[Kommentar] 10 Thesen zur Zukunft von Connected Cars

Der BDW (Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft) hat vor ca. drei Jahren (2014) zehn Thesen zur Zukunft des “Connected Cars” publiziert. Hier möchte ich diese mit Blick auf die Automobillandschaft im Jahr 2017 näher betrachten. 1. Nur Fahrzeughersteller, die digitale Ökosysteme rund um ihre Produkte etablieren, werden von der digitalen Revolution im Bereich Connected Car profitieren   Auch wenn OEMs bereits einige Services eingeführt haben, müssen sie für eine weitläufige Verfügbarkeit die richtige Tiefe der vertikalen Integration wählen, die Ökosystemmitgestalter korrekt miteinbeziehen und eine ausreichende Größe des Ökosystems garantieren Einige Dienste wurden bereits (teil)erfolgreich umgesetzt. So bietet BMW beispielsweise den b-call (Break down-call) unter dem Namen BMW Teleservice Call an. Unter anderem erkennt dieses Service selbstständig einen Wartungsbedarf am Auto und kommuniziert diesen an eine Reparaturwerkstatt. Aber auf dem Weg zur standardmäßigen Einführung solcher Dienste (also auch bei Volummarken) sehe ich drei Punkte als entscheidend. Diese sind die richtige Tiefe der vertikalen Integration, der korrekte Einbezug der Ökosystemmitgestalter und die Sicherstellung einer ausreichenden Ökosystemgröße. Bei der Entscheidung zur Tiefe der vertikalen Integration sollte die Plattformexklusivität als USP berücksichtigt werden Einhergehend mit These #9 “OEM müssen sich elementare Fragen zur strategischen Ausrichtung im Feld Partnering stellen Mitgestalten und Mitverdienen?” müssen Hersteller entscheiden welche Dienste sie

The decentralization of the smartphone through hardware

Smartphones turned hardware into software The two pictures below illustrate how the smartphone changed our everyday life. We moved from a fully covered desk to one with only a laptop and smartphone. After Apple introduced the App Store, we have seen waves of new apps. Lately, however, the interest in apps started to fade. Firstly, through (Chat)bots, app in apps and instant apps we see a tendency towards fewer installed apps. Secondly, hardware companies have been working in a somewhat reversed direction of the two pictures shown above. New devices in the form of GoPros and Spectacles are bringing back cameras to our desks, and VR headsets give us a second screen for smartphones. But there are also new devices which did not exist before the smartphone. IoT devices such as buttons, cubes, bricks and headphones are decentralizing our smartphones There are several smart devices, connected to smartphones, that carry out particular tasks on the connected phone. Here I want to give a short overview of some of them. Smart buttons, cubes, bricks and other devices can either be tailored to individual use cases or generally applicable Amazon’s Dash: The Dash is a button that is assigned to one particular item available on Amazon. When you press the button it will order that

Digital assistants and app in apps might be the future of smartphone apps

During Oculus Connect 3 Opening Keynote Mark Zuckerberg criticized that our smartphones are organized around apps and not how we actually process the world. For example, imagine sitting in a restaurant: If you want to talk to somebody or take a picture do not have to change the room (which translates — according to Zuckerberg — to switching to another app). You can talk, eat and take pictures in the same place. On you phone, you would need a different app for these actions. (You can watch Zuckerberg’s explanation here.) Oculus wants to change that and a possible future of smartphone apps with its platform Social VR.  Social VR puts people first and you do not have to switch apps to get different tasks done. With Social VR, you can, for instance, watch a movie, talk to people, take a picture, etc. all at the same place without changing the app. Desks before the smartphone (Source) If we look at how MP3 players, maps, and digital cameras have merged into your smartphone and personal computer we can see an analogy in the hardware world. While a smartphone is not perfectly suitable for everything (see here for some examples) having one device for everything

Coca-Cola made a selfie bottle

Coca-Cola unveiled a selfie-bottle: A camera attached to the bottom of a bottle that takes a picture once the bottle is tilted above 70 degrees and allows you to share these images on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. The Coca-Cola selfie bottle (Source) In one way it is similar to Snap’s spectacles which went on sale last week; Both devices allow you to take pictures without having to hold your smartphone. The main difference, however, is that that selfie bottle takes pictures of yourself, with Snap’s glasses you photograph your environment. The selfie bottle is certainly a nice gadget, and whereas I doubt that Coca-Cola is going to push it as a commercial product, third-party manufacturers will make sure we see them next summer. Source of header image: http://thenextweb.com/gadgets/2016/11/17/coca-cola-selfie-bottle/

Overview of smart home remotes

Logitech Logitech has had universal remotes before the smart home was as much a topic as it is now. The firm has several versions in its portfolio such as the Harmony Elite or the Harmony Companion. Harmony Pro (Source) Also, similarly to the flic (see below) Logitech has a square-cut remote-button in its portfolio. It is called the Pop which can, for example, toggle the lights in your smart home by pressing the button. The Logitech Pop (Source) NEEO Neeo, a Swiss company founded in 2014, offers a remote controlled “Remote”. The remote itself and the “NEEO Brain” (the hub that connects all your smart home devices so that you can control them via the remote) cost $399. It was was founded through a Kickstarter was supposed to ship in the first half of 2015. However, shipping has not yet started. The NEEO Remote (Source) Savant The Savant remote costs $499 and comes, same as the NEEO, with a hub. In contrast to NEEO it is already available, but only ships to the U.S. The Savant remote and host (Source) sevenhugs The sevenhugs remote is a touch-screen only remote. What makes it unique is its position-based functionality. Instead of choosing which device you want to control you point at it with the remote. It is

Xiaomi’s troubles and how to solve them

The Chinese internet company Xiaomi was founded in 2010. In 2014 and 2015 it was amongst the top five (sometimes even top three) smartphone makers world wide.   And with a valuation of over USD 46billion it is one of the world’s most valuable technology start-ups. Xiaomi might be known for its low-budget and stylish smartphones, targeting China’s middle class and its youth, but that is only part of what gave it that valuation. Investors believe that Xiaomi can build and ecosystem with its smartphones, smart home products and services consisting of games, apps and others. Its potential lies in bringing revenue through hardware-purchases as well as recurring purchases through services. Part of Xiaomi’s smart home portfolio (Source) Xiaomi’s portfolio represents that idea. Its offerings include a set-top box, rice cookers, a water and an air purifier, a drone, a fitness tracker,TVs, notebooks and a virtual reality headset as well as accessories such as power banks and audio devices. Xiaomi starts losing to competitors Ending 2015, however, it starting losing market share and ranks now below the top 5 smartphone producers. Instead of USD16 billion in sales revenues as predicted by the CEO Lei Jun, the company reached $12.5 billion, a miss of almost 13%.

Hearables are small computers and not headphones

Back in September, Apple introduced the Apple AirPods, a set of wireless earbuds, also known as hearables. And whereas hearables have existed before Apple’s AirPods their announcement has brought up interesting arguments about hearables in general. Concretely, users have repeatedly raised concerns about the following topics: They have a short battery life Earpiece unfitting for users’ ears Fear of losing them High price They have a short battery life Innovation often comes with some kind of behavioral change linked to costs. Besides learning costs (using a touchscreen after a feature phone), transaction costs (switching between cellular service providers), obsolescence costs (changing operating systems will make your old software useless) users encounter psychological costs. Psychological costs are associated with gains and losses. Consider, for example, the current state of electric cars. Through driving an electric car, you get a greener environment (your gain), but you lose the capability of long distance traveling (your loss). The same principle of gain and loss applies to hearables. Hearables have a short battery life; some only last for three hours. When using them, you gain, for instance, the comfort of cordless headphones, but, because you have to charge them, you lose the comfort of 24/7 availability. Consequently, a big issue for

Gaming “the” application for VR?

In terms of interest, Virtual Reality (VR) started to take off in 2015 and has been raising in popularity ever since. Lately, it experienced an all-time high in Google searches. However, there was not only interesting development in search volume but also in sales volume, especially for Sony’s PlayStation VR. The market research company SuperData initially estimated that it will sell 2.6 million devices by the end of 2016. Recently, however, SuperData downsized that number to about a fourth, to about 750.000 (see chart). Nevertheless, the PlayStation VR is estimated to outsell the Oculus and HTC Vive headsets by more than 100% and 60% respectively. Whether the updated prediction is true is hard to tell. Assuming it is, makes me think if that can tell us anything about the critical success factors for VR. Considering the headsets’ different price levels one might assume that to be the reasons for Sony’s success. Sony’s VR is almost half the price of Vive and Oculus To use Sony’s VR you need a PlayStation 4, to use the Vive or Oculus you need a PC. Bundled together the PS4 and the headset (with controllers and a game) cost about $830. This is almost half of what the cheapest Vive

Retailers must go from selling to servicing

For a long time we have been shopping only offline, in „traditional“ retail stores. With the likes of Amazon.com and eBay people started the perks of online shopping. However, traditional retail is far from dead. Actually, traditional retail makes up about  92 percent of total retail sales. There are several reasons to that. Besides infrastructural reasons (e.g. bad logistic for home-delivery) the biggest reason is  the physical presence of objects. In fact, when asked why they do not shop online, around 30% of respondents in the UK said that they need to see the physical object first. Buying known products is different from buying innovations Studies about e-commerce attractiveness falsely assume that customers buy known objects and innovations in the same way. However, this is not true. Take you back to the 18th century an imagine there were only e-commerce shops and no traditional retailers. You hear about a new invention that cleans your clothes without your help called „washing machine“ . How willingly would you spend, let’s say $500, on an unknown product that „automagically“ cleans your cloths? If you are not an innovator or early adopter you probably would be very skeptical. What you would do is wait for a friend or colleague to

[Case Study] Should You Rehire a Defector?

The case study published in the Harvard Business Review December 2016 issue deals with Ram Kapur the founder and CEO of Green Impact Consulting, a sustainable design firm. Here is the background story of the case. Good beginnings Green Impact Consulting was founded four years ago. When it was two years old, Hari, friend and Ram’s former right hand, started working at Green Impact Consulting. With his more than eight years of experience, the company began to really take off since then. Initial troubles after Hari, a key employee, quit However Hari left Green Impact Consulting after working there for two years. After initial troubles due to Hari’s departure, the business has picked up again and is in great condition. Hari lied about his motives for leaving and wants to rejoin Now, one year after his departure, Hari wants to rejoin the company. The issue arises around Hari’s motives for leaving and Ram’s feelings about that. Hari went to work for a larger competitor (Sustainable Build Group) after he quit his job at Green Impact Consulting, initially for personal reasons. After a conversation with Ram, it turns out that Hari left because Sustainable Build Group offered him an increased salary