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Biometric Startup Quixter Demos Pay-By-Palm Tech

Piyush Aggarwal:

It would be wise to say that simplicity in technology is bound to be the next level in innovation. Actually it always was, technologies which added the most value to our lives were actually driven by a very simple idea in their DNA.

Quixter is one such example of simplifying the payment process in the store retail environment. I personally hated to stand in the queue for such a long time, biometric payment opens up a fresh pandora box to the world of touch based technologies. And for sure it is here to stay.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

NFC for mobile payments has struggled with adoption. Not least because the user needs to have an NFC-enabled phone in order to be able to make these contactless payments – in addition to the retailer itself being set up to accept NFC payments.

Well, here’s an alternative payment technology that strips away one layer of complexity at least to help lower the barrier to entry — by using a biometric identifier to power payments: specifically, the user’s palm. More specifically still, the pattern of veins inside their palm.

Swedish startup Quixter demos its pay by palm technology in the below video. The idea is the brainchild of Fredrik Leifland, an engineering student at Lund University, who wanted to come up with a quicker system for making card payments that did away with the related faff of fishing cards out of wallets and all that jazz.

The Quixter system uses vein-scanning technology to identify the individual – based on the unique vein-pattern in…

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Programmatic will surely add transparency but at a certain price

RTB-Programmatic-Adding-TransparencyRight from the start of 2014, there is a never ending debate around RTB & Programmatic ruling the digital charts, and in all probability the advertising baton would be passed on from the conventional Ad Networks to Ad Exchanges & DSPs. A lot of analysts are calling it a victory for the advertiser who (till recently) was shooting in the dark & a large portion of his dollars were going into the black hole.

No doubt, even the research figures are also skewed in the same direction, according to e-marketer latest report, by the end of 2017, RTB & Programmatic would jointly become $7-8 Billion market which would be 30% of the overall display market in the US. This is a clear sign that conventional networks have their task cut out.

RTB-Programmatic-Share-US-Display-Market

The very idea of being in control of what you buy & the transparency of what you pay for is a great motivation factor for any advertiser to pump in more marketing dollars. Till recently, the client had no visibility of where their precious dollars are being spent. All they were getting was bland click thru reports at the end of the month which was far away from the actual business transaction. The ad networks were not even remotely connected to the brand’s business objective.

Agency trading desks have already started to add fuel to this fire by either partnering with the leading exchanges & DSPs or creating their own private RTB-cum-Programmatic marketplace to consolidate the digital buy for all their clients. According to a report by Adage, almost 15% of the brands are already working directly with leading DSPs & another 45% in the process of building their direct relationship with a DSP partner in the near future.

Media buyers are suddenly sitting in the driver’s seat where tools available to them are becoming increasingly sophisticated that covers deep analysis around user behavioral, demographic & psycho-graphic data. The DMPs have added more arsenal to the DSP’s bucket by providing them multi-layered audience data points. The planner who was once busy crunching tons of excel data for his client is now having a last laugh. He can virtually run all his brand campaigns sitting inside his cubicle over a cup of hot Starbucks latte. This can also cut down huge resource costs for the media companies as single person would be able to manage entire digital account from his system.

But like they say, nothing comes for free, somebody has to pay the price for this, and it looks like that for now conventional ad networks will be in the line of fire from all corners due to lack of transparency in their DNA.

Mobile marketing massive growth of video in 2014

Piyush Aggarwal:

What is interesting to see is that unlike the way online took off back in 2003, technology is making far more progress even before brands would actually bet big dollars on the medium which makes perfect sense. Most importantly, the whole tech start up evolution has given a fresh meaning & life to the future possibilities in Digital & Mobile.

Things like RTB & Programmatic would further open up the market for small, medium & big advertisers & bring level playing field to the digital media business. All thanks to Google Android, what was earlier restricted to desktop search has now got its wings in the form of millions of mobile apps adding zillions of insightful data points that can be leveraged for smarter marketing.

Originally posted on I am a Bridge (Hugues Rey Blog):

Mobile marketing massive growth of video in 2014

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How the Feeds changed Digital Content & Advertising Landscape

Since the very beginning of my digital career, RSS feeds captured my imagination by the sheer innovation possibilities it offers to the world at large. The concept of live stream was restricted to television or radio broadcast in those days which got a fresh life in the form of RSS feeds that allowed anyone to open & broadcast their own digital content channel sitting anywhere around the world. The power was immense which down the line, transcended into even more complex applications that changed the way we consume & produce our content. Below is a great info-graphic (Courtesy: @sharethrough ) which captures the history of the feed in a brilliant manner.

How the Feeds changed Digital Content & Advertising Landscape

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When everything is data, there’s opportunity in everything

Piyush Aggarwal:

The world as we see & know was translated into 0′s & 1′s long before the first matrix movie came from Wachowski Brothers. Even the movie hinted at a possible volcanic eruption of data throughout the 3 part series. The truth is that insane pace of human growth has added wings to the pace of digital data growth as that is the only way we can tame this massively growing human civilization.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Today, nearly every part of our world can reduced to a number. Physical, digital, alive, inanimate — everything is a source of data just waiting to be processed and analyzed. When the technologies for carrying out that processing and analysis improve, everything likely will be turned into data. It’s both a fascinating thought and a scary one, because for better or for worse, data will truly be a kingmaker.

We can see the writing on the wall already; in Google’s $400 billion valuation and steady creep into our homes, and in the National Security Agency’s relentless quest to suck up every piece of personal information under the sun. They want omnipotence and omnipresence, and they know the path to those goals is lined with data. And when we look past questions of whether we can stop them or if we even should want to, we should all see the…

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Automation in the Digital Cloud

cloud automationTechnology, as we know, has changed its complexion drastically in the last decade. So much so that, the very fundamentals of our collective evolution seems to be dependent on it. Over the years, technology has redefined the way our civilisation behave with its infinite possibilities.  Sarcastically speaking,  we no longer live on the planet earth, we live in the cloud. A cloud which is constantly moving & has made our existence ever so fluidic that nothing comes to us as a surprise.

The cloud is everywhere,  from the time you wake up in your bed, on your way to office, in your workplace, at your favourite hangout, everything seems to be drawing its energy from within this cloud.

Managing operations of an international digital media company taught me about the power of cloud in more ways than one. By virtue of being omnipresent, cloud has made human communication and collaboration happen like it was never done before. Its possibilities have opened up my imagination to challenge the status quo every day.

Thanks to the cloud, today I am am able to change multi geography, inter and intra team processes for saving and squeezing out that last ounce of time from my team’s daily work stream.

Like it or not, work automation in the cloud is need of the hour for all the businesses which are operating in digital landscape. What Industrial revolution did in the 20th century,  is what cloud doing now, i.e. redefining the way we manage large volume of our resources, both tangible and intangible.

Cloud applications are a blessing for any modern day digital manager, for its vastness that allows them to push the envelope everytime for their organisation and clients.

Asus unveils $179 Chromebox, coming in March

Piyush Aggarwal:

Google Chrome is changing the world computing in many ways than one. With the continuous falling prices of the hardware in the last half a decade, shifting of major IT infra on the cloud, the rise of mobile devices & massive improvement in the bandwidth at the grassroots level has allowed developers to think laterally. Open Platforms like Linux & Chrome will add fuel to the fire to maximize the impact of digital computing in the future.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Asus on Monday announced a new Chromebox. The Google(s goog) Chrome-based machine starts at $179 and is powered by an Intel(s intc) Haswell-based Celeron processor. Geared towards stationary use – like business, home and school – the Chromebox measures just 4.88 by 1.65 inches, which makes it comparable to the size of a Roku streaming box.

“The Asus Chromebox offers the simplicity, security, and speed of Chrome OS in the most compact and powerful Chrome device to date,” Felix Lin, director of product management at Google, said in a statement.

Chromebox ports

The Chromebox is powered by a fourth-generation Intel Celeron 2955U or Core i3 processor with integrated Intel HD graphics. It includes either 2GB or 4GB of DDR3 memory, as well as 16GB SSD local and 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years. There’s also an SD card reader, four USB 3.0 ports, one DisplayPort, HDMI, audio and mic…

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Demand Generation Vs Lead Generation – a layman’s perspective

DEMAND – as per Mr. Wikipedia , it signifies the ability or the willingness to buy a particular commodity at a given point of time. And of-course with a caveat of “all things remain constant”. Problem is nothing remains constant in the online world.

Anyways, this is the best economics could do in defining the term ‘Demand‘. Lets try to further simplify this definition by discussing the 3 key words mentioned in this definition.

First word is ‘Ability‘ – in simple terms purchasing power ( or औकात in local indian language ). From an online marketeer’s perspective, understanding the ‘ability to pay’ of your customer can be of super critical importance and we will discuss why.

Second word is ‘Willingness‘ – in simple terms ‘the desire’ ( or चाहत in local indian language ) to purchase anything. This is perhaps the only dream of any marketing manager to bring their product or service in the desirable bracket of the customer.

Lets Simiplify

By the way, who is interested in the definition of demand anyways, let economics people worry about it. We are marketeers, and we are interested in generating demand, so lets try to put Demand Generation bare in front of you, taking few help from our economics friends above.

 Spotting the audience ( with an Ability to pay ) + Making marketing efforts ( to build a desire ) + Capturing the customer’s intent ( who would wish to buy in a stipulated Time )

Now we talking, suddenly, it is no longer an economic concept, lets peel off few more layers of Demand Generation by telling you how it is different from conventional Lead Generation.

Simplifying even more

So putting it simply, the point where lead generation ends, demand generations starts. As a marketing manager, your tough job actually begins after the lead is generated. A lot of the seeds are supposed to be sown for demand generation during the lead gen exercise. More aware the customer is about your product/ service before final engagement, the better it is for you. More desirable the brand or product is, better the chances of its purchase by the customer.

So finally, here’s the summary of this post:
1. Demand = Ability to pay + Desire to purchase
2. Lead Generation = Finding the customer with the Ability & Desire through various digital &/or non digital methods like SEO, SEM, Display, Social, Events etc.
3. Demand Generation = Lead Generation + Marketing Efforts ( Direct Marketing Efforts like POS ( point of sale ) in Retail, Tele Calling, eCommerce etc

Social Brand – a unique problem of changing Identities

I’ve been pondering over it for quite sometime but still trying to find one end of the rope. Its like the classical problem Hall of Mirrors in which you are told to catch the 1 real person while rest are all mere reflections.

Social brand or Social Branding is a domain in which not even a single digital/ social media (leave alone offline creative agency) in India has ventured out in the past 3 years of social revolution in India. We all have been skeptical or rather scratching the surface till now. Possible reason could be that nobody has the conviction to convince the client that any social campaign is a separate branding exercise.In my own journey to explore the various aspects of Social Identity Management, I’ve decided to internalize extensively on the concept of Social Brand. So lets begin this fascinating journey today. Any comments & inputs would be more than welcome.

Well, like always I start my search from Google & what I found was interestingly very close to the way I was expecting it to be.

Read this article by renowned Social Brand Strategist Idris Mootee, (though it becomes slightly complicated in the middle for a layman) the thought procequote is very similar to the way I started my journey of Social Identity Management around 5 months back.

Idris specified & I quote:

Consumers demand more from brands and people online are seeking new ways to connect and be social. Social networks and media give testimony to human most basic desire to belong and to be part of a group(s), as we congregate around the things we are passionate about or want to associate with.

It talks about the need for Brands to see themselves from community perspective. I would say it is quite logical. Let’s try to break it down into pieces to understand it better:

point #1 why do people join a community?
Ans: Because of basic human tendency of not to  stay in isolation. Even if they do not speak, the feeling of togetherness is quite comforting for everyone.

point #2 what is the relevance or identity of an individual in a community?

Ans: He is like a white dot on a black board, his existence is always in perspective to the surrounding. Alone, he does not exist.

Same goes with any brand, till the point their Brand Communication is not from the POV of their surrounding i.e. their core customers, they are living in Isolation. In order to break this monotony & to board the community train , a Brand must embrace the Social culture & take an Outside-In approach rather than Inside-Out.

In a dynamic, multi-dimensional & supremely connected world like ours, the concept of Brand Value appears to be a Static phenomenon. When user’s expectations are changing with the speed of light & options are out there in galore then a Brand Manager only has the following option:

Keep the Brand Identity intact for consistency & look for something fluid that can work as a temporary Social Identity to match the expectations of the modern day consumer & also deal with the competition changes around him.

We agree that the stronger & older brands like a Coke or Pepsi, Hindustan Liver or P&G , Adidas & Nike can live without a Social Identity in the short run because of the brand legacy but the influence of Community & Society on the brands in general has been such (in last 5 years) that no brand manager can afford to take even a short nap.

The Man Eater of Malgudi – a review

I am sure the following video will bring back some very old memories from your childhood:

Incidentally, I’ve finally managed to finish this amazing masterpiece called ” The man eater of Malgudi ” by one of the most profound & legendary author of Indian literature, R.K Narayan, the name who needs no introduction in Literary circles.

Narayan broke through with the help of his mentor and friend, Graham Greene, who was instrumental in getting publishers for Narayan’s first four books, including the semi-autobiographical trilogy of Swami and Friends, The Bachelor of Arts and The English Teacher. Narayan’s works also include The Financial Expert, hailed as one of the most original works of 1951, and Sahitya Akademi Award winner The Guide, which was adapted for films in Hindi and English languages, and for Broadway. ( Source : Wikipedia )

Very honestly speaking,  I am no book critic and more importantly I am not equipped with sufficient vocabulary to even comment on the work of this brilliant man who mesmerized the thinking of his readers with his unparalleled & unique style of fictional writing & characterization. His characters, despite being the most simplistic of all, connected with the urban & rural middle class like no other. I still remember the days when as a kid, Malgudi Days use to fill our lives with imaginative fun. It was a sheer treat ( I miss it badly now :( ) . 

All his characters, be it Swami, Vasu, Natraj became timeless in a certain manner & got stitched in the memory of masses. I don’t know whether it was the simplicity of the characters ( ironically for which Narayan also got much criticism ) or the unique camaraderie within the people of Malgudi which made it the most aspired city to live in.

Creating such a fictional landscape is no easy deal. While few people even tried co-relating the place with madras or towns around madras, few others even came up with the map showing exactly the way it is shown in Narayan’s books. What I realized while reading “The Man eater of Malgudi” is that author has a phenomenal sense of detail about the space in which his characters are placed. A fictional town like Malgudi has been created in the minds of the readers with utmost detail and while you are reading the book, author will further handhold you like a tourist guide taking your attention to every minute detail in that space. Just read the following text from the book as an example of his brilliant narrative of the town & its people:

He sat in the Queen Anne chair, took out a sheet of paper & wrote. Both of us, the parties to the waste paper transaction, watched him silently. A lorry was passing down the road, raising a blanket of cloud; a couple of jutkas were rattling along on their wooden wheels; two vagrants had stretched themselves on the parapet of the fountain, enjoying a siesta; a little boy was watching his lamb graze on the lawn which the municipality was struggling, to cultivate by the margin of the fountain; a crow sat on top of the fountain, hopefully looking for a drop of water. It was an ideal hour for a transaction in junk.”

The story : Man-eater of Malgudi is a simple story of a small town printer named Nataraj whose ordinary life gets into trouble when Vasu(the taxidermist) who is also compared with a rakshasa(asura) in the novel forcibly occupies his attic  & makes his life a virtual hell. Some of the dialogue sequences between Nataraj & Vasu are simply brilliant from the standpoint of dramatic conflict between two ideologies.  And of-course the never ending twist & turns in the story offers you nothing short of a gripping hollywood thriller especially the entire fascade  around the big book launch event in the village followed up by the giant procession of gods in the chariot led by the showstopper Kumar – the elephant. As a reader you are getting the flavor of both the big & small canvases which leaves you gasping for more.

One can only stand in wonder about the beauty of the mind who has put together such a wonderful narrative for the readers. Looking forward to read all the other masterpieces soon.