Friday, 18 December 2015

Digital Transformation with 3D printing.

How many of you remember the dot matrix printers of 1980s? 

Nobody could have thought then, that we will have 3D printers to print anything from consumer goods to military/space equipment.

Simply put 3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing. 3D printers work like inkjet printers, but instead of ink they build 3D objects by adding layer upon layer of the material.

Today 3D printing uses variety of materials like Sugar, Nylon, human cells, metallic powder etc. to print anything.
  • Medical : Bionic ear, Skin grafts, prosthetic limbs
  • Military : weapon and arms manufacturing
  • Engineering : various spare parts, cell phone displays, fuel injectors
  • Manufacturing : items can be printed as required, JIT inventory
  • Food : Edible object printing

Today there are 3D printing service website like Shapeways, Ponoko and Sculpteo that can very inexpensively print and deliver an object from a digital file that you simply upload to their website. You can even sell your 3D designs on their website.

MakerBot's Thingiverse is a thriving design community for discovering, making, and sharing 3D printable things.

ASDA is giving away 3d miniature figures of you or your loved ones as marketing gimmick.

Argos, a leading Digital retailer is working to improve customer experience with 3D printed customisable jewelry.

3D printing, artificial intelligence, robotics, drones, sensor technology and nanotechnology are examples that are radically going to change the way we do business.

Research is going on for 4D printing in which 3D printed objects can change the shape or colors dynamically, as shown in the movie Transformers.

With new materials being introduced, 3D printing can drastically impact our life. Some products may save our lives, others may extend lives and some brings ease to our daily activities!!

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Beacons - the future of Consumer engagement !!

Imagine customer is looking at smart LED TV in the electronic shop's window, and he/she gets a text with 10% off on that same TV, immediately purchases it & then pays automatically using online account. 

Or even have you noticed, when you walk near Apple store, you get their notifications on your smartphone?

This is possible today as part of Digital Transformation with Beacon technology.

It is revolutionizing the customer experience with in-store analytics, proximity marketing, indoor navigation and contact less payments.

Beacons are small devices working on tiny Bluetooth low energy (BLE) radio signal that can be received and interpreted by an app on smartphones. This can work within 50-70 meters of a beacon device. No scanning necessary. In addition, this system can pinpoint where your customer is in the store micro location and push specific information for them.

Big players in Beacon technology are Estimote & Apple, while major retailers like Macys, Taget, JC Penney are using beacons for Cross-Sell.

Beacons will boost the Retail business in many ways:
  • Bring shoppers into the store by targeting them with right offers as they walk past retailer’s windows.  This is called proximity marketing.
  • Engage your customers and get them feel excited about visiting your store
  • Navigate the customers to the tailored products
  • Notify your customers about new products at the right time and place
  • Use the real time data of how much time customers are spending in each part of the store which can be used for optimizing the in-store experience
  • Use customer’s purchase history and wish list items to come up with product-specific offers when they approach that item
  • Allow contact less payments at POS, on smartphones so customers don’t have stand in queues

Today Beacons have gone beyond Retail.
  • SK Telecom and Seoul National University Bundang Hospital are using Smart beacons to provide round-the-clock patient information and navigation to its 6,000 daily patients
  • Starwood hotels are running a pilot to replace room keys with beacons
  • American Airliines is using beacons to improve connections with customers at the airports

With use of Bigdata Analytics, Retailers can create a better shopping experience and offer superior customer service and better customer retention.

It is not distant, when as soon as a customer walks in to the store, your sales staff will know their name, what product categories they shop most, the items they browsed last time but didn’t purchase and what their spending habits are to give them personalized attention.


Saturday, 5 December 2015

APIs revolution in our lives…

Today we are living on our smartphone. There is an app for everything. Share a photo or music, call a cab, order food, post a status, check-in at any location or track a flight.

Our lives are revolving around all such apps and we are using them fluently without even noticing what goes behind this. In reality to do all this, the smartphone has to connect with service provider’s application servers via APIs. Many businesses are using APIs to deliver the services we require today.

In the age of digital transformation, APIs enable access to functionality and data from existing applications to the new digital business application helping in transformation. They are changing the way businesses interact with customers and partners with speed and agility.

Forrester had mentioned in their predictions 2016 reports that APIs and open platforms will take center stage.

API (Application Programming Interface) are the set of functions or procedures to access third party services.

Here are some well knows examples of APIs in our day to day life:
  • Google Maps APIs used in location based apps like Yelp, Zomato
  • Add a Facebook “Like” button on your site
  • Click to “Share” an article on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest
  • Billions of goods are sold every day on Amazon & eBay via APIs
  • We visit Klout to see your social media score calculated from your digital footprint
  • Use Instagram or Flickr to post your vacation photos
  • Use apps like Uber, paytm, Waze, WeatherNow, Booking.com for various activities all over the day
  • Buffer & Hootsuite like schedulers using APIs for posting on multiple social media accounts

Citibank follows the API first approach for digital transformation & had launched Citi Mobile Challenge, a virtual accelerator that invites developers from around the world to build innovative solutions.

MasterCard is another example of a financial services institution that has embarked on an API-based approach to digital transformation. With its Developer Zone portal and open APIs.

Some of the industry leaders in the APIs management services are apigee, Layer 7, SOA Software and IBM API Management.

I Love APIs 2015 was the world’s largest event dedicated to APIs and digital business strategy for developers, IT experts, and business strategists.

Today most of the developers use REST or SOAP APIs.

While these APIs are developed, it’s extremely important to build the required security for proper use:
  • Authentication – Making sure that user is who he/she says
  • Authorization – makes sure that user has access to the information
  • Encryption – scrambling the information to avoid misuse
  • Signature – insures information integrity

Today APIs influence how we interact with internet in various ways.

Investing in APIs for digital transformation is the sure way to succeed, by making APIs a priority, and integrating them into ecommerce platforms thereby enhancing the customer experience

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