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IBM reveals its top five innovation predictions for the next five years

IBM reveals its top five innovation predictions for the next five years

IBM director of education transformation Chalapathy Neti.

IBM revealed its predictions for five big innovations that will change our lives within five years.

Bernie Meyerson, vice president of innovation at IBM.

Bernie Meyerson, the vice president of innovation at IBM.

The IBM “5 in 5″ is the eighth year in a row that IBM has made predictions about technology, and this year’s prognostications are sure to get people talking. We discussed them with Bernie Meyerson, the vice president of innovation at IBM, and he told us that the goal of the predictions is to better marshal the company’s resources in order to make them come true.

“We try to get a sense of where the world is going because that focuses where we put our efforts,” Meyerson said. “The harder part is nailing down what you want to focus on. Unless you stick your neck out and say this is where the world is going, it’s hard to you can turn around and say you will get there first. These are seminal shifts. We want to be there, enabling them.”

(See our complete interview with Meyerson here).

In a nutshell, IBM says:

  • The classroom will learn you.
  • Buying local will beat online.
  • Doctors will use your DNA to keep you well.
  • A digital guardian will protect you online.
  • The city will help you live in it.

Meyerson said that this year’s ideas are based on the fact that everything will learn. Machines will learn about us, reason, and engage in a much more natural and personalized way. IBM can already figure out your personality by deciphering 200 of your tweets, and its capability to read your wishes will only get better. The innovations are being enabled by cloud computing, big data analytics (the company recently formed its own customer-focused big data analytics lab), and adaptive learning technologies. IBM believes the technologies will be developed with the appropriate safeguards for privacy and security, but each of these predictions raises additional privacy and security issues.

As computers get smarter and more compact, they will be built into more devices that help us do things when we need them done. IBM believes that these breakthroughs in computing will amplify our human abilities. The company came up with the predictions by querying its 220,000 technical people in a bottoms-up fashion and tapping the leadership of its vast research labs in a top-down effort.

Here’s some more detailed description and analysis on the predictions.

In five years, the classroom will learn you.

In five years, the classroom will learn you to help tailor instruction to your individual needs.

The classroom will learn you

Globally, two out of three adults haven’t gotten the equivalent of a high school education. But IBM believes the classrooms of the future will give educators the tools to learn about every student, providing them with a tailored curriculum from kindergarten to high school.

“Your teacher spends time getting to know you every year,” Meyerson said. “What if they already knew everything about how you learn?”

In the next five years, IBM believes teachers will use “longitudinal data” such as test scores, attendance, and student behavior on electronic learning platforms — and not just the results of aptitude tests. Sophisticated analytics delivered over the cloud will help teachers make decisions about which students are at risk, their roadblocks, and the way to help them. IBM is working on a research project with the Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia, the 14th largest school district in the U.S. with 170,000 students. The goal is to increase the district’s graduation rate. And after a $10 billion investment in analytics, IBM believes it can harness big data to help students out.

“You’ll be able to pick up problems like dyslexia instantly,” Meyerson said. “If a child has extraordinary abilities, they can be recognized. With 30 kids in a class, a teacher cannot do it themselves. This doesn’t replace them. It allows them to be far more effective. Right now, the experience in a big box store doesn’t resemble this, but it will get there.”

In five years, buying local will beat online as you get online data at your fingertips in the store.

In five years, buying local will beat online as you get online data at your fingertips in the store.

Buying local will beat online

Online sales topped $1 trillion worldwide last year, and many physical retailers have gone out of business as they fail to compete on price with the likes of Amazon. But innovations for physical stores will make buying local turn out better. Retailers will use the immediacy of the store and proximity to customers to create experiences that online-only retail can’t replicate. The innovations will bring the power of the Web right to where the shopper can touch it. Retailers could rely on artificial intelligence akin to IBM’s Watson, which played Jeopardy better than many human competitors. The Web can make sales associates smarter, and augmented reality can deliver more information to the store shelves. With these technologies, stores will be able to anticipate what a shopper most wants and needs.

And they won’t have to wait two days for shipping.

“The store will ask if you would like to see a certain camera and have a salesperson meet you in a certain aisle where it is located,” Meyerson said. “The ability to do this painlessly, without the normal hassle of trying to find help, is very powerful.”

This technology will get so good that online retailers are likely to set up retail showrooms to help their own sales.

“It has been physical against online,” Meyerson said. “But in this case, it is combining them. What that enables you to do is that mom-and-pop stores can offer the same services as the big online retailers. The tech they have to serve you is as good as anything in online shopping. It is an interesting evolution but it is coming.”

In five years, doctors will routinely use your DNA to keep you well.

IBM

In five years, doctors will routinely use your DNA to keep you well.

Doctors will use your DNA to keep you well

Global cancer rates are expected to jump by 75 percent by 2030. IBM wants computers to help doctors understand how a tumor affects a patient down to their DNA. They could then figure out what medications will best work against the cancer, and fulfill it with a personalized cancer treatment plan. The hope is that genomic insights will reduce the time it takes to find a treatment down from weeks to minutes.

“The ability to correlate a person’s DNA against the results of treatment with a certain protocol could be a huge breakthrough,” Meyerson said. It’ll be able to scan your DNA and find out if any magic bullet treatments exist that will address your particular ailment.

IBM recently made a breakthrough with a nanomedicine that it can engineer to latch on to fungal cells in the body and attack them by piercing their cell membranes. The fungi won’t be able to adapt to these kinds of physical attacks easily. That sort of advance, where the attack is tailored against particular kinds of cells, will be more common in the future.

In five years, a digital guardian will protect you online.

In five years, a digital guardian will protect you online.

A digital guardian will protect you online

We have multiple passwords, identifications, and devices than ever before. But security across them is highly fragmented. In 2012, 12 million people were victims of identity fraud in the U.S. In five years, IBM envisions a digital guardian that will become trained to focus on the people and items it’s entrusted with. This smart guardian will sort through contextual, situational, and historical data to verify a person’s identity on different devices. The guardian can learn about a user and make an inference about behavior that is out of the norm and may be the result of someone stealing that person’s identity. With 360 degrees of data about someone, it will be much harder to steal an identity.

“In this case, you don’t look for the signature of an attack,” Meyerson said. “It looks at your behavior with a device and spots something anomalous. It screams when there is something out of the norm.”

In five years, the city will help you live in it.

In five years, the city will help you live in it.

The city will help you live in it

IBM says that, by 2030, the towns and cities of the developing world will make up 80 percent of urban humanity and by 2050, seven out of every 10 people will be a city dweller. To deal with that growth, the only way cities can manage is to have automation, where smarter cities can understand in real-time how billions of events occur as computers learn to understand what people need, what they like, what they do, and how they move from place to place.

IBM predicts that cities will digest information freely provided by citizens to place resources where they are needed. Mobile devices and social engagement will help citizens strike up a conversation with their city leaders. Such a concept is already in motion in Brazil, where IBM researchers are working with a crowdsourcing tool that people can use to report accessibility problems, via their mobile phones, to help those with disabilities better navigate urban streets.

Of course, as in the upcoming video game Watch Dogs from Ubisoft, a bad guy could hack into the city and use its monitoring systems in nefarious ways. But Meyerson said, “I’d rather have the city linked. Then I can protect it. You have an agent that looks over the city. If some wise guy wants to make the sewage pumps run backwards, the system will shut that down.”

The advantage of the ultraconnected city is that feedback is instantaneous and the city government can be much more responsive.

Source: http://venturebeat.com

My New Company Kubi Mobi Introduces A Brand New App For Kids: AmusingABC-Words

AmusingABC-Words is a unique, English teaching app for preschoolers; it improves the spelling skills of 300 words.

It also aims to improve small muscle control and fine motor skills by orientation of tablet screen controls.

• Suitable for ages between 3-5, and it is also playable with parents.

• This app will be published in both free (lite) and paid (pro-kid) versions:

• Lite version includes 3 words for each letter & voice recording feature.

• Pro-kid version includes 10 words for each letter, voice recording feature, hidden bonus interactivites, animations and sound effects for each word.

• AmusingABC-Words contains no in-app purchases.

• Some areas are limited only to parents: Parents can use social buttons if they unlock them.

• Intuitive interface & controls, designed especially for kids between 3-5, let them navigate on the tablet screen easily and enjoy by themselves.

Kubi Mobi Introduces AmusingABC- An English Teaching App for Kids on iPad
INFO PAGES

• iTunes link: http://bit.ly/10RgXJP

• Website: http://amusingabc.com

• Video: http://amusingabc.com/abc_game.html

• Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/amusingabc

33 ways to make your app a hit: VentureBeat’s Discovery Directory

33 ways to make your app a hit: VentureBeat's Discovery Directory

As app stores multiply and the number of publicly released apps — just the ones we can see and count — approaches 1 million, content developers are having a hard time standing out from the crowd.

That process is known in the app world as discovery, and it’s getting harder with every new app, as developers fight for the attention of consumers and app-store managers.

“This is one of the key problems of our time,” said Savinay Berry, a vice president at Granite Ventures.

That’s why we’re tackling the subject of discovery at our second annual conference, DiscoveryBeat 2010, on October 18 in San Francisco. This year, the problem is only getting worse. The Apple App Store has more than 250,000 apps. There are new app stores coming or already in place from many other platform owners, from cell phone carriers to independent app catalogs.

Today, VentureBeat is showing off a bunch of the solutions aimed at solving the discovery dilemma. We call it the Discovery Directory.

It’s not unlike the growth of the Web. Early on, when there were tens of thousands of websites, people wondered if there were too many. How would they ever find what they wanted? Along came Yahoo with its directory and then Google with the first truly effective search engine. They solved the problem and created the giant search industry.

But what will be the equivalent of search in the age of apps? If someone solves this problem, they will find a pot of gold, Berry said.

Some blockbuster apps are managing to rise to the top of the app stores without much seeming effort. For sure, good discovery starts with great content. Angry Birds, the cute iPhone app from Helsinki’s Rovio, sold nearly 7 million paid downloads on the App Store, spreading from Finland, then across Europe, to the U.S. It has held the No. 1 spot in the App Store longer than any other title — mostly because of word of mouth.

Rovio designed memorable characters that it can use across platforms and media — spreading to plush toys and possibly a cartoon movie. The product was designed to go across many platforms — Nokia trumpeted its availability in its Ovi app store — and can be easily updated with new levels to keep users coming back to the content.

But not all growth happens organically. Social-game firm Zynga reportedly uses a lot of its profits from virtual-goods sales to advertise its new games. Other developers aren’t rich enough to do that, so they have to figure out ways to give their apps a little push to get them across the tipping point so momentum can build.

The clever tricks and tips that we’ve heard about so far in our coverage of the app and game industries are myriad. They show that a little creativity goes a long way toward getting an audience for an app. Here are some of the tips and tricks that we’ve come across over time. I’ve put them in alphabetical order by the name of their provider.

Apple Game Center This new feature of the latest version of the iPhone operating system, iOS, is like Xbox Live on the iPhone. It lets you socialize with other gamers, sharing games with them, competing in multiplayer play or posting your achievements and leaderboards for all to see. It helps you discover new games through friend referrals.

Applifier This app was born via a rebel alliance that felt big social game companies such as Zynga were becoming too dominant on Facebook. Zynga promotes its own games using a cross-promotion bar at the top of its games. Applifier duplicates this kind of cross-promotion bar, but across a bunch of third-party app developers who have joined Applifier. It has driven tens of millions of downloads.

AppLaunchPR How can you get noticed? Do some PR for your app, spreading it to review sites and pitching a story to big media. A good story is like free advertising.

Appolicious For both the iPhone and Android, Appolicious is a social networking service that makes recommendations based on apps that you own, finds and shares the best apps with your friends, and lets you become a top member by doing the best app reviews and lists of cool apps.

Appsfire This company has a full discovery platform composed of a site, an iPhone and iPad app, and a distributed infrastructure enabling users to search, share, monitor and find apps in a personal way. It generated over 4 million clicks on the App Store since launch and got to No. 2 ranking in the U.S. App Store.

AppStoreHQ This social network for app users lets you immediately see the most talked-about iPhone or Android apps on leading iPhone blogs. You can see app reviews, browse through all apps, and keep track of the latest via email.

Aurora Feint With its OpenFeint social game platform, Aurora Feint socialized the iPhone, building a community of gamers who can share games with friends. Developers who adopt OpenFeint can easily deploy leaderboards, cross promotions, achievements, friend invitations, and multiplayer games. Now it works for Android too.

BackFlip Studios This Boulder, Colo.-based developer got started in April, 2009, making iPhone games. The company’s first title, Ragdoll Blaster, was a hit. But their second app, the free Paper Toss game, was downloaded millions of times and hit No. 1 on the App Store. Using AdMob, the company put ads for its paid games into the popular free app. That generated more downloads of BackFlip’s paid games. Those ads also generated more revenue from other developers, who bought ads that paid only when their apps were installed. Ad revenue became half of BackFlip’s revenue and it now has seen more than 45 million downloads of its iPhone games.

Bolt Creative The two-man company that brought us Pocket God has seen more than 3 million paid downloads of its game, which debuted in January, 2009. The game was a viral hit, with users telling their friends to download it, partly because of its sick humor where you could feed native islanders to sharks. Bolt Creative kept it going by updating the game as often as it could; with each upgrade, Bolt changed the icon on the iPhone for the game, indicating to the user that there was an upgrade to download. The company’s fans have uploaded their favorite scenes to YouTube, and Bolt has encouraged fans to create a community around the game.

Chomp Go to Chomp’s website and type in what you’re looking for. If you type “war strategy games,” Chomp will search through the App Store and come back with a couple of apps that fit the bill. It’s a search engine on top of the App Store and it works fast.

DisneyTapulous Stick a known brand on it. Tapulous created its Tap Tap Revenge music rhythm game and sold tens of millions of units. It created specific versions for artists such as Dave Matthews or Lady Gaga. Fans of those specific celebrities paid to download the app and play rhythm games that were essentially like Guitar Hero on the iPhone. That’s why Disney bought Tapulous.

Facebook It may have killed off free viral marketing in social apps by stopping developers from spamming users with frivolous messages. But it is slowly opening new channels, such as its Game Dashboard, to highlight undiscovered apps.

Flurry Perfecting discovery starts with understanding users through analytics. Flurry’s analytics software is used by thousands of developers whose apps are being used by tens of millions of users. So Flurry knows what’s on the users’ phones. It has added AppCircle  as a recommendation engine, analyzing the user’s taste in apps and then recommending apps that it thinks the user will like.

GameStop This chain is an old-fashioned retailer with more than 6,000 stores. But it showed it understood how to drive traffic after it bought Kongregate, a site with indie games. Now GameStop is rolling out kiosks with access to online rewards accounts and free online games. It uses the foot traffic of 500 million people a year coming through its stores to drive the discovery of new content online.

GetJar Running the second-largest app store behind Apple has its benefits. The company makes money as game publishers pay extra to have their games highlighted on its site. So GetJar recently started an experiment where it will give away millions of copies of high-end mobile games from Glu Mobile. The promotion will last a couple of weeks and it is aimed at hooking more users on mobile games, leading to future purchases.

Google Search works great for websites. But will the giant come up with a way to search through apps on a variety of closed platforms? Perhaps that is what Google’s own social network will be for.

Heyzap If discovery is a huge problem, Heyzap can knock down some of the barriers by allowing web sites to embed games in their own sites through Heyzap’s widgets. They can also promote games with Heyzap’s social bar and other sharing features.

Hi5 This social network has just 50 million users. But it has figured out a way to challenge Facebook with its SocioPath social game platform. With it, Hi5 allows developers to adapt Facebook games to any platform. Then it allows gamers to share any game with their friends. Through a “contact importer,” Hi5 will let the gamer share that game with any friend, regardless of the platform they are using. Alex St. John, president of Hi5, says the aim is to liberate developers from Facebook.

iSwifter This initiative at the YouWeb incubator run by serial entrepreneur Peter Relan allows Flash games to run on the iPhone through its app. iSwifter will put a limited number of Flash games that are suitable for touch gaming into its app.

Magic Solver This company has created a Daily Magic Cube app that shows you its favorite app of the day. You unwrap the mystery app as if you were untying a present. You can also use the cube to find new music or the best YouTube video of the day. It simplifies the process of discovery by creating an app that does the filtering for you.

Microsoft Xbox Live has been a great service for letting gamers discovery online games and other content on the Xbox 360. Now Microsoft is taking that to the cell phone with an Xbox Live hub on upcoming Windows Phone 7 devices. Those phones have hubs where Xbox Live users can access their account data. And while there are lots of web games accessible via browser, Microsoft can draw attention to the 60 or so launch games that are only on Xbox Live. Essentially, the Xbox Live hub on the Windows Phone 7 is a kind of curation service to weed out what gamers don’t want.

Newtoy This McKinney, Texas-based company hit it big with Words With Friends, a Scrabble-like game on the iPhone. The game has sold millions of copies. To juice sales, the company created a free version for “Talk Like a Pirate Day” on September 19. The Words With Pirates game took off and captured a lot of press. That drove a lot of sales of the paid game.

Oberon Media The Blaze platform from Oberon allows game publishers to spread their social games outside of social networks, and leverage social to spread mobile and download games.

Oneforty This company makes a platform that sits on top of Twitter and makes it more useful. The site lists and categorizes apps that use Twitter, from business apps to location apps. Users can review the apps and vote them up or down. You can see who is using a Twitter app, see screen shots of it, and read the reviews.

PapayaMobile To get users to pay attention to Android games, PapayaMobile has launched Android App of the Day. The app is available for free or 99 cents for just a day. That should drive a search in interest for the app. Once it spreads, friends will want to pick it up and play. But by that time, they may have to pay full price.

Playmesh Charles Ju’s team of game developers has made more than 50 games on the iPhone. Titles such as iFarm have been big hits. But launching every new game can still be dicey. So Ju’s team pays $2,000 or so to have the game featured on FreeAppADay. Getting featured on that site leads to thousands of downloads in one day. That’s enough to get onto the App Store’s list of fastest-growing new apps. From there, the natural fun of the app is enough to keep it gaining momentum.

Qualcomm — With Vive, Qualcomm launched a free friends-based social recommendation service. You can use it to share apps with friends, regardless of what mobile device any given person is using. The effort headed by Kabir Kasargod lets you describe your mobile device. Then you can browse through friends’ apps. If you find an app you like, a link appears asking if you want to get it. The link will take you to the correct app store that has the app available for your phone.

RockYou With Deal of the Day, RockYou has found a way to monetize Facebook games beyond the normal amount. Lots of users pay free-to-play games on Facebook, but once they are asked to pay for something, most of them drop off. Deal of the Day is a special offer that lets a user accept an offer in lieu of paying for a virtual good in a game. Sometimes the user has to watch a video ad. Then they get the virtual good and can continue playing. RockYou has now expanded the deal to allow third-party developers to use it.

Scoreloop The Android Market for apps isn’t working so well. So Scoreloop is helping out phone companies by offering a white-label service that allows the carriers to build their own social hub on a phone, sort of like having a secondary market for apps that actually works. App developers create Scoreloop-based apps that can be cross-promoted on the hub. Taiwan’s Chungwha mobile carrier has signed up to use Scoreloop to create a social hub on its phones.

Siri Artificial intelligence can play a role in discovery. Research think tank SRI developed AI technology that could serve as a virtual assistant for humans. It spun the division off as Siri, which launched a free iPhone app in February. The voice-recognition app allows you to ask for something, such as a restaurant reservation, and Siri finds the place for you and makes the reservation. Much like a good location-based service, Siri can help you discover things you didn’t know were there.

Smule Chief Technology Officer Ge Wang (pictured right) said his company starts with a device, the iPhone, and figures out how to design something unique for it. The team designed Ocarina, where you blow into the iPhone’s microphone and tap on its touch screen to make the sounds of the ancient flute-like wind instrument. It was a unique app when it debuted and Smule marketed it by creating YouTube videos of people playing it. Those videos spread by the millions, allowing users to discover magical apps.

StumbleUpon This social network is aimed at discovery and it has launched a mobile app that will let users randomly find and rate new sites while they’re on the go. Users can use the app to discover fun stuff and then vote it up or down.

Tapjoy Started as an ad-network aggregator, Tapjoy lets you spread your mobile app across a number of platforms that reach more than 100 million users. It combines monetization, virtual goods platforms, ads, and offers to let developers make money and get broad distribution.

Ubisoft The French video game giant entered the Facebook game market last year with Tick Tock. The game got lost among thousands of apps and failed. Now it is trying a new tactic. It is launching companion games on both Facebook and the iPhone  that riff on the company’s most famous brands. In the Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood game on the console, you can earn points that you can use in the Assassin’s Creed Project Legacy game on Facebook. You can unlock items in one game and spend them on virtual goods in the second game and visa versa.

WildTangent Through its BrandBoost ad platform, the company lets players opt to view an ad instead of paying for a game with a credit card. It thus broadens the audience that could discover a game.

This list is just a start. I’d like to add more examples, so please point them out in comments.

Source & Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2010/10/07/discovery-directory-app-discovery-tricks/#DTUWS0SLYYpytgcK.99

Apple Genius Bar Secrets Revealed: This Is Apple’s Secret Employee Training Manual

Taken From Gizmodo

How To Be a Genius: This Is Apple’s Secret Employee Training Manual

We recently showed you just how badly some of Apple’s retail elite behave when no one’s watching, but surely they were taught better, right? You bet they were: Apple tells its new recruits exactly what what to think and say. How do we know? We read Apple’s secret Genius Training Manual from cover to cover.

It’s a penetrating look inside Apple: psychological mastery, banned words, roleplaying—you’ve never seen anything like it.

The Genius Training Student Workbook we received is the company’s most up to date, we’re told, and runs a bizarre gamut of Apple Dos and Don’ts, down to specific words you’re not allowed to use, and lessons on how to identify and capitalize on human emotions. The manual could easily serve as the Humanity 101 textbook for a robot university, but at Apple, it’s an exhaustive manual to understanding customers and making them happy. Sales, it turns out, take a backseat to good vibes—almost the entire volume is dedicated to empathizing, consoling, cheering up, and correcting various Genius Bar confrontations. The assumption, it’d seem, is that a happy customer is a customer who will buy things. And no matter how much the Apple Store comes off as some kind of smiling likeminded computer commune, it’s still a store above all—just one that puts an enormous amount of effort behind getting inside your head.

Bootcamp for Geniuses

How To Be a Genius: This Is Apple's Secret Employee Training Manual

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Before you can don the blue shirt and go to work with the job title of “Genius” every business day of your life, you have to complete a rigorously regimented, intricately scheduled training program. Over 14 days you and will pass through programs like “Using Diagnostic Services,” “Component Isolation,” and “The Power of Empathy.” If one of those things doesn’t sound like the other, you’re right—and welcome to the very core of Apple Genius training: a swirling alloy of technical skills and sentiments straight from a self-help seminar.

The point of this bootcamp is to fill you up with Genius Actions and Characteristics, listed conveniently on a “What” and “How” list on page seven of the manual. What does a Genius do? Educates. How? “Gracefully.” He also “Takes Ownership” “Empathetically,” “Recommends” “Persuasively,” and “Gets to ‘Yes'” “Respectfully.” The basic idea here, despite all the verbiage, is simple: Become strong while appearing compassionate; persuade while seeming passive, and empathize your way to a sale.

No need to mince words: This is psychological training. There’s no doubt the typical trip to the Apple store is on another echelon compared to big box retail torture; Apple’s staff is bar none the most helpful and knowledgable of any large retail operation. A fundamental part of their job—sans sales quotas of any kind—is simply to make you happy. But you’re not at a spa. You’re at a store, where things are bought and sold. Your happiness is just a means to the cash register, and the manual reminds trainees of that: “Everyone in the Apple Store is in the business of selling.” Period.

The Good Fight

How To Be a Genius: This Is Apple's Secret Employee Training Manual

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Although the indoctrination is usually skin deep, Apple gives new Geniuses a giant gulp of the Kool-Aid right off the bat. Page 39 gives a rundown of Selling Gadget Joy, by way of the “Genius Skills, Behaviors, and Values Checklist.” Selling is a science, summed up with five cute letters: (A)pproach, (P)robe, (P)resent, (L)isten, (E)nd. In other words: Go up to someone and get them to open up to you about their computing desires, insecurities, and needs; offer them choices (of things to buy); hear them out; then seal the day in a way that makes it feel like the customer has come to this decision on their own. The manual condemns pushiness—that’s a good thing—but it also preaches a form of salesmanship that’s slightly creepy: every Apple customer should feel empowered, when it’s really the Genius pulling strings.

In Apple-ese, this is put forth in a series of maxims: “We guide every interaction,” “We strive to inspire,” “We enrich their lives,” “We take personal initiative to make it right,” which if swallowed, would make any rookie feel like they’d just signed up with a NATO peacekeeping force, not a store in the mall.

Empathy

How To Be a Genius: This Is Apple's Secret Employee Training Manual

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The term “empathy” is repeated ad nauseum in the Genius manual. It is the salesman sine qua non at the Apple Store, encouraging Geniuses to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes,” assuming that mile ends at a credit card swipe machine. It is not, the book insists in bold type, “Sympathy, which is the ability to feel sorry for someone.” Geniuses are directly told not to apologize in a manner anyone would call direct. If someone walks in sobbing because their hard drive is fried, you’ll receive no immediate consolation. “Do not apologize for the business [or] the technology,” the manual commands. Instead, express regret that the person is expressing emotions. A little mind roundabout: “I’m sorry you’re feeling frustrated,” or “too bad about your soda-spill accident,” the book suggests. This is, of course, the equivalent of telling your girlfriend “I’m sorry you feel that way” during a fight instead of just apologizing for what you did.

The alternative to admitting that it simply sucks when an Apple TV is bricked or phone shatters, Geniuses are taught to employ the “Three Fs: Feel, Felt, and Found. This works especially well when the customer is mistaken or has bad information.”

For example:

Customer: This Mac is just too expensive.
Genius: I can see how you’d feel this way. I felt the price was a little high, but I foundit’s a real value because of all the built-in software and capabilities.

(Emphasis added)

The maneuver is brilliant. The Genius has switched places with the customer. He is she and she is he, and maybe that laptop isn’t too expensive after all. He Found it wasn’t, at least.

The manual then, on the next page, presents 20 roleplaying scenarios for each trainee and a partner to work out using the Three Fs. Fun.

Human Beings 101

How To Be a Genius: This Is Apple's Secret Employee Training Manual

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Page 45 of the manual might’ve been good cargo to send with a deep space probe, as it’d help anyone unfamiliar with our species understand “Emotion Portrayed through Nonverbal Gestures.” Neatly broken into a “Positive” and “Negative” column and then again by categories, someone without any social calibration can easily learn that “blank stare” is a sign of “boredom,” and “smiling” indicates “openness.” Using your “chair back as a shield” is apparently a sign of “defensiveness,” as are “locked ankles and clenched fists.” Some make a little less sense: a “cluck sound” is equated with confidence, “unbuttoning coats” too means “openness,” “rubbing nose” is a giveaway for “suspicion or secretiveness.”

Tip: If you’re dealing with a new recruit at the Apple Store, don’t put your “hand on hips” or give a “sideways glance,” as you’ll come off as both “aggressive” and “suspicious.”

Things You’re Not Allowed to Say

How To Be a Genius: This Is Apple's Secret Employee Training Manual

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Negativity is the mortal sin of the Genius. Disagreement is prohibited, as are a litany of normal human tendencies outlined on page 80, which contradict the virtue of empathy: consoling, commiserating, sympathizing, and taking blame are all verboten. Correcting a mistaken or confused customer should be accomplished using the phrase “turns out,” which Apple says “takes you out of the middle of an issue,” and also makes the truth seem like something that just arrived serendipitously. For example, on page 82:

Customer: The OS isn’t supported.
Genius: You’d think not, wouldn’t you. Turns out it is supported in this version.

This is really just an advanced, Apple judo version of the customer is always right. But then there’s the list of words that just straight up aren’t allowed, on page 30. The manual explains that “AppleCare’s legal counsel has defined [these] terms that should be avoided when discussing product issues with customers.”

Did your computer crash? No, it “stops responding.” Never say crash.
What if some Apple software has a bug? Wrong: there’s an “issue,” “condition,” or simply “situation.”
You don’t “eliminate” a problem—you “reduce” it.
No Apple products are hot—at most they’re “warm.”

Switching “disaster” out for “error” might make sense to calm down a panicky client, but most of this is a straight up whitewash, the sterilization of language that could very well be accurate for a given problem. Sometimes there are bugs, laptops do run hot, and laptops crash.

“Fearless Feedback”

How To Be a Genius: This Is Apple's Secret Employee Training Manual

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Fearless Feedback is Apple’s term for institutionalized passive aggression. On page 58, it’s described as an “open dialogue every day,” with “positive intent.” It’s most certainly not “telling someone they are wrong.” Except that it is—just prevented in a quintessentially Genius mode of masterful empathy and supercharged positivity aura.

On page 60, the following dialogue is presented as a realistic sample conversation between two Apple employees:

“Hi, fellow Genius. I overheard your conversation with your customer during the last interaction and I have some feedback if you have a moment. Is this a good time?”
“Yes, this is a good time.”
“You did a great job resolving the customer’s iPhone issue. I was concerned with how quickly you spoke to the customer. It seemed like you were rushing through the interaction, and the customer had additional questions.”

A few minutes later:

“Thanks for listening to the feedback. In the future, please make sure to signal me if you need help rather than work too quickly with a customer.
“Thanks for giving it!”

I asked several former Geniuses if this kind of robot-speak was ever used after it was required during training roleplaying.

“Never.”
“Only during core training, never on the floor.”
“Fearless Feedback was really hated around the place. If someone had Fearless Feedback, we’d listen, but then afterwards I’d have this uncontrollable urge to punch them in the face. We all found it much more effective to get Fearless Feedback from the managers, which was more like feared feedback.”
“Sounds perfectly normal, until you watch the videos and think ‘who the fuck talks like that?!'”

No one. And yet on page 61, Apple insists this kind of inhuman speech “is essential to maintain Apple Retail culture,” as well as your personal development.” But this isn’t a realistic way to expect anyone to personally develop. As much as Apple operates like a glistening hermetic mainframe, its underpaid floor workers will never function like the pearly gadgets they sell. It’s hard to expect them to, nor should we, perhaps, be surprised when these expectations of superhuman behavior are replaced instead by misbehavior.

But behaving, misbehaving, or anything between, it doesn’t matter. The Genius system, as detached from reality, astoundingly ambitious, sprawling, and rigorous as it is, works. It works better than anything that’s ever come before it, and every Apple Store has the sales figures to back that up. Maybe it’s because the products sell themselves. Maybe it’s the zealot fan base. Or maybe the blue-clad agents really are inside our heads when we walk away from the Bar.

The Most Popular Android Phones by Country in Asia

Animoca’s games are played by tens of millions of Android gamers. So the company has a good feel for which phones are the most popular in different areas around the world.

Check out the infographic to see what’s popular in various places in Asia. The data are based on usage in July.

The graphic is based on usage data on the Animoca Android network (which is described here)

It shows that Samsung (especially Galaxy SII) dominates every key smartphone market in the region except for Japan, where Sony holds the top spot. India is the only nation where low-end phones are popular.

The largest battlefield is China, where the race is extremely close between the Samsung Galaxy SII and the Samsung Galaxy Note.

Source: Venturebeat & Animoca

Difference in market share between number 1 and 5 phones

South Korea 25.87%
Hong Kong 20.9%
Singapore 18.7%
Taiwan 13.4%
Japan 11.4%
India 10.1%
China 4.2%

Animoca Android Phone Market Share Infographic – Click to enlarge

 

How Much Are We Buried by Communication Options These Days?

WhitePages has put together an interesting infographic breaking down just how much we’re buried by communication options these days.

WhitePages Infographic

WhitePages Infographic

Doing Business Better through Enterprise Mobility

Source: The Social Workplace – ELIZABETH LUPFER

Follow me @Elearningguru

Over 5.3 billion people or 77% of the world’s population are now on mobile. This growth has led to an explosion of various devices and networks connecting each other, and creating a borderless world. Consumers and enterprises views on how a mobile device can change their lives or enable them to do business better is rapidly evolving, even as vendors and service providers continuously innovate to fuel this mobile culture. The consequence of this end-user demand has been consumerization of IT.

With the blurring of lines between the professional and personal, CIOs must rethink their mobility strategy. This could be through creating programs to support corporate applications, equipping your employees with smartphones and tablets or putting in place processes to drive customer engagement, supply chain operations and collaboration with partners/suppliers.

Enterprise Mobility is the use of mobile technologies to enable anytime anywhere information access to employees, customers and suppliers to bring about improvements in revenue and operational performances, employee productivity, and customer satisfaction.

In fact, enterprise mobility can have the following positive outcomes:

  • 75% WORKER PRODUCTIVITY
  • 65% EMPLOYEE RESPONSIVENESS AND DECISION MAKING SPEED
  • 48% CUSTOMER ISSUE RESOLUTION
  • 42% CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

As the IT landscape evolves, companies that embrace the social and technological challenges originating from that enterprise mobility will be better equipped to lead the growth and future of the organization. For more information, check out this infographic from Wipro Mobility Solutions:

Enterprise Mobility - Elearningguru

Enterprise Mobility Infographic

Deloitte Avrupa E-Perakende Raporu 1

Türkiye’nin önde gelen 25 online perakendecisinin %60’ı sadece e-perakende kanalını kullanıyor

Kaynak & Makale: Deloitte Türkiye

Deloitte tarafından yayınlanan e-perakende raporu, Türkiye’nin de dâhil olduğu Avrupa ülkelerinin durumunu ortaya koydu.

23 Mayıs 2012, İstanbul– Deloitte’un, Avrupa’daki online perakende oyuncularının durumunu özetlediği ve online iş modelini büyütmeyi hedefleyen perakendecilerin yeni eğilimlerini ortaya koyduğu “Avrupa E-perakende Endeksi” yayınlandı.

E-perakendede endüstri liderlerinin müşterileri ile ilişki kurmaya, alışveriş ve müşteri sipariş deneyimini geliştirmeye yönelik önemli adımlar attığı söylenen raporda, Avrupa e-perakende pazarının toplam satışlar bazında Amerika’nın e-perakende pazar büyüklüğünü aştığı ortaya çıkmıştır.

Raporda ayrıca hem sadece e-perakende satış kanalı kullanan (pure-play) perakendeciler hem de geleneksel perakendecilerin büyümeyi destekleyecek yeni satış kanalları arayışı içerisinde mobil ticaret ve mağaza içi teknolojilere yöneldiği belirtilmiştir.

Deloitte Türkiye Tüketim Endüstri Lideri ve Ortak Özgür Yalta “Sektörler ve ülkeler arasında göze çarpan farklılıklar, hem küçük ölçekli hem de büyük ölçekli perakendeciler için fırsatlar bulunduğunu gösterdi. Müşterilerin gün geçtikçe artan daha gelişmiş ve çok yönlü online yetkinlik beklentileri sebebi ile perakendecilerin e-perakende çabalarını arttırarak uluslararası ve rekabetçi bu pazarda başarılı bir şekilde faaliyetlerini sürdürmeleri gerekiyor.” dedi.

Avrupa farklılıkları barındırıyor

Çok parçalı bir yapıya sahip olan Avrupa e-perakende pazarı ülkeden ülkeye ve sektörden sektöre büyük farklılıklar gösteriyor. İngiltere ve Kuzey Avrupa’nın (Almanya, Hollanda ve İsveç) en yüksek online müşteri oranına sahip olmaları sebebi ile olgunluk seviyeleri daha yüksek durumda. Olgunluk bakımından Fransa ise İngiltere ve Kuzey Avrupa’nın ardından geliyor. Akdeniz ülkelerinde (İtalya, İspanya ve Türkiye) online alışveriş eğilimi, İngiltere, Kuzey Avrupa ve Fransa’ya göre daha düşük seviyede. Ancak müşteri odaklı e-perakende yetkinlikleri incelendiğinde Güney Avrupa’nın Kuzey Avrupa’dan daha üstün olduğu gözlemleniyor. Örneğin;

• Türkiye: Sadece e-perakende satış kanalı kullanan (pure-play) oyuncuların egemen olduğu pazarda, sevkiyat seçenekleri ve bütünleşik sipariş takibi yapısı gelişmiş olduğundan müşteri siparişlerini karşılama yetkinliği yüksek düzeyde.
• Fransa: Büyük tüketici elektroniği perakendecileri sayesinde ürün bulma konusunda en olgun pazar.
• İtalya: Büyük moda markalarıyla diğer Avrupa ülkelerine göre dünya çapında ürün teslimatı gerçekleştirmede lider.
• İngiltere: Dijital dergilerden sipariş ve mobil ticaret gibi yaratıcı özelliklere sahip olması nedeniyle en gelişmiş pazar.

Yabancı sermaye Türkiye’de e-perakendenin gelişmesini sağlıyor

Türkiye’nin önde gelen ilk 25 online perakendecisinin %60’ı sadece e-perakende satış kanalını kullanırken, %40’ı geleneksel perakende kanallarını kullanmaya devam ediyor. İkinci sırada gelen Hollanda pazarında ise en büyük ilk 25 online perakendecinin yarısı faaliyetlerine ilk olarak e-perakende satış kanalında başladığı görülüyor.

Avrupa pazarları incelendiğinde, Türkiye, Hollanda ve İsveç pazarlarında yer alan e-perakende satış kanalı kullanan oyuncuların, ürün arama, ödeme seçenekleri, müşteri odaklı tavsiyeler, sosyal medya entegrasyonu ve mobil ticaret konularında geleneksel perakendecilere göre daha gelişmiş olduğu gözlemleniyor.

Özellikle Türkiye’de bulunan Gittigidiyor.com, Markafoni.com, Trendyol.com gibi e-perakende satış kanalı kullanan oyuncular hızlı büyüyerek eBay, Amazon.com ve Tiger Global firmalarından yatırım sermayesi desteği aldıkları, yabancı sermaye desteğinin Türkiye e-perakende pazarının hızlı gelişiminde önemli rol oynadığı görülüyor.

Aşağıdaki infografikte Deloitte tarafından 8 ülkede yapılan araştırmanın özet sonuçlarından birini bulabilirsiniz:

Deloitte Avrupa E-Perakende Endeksi İnfografiği

Deloitte Avrupa E-Perakende Endeksi İnfografiği

Top Fastest Growing Countries In Terms Of Revenue In The Apple App Store for iPhone

Based on revenue of top 200 highest grossing apps, top 30 countries are analyzed, May 2011 – May 2012

Rank Country Year-on-year growth
1 Japan 560%
2 Russia 115%
3 China 109%
4 Taiwan 101%
5 Thailand 84%
6 Brazil 83%
7 Mexico 63%
8 Korea 59%
9 Turkey 54%
10 Canada 47%

Number Of Downloaded Paid Apps For Every 100 Downloaded Free Apps

Brazil 5,4
Mexico 5,9
Russia 5
Turkey 2,2
US 7,5

Top Categories Per Country In The Apple App Store For iPhone, May 2012

Revenue generated by the top 100 highest grossing apps per category as a proportion of the sum of the revenue generated by the top 100 highest grossing apps per category:

Emerging Market Apps Turkey

Top Categories Per Country In The Apple App Store For iPhone

Source: Distimo – Emerging App Markets: Russia, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey Report

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