Personal Public Transport: BMW

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With the introduction of the sharing economy in the taxi industry, Uber caused a massive disruption of the industry.  Their solution was an extremely competitive proposition against what was then the status-quo.  Currently, they are even going a step further by venturing into autonomous vehicles. Now, however, one of the world’s biggest car manufacturers, BMW, is joining the fray by starting the testing phase of their own line of autonomous vehicles (Business Insider, 2016).


BMW will start their testing phase by having forty autonomous vehicles in operation in the inner city of Munich. Each vehicle will be have a trained test driver behind the wheel for safety purposes. If this initial testing phase goes well, the project will be expanded to other cities.


Despite companies like Uber also focusing more and more on autonomous vehicles, BMW sees a tremendous opportunity for the company to properly diversify their portfolio with a pay-per-ride programme. The company sees big bucks in the personal public transport industry. Being able to provide the same service as public transport, but without the driver, is an incredibly disruptive and lucrative innovation.


The company sees its competitive advantage to be twofold: Firstly, the company will capitalise on their expertise and image to make premium models, outperforming their competition on class and comfort. Secondly, BMW will be able to both manufacture and maintain its own fleet of autonomous vehicles, allowing for a service level, guarantee of quality and decision flexibility unparalleled by current competition.


All in all, with the exponential development and investments in autonomous vehicles, true, effective personal public transport is within reach. The disruption caused by Uber in the taxi industry is bound to expand into the public transportation industry. Propagated by large companies and initiatives, such as BMW, jumping on the bandwagon, personal public transport will become more and more accessible to customers all around the world.




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Internet connected toys suspected of spying on kids

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Privacy is becoming an issue for the internet of things topic. However, a more unexpected field are internet connected toys. Over 18 privacy groups have been or are filing complaints with the European Union as well as the US Federal Trade Commission concerning Genesis Toys and speech recognition company Nuance for deceptive practices and violating of privacy laws. It is argued that i-Que and My Friend Carla, both pictured, do not only capture voices without notice or approval, it is also not clear what Nuance does with the information that is sent. As an added problem, the organizations are also accusing the companies of not making sure that other Bluetooth connected devices cannot access the toys. Evermore, if not properly managed the speech information that is recorded and sent to nuance could be sold to third parties. There is even another problem that hackers could gain access to these products and the microphones in those devices. Future scenarios could even go as far as “predatory stalking and physical danger”. All in all concerns are plenty, and stakes are high. However, chances are that speech recognition is going to be used more and more in future toys, especially in dolls.

It is unsure yet whether and to what extend the European Union and the US Federal Trade Commission are going to do something about these practices in themselves. It is extra complicated as these products are marketed to kids, who are obviously less able or responsible to manage privacy concerns themselves.

I am curious about how you think about these toys developments. Do you think we should ban them or develop rules? Then again, if we develop rules, how can we enforce them? And in the case of hacking, how should we manage the security of such hardware and the software behind it? Please comment below.

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Microsoft predicts that the search bar will disappear by 2027

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As future business architects or consultants, a disappearance of the search bar would have a major influence on your job and the company you will work for. Questions you would have to ask yourself as soon as you get such jobs would be: How does the role of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) change? How to restructure a company for that future? What will be important instead?

You better already start thinking about this. Microsoft predicts that the search bar will disappear by as soon as 2027. It is fueled by 17 opinions of Microsoft employees, which you can find here:

In 2017 deep learning in information retrieval will already be matured, according to one of their scientists. Over the last years there have been breakthroughs in speech and image recognition and natural language recognition, which already fuels the capabilities of search. But in 2027 it will make for real change. Search will become more “ubiquitous, embedded, and contextually sensitive.” Next to that it will be even more relevant to “current location, content, entities, and activities”, replacing the limited output design of a search bar and website. It is argued that we are seeing the beginnings of that now happening in homes, with devices that answer to spoken queries such as Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. The capabilities and smartness of those devices will increase along the way adding for example video capabilities and becoming better in their own context at home.


All in all the way we will consume and create information will completely change. What do you think will be the most important technology changes to fuel this transformation? How fast do you think this transformation will happen? How do you think it will impact Search Engine Optimization?

Please comment below with your ideas.



17 for ’17: Microsoft researchers on what to expect in 2017 and 2027


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Gucci Surpasses Burberry as Most Digitally Savvy Luxury Brand

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“As the innovation halo awarded to early movers in digital fades, the harsh economics of maintaining a robust digital marketing apparatus favors the fashion establishment, including a new Index leader.”

(L2inc, 2016)

One brand that always exemplifies outstanding digital marketing performance is the British powerhouse and luxury retailer Burberry (Bruining, 2016). The company’s exceptional digital strategy has positioned the brand not only at the top of the fashion luxury category, but also among top digitally savvy brands across industries such as Apple, Nike, and Google.


However, the 8th annual Digital IQ Index in Fashion just announced a new leader: Italian luxury brand of fashion and leather goods, Gucci. For the first time since the creation of the index, Burberry has fallen second. The company received a digital IQ score of 144 versus Gucci’s 145, while both Ralph Lauren and Coach tied in third place. The digital index benchmarks the digital performance of 85 luxury brands in the US market, examining investment in e-commerce, search visibility, social media engagement, and mobile aptitude (L2inc, 2016).


The top 10 list for the 2016 Digital IQ Index in Fashion can be seen below:



To put into perspective, Gucci was ranked 7th last year. Responsible behind this sudden and incredible escalation was the digital influence of Creative Director Alessandro Michele and CEO Marco Bizzari. Gucci was praised for the brand’s elegant e-commerce site for its customer service, content integration and shoppable features, as well as the brand’s visibility on third-party e-commerce sites (Mau, 2016). Furthermore, over the last year their social-media interaction doubled and it’s digital marketing reach has been boosted successfully thanks to its effective online advertising and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) capabilities.




Both Michele and Bizzari have managed to completely renovate Gucci’s online presence. The brand had relaunched their website in October and have experienced significant growth in e-com sales ever since. Like most luxurious brands of fashion, over the past year Gucci introduced a number of social-media initiatives to target Millennials. From artist collaborations and cool celebrity takeovers on Instagram to campaign reveals and behind-the-scenes content on Snapchat (Mau, 2016). The brand’s efforts have clearly paid off.




So what strategies will Burberry implement in order to face uprising digital savvy luxury competitors such as Gucci? After eight years, Burberry’s board members have voted to replace current CEO Christopher Baily with Céline Chief Executive Marco Gobbetti. Baily was a key component behind the company’s digital success, and will remain their design chief with the added title of president (Chaudhuri, 2016). However, Gobbetti will only assume position next summer, which leaves Baily a few months to try and restore the company himself.


Will Burberry manage to retain the digital throne or will they continue to tumble down?





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Huawei is challenging apple and Windows

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Not a short time ago news broke about Huawei planning to introduce two laptops in 2017. This would be their second attempt to gain a share in the computer industry. After first introducing the MateBook which was a two-in-one product. The MateBook was with a modular product in 2016, which helped them achieve a growth of 2 percent in the global tablet market. By introducing two laptops, their goal is to penetrate the computer market. But the question could be asked if this will be a good development for Huawei with already so many competitors established in laptop market.

Laptop market
In the years of 2015 and 2016 the shipments of tablets have increased compared to laptops and PC’s. The prediction is that the tablet shipment will stay dictating the shipments compared to the PC’s and the laptops. Would it then for Huawei be a better idea to focus on the growing interest for tablets instead of Laptops?
The strategy of penetrating the laptop industry can be rectified. The annual growth of 2011-2016 still is 7,4%. The growing value shows the opportunity to create additional value and gain additional revenue. An SWOT analysis of the laptop market shows that is highly competitive market which can be described as unpredictable and dynamic. But the industry has future innovative developments which could be used to gain a competitive advantage. To compete each company has to develop a combination of attributes within their product portfolio. This option for Huawei is limited because of their limited portfolio of products.

Gain competitive advantage
A SWOT analysis shows that the product portfolio which is specific for each company can be used to identify their competitive advantage. Important key indicators of strengths in these markets are; brand image, a robust financial performance and focused R&D capabilities. In order for Huawei to compete a large amount of their R&D and their marketing budget will have to be invested to penetrate the market and gain market share.

My recommendation for Huawei would be to focus on the tablet market because of the adoption of the customers to this products and the mobility that comes with it. The markets for tablets is still growing so value can still be derived and revenue can still be increased while competing is the market. For the future there are enough innovations which will help them stay relevant in the market. While I would also say that competing in the laptop market would allow them to create a better image. Based on this information, do you think that targeting the laptop industry would be a smart idea for Huawei?


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