Monthly Archives: May 2013

Xbox One, weak name but strong move to controlling the entertainment hub

This seems to be the year that the big video game console manufacturers decide to release new consoles. Microsoft went first yesterday, Sony is expected to follow this Fall. Unlike other technologies – smart phones, tablets, laptops to name a few – video game consoles have appeared very slow with regards to new generation releases. It has been 8 years since the XBox 360 and 7 years since the PS3…wow…to put that in perspective, 2007 is when the first generation iPhone was released. So 2013 will give us the opportunity to have two major generation upgrades in the gaming console world.

The Xbox One

The Xbox One

The first console out of the gate – the Xbox One. From all reports it brings some new bells and whistles – voice activation, enhanced Kinect, centralized control of music/video/game etc. Of course it has some “negatives” such as no backward compatibility with video games…ugh. All expected evolutions for the console. What this is really about is the continued battle for control of the home entertainment hub. Microsoft said as much:

Indeed, Microsoft is totally explicit about Kinect (and Kinect-related IP) being the central part of its strategy in the console battle as well as in the wider war for the living room — far beyond other aspects of the hardware.

Microsoft, as does a host of other technology companies, sees the entertainment center as the next frontier a place where all their software, content and devices will converge. As much as we love our smartphones and tablets, the television still provides the powerhouse of displays. We still gather around the television and leverage it as the communal entertainment hub some even use it as their personal dance trainer. However no one has really taken the “lead” when it comes to this space. Cable companies are trying to leverage their control of the content to be their play. Microsoft and Sony both look to their gaming consoles as the conduit to the entertainment hub. Google has made forays into the actual hardware – Google TVs. Of course Google is also embedded with search and YouTube in many new smart TVs. While Apple TV has been around for a while but has yet to really get into the game – they do have a firm lock on the streaming content via iTunes. What about Amazon? They also have a massive library of content as well as a device – the Kindle – that can force their way into the conversation. Question for Amazon, do they make an investment in hardware to put themselves physically in the living room?

All these moves will be good for the consumer – allow for a host of choices. Of course the problem might arise if all these vendors go with a walled garden strategy. Where the choice we make in hardware is one we might have to live with for a long time or buy multiple platforms!

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Filed under Current Events, Game Console

Not sure Nokia will regain market share, but great ad

A fantastic ad from Nokia. Not sure it will get them back on track with regards to their mobile phones, but entertaining none the less!

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Filed under Humor, Mobility

McDonalds – crossed a line or being savvy?

The big story that has been on the North America airwaves has been the incredible story of 3 women who disappeared for years had finally been found. Kidnapped and held hostage for a combined 30 years. News is trickling out to the despicable conditions these women were forced to endure. A tragedy for the victims, we must not forget that. Because of this reality, there are a lot of mixed reactions to McDonald’s reaction to getting a plug from the now famous eye witness interview. See below…


Right off the bat…around 9 seconds in…he mentions he was eating his McDonalds when everything started. The video has gone viral and Mr Ramsey has been doing the speaking tour. Ah the beauty of watching someone’s 15 minutes of fame. Even on his interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, McDonalds comes up again – click here for video. In reaction to all this free advertising, the folks at the golden arches decided to go to social media to chime in.

McDonalds hails their new spokesperson

McDonalds hails their new spokesperson

Was this appropriate or taking advantage of a terrible situation? There has been much discussion as to whether or not McDonalds crossed a line. Unfortunately when it comes to communications and public relations, any event or news is seen as an opportunity to push one’s message. While the saying – there is no such thing as bad publicity – might have been true decades ago, when the message could be “controlled,” it has some limits in the current communications environment. Click here for a good piece on this axiom. For McDonalds the situation is not about anything they have done or been part of, but they are being involved in the story by a witness. So should they be “taking advantage” of this? I say…yes.

Maybe their tweet should not have included “we’ll be in touch” that gives the impression they are thinking of how to exploit Mr Ramsey for promotional needs. But the fact they tweeted about this and mentioned Mr Ramsey is to be expected. Why not? They are capturing some of the discussions and grabbing some exposure. Of course, and maybe they will, rather than insinuate some “reward” for Mr Ramsey, why not use this opportunity to call attention to domestic violence or violence against women. Make a donation, public or quietly to some charity. Could this also be seen as exploiting a situation for publicity? Sure. But at least it would also be doing some good.

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Filed under Current Events, Marketing, Social media

Zero moment of truth – the true demand signal

I was reading a great eBook by our friends over a Google that discuss what they call ZMOT: the “Zero Moment of Truth.” Traditionally we have been taught to focus on two moments of truth. The first being when a consumer gets to the store shelf. At this moment, your inventory had better be available in the shape, color, size, price and quantity that the consumer desires. The second moment of truth occurs when the consumer begins to actually use the item. The experience had better meet their expectations or even better – exceed the expectations.

This model has changed with our 24/7 connectivity as well as the rise of mobility. Now there is what is termed the zero moment. This is the moment when your future consumer realizes they have a need or desire, maybe even want your particular product. With our global connectivity and enhanced by mobility, these consumers can now access a world of information that is at their fingertips…literally. We are starting to see the behavior shift this creates for both retailers and consumers. Retailers and manufacturers must have their house in order when a consumer arrives at ZMOT. The question is – how does this impact our supply chains?

There is a lot to be said of demand signals being picked up from data sources such as POS, order history, inventory levels to name a few. However what about the rich data that can found at ZMOT? An example: today a manufacturer can pick up POS data that shows a high demand for flu medicine. They might

What if  you had this map weeks before the outbreak?

What if you had this map weeks before the outbreak?

correctly assume that there is a flu outbreak in that geography and shift inventory within their system to meet this demand. But could this already be too late? What about looking for demand signals at the ZMOT? When consumers are searching on line for “signs of the flu” or “how do I tell I have the flu.” Google has already demonstrated how it can take data from ZMOT and predict the flu outbreak – click here for story. Rather than waiting to see what is selling, what about anticipating what is going to be looked for at the store shelf?

For your supply chain, it would be beneficial to leverage this data to better anticipate demand. Rather than waiting for the data coming from POS, leverage the information at ZMOT to anticipate how that demand will happen. POS and other data can be used in conjunction to adjust your demand signals. More and more consumers already know what they want when they enter your store or at the purchase point, those that can not only get to them at ZMOT but also leverage information from ZMOT will ensure that the first moment of truth is heavily in their favor.

The saying “you read my mind” can become a reality if you tap into the demand signal that is at the ZMOT.

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Filed under Consumer Product Goods, Demand Shaping, Retail, Supply Chain

Disrputive technology, available at Staples

We are currently being reminded that disruptive technology is all around us…phones, digital cameras, MP3s, steam power are just some examples. There is a new device that might prove as disruptive – the 3D printer. Now you can purchase one at your local Staples!

Wow. Yes I might be showing my dorky side. 3D printers have the potential to be a mini personal factory. A factory that could churn out anything a computer program can offer. Think about the possibilities. You forgot a part for your kid’s bicycle? Go to the Trek web site and download the specs to your printer. Last minute gift for your significant other? Head off to RedEnvelope and find a nice gift that you can “print” out. Your Christmas gifts might come via an email…to be manufactured by your 3D printer.

3D printers will have a drastic impact on supply chains as well as consumers. With a retailer now offering this technology to the masses, we are about to experience some major disruptions.

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Filed under Consumer Product Goods, Technology

Blackberry thinks what??? Tablets aren’t worth it?

Wow. In a recent interview, Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins, claims that there is a limited future for the tablet. Really? He makes this statement as Apple generates more revenue from their tablets than Blackberry did from their entire business ($8.7b v $2.7b). This smells like a statement made in light of a

We hardly knew ya!

We hardly knew ya!

failed foray into the tablet market. This is just reflective of Blackberry’s demise – being a dollar late and a day late. Blackberry, like many of us, were caught off guard by the rise of the iPhone. Yes I will admit that I was a loyal Blackberry user and now I have no idea what I was thinking (I am on my second iPhone). However this is no excuse for Blackberry. Lots of companies were caught off guard, and many have been able to react and get back into the game – Samsung being a perfect example. Yet Blackberry appears to have their collective heads in the sand for example:

  • Secure email was no longer the #1 selling reason for a smartphone – apps were. But for the business world having secure communications remains important. Double down on the corporate play, rather than trying to half appeal to developers to create apps for phones that aren’t designed well for apps (late to touch screen).
  • Speaking of touch screens – stop trying to appeal to those who still wanted a tactile keyboard…with a phone that offered both tactile and touch. I will admit, again, that I resisted the notion of a touch screen keyboard. But I also was not going to try and use a device that had both. The Blackberry 10 finally has gone all in with the full touch screen…only a few years late.
  • We need a tablet…oh wait there is no future. Blackberry did come out with a, from an engineering stand point, was a good device the Playbook. Yet once again it was late and marketed as an iPad competitor. Maybe it should have been targeted to the corporate world as a laptop replacement. Get ahead of the BYOD wave. Get these into the hands of IT departments and offer them as an alternative to laptops. Blackberry remains one of the most secure systems…lean on that advantage.

I guess the latest from Blackberry is another example of “if I say it…it will be true.” Unfortunately Blackberry is giving us a wonderful example of a great brand and product that has been caught behind the curve. Rather than recognizing this they are trying to convince themselves this is June 28, 2007 and the term iPhone has yet to enter our lexicon.

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Filed under Current Events, Mobility, Smart Phone