Since times the immemorial price has been a key, if not the only brand differentiator in this beautiful sub-continent of India. With the rise of e-commerce, this has become even more evident if it wasn’t already. A shift in shopping trends towards buying online at lesser prices is a trend that has picked up by the Indians. Cash burn rates of players like Snapdeal, Jabong, Paytm and Flipkart have floored prices for products to levels that were previously unheard of.
But when the competition is between Big players with deep pockets, Price and even the Product sold is no longer a differentiator. The product you see on Flipkart will be the same as the one available on Snapdeal and Amazon at approximately similar prices.
With heavy discounts leading to faster cash burns, e-commerce giants are shifting to “Plan B” which stresses focus on the customer experience in using their service. You may have noticed the multiple advertisements by Flipkart and Amazon, reassuring their customers of Guaranteed returns, Original products, Seamless service. It is an awakening of sorts where these giants take a step back and realize that they could fight this out in one of the two ways, either get in to a price war with cash burn rates that are unfeasible, or enhance customer experience and try to create a certain brand loyalty which has been lacking in this industry.
Morgan Stanley’s new valuation of Flipkart is an eye-opener for these players that their “Plan A” is not a sustainable form of operations and a shift to a more customer experience-oriented approach as opposed to a price-oriented approach is the need of the hour and key to sustainability and success.
This inevitability has led to a shifting trend in brand differentiators in the eCommerce platform from price to customer experience. In an industry that was originally meant to ease the life of its customers and allow them to shop from the comfort of their homes, the prodigal sons seem to be finding their way back to this very core principle.
A brand is quite simply defined as Trust. Trust is built based on the experience received. The experience received will result in a certain Brand Loyalty. And finally, this Brand Loyalty will inturn strengthen the brand. This is a simple cycle that needs to be at the forefront of your operational strategy!
Most Project Managers in the gaming industry vex about the projects schedule and its management. Game Producers, on the other hand, have a key responsibility that transcends that of the Project Manager and that is to communicate & champion the vision of the game to the team, clients & outside stakeholders. The role of Game Producers may vary from company to company, from the role of note takers in some to Project Managers in others. What I personally believe is that the main role of Game Producers is to bring the best out of creative people as well as manage delivery by making vision oriented project plans, among other responsibilities. The Game Producer needs to know how to harness the creativity brewing inside his team members while also ensuring compliance with the project plan. If there ever was a mantra to ace the role of a Game producer, I believe the following list would form its foundation.
Communication: Communication is the basic need of any team/ organization. The process of communication is declared complete once the message has been received and understood by the recipient. Thus as a Game Producer, one must ensure that the message is simply understood by the recipient and clear doubts in case of a confusion or distortion. As a Game Manager one needs to drive home the vision of the project, no matter how many repetitions it takes.
Own- The Concept, Plan & Project Vision: Game Producer is the one team depends on for a structured plan of action. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Thus, as a Game Producer, one should always plan each and every detail and this plan must be known and communicated by the producer to his team.
Track & Verify: This can be quite simply summarized with the acronym ABCD- Always Be Collecting Data. Compare the actual progress to the planned progress to better manage expectations.
Know your Pipelines: The roadmap of the project and the workflow pipelines must be at back of the mind of a Producer.
Set the Rules: A team works best when they are clear about the vision. As a Game Producer, you must manage Daily Standups, inform the team about their Daily Tasks, review their progress on a day to day basis and have everyone update their task list daily before standups.
Commit, then Deliver: The Game Producer’s role is to commit to the organization about the delivery of the Project, then work with the team to deliver on those commitments.
Carry the Vision: As a Game Producer one must be completely aware about the vision of the product and should protect and promote that vision during the entire course of the production cycle.
Be a Lifelong Learner: This may sound a bit philosophical and vague but it is really important to understand the power of knowledge. Staying up to date with field related news is the crux of any successful career. Reading books, news, taking similar role interviews, taking inputs from team are few ways you can stay ahead of the game.
Be a servant to the team: For a Game Producer, his/her team is the most important thing. As their leader, the Game Producer must fulfill the needs of his/her team. A noble leader answers not to the trumpet calls of self promotion, but to the hushed whispers of necessity.
Listen: Sometimes the best suggestions come from the unlikeliest of sources. A Game Producer must understand this and value and review every opinion with equal fervor.
“Setting goals takes desire, but completing them takes determination.” Determination and motivation manifest as desire and interest, and as a driving force that pushes you to take actions and pursue your goals. It often happens that you have the desire and interest, but you lack the determination. This is that frustrating situation you can surpass with inner strength and determination.
I had formed a habit of waking up early in the morning and go for a walk & exercise daily. Time flew by with me trying to settle into my new rhythm. It was this one day I decided to take a break from my routine thinking to get back the next day but as they say,” laziness leads many people astray”, I just didn’t miss out on one day but many. I realized how this laziness had pressurized me not to wake up early and follow my routine.
Determination is the most important of all if you want to achieve any goal in our life. Bad possessions will always reside resisting you not to move towards our goal. These barriers can only be cracked down if you are self-disciplined and determined to accomplish your goal. Also, you must have a coalescence of three qualities, i.e. Patience, pursuance and perseverance.
Patience: It is that power or endurance christened by many which enable you to face challenging circumstances, irritation, agitated state of mind and misfortune. Many believe that patience is all about waiting. It’s not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.
Pursuance: It is that quality which teaches you to keep trying and experimenting to reach your ambition. No one in this world is perfect and would be. Mistakes are the proof that we are trying. We are never called a failure until we quit trying. It is the pressure of showing results which is not in our favour at times, that’s when the frustration creeps in and resulting in giving up. You should just keep trying in the right direction with the right positive attitude and hope for the result.
Perseverance: It is a continuous trying process until you don’t end up with the desired output. Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. Everyone should be stubborn for a purpose in life, this purpose can be your goal, ambition or anything. Perseverance is that stubbornness which guides you to never lose hope.
Rarely we find a combination of all the above three qualities. It is difficult to grow and excel but not IMPOSSIBLE and if this is inculcated with the right push then all the aims of life become easier. Failure will never overtake you if your DETERMINATION to succeed is strong enough. Never lose hope, believe in yourself, “the tallest oak in the forest was once just a little nut held its ground.”
“The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it”~ Harry Emerson.
Technology is moving so swiftly that it is very difficult to keep up the pace with it. One can never say he is fully updated with all the technologies. What is new today is continuously being challenged from the very next day. We live in an age where everything you can do to make your product or service better counts. The race to keep abreast with these rapid technologies leaps is now very much the heart of the game. ‘Wait and see’ is simply unaffordable and untenable. This blog throw some light on one of such incredible device called ‘ibeacons’.
What is a Beacon?
A beacon is a small device about 3cm×5cm×2cm. It constantly sends out radio signals to nearby smartphones and tablets containing a small amount of data. The signal strength and time between each signal can be configured to give a desired coverage. Mobile applications can listen for these signals being broadcast and when they hear a relevant signal, can trigger an action on your phone. Beacons work using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) which is a version of more common Bluetooth protocol, designed to use very little power and send less data – typically 1-20% of standard Bluetooth power at 15-50% of the speed. The beacons themselves are typically stuck to walls/ceilings or hidden in another objects since you can detect a beacon up to 70m away with no obstructions (depending on the power level).
Where can we buy these Beacons from?
Currently there are plenty of beacon manufacturers out there, all offering different range of features, flexibility, reliability and battery life. The two of the more popular manufacturers are Estimote and Kontakt. They offer a good SDK (software package which allows you to configure and play around with the beacon, while also offering pretty decent battery life. There are a variety of types of beacons available like super small beacon, super long life beacons or waterproof/sturdy beacons.
Where can we use these Beacons?
This is where beacons get really interesting as you can do so many things with them, and the list keeps getting longer as people imagine new uses. Currently some of the working uses include:
Location based advertisements or messages
Positioning and navigation indoors
Tracking of people or possessions
Security and automatic locking/unlocking of a computer
Trigger requests for things like payments (note payments cannot be contained in BLE itself as it isn’t encrypted)
Where are Beacons used today?
Hamad International Airport (HIA), in Doha, Qatar, launched its new iBeacon enhanced mobile app which helps passengers find their way around the airport and deliver contextual information. You can scan your boarding pass and get real-time info on the flight status, baggage claim and directions to the gate. You can also get great deals from their award-winning shopping emporium. They have a global search feature that matches and delivers relevant content and information quickly to help instead of a traditional app menu. They have over 700 Bluetooth iBeacons. It is just on iOS but they are looking to launch on Android plus integrate with the Wi-Fi system soon.
Macy’s is rolling out beacons across their stores in the US, for in-store marketing and loyalty.
Major League Baseball are using beacons in their ballparks to offer fans the ability to check in, and get additional content on their phones.
San Francisco Airport is using beacons to help blind people to navigate.
The Swan Centre in the UK became the first shopping mall to use beacons, which allowed them to organise some in-store campaigns for its visitors.
New Museum in NYC use beacons to give visitors a realistic minefield experience on their phones, where beacons become ‘virtual mines’.
BeHere app allows students to register attendance automatically with their phones in their pockets.
How TechTreeIT has used Beacon Technology?
TechTree IT partnered with Beacon Brenzy mobile apps Private Limited and launched our product Brenzy in September 2015. It is a proximity based selling solution for retailers which helps consumers help make smarter choices and decisions by providing personalised and relevant information at the right place and at the right time. Data analytics for businesses like ‘what their customers are buying, where are they frequenting, their brand preferences, etc.’ are also provided.
How does the Brenzy App work?
Beacon is placed indoors to relay signals to a smartphone in its vicinity. This Beacon just emits signals, which triggers a mobile Application on the smartphone. The App then interacts with the back-end platform to serve relevant content on the phone over the air. Mobile app is triggered only once a beacon is detected. It automatically activates on detection and hence has a profound yet non-intrusive impact on user experience. Personalized advertisements and relevant content is delivered to the App to promote customer business.
Mobile app is free.
We have subscription model for each enterprise:
Each beacon: Charge per installation at the reception / Month
Content server per user
Web Module and Reports are available for all the enterprises live on subscription.
Value added services for enterprises.
White Label solution also available
What more can we see from Beacons?
As I said earlier the list keeps going on with people using their imagination and using it in various ways. Some of them are listed below.
Beacons can help keep a track of firefighters -> US Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate and TRX Systems launched a low-cost tool earlier this year called the Firefighter Accountability and Proximity system (FFAP), the system they developed uses beacons to send alerts when a firefighter is down where GPS isn’t working. It turns on automatically with the motion of the firefighter. It then sends out an alarm if it is not moving or the firefighter triggers the alarm manually. A team leader can get alerts and see the locations of the firefighters on their Android phone. For improved accuracy, beacons send signals back and forth to each other. The time it takes for the signals to be received can help calculate.
Facebook’s beacons -> these can be used to inform users about the business. Inside the Facebook app, a tooltip with red “i” will pop up with tips about a place near you, otherwise known as “Place Tips”. If the user has Bluetooth on and opens up the Facebook app near one of your Facebook beacons, it Place Tips such as liking your business on Facebook, a welcome note and photo, posts from your page, or their friend’s recommendations about your place.
Uber partners with an IBeacon app in India -> Uber’s passengers in the city of Ahmedabad will be offered deals from restaurant partners of the Indian start-up app Voolsy. Voolsy recently began offering the first iBeacon enabled app for restaurant in India. Guests can find a table, get the menu, order and pay thanks to their app and beacons. This app has been helping the very crowded restaurants in India provide their patrons better service than they could with their limited manpower. The deals will be shown from restaurants close to the destination of the passengers and offered for one week. Uber users get an extra discount with Voolsy and Voolsy users got two free rides (up to rs75).
The world’s first video beacon (Estimote Mirror) -> it’s the world’s first video-enabled beacon. Estimote Mirror can not only communicate with nearby phones and their corresponding apps, but also take content from these apps and display it on any digital screen around you.