Three technologies that will make screens disappear in five years

Three technologies that will make screens disappear in five years

In five years all glass screens should be gone. Admit it, nobody likes having big screens in their house and I’ve seen offices in which they ‘fight’ for the large screen on a skateboard, which people lock in their office because they need it the day after. Yes, it is time to move away from all those screens, keyboards, mouses and mobile phones. It is time to step back to beamers with motion sensors and to screens which are so thin that you can fold them. Luckily, these developments are progressing and are almost ready to swoop away our current static screens. Here are some cool technologies allowing us to do this:

Motion Sensors in Google Pixel 4

Don’t hold the phone is the slogan of the commercial for the Google Pixel 4. And while I don’t believe this device actually floats in the air (see video below), it does have motion sensors built in. That way you don’t have to touch the screen (remember, the static glass which will disappear in the coming years).

Now imagine this technology being integrated within a mini beamer or foldable screens. I see this as a technology which might replace the mouse or your touch. Combined with improved voice recognition you can also replace your keyboard and mouse.

The technology in Pixel 4 will be a perfect replacement for your finger and mouse.

A foldable screen in the Samsung Galaxy Fold

Another cool device which is expected is the Samsung Galaxy Fold. While I’m not convinced yet that their first version will change the smartphone market, it is a great step forward. This shows that companies are investing in foldable screens and that they are working to replace the static screens. 

And yes, the first mobile phone was big and didn’t fit in your pocket, but years later it got thinner and smaller. But now people want to have it bigger. If you have a foldable screen with motion sensors and speech recognition, why would you need a laptop, tablet or big static screen?

Virtual reality and Augmented reality

Two years ago I stepped in a Sensory Reality Pod from Sensiks. This was incredible. Your eyes and brains are tricked by virtual reality, walking through a forest. But they did more, they also play with your other senses. You could feel the wind blowing in your face and smell the woods. In that story the forest caught fire and you could feel the heat on your skin and smell burning woods. This is something you should experience yourself to be blown away, but keep in mind this is two years ago. Imagine what we can do in five or ten years if you combine these technologies with each other.

What technologies do you think will help replace the static screens?

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Hot or Not? Is your LinkedIn picture good enough?

Hot or Not? Is your LinkedIn picture good enough?

As you might know, I’m a big fan of LinkedIn for B2B relation building. The platform offers an amazing reach and allows you to differentiate yourself and to create a personal or company brand. And as I have a marketing background I think it’s important to measure your actions. That is why I always keep track of my stats (views, likes, comments, shares) on posts but I’ve now found a tool that allows me to do another great trick.

Measure your face

Yes, it might be a bit uneasy to start with. However, as LinkedIn is an important platform you should use it as seriously as possible. That includes getting feedback on your profile. The first tool which I’d like to share with you is Photofeeler.

Photofeeler is a tool allows you to get feedback on your profile picture(s).

Time to A/B test your looks

This reminds me of when I was younger, hot or not? You see a picture of someone of the opposite gender and decide if he/she is hot or not. We have all used it to discover what people think of us (or it might be my love for analyzing that I used it). This tool is comparable. It allows people to vote on how competent, likable and influential you come across on your picture.

Vote for a vote

To get votes, you should vote. It’s a fair system and it allows you to quickly gain enough votes to decide which profile picture works best for your audience. While it would be great to score above average on all features, it might differ which you need to get your message across. For example, a customer service employee might want to score above average on competency and likeability, while a Sales Manager wants to rank high on influence.

Photofeeler test by Mark Grasmayer from ENMA

 

My first tests

Here are my insights on my tests. While I thought that a close-up of my face would be quite impressing, the opposite is true (or is it too impressive? We’ll never know).  So, I decided to upload another picture and get new votes. And voila, the second picture scores way better and is now my LinkedIn profile picture. After that I ran a third test as I want to score higher on influence. Unfortanetly, I did not succeed. 

Testing your sales team

This might be an ethical dilemma which you might want to discuss with your co-workers. However, as LinkedIn can have a major impact on your B2B-sales it’s important to have your entire team looking as sharp as possible. That said, why don’t you throw in their pictures? The CEO of Workspace 365, Erik Nicolai, was kind enough to take the test. He is a firm believer of LinkedIn’s power. We both thought that he had a great LinkedIn profile, however, after running some test we managed to almost increase all of his scores with 20%! Imagine the impact this has on making the first connection with a potential business partner.

What are you waiting for? Give it a spin on Photofeeler. I’m very curious to your results.

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Will you choose privacy or discount? The Future of Privacy

Will you choose privacy or discount? The Future of Privacy

Would you give up access to your Google Fit account if a health insurance company would give you 20% discount? Today a Dutch drivers association and insurance company, ANWB, announced a new method of getting discounts. Members can order a stick which will be placed in their car that will measure the drivers performance. How do they steer? Do they brake a lot? Etc. etc. etc. If someone scores 80-100 on driving safety they will get a discount of 30%, the lower you score on driving safety, the lower your discount. 

So this made me think… Would I give up access to my Google Fit account if my insurance company would make me such an offer on life style?

At this moment, probably not. I work full-time & study on saturdays, so my average sit-ratio is about 16 hours a day. Luckily, I also walk to the water tap, fridge and my car, making my movement around the 7 hours a week -yikes-. I can’t imagine earning a discount with this sitting live style of mine.

working-at-home

The wonderful effect of working at home (and having a flu)

But what if they would give me a discount of 20%? Would this motivate me to move e.g. one hour a week extra? 

I don’t know yet. But I think it is time to have a good thought about this, as I can imagine that this will probably be introduced in the coming year.

DMUs in cloud sales are changing, is your sales force changing?

DMUs in cloud sales are changing, is your sales force changing?

From technical, to emotional; learn to speak their language

Business leaders (CEOs) are responsible for buying 75% of cloud products, and are in most cases technically illiterate (Osborne, 2015). This means that IT-solution providers are dealing with a new decision maker. Over the past years I have spoken to hundreds of IT-solution providers and I noticed a difference between the successful companies and the companies who might not be there in a couple of years.

The biggest difference is the way sales teams communicate. The successful companies focus their communication on the humans who have to work with it, as opposed to only speaking about technologies. The companies which are struggling to keep up often talk to customers in technical terms. As the decision unit is changing and there is more pressure from software vendors it is important for the sales force to learn more about their new target audience.

How to communicate with non-techies?

It will be important for the IT-providers sales team to change their game and communication style to level with the (technically illiterate) business leaders. The figure below shows the biggest differences between business leaders (e.g. CEOs) and technical leaders (e.g. IT managers or CTOs). Their interests differ and this is something to keep in mind during the entire sales process.

An advantage can be create when demonstrating cloud products to CEOs, as they tend to focus on productivity and innovation power for the short term. Demonstrating the solution while highlighting the short term benefits can influence their opinion. Whereas the technial leader is process driven and focuses on the technical aspects of the implementation and security of the solution. While demonstrating the cloud solution to technical leaders, they are more likely to discover pitfalls and raise questions about implementation and security. Therefore, you should be able to answer those questions as well. The key lesson is to focus on the end-users, which are humans who want to work easier.

Advantages of IT-providers compared to software vendors

In most cases business leaders can easily order cloud products at the software vendor or via an IT-provider. A good example is Office 365, which can be bought directly at Microsoft or via Microsoft’s cloud service partners, the IT-providers. So, why would a business leader order their solutions at an IT-provider instead of directly from Microsoft? According to Gartner’s Tiffani Bova, it is key to add value to the cloud products (Lee, 2012).

Many IT-providers claim to be the safest or offer the best service on Office 365

From my perspective, there are multiple ways to add value to cloud products. While many companies claim to be the safest Office 365 reseller or they offer the best customer support, their claim doesn’t really add value to the solution itself. To add value to a cloud product, it is important to show the customer that you know why, how and what cloud product is suitable to their business.

Ask yourself, why would you choose a particular IT-provider?

A cloud solution is often exactly the same at each IT-provider or vendor. So, when an IT-provider sends a sales person telling that they are safer or offer better customer support than competitors that does not differentiate them. That is why it is about adding value. So, as an IT-provider, it is highly important to use the Golden Circle of Simon Sinek (2009) to show why the customers should choose your company instead of the vendor.

Figure 2 – Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle (2009)

Illustration of the ‘Why, How, What’ sales principle.
This example shows how the principles could be used to determine the communication strategy for sales representatives in case of selling a cloud product to a health care organisation.

Why: We are an IT-provider specialized in health care because we want to make health care workers focus on their patients, without having to deal with frustrations with IT and the limited accessibility.

How: Since most care takers poses a mobile device, we can bring all the software directly to them, instead of having them to leave their patients to administrate their day on a desktop or laptop.

What: We can use our experience with CareInc, HealthCorp and Hospital Center, to set up Office 365 especially tailored to meet the needs of your care workers.

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The arrival of free products part 2/9

The arrival of free products part 2/9


‘Pay for software? Only if I can’t download it. Pay for a movie? Never. Pay for music? You must be from before 1998 (a.k.a. pre-Napster, explanation will follow).’

This would be the answers you’d get a few years ago. But thanks to the creativity (and urgency) these industries developed new business models, allowing them to generate revenue again. But before jumping to the actors that influence business models, I would like to show the effects of Free products on the behaviour of consumers.

Music labels collapse

‘All my classmates in high school spoke about the new Eminem album which wasn’t even released yet in the Netherlands –the country in which I grew up- . I couldn’t wait to get home. As soon as I got home I would open Napster, search Eminem and after thirty minutes it was there, I could finally hear what my classmates spoke of, and I loved it.”

From 1998 music labels started to “collapse”. The arrival of illegal downloads hit the CD sales drastically (O’Dell, 2011). The music industry decided to invest millions of dollars in court cases to stop the file sharing service which spread their music; Napster (Pequeno, 2010). But consumers didn’t care, even when the governments implemented laws making downloading music illegal, people would still download music.

Why does everyone violate these laws?

Downloading music is illegal in most countries for a while now, but why do people still do this? Are people not willing to pay for music, or is it the ease and the habit which was created over the years?

One of the four biggest record labels, EMI presenting Robbie Williams, Radio Head and Coldplay, stated in 2006 that illegal downloading caused so much damage, that they had to sell all their shares. But according to music journalist Pegueno (2010) one of the most important reasons that EMI had troubles was because the company was to slow to adjust their business model to the developments surrounding downloading.

My assumption is that consumers are consistent in their behaviour. They were used to getting music for free and most importantly, they got it within minutes after they felt that they wanted it. And although many court cases tried to stop this, consumers would keep downloading massively. They had already created routine behaviour. Furthermore, people use reference groups. When we think of people doing drugs we can come up with a lot of bad stories. But when music labels tried to convince everyone that downloading was bad, people would look to their reference groups. Their families, friends, neighbours, everyone surrounding them downloaded music. If everyone does this, then it doesn’t fit the criminal image which the music labels tried to give to downloading music.

Next to this, downloading was the easiest way to access music. It is the simplest way to stimulate recognition and self-development from the pyramid of Maslow. And everyone wants to reach those highest steps. Because when people identify themselves with music, they get recognition by other people who love that music. And by accessing an endless bowl of music you can develop your own music taste and stimulate your brains even further. (Maslow, 1943).

A million court cases wouldn’t stop downloading. This was “the reason” that multiple music labels went broke, but also the reason for other companies to profit from the newly created behaviour of consumers; needing music as soon as they wanted it. This allowed new services and products to enter the music industry and allowed them to compete with big existing companies. I believe services like Spotify show that people are willing to pay a ‘fair’ price for music, or more importantly the easiest way to access music.

New products in the music industry

An iPod allowed you to store 100.000 songs. Imagine the success of the iPod if you’d had to buy all these songs…Let’s say an average album costs 20 dollar and contains 30 songs. To fill your iPod you’d have to buy 3.333 albums, costing you $66.666,-.

So imagine the use of an iPod if you weren’t able to download music. Some people even dare to say that Apple wouldn’t be as big as it is now without the iPoad. Myslewski (2011) stated that this product helped Apple to gain market share and familiarity on Microsoft again.

New services

Deezer, Pandora, SoundCloud, Spotify and a lot of other legal streaming services have risen from the wish to on-demand music consumption. In 2014 a journalist from the Guardian, Dredge, concluded that Spotify had a revenue of 746,9 milion euros in 2013. Spotify offers two options, the free version allows you to play music with commercials between the songs and limited features. When you pay 10 euros a month it allows you to listen music on any device, without commercials and even when you’re offline. 91% of the companies revenues existed of paying member in 2013 (Dredge, 2014). How big would Spotify be if the labels would have set up a streaming service themselves? And would Apple be as big as they are now or would Sony, now mainly known for electronic devices but also a record label, been first in entering the smart device market combined with their own streaming service?

Conclusion

My conclusion is that it is important to be creative. When a company innovates they can adapt their company to the market. Don’t force laws upon music-consumers but use all the tools available to spread your product around the globe.