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#12 – Predictions about the Internet in the future?

April 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Over the last 3 and half months, most of the blog posts that I shared revolved around the theme of Internet. The main thing that I observed is how pervasive the use of Internet has become into our daily lives, so much so that it has revolutionized the way we do things, gain information, learn and more. The impact brought about by the Internet would only expand for the better in years to come. What do you thing the internet would be like in the year 2020? Personally for me, I believe augmented reality will revolutionize the tourism industry.

We have heard of augmented reality and how great things will become. In case you have no idea what augmented reality is, explanation below might help.

However, this technology has not yet taken off as compared to technology such as tablet computer (think iPad). A few companies are still testing out the use of augmented reality in daily life and figuring ways this technology would revolutionize our lives totally such as how mobile phone and laptops have done. One example of the latest project is by Google – Project Glass.

So when or what will cause augmented reality to take off? The answer could lie in tourism. With the invention of smart phones, numerous apps have been released that promotes the use of augmented reality as part of tourism.

Aside from convenience when navigating in a foreign land, one can enjoy a unique form of vacation. With augmented reality, you can travel through time and experience a digital recreation of place and time in history. Augmented reality can enhance one’s experience through looking at real-time location with superimposed images of the past. The video below is a great example of how one can travel through time specifically how Museum of London used augmented reality for their new Modern Galleries.

While Augmented Reality in tourism is a not a fairly new concept, the idea has yet to take off. With the proliferation use of mobile phones today, it is only logical for augmented reality apps to be present in the app store or marketplace. Below is a list of best augmented reality apps that one could consider when on vacation.

While apps could/have revolutionize the way we travel in the near future, how about a GPS tour that transports you to another time? One that makes you truly experience being transported back instead of only looking at it through your phone.

The idea of augmented reality being the universal guide might change the way we travel in the future. While currently the idea has been introduced to the public, it has not been as widely used as one would expect; many still rely on books for research, bringing around a phrase book etc. In the future, we may no longer need tour guides, do heavy research, rely on travel books, learn a new language and many more as a preparation for our vacation. With Internet, a smartphone for now or maybe a new gadget in the future might be all that we need to start touring the world. Maybe a device being created that combines all the features of the apps we see today, that becomes the ultimate tour buddy?

So what predictions do you have for the Internet in the near or far future? What other aspects of our life could the Internet change? (previous entries have depicted how our lives have changed by the Internet) 🙂

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#11 – Are you part of the Apple cult?

If you meet with a Mac user, there is almost always a smug condescending look on their face towards non-Mac users. While product evangelist is a person who promotes the product, the followers of the Apple cult takes on extreme to a whole other level where they are fanatical followers devoted to all things Apple, Macintosh, iPod, and iPhone.

Here is an example how “smug” Apple can be.

For Apple to create such a following for its product, the company must have done something right for the consumers. So why are Apple products so popular?

According to the article here by Tim Bajarin, people are keen to buy the products because the bought the vision of WHY Apple produced their various products, aside from WHAT it can offer – they follow leaders or buy products they believe in.

Apple also created products that can mimic that of the interaction between humans, providing a unique interaction and experience between machine and user.

Based on Steve Job’s biography, this author explained his understanding of why Apple’s products received such a huge following – Apple’s products provide an enriched experience to an already existing product in the market OR they were the first to introduce such product thus allowing them to gain a strong fan base from the very beginning.

Cult-like or not, no one could deny the success Apple has had for it various products. Below is a video (click on the picture!) of a business perspective on why Apple is doing better as opposed to their competitors, according to Ron Adner, author of “The Wide Lens: A New Strategy for Innovation” and strategy professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Maybe the reason why Apple has such cult-like following started with this 1984 commercial?

A friend once said, once you go Mac, you never go back (to PC), and that is especially true for me. So what are some of the Apple products you do own and what was the motivation behind purchasing it? What are your thoughts about Apple?

#10 – Is citizen journalism an alternative news source?

The Internet has changed how we consume news. In the past, we get our daily dosage of news from the newspapers or television where information was given to us in a one directional – from journalist to readers. Today, while journalism is an essence still delivers news, the source of news has changed. With Internet, citizens have now become the source of news, often even sharing news.

Jay Rosen, an associate professor at New York University, defined citizen journalism as, “the people formerly known as the audience employ(ing) the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another.” The main idea behind citizen journalism is to be an alternative option for people to access news. Its content is generated by non-professional journalist through the means of the Internet such as blogs. According to the document on EDUCAUSE, “citizen journalism encompasses content ranging from user-submitted reviews on a Web site about movies to wiki-based news. Some sites only run stories written by users, while many traditional news outlets now accept comments and even news stories from readers.”

One of the key strengths of citizen journalism is its ability to deliver timely news. The most recent example would be the news of the death of singer Whitney Houston. According to the site here, the news broke 42 minutes by a citizen journalism source before legitimate news agencies specifically Associated Press broke the news. Another example is how news of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks was first reported through citizen journalism. Watch the video below.

While citizen journalism acts as an alternative news source today in providing timely news, issues of credibility and quality of news arises. Professional journalists are trained to provide factual news where facts are checked and presented in a proper format. This is unlike citizen journalism where content, more often than not, are discovered accidentally and snapped through the use of smartphone.

One important note is that the Internet is a crucial tool that helps in disseminating information for citizen journalism. With the Internet, a greater wealth of information is presented to us. However, it is up to us evaluate the information presented. Below is a video of Katie Couric’s Top Citizen Journalism Moments on YouTube, snippets of videos that have been catalysts of change to issues of human rights and more.

So do you think journalism has changed over the years? What impact do you think the Internet has on journalism?

#9 – Has the Internet revolutionized political campaigns today?

March 25, 2012 Leave a comment

In the past, information with regards to political campaign were distributed via the news on television or newspapers. Today, aside from these traditional mediums, timely information can be found on websites of news agencies and disseminated via social networking sites or micro blogging sites. Whenever anyone mentioned a successful political campaign using the Internet, Barack Obama’s name is almost usually included.

In the past, aside from rallies, print and television commercials were also used to garner support. The video below is taken from a television commercial for 1952 political campaign in United States of America.

Today, audio, video and pictures are still being used. Aside from being catchy, other influential figures are also lending their support to the cause. One great example is the video in support for Obama’s campaign by singers in America. As reported, the Obama campaign had no role in the video. Check the link below for more details.

From the description above, we can tell that the Internet today plays an integral part in political campaigns. The question now is how has the Internet revolutionized political campaigns today?

Firstly, advertising is no longer restricted to traditional media. Today, almost every campaign uses social advertising to get their message across. Social advertising is important because of its wider reach and specific targeting.

Next, utilizing social networking sites on the Internet help to disseminate information in a timely manner and enhance interaction. Most common social networking/micro blogging sites adopted are Facebook and Twitter. Here representatives or the individual themselves can share latest updates and also interact with the users. One great example would be taken from the local context, during the latest election in Singapore. To connect and reach out to young voters, Nicole Seah who was representing the Workers Party for a seat in the Marine Parade GRC in the 2011 Singapore General Elections, utilized Facebook to update her activities as well as views that concerned her during the elections.

Today, political campaigns also uses multimedia on the Internet to disseminate information in interesting and engaging manner. The article by NY Times below showed how multimedia on the Internet played a role in the latest elections. In a country where there are 900,000 local users on Twitter and three million Singapore members on Facebook, the Internet is the new approach to garner interest and support.

The Internet has changed the ways people do things and political campaigns is one example where Internet has made an impact on. Today, social advertising has been utilized to reach readers in a timely and engaging manner utilizing multimedia on the Internet. An issue where many youths were generally apathetic to have been given a renewed interest with a newer approach to reach these target audience. So what do you think about political campaigns today? Has the Internet changed your views on politics making you pay more attention to it?

#7 – Don’t fall victim to phishing

March 11, 2012 Leave a comment

According to Washington State University, phishing is defined as “creating a replica of a legitimate web page to hook users and trick them into submitting personal or financial information or passwords.”  Phishing is a serious problem because our private information such as usernames, passwords, bank information, and credit card details are acquired from these seemingly legitimate websites. Once trapped, our money would be stolen.

For example in Portland America, a couple realized that they lost $31,000 thinking that the automatic withdrawals were made to the Bank of America after confirming the request in an email. Instead it was someone pretending to be an employee at the bank and money were in fact transferred to someone in a foreign country. Click here for more.

Phishing usually occurs in the form of emails, where email appeared to be sent from a legitimate source usually from financial institutions. Aside from email, of late, social networking sites have also become a favorite place for phishers to attack. One example would be MySpace.

According to CSIonsite, there are 8 different techniques of phishing used today.

An elaboration of what was mentioned, spear phishing “is an e-mail spoofing fraud attempt that targets a specific organization, seeking unauthorized access to confidential data. Spear phishing attempts are not typically initiated by random hackers but are more likely to be conducted by perpetrators out for financial gain, trade secrets or military information.”

So what can be done to protect yourself from falling victim to phishing?

Today, there are many thieves out there on the internet looking to leech off once we let our guards down. Taking precautions is necessary to not fall victim to phishing. What do you think about phishing? What other threats are out there on the Internet? What have you done to protect yourself from these threats?

#6 – Tiramisu Trailer

Above is a trailer that I made of local show, Tiramisu (2005) staring local actress Sharon Au as Sharon Ong and Thai actor Gof Akara as Steve Lee. As the title of the show suggest, the show revolves around the theme of food between 2 different cooks – one at a cafe and another who is just a normal hawker. Their different style of cooking and attitudes put these 2 chefs at loggerheads but their passion for food might just be the link between them that would bring them together. That would have been easy, without Steve Lee’s current girlfriend played by Jaymee Ong being in the picture.

The video is made from scenes of the first episode of the show. Hopefully it was good enough to entice you to watch the show. 🙂

#4 – The fall of pets.com

February 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Above was the advertisement for Pets.com, a company that sold accessories for pets to consumers directly though the World Wide Web from 1998 to 2000. As observed, the company had a mascot of a dog-like sock puppet holding on to a microphone. The company’s aim was to sell items your pets might need…“because pets can’t drive.”

Despite its 2 year run, the company was able to grab the public’s attention amidst the abundance of dot-com company appearing all over the web (also known as the dot-com bubble). They had a strong presence in advertising due to their memorable mascot. The puppet appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, Nightline, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, and even had a balloon made in its image for the 1999 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The video below will show a snippet from the parade (fast-forward to 3:37).

Just like many others, the company was in a rush to get big during the dot-com bubble. Being quick to take actions is fine, but not having a plan could lead them closer to their pitfall. So why or what factors that contributed towards the company’s flop despite all the seemingly appropriate marketing strategies?

Firstly, the company had no sustainable business model. They spent too much on marketing, specifically beyond what was earned on business. As mentioned in the video below, for every dollar earned in revenue, $20 was spent on marketing. Aside from big marketing budget, the company was selling products at low prices eventually causing them to operate at a loss.

Secondly, the company failed due to lack of appeal in terms of benefits that consumers can gain from shopping with them. The only competitive edge that pets.com had was convenience in terms of elimination of travel time to grocery store. However cons such as delivery period and shipping or product cost outweigh the main advantage.

Lastly, the company failed to plan for the long-term as they did for short-term. Specifically, they failed to improve to create better services, information that could be collected from customers. Yes, the marketing campaigns were effective in getting the word out about the company but it did nothing that is essential to sustain a business such as customer’s satisfaction, product loyalty etc.

The main lesson here is that one should not start a business merely catching on the hype. Pets.com learned it the hard way when it jumped onto the bandwagon, without strengthening its business model and having a strong product positioning to give it a competitive edge. Eventually, the company was liquidated like many other dot-coms doing that time period within 9 months of their initial IPO. Maybe if America decided to ask for bailout (pets.com bailout?), things would be different today huh?