spiegel Online, 2013)

It is therefore possible for a company to communicate through their building and important to put a lot of thought into the architecture of their head quarter and start to better work together with architects. 

Adidas headquarters "Laces"
Headquarters of CMA CGM

Headquarters of Aldar Properties

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Best of Swiss App

Every year an event takes place in Switzerland to evaluate the best Swiss Application developments. It is an initiative of Simsa (Swiss Internet Industry Association). Their goal is to create transparency whitin the Swiss App branch. They set quality standards and want to put gain more focus for the young, promising business sector. Best of Swiss App is one of the most acknowledged competitions in the field of App'onomy, which refers to the businesses which engage in application development. (Best of Swiss App, 2015)

Best of Swiss App:

This year UBS Paymit got elected to be the best Swiss Buisness App. It is a free application, which allows people to safely and quickly transfer money to friends and family throughout Switzerland. It doesn't matter at which bank you have your bank account, all you need is a smartphone. Paymit was developed by SIX, a company that engages in cashless payments for years. (Paymit, 2015) Paymit currently counts 130'000 downloads in Switzerland. (UBS, 2015)

UBS Paymit:

More really innovative applications can be discovered on the ranking by Best of Swiss Apps.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Can you see it too?

Are you thinking of getting new furniture for your apartment, but are not sure how they will all fit together? Or are you thinking of getting a new couch, but are worried how it will match the rest of your furniture?

The IKEA catalogue app using augmented reality will make it possible to show furniture from an IKEA catalogue as it will look like in your apartment. To do so you have to place the catalogue on the floor at the spot where you want your new couch to go. Then you point your smartphone towards the catalogue and your video camera will show the room as it is with the additional new couch in the spot where the catalogue lies. You can now see if the couch will fit and if it looks like you expected it to. (Zeit Online, 2014)

Augmented reality is changing the world as we know it. In augmented reality we see the real world with supplementary digital content in form of sound, video, graphics, or GPS data. In contrast, a virtual world, which we are already more familiar with, only shows us a fictive reality, replacing the real world with a simulation.

Another example for augmented reality besides letting furniture magically appear in your apartment is the way it can be used in automobiles. A projector in the dashboard can project information such as speed, on to the windscreen. The information can be projected on exactly the spot where it is needed so that the driver does not have to look away from the road anymore as often as he has to do now.
For example, indicators for a change of direction will be seen on the road or floating directly in front of the road we want to turn into. Augmented reality can also help drivers to stay within the lane, as the boarders are illuminated with red marks at night. (Zeit Online, 2014)

For a marketing purpose augmented reality will play a big role, as customers can interact with the world around them.
Amazon for example has brought out its first smartphone called Firephone which offers a function called Firefly that tries to identify objects which can be bought on Amazon. This way, when a customer takes a picture of friends in a nice garden, the smartphone might recognize the flower pots and ask the user if he directly wants to buy them for his own garden. Maybe the smartphone also recognizes a friend’s jumper in the online store and suggest it to the user in the right size. This way impulsive purchases are encouraged at a very high level. (Zeit Online, 2014)
Augmented reality will also change our shopping experience a lot, as customers for example can try on the clothes on a screen and flic through the product range much faster than when searching the whole store for a matching skirt or top like the lady in the video. (Youtube)