People & Dreams

Archivo -diciembre 2012

Las pulseras sociales harán competir a los profesionales del canapé

Club Xataka: ¿Cómo jugabas con tu primer ordenador? Participa con ASUS y gana una tarjeta gráfica VGA y un monitor LCD

Club Xataka: ¿Cómo jugabas con tu primer ordenador? Participa con ASUS y gana una tarjeta gráfica VGA y un monitor LCD

Revive la experiencia y el comentario más divertido, simpático o entrañable puede servir para ganar una tarjeta gráfica VGA y un monitor LCD de ASUS.

El lanzamiento hecho por Nike de su kit de desarrollo de software para la FuelBand ha tenido un éxito comparable al de la popular pulsera que registra la actividad física mediante acelerómetros. El Nike+ FuelBand Dev Kit fue lanzado este mismo 10 de diciembre y ya son varias las propuestas de aplicación que distintos desarrolladores han mostrado a la marca en busca de su aprobación.

La más original de esas propuestas es, sin duda, la SocialBand, una aplicación desarrollada por una compañía llamada Social-abs que aprovecha la conectividad Bluetooth 2.1 de la Fuelband para convertirla en el testigo de nuestra vida social en internet.

Socializando por Bluetooth para ser el mejor Infuelencer

La idea detrás de SocialBand es convertir la Fuelband en un agregador de redes sociales basado en geolocalización. El proyecto se basa tan sólo en software, concretamente en una aplicación para Windows u OSX que modifica el firmware de la Fuelband mediante su conexión USB, y otra aplicación para sistemas operativos móviles que es desde donde se controlan las funciones de la pulsera.

Una vez configurada, la SocialBand permite agregar cuentas de redes como Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, Instagram, o Google +. Todas las redes se agrupan bajo una única cuenta de usuario llamada InFuelencer (Nike Infuelencer si finalmente la multinacional da su aprobación al proyecto).

Una vez activa nuestra cuenta de InFuelencer, la SocialBand se convierte desde ese momento en un dispositivo que registra lafrecuencia con la que acudimos a eventos de Social Media simplemente rastreando las pulseras de otros usuarios que tengamos agregados en redes sociales en el área de cobertura del Bluetooth (máximo diez metros).

Tener un gato fotogénico da más puntos

Cada vez que coincidamos con otro InFuelencer, la pulsera nos premia con Social Points que aumentan cuanto más tiempo dure el evento. La conexión con Twitter permite programar la SocialBand para que tuitee los puntos que vamos ganando cada cierto tiempo y lo que es más interesante, ganar más Social Points cada vez que alguien retuitee o haga fav en uno de nuestros tuits.

Fuelbands

Si el usuario que se hace eco de nuestros mensajes en redes sociales es un InFuelencer, los puntos se doblan. Sin embargo, laSocialBand restará puntos si somos nosotros los que contestamos o retuiteamos a un usuario con menos de 1.000 seguidores. Los hashtags aportan puntos adicionales, pero si enlazamos algún tipo de contenido interesante como texto o vídeo la aplicación nos penaliza eliminando todos los puntos conseguidos en la última hora.

La pulsera también da puntos por los Me gusta de Facebook, pero menos cantidad que en Twitter. Un Retuit proporciona 5 SocialPoints, un Fav da cuatro, un Me gusta de Facebook sólo tres y un +1 en Google + suma sólo un punto.

La integración con Instagram ha sido tratada aparte en la aplicación y sólo funciona si el smartphone en el que instalamos la aplicación está conectado. Un complejo algoritmo cedido por los creadores de la red social fotográfica se encarga de analizar las imágenes para identificar temáticas populares que proporcionan más SocialPoints. Entre estos temas se cuentan clásicos como atardeceres, gatitos, pies con una playa de fondo, gin-tonics preparados con mucha verdura, cafés servidos de forma exótica y hamburguesas de autor. Los Me gusta en Instagram no contarán porque un estudio de los creadores de la aplicación sugiere que son sólo fruto de la envidia de otros usuarios.

La labor de los acelerómetros

Los impulsores de la SocialBand no han querido dejar sin aprovechar los acelerómetros usados originalmente en la pulsera para medir la práctica deportiva. Durante los eventos, la pulsera registra movimientos como levantar los Gin Tonic o estirar el brazo hacia la bandeja de canapés para dar puntos adicionales. Igualmente, saludar agitando la mano permitirá hacer check-in automático en Foursquare.

Fiesta Xataka

La pulsera modificada SocialBand está siendo ya probada por un grupo de superusuarios en beta cerrada y, si Nike da su visto bueno, podría abrirse al público antes de final de año. Responsables de Social-abs han comentado, sin embargo, que si la multinacional finalmente no apoya el proyecto, podrían desarrollar su propia pulsera social en Kickstarter. La aplicación estaría disponible para IOS, Android y Windows Phone 8, tanto en tablets como en smartphones. Distintas compañías de tecnología se han interesado en la idea para promocionar sus fiestas pero desde Social-abs indican que, por la propia filosofía de la Social Band, se darán más puntos a los usuarios que se presenten sin estar en listas de invitados.

Desde diversos sectores de comunicación se ha criticado el lanzamiento de la SocialBand por considerarlo demasiado ligero, especialmente en lo que a la ausencia de enlaces se refiere. Kevin Stromm, Social media Online Trendsetter Analyst Senior de Social-abs ha salido en defensa de la aplicación. ‘No se trata de aportar nada a la comunidad. Tan sólo de medírsela y ver quien es más popular y va a más fiestas’ comenta Stromm. ‘¿O acaso creen que la FuelBand es para medir la práctica deportiva?’ añade enigmático.

Gamification

Companies are realizing that gamification, or the use of key game concepts to engage users and solve problems, can be a powerful way to create happiness and innovation and spur on results and education among their workforce, said Gabe Zichermann, CEO of Gamification.Co.

Gabe Zichermann of Gamification.Co at GigaOM's Net:Work 2011Gamifications can have a bad rap, admits Gabe Zichermann, CEO of Gamification.Co. He said people think it means turning everything into Angry Birds.

But he said companies are increasingly turning to gamification to accomplish a number of real world goals and they’re not simply turning everything into a game. They’re realizing that gamification, or the use of key game concepts to engage users and solve problems, can be a powerful way to create happiness and innovation and spur on results and education among its workforce, said Zichermann at GigaOM’s Net:Work conference.

The key, he said, is that our brains are wired to want to go through a process of desire to mastery. That process, which includes incentives, challenges, achievements and feedback, looks a lot like videos games, following a similar path. By tying into those mechanics, companies are able to tap into the higher desires of people, who often see work through the lens of self actualization and esteem. When companies employ game techniques and provides broad metrics tied to social interactions, it can motivate people in very significant ways, he said.

Zichermann said it can be simple like a checkout game for Target cashiers, who get audible feedback noting how their product scans are going. It takes a mundane and job and makes it a little more fun and gives workers a little more sense of control or agency in their lives, Zichermann said.

Other companies are looking to leverage feedback and use it to encourage people. Apps such as Rypple and DueProp are being used by companies to prompt more immediate feedback among employees, so workers can recognize each other in real time for the work they’re doing. Car companies are using feedback in their hybrid cars to encourage users to drive in a more eco-friendly way, showing them the results of their driving habits on screen through representations like a growing tree.

Zichermann said teamplay can also have a strong effect. He noted the experience of NextJump, an employee rewards provider, which now has more than 80 percent of its employees working out because of a new gamified health system that splits the workforce into teams and doles out cash to the teams that work out the most.

Zichermann said that it’s still hard to create the change that companies want to see internally but they’re increasingly seeing game mechanics as a way to accomplish their goals. He said a Gartner study found that 70 percent of the Global 2000 expect to use gamification by 2015 and 50 percent expect innovation to come from game processes.

“In order to get us to collectively create the major change we’re looking for, we need to design things in ways that are motivating and meaningful for people individually. Gamification gives you a toolkit to accomplish that,” Zichermann said.

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Why Every Company Is Now an Incubator (Issie Lapowsky | Inc. magazine 21 Dec.2012)

From Microsoft to PayPal, it seems every day another business launches an incubator. Here’s what’s motivating them to get in the game.

These days, it seems, there’s an incubator for everything. In fact, the National Association of Business Incubators estimates there are some 1,250 of them operating in the United States. There are incubators for every race, gender, industry, and region in the country. Some incubators combine several requirements to narrow their niche even further, like La Cocina, a San Francisco-based incubator for low-income, minority women, who want to launch food business.

Now, even businesses are getting into the incubation business. Recently PayPalannounced it would be incubating companies at its new Boston offices. Earlier this month LinkedIn broke the news about [in]cubator, an internal incubator for LinkedIn employees. Microsoft’s launching a tech center in Rio de Janeiro. Google’s launchingone in Tel Aviv. Even smaller companies are doing it. This year, Tough Mudder launched an internal angel fund for employees who want to pursue a business idea, and the ad agency Ignited pays employees to take part in a business plan competition.

But unlike most incubators that aim for a monetary return on their investments, the businesses operating these incubators seem to have different motivations, entirely. Here are a few we came up with:

It’s R&D reinvented.

For some, the term «incubator» is more or less another word for «research and development.» The LinkedIn [in]cubator, for instance, will foster only those products and services that can benefit LinkedIn’s customers or employees in some way. Once a quarter, LinkedIn employees can pitch an idea about a potential product offering to the executive staff, including founder Reid Hoffman and CEO Jeff Weiner. If the idea is approved, the employee gets paired up with an executive mentor, and is allowed up to three months (if the progress is satisfactory, that is) to work solely on the project. So far, five projects out of 50 submissions have been approved. One of the most successful so far is go/book, a tool that changes how meetings get booked at LinkedIn.

According to Florina Grosskurth, who runs the company’s engineering programs, «LinkedIn sees [in]cubator projects as small investments that have the potential to become big wins for the company.»

It’s an acquisition primer.

For others, like the telecommunications giant Qualcomm, incubation is a strategic investment strategy for potential acquisition targets down the line. In May, Qualcomm partnered with an existing incubator called EvoNexus to launch a program called QualcommLabs@evonexus. The idea is for companies that are already incubating at EvoNexus to apply for up to $250,000 in funding and guidance from Qualcomm. So far, the company has doled out a total of $550,000, divided between three start-ups focused on the wireless and telecom space. «It’s a directed investment initiative,» says Liz Gasser, vice president of business operations at Qualcomm. «We’re encouraging growth in the segments we care about.»

It keeps ideas fresh.

PayPal’s incubator started off as a co-working space in PayPal’s Boston office, which was being underutilized. That experience, says David Chang, COO of PayPal media network, reminded the company how invigorating it is to work in a start-up environment. Now, the company is welcoming nine start-ups to its new offices in Boston, where they’ll get access to PayPal executives and leads to PayPal’s vast network of investor contacts (hint hint). According to Chang, PayPal’s motivation is to reinvigorate a massive corporation with start-up sensibilities. He also says networking with so many bright young developers and their personal networks will be beneficial to recruiting. «We get to be really plugged in to these problems start-ups are solving. It’s great to be on the cutting edge, but not have your foot fully in,» Chang says. «The incubator, we hope, will keep us really sharp.»

It’s an employee perk.

Will Dean of Tough Mudder, an obstacle course company, is a culture junkie. The company is full of clubs, retreats, and traditions to keep employees on their feet and engaged. This year, Dean realized that a lot of the people work at start-ups because they have dreams of launching their own businesses one day. He decided it’s better for the company culture to help those would-be entrepreneurs along, rather than forcing them to work in secret. So this year, Dean and his co-founder Guy Livingstone set up a $2 million angel fund to invest in employee ideas. This summer, the company launched an internal business plan competition to encourage employees to pitch new business ideas, even if they weren’t considering it before.

Unlike [in]cubator, Dean says he hopes many of the companies Tough Mudder invests in will be able to stand on their own someday. «A lot of people came here to work out of business school and wanted an entrepreneurial experience. We said, ‘We want you, and it’s completely fine to stay for two years,'» he says. «We’re an entrepreneurial company, and I think it’d be great if we could have our own alumni community of successful entrepreneurs like, PayPal does.»

It’s a licensing pipeline.

Through Procter & Gamble’s Connect+Develop program, entrepreneurs can pitch a product and develop it under P&G’s supervision, leveraging their equipment, contacts, and expertise. For a lucky few entrepreneurs, this program is a direct path to commercializing a product, as P&G regularly mines its Connect+Develop portfolio for potential licensing agreements. In fact, more than 50% of P&G’s new products have come from collaborations with external partners. The Connect+Develop program is responsible for the birth of products like Glad ForceFlex bags, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Swiffer Dusters, and Tide PODS. As Lisa Popyk, a spokesperson at P&G, put it, «Connect and develop continues to deliver winning results because it’s rooted in, and continues to develop from, the core belief that together we can do more than any of us can alone.»

Here Comes the First Real Alternative to iPhone and Android

Sailfish OS Hands on Preview

 

If you talk to enough people at the Finnish mobile startup Jolla, at some point it occurs to you that the company it most resembles is Apple. Not the Apple of today, which is basically a half-trillion-dollar supply chain with a design appendage, but Apple back when it was Steve Jobs obsessing over the creation of the Macintosh, which was radical in its focus on the user. In demos, at least, Jolla’s decidedly different new mobile operating system (OS), called Sailfish, looks that good.

Sailfish, Jolla insists, will become a legitimate alternative to the Coke and Pepsi of smartphone platforms: Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Microsoft would like to accomplish the same thing, and has spent billions trying, with limited success; it has already cut back production for the new tablet running its latest OS, Windows 8. So what makes this group of fewer than 100-odd Finns, most of them refugees from the sinking ship that is Nokia, think they stand a chance?

“China… is the most dynamic smartphone market — it’s really booming,” said Sami Pienimäki, who runs sales at Jolla, at the company’s Nov. 21 unveiling of its new OS in Helsinki. “There is 80%-100% year-on-year growth.” (At least one projection suggests that the number of smartphones in China could grow by 150% in the next year alone, to 500 million devices.)

Jolla cannot possibly take on Google and Apple head-to-head, and it doesn’t plan to. Rather, the company, which is rapidly becoming a Finnish-Chinese hybrid with headquarters in both Helsinki and Hong Kong, and an R&D operation in a yet-to-be-named location in mainland China, plans to nurture and grow an entirely new mobile “ecosystem” — meaning the phones, the operating system that runs on them, and the apps that run on that. And it plans to do it in China because that is the one market producing first-time buyers of smartphones fast enough to give such a scheme a chance.

In order to get its operating system and, eventually, Jolla-branded phones, in front of enough Chinese, the company has partnered with the largest mobile chain retailer in the country, D.Phone. Not only will D.Phone sell Sailfish-powered phones through its 2100 outlets; it is also part of the Sailfish Alliance, a group of software and hardware companies that will all be able to add standards and code to the open-source OS.

The deal with D.Phone isn’t just a feather in Jolla’s cap; in some respects, it’s the reason it exists. It represents an early commitment from an established player with reach but no devices of its own, and a built-in market for what would otherwise be an even more hugely risky proposition.

Jolla CEO Marc Dillon believes that both iOS and Android are boring technological dead-ends where innovation has gone to die. And if you cruise YouTube for the various hands-on videos demonstrating the Sailfish OS, you begin to get a sense of what he means. Visually, Sailfish doesn’t seem very radical, but the mechanics of how people interact with it are.

Sailfish is designed to acknowledge that most people use their phones for several things at once these days. The phone’s home screen can be filled with up to 9 concurrently running applications. (Contrast that with an iPhone, where, save for things like playing music, applications are paused when a user switches from one to another.) And they can all be controlled without even “opening” them. Rather, each “application cover&rdquo ;— which is a large rectangle on the phone’s home screen — has its own interface.

The basis of this is “swipe” gestures, a convention borrowed from the Nokia N9, a one-of-a-kind phone that Nokia developed in alliance with Intel and released in 2011. It ran on a unique operating system called MeeGo, which is a direct ancestor of Sailfish. (Most of the Jolla team came from Nokia and previously worked on MeeGo, and while Jolla has no financial ties to the company, spiritually it’s a spin-off.) Swiping from one side of a tile or the other will, for instance, skip tracks if it’s a music player, or flip through contacts if it’s the address book.

While in some ways Sailfish superficially resembles the Windows phone, which has a home screen full of “live tiles” displaying information from various apps, the tiles’ only other function in Windows is to open the app when you tap them. The Jolla team seems to have asked itself: What does the user want to accomplish, and what’s the smallest number of taps required to accomplish it?

“I believe that when people try [Sailfish] and use it for a few minutes, it’s going to resonate with them,” says Marc Dillon, CEO of Sailfish. “It enables things that are much more different than on other devices. It makes them effortless.”

A radical business model

Ease of use is one part of Jolla’s plan. Market reach is another.

In China, things work a little differently than they do in rich countries. Retailers like D.Phone, for example, wield outsize influence over the rest of the mobile device market. In the West, cellphone carriers generally pay the handset-makers part of the cost of a phone in return for being the exclusive carrier for that particular device. In such a market, a new phone based on an OS that nobody has heard of doesn’t stand a chance because the carriers won’t take a gamble on it; they might not recoup their cash outlay. In China, however, the retailers buy handsets and charge customers full price for them. The way carriers compete for exclusivity is to offer retailers and their customers the biggest possible amount of free airtime.

That means that if D.Phone decides it wants to take a chance on a new device, carriers can’t really veto its decision. And D.Phone, and presumably other retailers, has much more incentive than the carriers do to offer something truly different, because otherwise the only way it can compete with other retailers is on price.

“In China, many families are coming to the point where they’re either saving for their first real smartphone or they’re ready for the next one,” says Dillon. “They really do want to stand out and have something a bit different.” Android dominates in China, capturing nearly 80% of all Smartphone sales. Apple’s iPhone stands out and is different, but it’s also hugely expensive for a country in which the average yearly household income is still only about $9,000.

Coke, Pepsi… and Red Bull?

Andreas Constantinou, managing director of Mobile Vision, a telecoms consultancy, isn’t buying the Jolla story.

“It’s impossible for anyone to compete with the duopoly of Google and Apple,” says Constantinou. The mobile market, at least in rich countries, is winner-take-all. Users don’t care who makes their phone, he argues; they care whether or not it will run the apps they want. Developers, meanwhile, only want to create apps for the platforms with the most users. The result is that Apple and its fast follower Google, which pioneered the smartphone app store, have made it too hard for newcomers to enter the market. The mass of users who are already attached to their iPhones and Android devices because of their wide choice of apps are, in a way, the real value of those platforms.

“Take the case of Jolla,” says Constantinou. “In order to start spinning its network effects, it needs to have a critical mass of either users or developers.” He adds, “Microsoft has spent five to ten billion dollars and still hasn’t been able to compete. And that’s two years after they’ve introduced Windows phone. It’s like there’s Coke and Pepsi and everyone else — good luck.”

The comparison of smartphones to soda is an idea invented by Peter Bryer, who spent 16 years in high-level management at Nokia. So what does he think of Jolla? On his blog, he says the company may be the “Red Bull” of this marketplace, a company that could “hit an industry from the side with something different, something fresh, and something unexpected.”

A team of rivals

Jolla’s leadership is well aware of how hard it is to break into a field of entrenched behemoths. One of its solutions is an “interpretation layer” that allows Jolla phones to run most Android apps. But for a lot of people to start using Jolla phones, even in a country like China where many are not yet attached to a particular platform, Sailfish is going to need its own apps, and people to build them, as Constantinou points out.

The company has tried hard to create a culture that will attract such people. Because it’s run by software developers, it espouses values — like sharing, collaboration and transparency — beloved by developers, who it hopes will contribute code for free in their spare time, as typically happens with open-source projects. Android, also open-source, has captured some of that goodwill, but the only company allowed to contribute code to Android is Google itself. Google has also been using heavy-handed tactics to keep Android handset manufacturers in line.

Jolla also comes from a country that is now legendary for its programming prowess. Home of Rovio, maker of Angry Birds, the most-downloaded paid game on iTunes ever, and Supercell, one of the fastest-growing game studios ever, Finland is a good place to be popular with programmers. “Finland is a country of five million people and it sure feels like we have five million supporters here,” says Dillon.

Jolla itself has grown from a staff of around 50 in August, expecting to reach 100 by the end of 2012. Many of them will be located in Hong Kong, which will be the headquarters of the Sailfish Alliance.

Open to modification

The alliance symbolizes another key thing that Jolla says will make it different: the company aims to have less control over Sailfish than any other OS maker has over its OS. The purpose of the alliance — which includes Tencent, one of China’s leading online companies, and ST-Ericsson, maker of the chips that already power at least a dozen different Android smartphones — is to make it possible for the various handset makers, software companies and mobile carriers who have a stake in the success of Sailfish to dig into the guts of the OS, make suggestions, tweak it for local markets, and put in new services that can help them generate revenue.

So, for example, if a company like Samsung offers an Android handset, it has to obey by rules laid down by Google so that it can include the Android app store, called Google Play, on its devices. It can’t use another app store. Revenue from Google Play goes to Google, not Samsung. By contrast, if a carrier wants to include, for example, its own app store or music service in Sailfish, that’s no problem.

Dillon says that even though Sailfish will always be open-source, Jolla will make money by licensing the patents the company has on its unusual user interface. He also hints at other, more radical business models that revolve around, for example, making it easier to match users with apps, but he says he can’t yet discuss them. ”I don’t want to go head-to-head with the two big app stores,” says Dillon. “I’d like to do something a bit different.”

Freedom from the patent wars

Jolla’s final advantage is that it believes it can stay out of what has become a massively expensive conflict between phone-makers over intellectual property. Hardly a day goes by that some holder of mobile patents doesn’t initiate a lawsuit against another — the latest is Nokia versus RIM, maker of the Blackberry, and in August a U.S. court awarded Apple $1 billion in damages in its patent infringement suit against Samsung. “There were massive investments from previous customers [Intel and Nokia] to clear MeeGo [now Sailfish] from intellectual property issues,” says Jussi Hurmola, former CEO of Jolla and now a consultant to the company.

This also means that Jolla offers a sweetener to carriers. Because its interface is so different and the OS was written specifically to avoid infringing existing patents, it could be free of the de facto licensing fees that usually come with using Android on a phone. (As a result, while Google charges nothing for Android, Microsoft is the one that makes money every time an Android-powered handset is sold.)

The Steve moment

“Many people have told us that this is not possible… that the market is flooded,” Jolla VP Pienimäki said at the Sailfish launch. To argue for why the company should succeed he pointed to Jolla’s deal with D.Phone, but also to the research the company has done on Chinese consumers. “We spent hundreds of hours studying the marketplace and consumer behavior in the field, in shops, malls, streets; seeing consumer behavior in the metro, subways, bars. […] That’s the key power of this company — the management is in the field all the time. You can’t outsource this kind of market insight.”

There is a Steve-Jobs-like quality to the pride Dillon and Hurmolla take in their creation and their exacting standards for ease of use. I ask Dillon if he would compare his company to Apple.

“It’s fair enough,” says Dillon. “We inherited some things from MeeGo, and and some of this has evolved into things have become a bit more revolutionary. We’ve really simplified the interaction, and made a lot of things easier to use so they require far less interaction. […] I would like for this to be a major disruption.”

But acting like Steve Jobs and succeeding like Steve Jobs are two very different things. Jolla will unveil its first handsets, and its super-secret alternative business models, around the beginning of 2013, says Dillon, and phones running Jolla should be available by the spring. Even if Jolla ultimately succeeds in China or manages to become the “Red Bull” of the smartphone world, that will be just the beginning of a very long battle.