Category Archives: News

Using a ‘healthy dose of guilt’ to achieve your goals


Over the years many different types of social online communities have gained popularity. It has allowed for individuals with widely differing interests to connect and interact with others that share common interests. Think of CouchSurfing, Facebook, Reddit, and SoundCloud, among many, many others. For those that are rather goal-oriented and keen on connecting with others that share a similar mindset, Linkagoal is the optimal social network.

Linkagoal is a social online community based on the premise of sharing personal goals and connecting individuals based on related life goals and ambition. On this social network users can engage with other goal-driven users. Besides sharing your own goals with the community, you can connect with members who can assist you in achieving your goals, or with people that are currently trying to achieve a similar goal. Linkagoal’s underlying belief is that barriers such as the lack of resources, guidance, experience, accountability, and encouragement, are what keep humans from reaching their goals. Thus, why not build an online community to make it easier for people to overcome these obstacles and achieve their ultimate goals. (ACN Newswire, 2014)

The online community takes on a simple, yet unique approach to foster goal-attainment of their users. Firstly, new members can create a goal and explicitly state what it is that they want to accomplish. Secondly, individuals are encouraged to share a post with other community members regarding their past and present events. The third aspect is called Progress Update, which entails that users keep the community up to date on their progress towards their goal. Fourthly, users are encouraged to create milestones, in order to help them stay on track. Moreover, members are expected to motivate others in attaining their goals. Furthermore, users can build their own mini-community by linking their goals to other similar goals. In addition, individuals can contribute to the attainment of other members’ goals by offering their knowledge and experience. Lastly, the social network offers a private messaging, so members can stay connected with their friends. (Linkagoal, 2017)

Despite their good intensions, Linkagoal has received quite some backlash for their claim that a ‘healthy dose of guilt’ provides ‘just the right amount of pressure’ to keep users on track. However, mental-health experts have condemned this approach, as they believe it could have detrimental effects on individuals. Furthermore, Linkagoal partnered with YouGov to explore drivers of motivation, especially regarding annual goals. They found that nearly 62 percent of social-media users feel a higher level of pressure to stay on track when others can see their progress. It is exactly this belief that experts find disturbing. Rather than ‘avoiding the negative, i.e. the threat of others knowing you have failed’, they believe Linkagoal should ‘encourage and reinforce the positive’. (Mail Online, 2016)

Nevertheless, the social network has a strong community base of over 2 million members, which is expected to grow even further. Therefore, the social network is primarily focusing on monetization, with the rollout of mentorship services, rewards, and goal campaign features in the near future (The Silicon Review, 2016). Furthermore, Linkagoal is available as an app on both Google Play and the App Store.

Who knows, maybe Linkagoal will one day join the ranks of Facebook or Twitter, only time will tell.

References

ACN Newswire. (2014). Linkagoal Secures $1.25M in Series A Funding. [online] Available at: http://www.acnnewswire.com/press-release/english/16486/linkagoal-secures-$1.25m-in-series-a-funding [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].

Linkagoal. (2017). Linkagoal | Share Your Life Goals. [online] Available at: https://www.linkagoal.com/ [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].

Mail Online. (2016). Experts hit out at ‘guilt and shame’ goal share websites. [online] Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3602375/Experts-hit-guilt-shame-goal-share-websites-Networking-sites-slammed-detrimental-mental-health-effects.html [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].

The Silicon Review. (2016). The Goal Based Social Network: Linkagoal, Inc.. [online] Available at: http://thesiliconreview.com/magazines/the-goal-based-social-network-linkagoal-inc/ [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].

Airbnb Trips – The Next Move Towards Conquering the World


“The stuff that matters in life is no longer stuff. It’s other people. It’s relationships. It’s experience.” – Brian Chesky, Co-Founder and CEO of Airbnb

What is your purpose of travel? Is it food? Is it fun? Is it meeting new, inspiring people? Is it getting to know new cultures? Travel is about meaningful moments, experiences you make that you will never forget. But how do you find those places for magical experiences? On TripAdvisor? Go to TripAdvisor and search for “Things to Do” in your home town: Hop-on-Hop-off buses, overpriced boat tours, Madame Tussaud’s… Have you as a local, ever done one of those activities? Most likely you will say: “That’s just something tourists do.”

To prevent travelers from stepping into tourist traps, Airbnb recently presented its’ new offering – the world of trips:

Airbnb knows what travelers want – the ultimate local experience. The previous, successful years resulted in a platform offering millions of homes around the entire world to tourists that no longer want to stay in anonymous hotels. But CEO Brian Chesky realized that homes are just one single part of a great journey. A great journey lets you immerse in and join the local community. With the new product Airbnb Trips, also experiences and places will all be available in the app. So, what are those new features?

  • Experiences: The offered activities are not just organized by city, but also by passion, for example Sports, Nature, Social Impact, or Food. The available experiences can take from a couple of hours up to multiple days. Every offered experience is presented in a short video. About half of the trips are offered at a price below $200 (Airbnb: Experiences, 2017).
  • Places: Within this function, local legends list their top things to do in an “insider guidebook”. Additionally, also audio walks and meet-ups are featured.

Business Model Evaluation

What is the value added for the three main parties involved in Airbnb’s business model?

Consumers (travelers) – For travelers, the extension of Airbnb’s offerings provides a great value added, because the platform becomes a One-Stop-Shop for your entire travel. This will reduce the time necessary to prepare trips and give you new local insights during your holidays. Of course, this comes at high costs: 55€ for a sunset bike ride in Tokyo or 98€ for a 3h-cocktail workshop in San Francisco can not be afforded by budget travelers.

Providers (guides) – From now on, you can also become a host for activities. When deciding to become a host, you have to apply and Airbnb checks the experience for certain quality standards. The best experiences offer guests access participation, and perspective (see Figure 1). Next to monetary profit, the benefits are also non-financial: get more exposure for what you love, promote your brand, and meet locals like you (Airbnb: Become A Host, 2017).

Bildschirmfoto 2017-03-07 um 11.46.39
Figure 1. Assessed Quality Standards for Experiences (Airbnb: Quality Standards for Experiences, 2017)

Platform (Airbnb) – With this business model extension, Airbnb wants to become the platform for your entire trip. By embedding new features like restaurant recommendations and an integrated reservation system, Airbnb seems to aim at replacing existing platforms like TripAdvisor and Yelp. Motivation of this move clearly is Airbnb’s transition from a website for booking accommodation to a full-service travel company, which comes along with increasing its user-base and revenue. For Experiences, Airbnb brokers the payment from the user to the guide and takes a commission, similar to how its home-booking service works. For Places, the company has some revenue-sharing deals in place, like a partnership with Resy to book restaurant reservations. Also, the market for travel activities is still underserved and promises large potential. So far, only small vendors like Klook, I Like LocalPeek and Viator offer a comparable service. However, their offerings are very “touristy” and generic. Additionally, Airbnb can leverage its popularity to quickly establish its offering.

Feasibility of Required Reallocations

Internal ArrangementsAirbnb Trips is more or less an extension from providing accommodation to additionally providing activities and tours. However, this requires further administrative effort, especially related to the quality standards assessment. This assessment is necessary to assure a local and personalized experience, so that Airbnb can clearly differentiate from competitors. Also, videos for every experience have to be created.

External Environment – Airbnb already radically disrupted the global hotel industry by applying the principle of the sharing economy (Zervas, Prosperito & Byers, 2014). With its business, the platform did not only antagonize hotels, but also governments that try to proceed against housing shortage (Jefferson-Jones, 2014; Lee, 2016), coming along with several law-suits in major cities like Berlin, New York and San Francisco. The extension of its offering will most certainly not reduce Airbnb’s number of critics. For example, the ‘ownership of an experience’ is very difficult to assess. Who should get the money, when a guide shows you around a market? Don’t the market traders also deserve a proportion for being essential for the experience? Next to legal conflicts, a discussion about the social impact can be initiated. The commercialization of local experiences may destroy the original selling point of unique, original travel impressions.

All in all, Airbnb Trips moves the platform beyond its’ couch-surfing origins. The offering is clearly targeting the “emotionalization” of travel experiences, a next step in the service economy. This is a great possibility for travelers (who have the budget) to make unique memories. However, it comes at the cost of commercializing the local charm for the sake of profits. Airbnb should be careful and hold up high quality standards (e.g. small groups, special experiences) so that it does not destroy it’s newly designed value proposition.


References

Airbnb: Become A Host. Retrieved March 7, 2017 from https://www.airbnb.com/host/experiences?locale=en

Airbnb: Experiences. Retrieved March 7, 2017 from https://www.airbnb.de/experiences/

Airbnb: New. Retrieved March 7, 2017 from https://de.airbnb.com/new

Airbnb: Quality Standards for Experiences. Retrieved March 7, 2017 from https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1451/what-are-the-quality-standards-for-experiences?locale=en

Jefferson-Jones, J. (2014). Airbnb and the housing segment of the modern sharing economy: Are short-term rental restrictions an unconstitutional taking. Hastings Const. LQ, 42, 557.

Lee, D. (2016). How Airbnb Short-Term Rentals Exacerbate Los Angeles’s Affordable Housing Crisis: Analysis and Policy Recommendations. Harv. L. & Pol’y Rev., 10, 229.

Zervas, G., Proserpio, D., & Byers, J. W. (2014). The rise of the sharing economy: Estimating the impact of Airbnb on the hotel industry. Journal of Marketing Research.

Grail Beats Cancer with DNA Tests


What is it?

One of today’s most promising products might just be around the corner.. Our suffering and long battle with number one’s killing disease might finally come to an end. Jeff Huber, Grail’s CEO, lost his own wife to cancer and was determined to spin out a company that promised to detect and ultimately provide the tools to beat cancer before it could spread throughout a person’s body. With a background in massive data businesses at Google, including Google Ads, Apps, and Maps. At Grail, Huber moved from mapping the world to mapping genomes. Grail is developing blood tests that can detect many types of cancer before symptoms arise. Expectations that cancer blood tests will quickly turn into a multibillion-dollar industry has attracted growing interest from investors. Grail has raised more than $100 million from Illumina, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos’s venture fund, Bezos Expeditions, and Arch Venture Partners.

How does it work?

The testing concept is to use high-speed DNA sequencing machines to cleanse a person’s blood for fragments of DNA released by cancer cells. If DNA with cancer-causing mutations is present, it often indicates a tumor is already forming, even if it’s too small to cause symptoms or be seen on an imaging machine. A DNA test able to pick up many kinds of cancer could be revolutionary because tumors caught early can often be cured with surgery or radiation.

Sounds promising, but is this all not too good to be true?

Any developer of a screening test for cancer faces challenging obstacles. How often will the test find cancer, and how often will it give a wrong result? Is it truly reliable? What’s more, even tests that do discover cancer early can turn into medical disasters if patients end up getting aggressive and costly treatment for cancers that won’t kill them. As Huber states: “If you look at this business, it’s littered with failures. With a few exceptions, screening tests have been invariably horrible,”. To prove early detection is possible, Grail will spend millions on organizing clinical trials involving as many as 30,000 people. It will test all of them and then see if the tests are able to catch cancer earlier than established methods. Grail is the only company currently able to implement sequencing technology at a cost that’s low enough to carry out such studies and bring an inexpensive test to market. Grail has a price advantage because it is a spin-off of Illumina, a company that makes and sells more than about $2 billion worth of DNA sequencing instruments, chemicals, and test kits annually to university scientists and other labs.

A bright future ahead?

Eventually, the DNA tests will be available in every hospital in the US and every person should be allowed to take it at a price of 600 dollar. Timing matters, and the intersection of genome sequencing and the computation that is possible now, with new technologies like machine learning, it feels like we are at the right time to make this happen. If Grail succeeds, in the future, get a cancer diagnosis to being about as eventful as having the flu, that would be a good outcome.

References

https://grail.com

https://shift.newco.co/chasing-the-grail-bill-gates-jeff-bezos-illumina-and-google-ventures-are-betting-this-company-6211cf2e086e#.y30o4w5pe

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/545326/illuminas-bid-to-beat-cancer-with-dna-tests/

What are you going to eat tonight?


We all have that moment once in a while that we don’t want to cook. But also ordering at Deliveroo or Foodora doesn’t sound that attractive anymore, since you feel like a regular customer already. You miss the home cooked meals of your mother, but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen to make an attempt of copying her dish. What to do? AirDnD offers the solution.

What is AirDnD?
AirDnD is founded in 2015 by Rob Lagendijk and his motive is simple: it provides amateur and home chefs – you, me, your neighbour – the possibility to start their own mini restaurant in their home. “This is the moment to participate in the share economy and food is hot” are the words of CEO and founder Rob. AirDnD stands for Air Drink ‘n Dine. The platform is intended for home chefs, not for entrepreneurs. Other people can enjoy a home cooked mail by one of their neighbours by looking for interesting dishes on the platform itself.

So, how does it work exactly?
The platform is a two-sided market and creates a community between home chefs and people who wants to go out for a lovely home cooked meal. It solely depends on the value creation of the users and they put the customer in charge! Home chefs can create their own page where they can state their menu card, the prices for their different kind of dishes and even mention when they are ‘open’. You can specify your profile by telling other people how you live, what you like and how your house looks like.

People who wants to eat are also creating a profile, so that they can look for a home chef in their neighbourhood. After finding the ideal chef, you can make a reservation on the site. And before you know it, you are at the table with a couple of strangers at one of your neighbour’s house enjoying a nice, home cooked meal!

schermafbeelding-2017-02-17-om-22-20-52

Home chefs determine their own price for their dishes. For €15 you can enjoy a “Fishy lunch” or pay some more for a four-course menu including wine. AirDnD is asking 10% for each reservation. So if a home chef is asking €15 for their dish, the guest will pay €16,50. The payments are done through the platform.

Challenges of new business idea’s
A new business idea is always facing some challenges. Like many other starters, take UBER or Airbnb for example, AirDnD is coping with these challenges. The biggest burden AirDnD has to cope with is the “Koninklijke Horeca Nederland”. Royal Horeca Netherlands (KHN) pursues its activities to the best possible business environment for the hospitality industry. They are scared that AirDnD will take the customers away from current restaurants. The KNH thinks that the home chefs who are using AirDnD must comply to the same rules as restaurants. Otherwise the competition is unfair they claim.

And now?
The founder of AirDnD is not worried about this challenges and believes in his idea. In the first couple of weeks there were already 700 home chefs registering on the site. Within a year they have grown to over 2000 different home chefs, opening up their house to strangers to enjoy a home cooked meal and they are still growing. The philosophy of AirDnD is simple: they just want to create a unique experience and offer great food for food lovers!

What do you think?
Will AirDnD be a succes? And will you make use of the opportunity to eat a lovely home cooked meal by one of your neighbors?

Sources
Tsekouras, D. (2017, 2 February). Introduction to Customer Centric Digital Commerce. Accessed on https://bb-app01.ict.eur.nl/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_29596_1&content_id=_165770_1

www.rtlnieuws.nl/editienl/dineren-bij-thuiskok-woonkamer-schoner-dan-restaurant
www.airdnd.nl/platform/Search?search=rotterdam
www.airdnd.nl
www.khn.nl/themas/belangenbehartiging
binnenland.eenvandaag.nl/tv-items/62883/horeca_vreest_valse_concurrentie_van_hobbykoks_airdnd

 

 

Amazon Go: Invisible Interaction Yet Visible Personalization


amazon_go-0

The IT giant Amazon has been extensively testing its first smart offline store “Amazon Go” in its hometown Seattle, Washington since its exposure at the end of last year (González, 2016). This concept store has gained significant popularity as it claims to have no cashiers or checkout lines thanks to computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion.

Continue reading Amazon Go: Invisible Interaction Yet Visible Personalization

Who Has Time to Wait in Line? A Look into the World of Ritual


“The average office worker wastes 45 minutes per week waiting for coffee… and every millisecond counts.”

A Toronto based app seeks to please consumers and vendors alike by eliminating the need to wait in lines while still being able to purchase delicious food and coffee.

Ritual: allowing customers to skip lines while driving additional revenues to local eateries

In 2015, founder Ray Reddy noticed that wasted time can have a major impact on people’s decision making, so he decided to start a company that would be able to change that. He noticed that without all that wasted time people are more productive, efficient and happy. Ritual was founded to overcome these negative effects so people could stop wasting time waiting for coffee and get back to being happy.

How It Works

Ritual allows consumer to skip line-ups for takeout food and beverages. People working in offices or residing in certain neighbourhoods can order their food or drinks through the app and pay ahead of time with a credit card, which means no frustration with the credit card machine or unnecessary time wasted at the establishment. You can even customize your order on the app. As well, to increase people’s happiness by wasting less time, Ritual will notify the consumer when it is time to leave to pick up their order so it will be ready as soon as they arrive. The best part is when the consumer arrives at the establishment to pick up their order, there is no waiting, the customer is able to just walk up to the counter, grab their order and head back to work.

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-1-35-42-pm

Business Model

Ritual’s business model works on the premise that starting small is the best way to get bigger. Ritual began in the King West neighbourhood, which allowed them to gain close relationships with each of the vendors to ensure a mutual trust and understanding. They were able to work with the vendors to ensure the new orders would not mess up their existing work flow. As well, the business model works in such a way that customers are not charged any additional costs for the service but rather, Ritual takes a portion of any incremental order revenues that are placed through the Ritual app.

Value Co-Creation and Efficiency Criteria

The method through which value-creation occurs is rapidly shifting towards a personalized consumer experiences (Prahalad, C.K., & Ramaswamy, V., (2004). In this way, value has been co-created with Ritual. Consumers are co-creators because they gain value from no longer needing to wait in line, but give value by providing additional business to the vendors which they otherwise may not have received.  The vendors are co-creators because they provide the service to the customer, but gain value by receiving incremental sales. Lastly, Ritual was the medium that was able to facilitate co-creation because without them customers and vendors would have been worse off, but they are able to profit off the new symbiotic relationship they have created. It is efficient and meets the joint profit requirement because it gives incentives to all parties to cooperate. It is feasible and meets required reallocations because the polity is not related to the platform, the platform was made legal before it was launched, and Ritual will only accept credible merchants. Lastly, it is achievable because it is a new service with no true incumbents and it is scalable by neighbourhood (Carson, S.J., Dinney, T.M., Dowling, G.R., & John, G., (1999).

By Noa Zaifman, 468357

References

Prahalad, C.K., & Ramaswamy, V. (2004).  Co-creation Experiences: The Next Practice in Value Creation. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 18, 5-14.

Carson, S.J., Dinney, T.M., Dowling, G.R., & John, G. (1999). Understanding Institutional Designs within Marketing Value Systems. Journal of Marketing, 63, 115-130.

O’Kane, J. (2015, December 16). Jump to the front of the line with this app. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-growth/the-challenge/need-for-speed-sparks-an-app-for-takeout-food/article27759031/

Corporate car sharing: want or don’t?


car sharing.jpg
Most of us are on the verge of applying for jobs in order to take the next step in adult life: the working kind. Now imagine that for whatever reason you do not have a driver’s license, or maybe even more important: you do not have a car. You will happily start off taking the train to work, or try to find a coworker living near you own home to be able to carpool to the office. But I bet you dollars to donuts that you will get fed up with that hassle sooner or later. The train will probably be late more often than it arrives on time and carpooling to work will become synonym to not being able to leave home or the office whenever you want. And then? What other options are out there?

Continue reading Corporate car sharing: want or don’t?

The technical weakness of Bitcoin


Bitcoin, the coin of the people. But is it truly? Let’s first get back to how bitcoins work. The bitcoin is the first decentralized digital currency that you can send through the internet. Bitcoin goes directly from person to person, which means that the fees are much lower, you can use them in every country, your account cannot be frozen and there are no arbitrary limits. Although, this is what bitcoin promised at the launch in 2008 (WeUseCoins, 2011).

Continue reading The technical weakness of Bitcoin

A Win-Win Business Model


In 2009 Vitaminwater launched flavorcreator, an application on Facebook. Flavorcreator consisted out of three phases and per phase users could play different games and participate in contests. The most important contest was to create your own flavor. This can be seen as an action of Vitaminwater to crowdsource symmetrically skilled, young users. As reward for participation the winning idea received $5.000. But I have to note that besides crowdsourcing, flavorcreator was also a clever way to do market research…

Continue reading A Win-Win Business Model

Grandma knows best: Online knowledge contribution


Today, one of my group members stained my suede jacket with permanent marker whilst discussing our business idea. After panicking, the first thing I did is type the sentence “how to get ink out of suede” into Google. The pages I end up at are online communities, in which people share their experiences on the same problem and provide me with the knowledge I need to remove the stain. This example might sound very familiar to you: There are more than 2550 of such communities worldwide! These online knowledge sharing platforms provide a space for social interaction where individuals can obtain knowledge and feedback and exchange opinions on certain topics, such as stain removal.

Continue reading Grandma knows best: Online knowledge contribution

Pack Up and Let’s Go Somewhere!


Always wanted go on a vacation, but put off by the tedious work of research, planning and calculating the budget?

Pack Up + Go is a new type of travel agency that can get rid of all the hassle and frustration by planning the vacation for you! They make reservation for all the necessary accommodations, and they plan your itinerary to the finest details. Till now this sounds just like a mere extension of service compared to the traditional travel agency. But what really sets Pack Up + Go apart is that they will not reveal your destination until you leave (Packupgo, 2016). In a broad sense, this is similar to Hotwire, where the identity of the hotel remains secret till you have booked it.

Continue reading Pack Up and Let’s Go Somewhere!

“We are quite curious, really, to the tune of one million dollars”


When the number of movies and series on Netflix increased exponentially, the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, realized they needed to improve their recommendation system to retain customers. After Netflix made several unsuccessful attempts to develop a new algorithm to improve their movie predictions accuracy, they decided to start a three–year open contest. When they launched the challenge, they invited their lead users to come up with a better recommendation system than the one Netflix had at that time, named Cinematch. Many mathematicians, statisticians, software engineers and cyber geeks, symmetrically skilled, from all over the world participated. The variety of participants is often beneficial since somebody outside the field of the problem can often come up with a good solution (Harvard Magazine, 2013). To win the contest, the proposed system had to improve recommendation accuracy with at least 10%, compared to Cinematch. The ones who would achieve this goal, received a price of one million dollars.

Continue reading “We are quite curious, really, to the tune of one million dollars”

The Future of Co-Creation: An Augmented Reality


So imagine you are working on co-creating a physical product with people from all over the world. Now, you want to explain to your co-creators how you would like to adjust some attributes of the product. But since their not physically near you, explaining exactly what you mean would be considered hard by most.

What if there was some way to see a model of your product right in front of you, your co-creators had the same model in front of them and you would all be able to work on it real-time?

Continue reading The Future of Co-Creation: An Augmented Reality

Google Photos: enhancing Google’s product portfolio


The application

Google introduced Google Photos (referred to as Photos for the remainder of this blog) in May 2015 (Sabharwal, 2015). Photos is an application that manages your photos and can run in your browser, on your desktop and on your mobile devices (i.e. smartphone and tablet). Photos allows you to upload an unlimited amount of photos* and videos* for free. Besides, the application provides great search functionalities (i.e. search for persons, places and things), share possibilities and smart creations (such as stories and after movies). Therefore, Photos has become the central place for all my 14.000 photos and videos. For an impression of Google Photos, please see the screenshot from Google below.

Continue reading Google Photos: enhancing Google’s product portfolio

Friendsurance: Social risk sharing


“Don’t underestimate what people are willing to do to save money.” (Kunde, 2012)

These are the words by Tim Kunde, the co-founder of Friendsurance, the first insurance company to break the traditional mindset and pave the way into a social, peer-to-peer insurance sector. The past few sessions of the course have highlighted the growing importance of the customer for the creation of value and pointed towards the innovative business model called the “sharing economy”. From Zipcar to Find-A-Desk, various examples have been outlined to illustrate that this approach has spread into countless customer-centric business areas. Yet, most insurance companies have been hesitant in adopting this business model.

Continue reading Friendsurance: Social risk sharing

Combining Crowdsourcing and 3D Printing


Haarlem is a city located in the Netherlands and the capital of the province of North Holland. With a population of 155,000 it belongs to one of the bigger cities in the Netherlands and should have enough possibilities/resources for crowdsourcing a 3D Printing project, at least that’s what Max van Aerschot should have thought when he lauched his “Haarlem” cityprinting project.

Max van Aerschot, appointed to be city architect of Haarlem after fulfilling different projects, advised the town councils to focus on the east parts of the city. In his opinion, this part of the city has been forgotten since the late 60’s and citizens should be involved during initiatives for town planning. With co-building a city model, in the form of a 3Dprinting project, allows Max van Aerschot to show citizens what’s going on and how the future town planning of Haarlem looks like.

Visualizing, using city models, is an important tool for communication with citizens and additionally should result in more involvement in town planning. Gabriël Verheggen – Architect

Haarlem cityprinting project

After six years of walking around with his initial idea, Max van Aerschot launched the 3D printing project in collaboration with a few specialized companies and a lot of cizitens. The model would be built at a scale of 1:1000 and devided in 600 “puzzle pieces”. Making use of the crowd to create a city model is a wordwilde unique concept. Upon that, using the 3D printing technique makes it an extremely innovative crowdsourced 3D Puzzle project.

Crowdsourcing project.

Crowdsourcing is the process of getting work or funding, usually online, from a crowd of people. The word is a combination of the words ‘crowd’ and ‘outsourcing’. The idea is to take work and outsource it to a crowd of workers.

The choice for outsourcing the development of a cityprinted model of Haarlem to the crowd has several reasons. As told earlier it is a tool for communication and creating citizins involvement in town planning initiatives. Secondly, and probably one of the main reasons : 3D printing technique is a relative promising new technique however it allows Max van Aerschot “in collaboration with the crowd” to build the city model as it is nowadays at a scale of 1:1000. This project couldn’t have been done with old techniques due to a lack of time and financial resources. Besides the financial plusses, a lack of time is still a main reasons for crowdsourcing. The project couldn’t be a success without the crowd because of the lack of speed at which 3D printers work.

Using open-source data from the kadaster,  allows the initiatiors to devide the city plan in +- 600 pieces. This digital ‘puzzle’ is created in a way that every piece (18cm x 18cm) of the puzzle can be 3D printed with a (normal) 3D printer. This allows everyone who is owner of a 3D printer to participate in the co-creation process.

City printing

As pictured above, everyone who want’s to participate in the crowdsourcing project, can assign on a specific piece for creation. On the map : Blue = Free, Orange = Assigned but still needs to be print, Green= Printed.  After assigning on a specific “piece” participants will be provided with PLA (source for 3D printing) to print their assigned piece. The 3D printed part of Haarlem needs to be handed in at 3DMM (project – partner) to complete your role as a co-creator. After fulfilling the whole process, participants are rewarded with a place in the wall of fame and will obtain eternal fame on the first crowdsourced 3D printed city model.

 

Created by : Luut Willen

Sources:

http://www.3dmakersmagic.com/cityprinting

https://www.haarlem.nl/nieuws-schalkwijk/haarlemmers-3d-printen-eigen-stad/

http://novacollege.nl/actueel/nieuws/haarlem-gaat-3d-en-nova-college-print-mee

http://www.cityprintingproject.com/

http://www.cityprintingproject.com/pdf/artikel.pdf

http://www.haarlemsdagblad.nl/regionaal/haarlemeo/article23331693.ece/Stadsbouwmeester-wil-Haarlem-Oost-in-3D-printen_

Tesla Powerwall: you and me can live off the utility grid


Last week, Tesla announced the so-called Powerwall. The Powerwall is a home battery that can be charged via solar panels or via the grid when utility is low. By using the Powerwall, electricity can be stored when the sun is out and it can be used when electricity demand is the highest. Furthermore, the battery can be used as an emergency backup in a power failure as well. [1] Tesla also announced the Powerpack, which “is designed to scale infinitely”[2] and is targeted to (large) businesses. However this article will focus on the Powerwall to see whether it’s you and me can that can add value to a more sustainable world.

So, how is the electricity demand distributed? First, in the morning there is a peak in the amount of electricity used. You are not having breakfast in the dark, right? Then, during the day the electricity demand is decreasing rapidly. For instance, less light is being used and devices are using their batteries (thing about mobile phones). Last, the electricity demand is going sky high in the evening. Think about your own evenings: you are using your oven to prepare your meal, then you’re switching on your TV to watch a movie and then you put on multiple lamps to brighten your living room. Tesla’s Powerwall can store electricity produced during the day, to meet the electricity demand peak in the evening hours.

Electricity Demand Distribution. Source: http://www.teslamotors.com/powerwall?utm_campaign=&utm_source=direct-ts.la&utm_medium=ts.la-twitter&utm_content=awesm-inlinelinkcreator
Electricity Demand Distribution. Source: http://www.teslamotors.com/powerwall?utm_campaign=&utm_source=direct-ts.la&utm_medium=ts.la-twitter&utm_content=awesm-inlinelinkcreator

By using Tesla’s brand new product in combination with solar panels, consumers can become fully independent from the utility grid. Consumers can start adding value to the world’s energy efficiency usage themselves! There is no need to point fingers at the big energy providers; you can take action yourself. But does the Powerwall provide the perfect solution for all of us? No, not yet. In an article about the Powerwall, Christopher Helman (Forbes) describes that Tesla’s latest innovation doesn’t make economic sense unless your house is solar panelled and entirely of the grid.[3]

Although the Powerwall isn’t economically feasible yet, the US government announced 30% federal tax credits of the battery price. Furthermore, California has a 60% be-a-fool-to-not-try-this rebate.[4] These rebates will increase the adoption of the Powerwall among people who can afford it and who are willing to live more sustainable. The income generated via the early adaptors can be used for further development of the batteries, which then will lead to decreasing prices. Besides, prices for solar panels are decreasing as quickly as batteries nowadays. Therefore, there is a huge potential market for Tesla: more and more consumers can start adding value to the worlds energy efficiency.

Battery and Solar costs. Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-01/tesla-s-powerwall-event-the-11-most-important-facts
Battery and Solar costs. Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-01/tesla-s-powerwall-event-the-11-most-important-facts

To conclude, the introduction of Tesla’s Powerwall allows consumers to start living completely off the grid. Although it’s not economically feasible for the entire world yet, it’s a great first step. Early adaptors and innovation will lead to decreasing prices and more Powerwall users. So from today, let’s start adding value to a more sustainable world together!

[1] http://www.teslamotors.com/powerwall?utm_campaign=&utm_source=direct-ts.la&utm_medium=ts.la-twitter&utm_content=awesm-inlinelinkcreator

[2] Elon Musk during the Tesla Powerwall launch event in Los Angeles on April 30th, 2015: http://www.teslamotors.com/powerwall?utm_campaign=&utm_source=direct-ts.la&utm_medium=ts.la-twitter&utm_content=awesm-inlinelinkcreator

[3] http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2015/05/01/why-teslas-powerwall-is-just-another-toy-for-rich-green-people/

[4] http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/204702-what-the-tesla-powerwall-home-battery-means-inexpensive-time-shifting-for-solar-energy

The Case of Botto Bistro: Gaming Yelps’ Review System


The people reading this blog obviously have heard of Yelp, as we have published an article on Yelp earlier in 2014. If you are to lazy to re-read, basically Yelp is a site that aggregates reviews from customers for businesses in several industries. On paper, yelps business model lies in providing a digital ‘word of mouth’ effect, and earns money by offering businesses to sell acces their accounts to them (i.e., ‘local ads‘). If you search on google with the search “yelp trust“, you’ll immediately find a lot of articles that the current review system is botched. One could say that lies in the dependency of businesses to receive excellent (5 star) reviews in order to keep their business functioning, and other conspiracy theorists claim that Yelp is offering ‘selective filtering’ to keep a clients’ (i.e., a business paying Yelp ) rating up. The latter even resulted the famous court case in 2014, that was won by yelp, setting a precedent on allowing Yelp to manipulate ratings on their site. Ratings manipulation in any case basically nullify the trust and worthiness of the site one would say.

So how would a business deal with being listed on such a service that Yelp offers? Here comes the case of Botto Bistro. Botto Bistro claims that this is their way of dealing with Yelps’ “blackmailing” and review reputation. In a normal case, a business would try to put incentives up in order for users to leave positive reviews. This way of dealing is considered to be the the ‘route to rome’ that is the oldest in order to create an artificial positive word of mouth buzz around your business. Yelp has dealed with such attempts by putting a “consumer alert” on a profile that says that businesses were caught ‘red handed’ by trying to buy reviews from customers . The latter is also perceived by as an ‘honest’ attempt that builds trust in the service.

Take the gun leave the cannoli.

Based in Richmond, California USA, Botto Bistro is doing the exact opposite. They offer a discount for customers that are willing to put a negative review on Yelp on their business listing. They claim that they are willing to pay for negative reviews, which is so ridiculous that it might be working. They have received a letter from Yelp claiming that they “may be offering incentives in exchange for reviews”, which is a clear violation of their Terms of Service. The funny thing is, that the restaurant listed on Yelp is not even a formal client of Yelp. Furthermore, Yelp’s representative in the email listed on sfgate.com claims that “such practices do more harm than good”. Yet the opposite seems to be proven by Botto, even though 2.314 reviews have been removed as of 1 may 2015. There are many listings and news articles surrounding the business that support the likes of david winning against goliath, as the business seems to be flourishing as a direct result of said news.

In the end, one would wonder what this would do to the trustworthiness of a community like Yelp. Full positive ratings are being perceived as suspicious, now full-on negative reviews will be perceived as suspicious as well? What is next? Perhaps, as one user suggest on Reddit: “only read 3-star reviews”…

Instructables.com! How to do it yourself!?


Have you also wondered for years how to make a wooden paddleball set, or how to make a rock salt bracelet, but you never found the proper motivation to figure this out? Due to the online trend in customer co-creation it is now possible to find instructions for the most bizarre items online on Instructables.com

One of the leading sites in these ‘how-to’ videos & instructions is Instructables.com. Instructables.com is a website which was originally an inside project from some PhD students from the MIT media labs.  When they weren’t solving complex technological problems like solar panels for highways, they were teaching each other things as 3d modelling, cooking and other stuff through videos and instructions that they posted on this platform. In 2006 they decided to open up the platform to the rest of the world.  The website now is a platform for over hundred thousand how-to instructions, videos and ideas.

That these ideas are very varied is already noticeable in the first moment you enter the website. There is a bike challenge available in which people can post their idea about bikes. These ideas vary from homemade bicycle stand to homemade tandems. The great part of this platform is that it is not only a platform for simple guides like sharing a salad recipe or showing how to sheer a sheep, but it is only a place where creative people meet each other, share ideas and create.

Behind the website is a small team and a huge community of enthusiast people who are constantly sharing their most creative ideas. They can add videos, images and even files with 3d models or photoshop images. An extended review system is available on Instructables.com to rate other users and their ideas.. Besides this it is possible to join groups for people with similar interests. Instructables.com also has a membership available for teachers so they can use these videos in the classroom.

The business model of Instructables.com consists of 2 different revenue-models. The first is based on advertisement. They rent out video space on the video pages to companies for advertising purposes.  The other source of revenue they have is organizing contests for their community. Some of these contests are sponsored by companies. At this moment Microsoft is organizing the “Coded creation contest” on Instructables.com. Big prizes like laptops, tablets and photo cameras are waiting for the winners!

Besides Instructables.com there are literally dozens of these websites that are specialized as video platform for how-to and do-it-yourself videos. Although Instructables.com is not the largest website in this category, they have an advantage with having a large community. So if you feel creative these coming months and have a video camera and some spare time, make sure to visit instructables.com!

References:

http://www.instructables.com