Sugata Mitra’s TED winning Talk – The child-driven education

Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education — the best teachers and schools don’t exist where they’re needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching.

Watch the awe-inspiring video below

If you want to Help, there are 5 things you can do

  1.  Try out a Self-Organized Learning Environment (SOLE) in your home, school or community.
    Download the SOLE ToolKit here. Share your feedback here
  2. Join the School in the Cloud mentor network of educators. Email Sugata to become part of the network
  3. Make a financial contribution to this TED Prize wish.
    Email sugata@ted.com
  4. Spread the word on Twitter #TEDSOLE
  5. Help build the School in the Cloud. See the list of current needs below and email sugata@ted.com to make a commitment.

HELP BUILD A SCHOOL IN THE CLOUD

This is a list of current needs for the School in the Cloud:

Core technology assistance

  • Cloud-based software design to manage laboratory school operations and education resources.
  • Video conference capability
  • Biometric and sensory technology

Hardware

  • Computers
  • Large monitors
  • Furniture designers
  • Solar air conditioners and heaters
  • Water purification units
  • Innovative display methods (chalkboard paint, glass whiteboards, etc.)

Automated Remote Systems

  • Robotic cleaning machines
  • Remote heating, lighting and cooling systems
  • Other auto-monitoring systems

Architectural

  • Build experience in the developing world and tropics
  • Awareness of safety, power, electric and storage issues

Marketing

  • Identity branding
  • Web design
  • Training video toolkit

Email sugata@ted.com to make a commitment.

Social Commerce: Where is it heading?

Social commerce has a simple value proposition, i.e. it makes it possible to measure and manage word of mouth.

Multiple studies into this subject have thrown up some interesting findings

  •  62% of online shoppers have read product-related comments from their friends on Facebook
  • 75% of shoppers who read social sharing comments have clicked on the product link in their friends’ Facebook posts, taking them to the product page on a retailer’s website
  • 81% of consumers who purchase products they learn about through social sharing are valuable social sharers themselves, thus creating a cycle of sharing and buying.
  • 32% of visitors are more likely to stay and shop on a site that shows activities of shoppers who have purchased there.

Read Social Impact Study 2012: Social Sharing as Helpful as Google Search in Shopping

What this study shows is that social commerce is that  social media content can generate strong word of mouth which can be manoeuvred to generate sales.

The power social commerce can be understood using referral economics of word of mouth. Let us take an example of Apple Computers to understand this better

Source: Net Promoter Economics: The Impact of Word of Mouth

Facebook and social commerce

Forrester Research’s Gina Sverdlov has done an extensive study on THE FACEBOOK FACTOR – Quantifying The Impact Of A Facebook Fan On Brand Interactions.  According to her, “Using regression techniques, the study provided evidence to support the insight that your Facebook fans are more your most valuable customers.”

(customer value = purchase value + referral value)  

“Specifically, the study found that fans of a range of brands (the study focused on Coca-Cola, Blackberry, Best Buy, Walmart) are significantly more likely than non-fans to

  • Consider buying
  • Purchase (79% vs 41%)
  • Recommend (74% vs 38%)”

What is equally important to understand here is that boosting the number of fans on a Facebook page (Hilariously chronicled here: Arre Sir, We Will Get You 2250 Fans. That’s Our Headache!) isn’t the solution to exploring the commercial aspect of your page.

While dealing with Facebook fans always remember:

  1. The power of the Like button is not that it creates fans, it IDENTIFIES them.
  2. Your Facebook page is like a honey-laden flower that  ATTRACTS your most valuable customer and lets you target them.

Instead, reward your fans. Use your page to drive up engagement.

Flipkart’s newest product: Trust

Logo of Flipkart.com
Flipkart.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

India’s most famous E-commerce company Flipkart (they aren’t the biggest, that would be mjunction) has been around since 2007. Over the last 5 years, they have emerged as a clear favourite among customers owing to their almost delightful customer service.

Indiamart introduced Cash-on-delivery back in 2001 and then discontinued it in 2003. Flipkart reintroduced Cash-on-Delivery and this feature has now become one of the most crucial payment methods for Indians shopping online.

The point here is, back in 2007, Flipkart started with selling books online. Five years later it has  steadily scaled its business by foraying into categories like computers & peripherals, CDs & DVDs, games, home and kitchen appliances, mobile & accessories, personal and healthcare equipments ( I am sure there they have added more recently, the latest being baby products).

Indians can be frugal by nature, and getting deep discounts with the added benefit of free home delivery drove Indians to shop online. Along the way, Flipkart managed to delight its customers with fast deliveries.

Now in the 3rd quarter of 2012, things look different. Flipkart now wants its customers to shop for a minimum of Rs 300/- to avail of free delivery (Flipkart websiteHow much are the delivery charges? Flipkart provides free delivery on all items if your total order amount is Rs. 300/- or more. Otherwise Rs. 30/- is charged as delivery charges.)

Flipkart is also no longer the cheapest options available online. Below are some screenshots of randomly selected products from Flipkart’s top selling categories:

Books

Mobiles

Electronics

This brings us to an important junction, if people came to shop on Flipkart for price concessions and delivery convenience, why are they still here. The answer to that could very well be Flipkart’s most important product category yet, “Trust”. Flipkart has managed to build a Reputation (dependable and quick), which has created Brand value (reliable and delightful), which over time has built consumer Trust in the brand.

It is this trust in the brand that is being subliminally reinforced by their newest Advertising campaign “Don’t shop it, Flipkart it” (the complete Flipkart Advertising Campaign, August 2012)

Another perspective by Alok Kejriwal – Flipkart ads on TV – are they building the online category at their own cost?

Do share your thoughts.

Google Nexus Q, a Google device in your house!

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Google

At the ongoing I/O conference, Google’s Project glass and Nexus 7 might be the most talked about devices but there is another device that Google has created that is ready to invade our homes, the Nexus Q. The Nexus Q is part of Google’s Project Tungsten, which looks at incorporating Android into Home devices.

According to Firstpost, “The Nexus Q is a minimally designed, spheroid home entertainment hub, and also functions as a streaming hub with 25-watt amp for external speakers that can link to your Android Smartphone or tablet”.

The device provides a functionality which is something which I have long dreamt of, the ability to let multiple users connect to the same speaker and choose which music to play!

 The Nexus Q will utilize the user’s Google cloud content – PC Mag

Would you use something like this?

Microsoft launches Surface, their own Tablet.

A little over an hour ago, in one of the most secretive press conferences ever, Microsoft launched Surface. According to early reports from Engadget, the specifications for the new Tablet are as follows, “Measuring just 9.3mm thick, the Surface for Windows RT is built around an angled, all-magnesium VaporMg case that weighs just under 1.3 pounds, with an NVIDIA-made ARM chip powering the whole affair. Microsoft’s hardware partner has also gone all-out on extra touches, such as a built-in stand, twin 2×2 MIMO antennas for WiFi, and a 10.6-inch optically-bonded, Gorilla Glass 2-covered HD display.” [Update: The full specifications are now available here]

Another impressive feature is that Microsoft is offering the Tab with two types of Keyboards. A Type Cover full tactile keyboard, and a simple Touch Cover keyboard. According to the Verge, “It may seem like a minor difference, but the Touch cover keyboard is an improvement over the standard capacitive touch keyboard, while the Type Cover is a slimmed down version of a true keyboard with actual moving keys.

Below is the official video released by Microsoft

Do you think this will be able to make enough sales to impact the market share that Apple currently holds with their iPad?

The technology behind Apple Inc’s own Mapping system

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase
Apple Inc via CrunchBase

Apple just announced that they will no longer be using Google maps and will instead be using their own Maps on all iOS devices. Back in 2010 when SAAB filed for bankruptcy, an unknown company bought their missile guiding system. This unknown company was later identified to be Apple Inc. This missile guiding technology now forms the backbone of their new Mapping system.

How does this technology work

The video above shows a  corporate version of the process, which, as described by an article in MIT Technology Review, works in the following manner:

“C3’s models are generated with little human intervention. First, a plane equipped with a custom-designed package of professional-grade digital single-lens reflex cameras takes aerial photos. Four cameras look out along the main compass points, at oblique angles to the ground, to image buildings from the side as well as above. Additional cameras (the exact number is secret) capture overlapping images from their own carefully determined angles, producing a final set that contains all the information needed for a full 3-D rendering of a city’s buildings. Machine-vision software developed by C3 compares pairs of overlapping images to gauge depth, just as our brains use stereo vision, to produce a richly detailed 3-D model.”
 

Fascinating technology? Let me know your thoughts.

One of the most innovative Pinterest Campaigns so far by Kotex

Red Pinterest logo
Red Pinterest logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For brands trying to get their heads around Pinterest, here’s a clever engagement of the site’s users by Kotex. For a Kotex campaign called “Woman’s Inspiration Day,” Israeli agency Smoyz targeted 50 “influential” Pinterest users, studied their Pinterest boards, and then made handcrafted gifts for those users based on the items they liked most. The results: 50 gift boxes, 694,853 total impressions—thanks to the users pinning images of the gifts themselves on the site. Pretty labor intensive, but smart. Any brand message centered around female self-expression could do well on Pinterest, if the tactics don’t overwhelm the target.

Via Adverblog.

 

What do you think?

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Homeless people as the new 4G wifi hubs!

An unconventional experiment which involved using homeless people as 4G mobile wi-fi hotspots has gather a lot of crowd at the SXSW happening at Austin, TX. The project is defined as a “Charitable Experiment“.

A lot of homeless men equipped with Verizon MiFi’s wearing specially printed t-shirts which say, for eg., “Hi, my name is Clarence, I am a 4G hotspot, SMS HH Clarence TO 25827 for access” with a URL of the Homeless Hotspots website. It suggested that public pay $2 for 15 minutes Wi-Fi access to the internet. Suddenly, a lots of sparks generated around the world as the news spread, some thought of it as an awesome idea, which may help the homeless people, while other called it downright demeaning.

Launched as a ‘beta test’ by advertising firm BBH Labs said “there’s an insane amount of chatter about this, which although certainly villainises us, in many ways is good for the homeless people we’re trying to help”, on their blog. The advertising firm, apparently says that it is trying to modernise the concept of street newspapers, which are created and sold by homeless people. Instead of selling a newspaper, the homeless person now sells Internet access as well as access to the newspaper’s content.

BBH Labs Director of Innovation Saneel Radia said, “It’s unfortunate how much information being shared is incorrect, this project is not selling a brand and there is no commercial benefit whatsoever to BBH Labs. Each of the Hotspot Managers keep all of the money they earn. The more they sell their own access, the more they as individuals make.”  What do you think?

via: BBC and DNNetworks

Innovation: Holidays packaged differently – in a “box”

Offered under the Mumbai-based SOTC brand of global travel company Kuoni, Box Holidays are tangible, prepackaged travel offerings that can be purchased online or off the shelf in a participating retail store. Rather than having to spend time and effort researching options with a travel agent, purchasers can simply buy a Box Holiday, which features all the key details on the outside of the box, including price, validity period, service inclusions and exclusions, complimentary offers, loyalty benefits, discounts, cancellation rules and hotel images.

Buyers (or recipients) of SOTC Box Holidays need only call to schedule the dates on which they’d like to redeem the package. Pricing begins at INR 7,000 for a three-day, two-night domestic getaway for two, and travel can be done at any time within the package’s validity period. International packages begin at INR 47,410 for four days and three nights, and price protection against exchange rate fluctuations is included. Also packaged into many Box Holidays are holiday vouchers, value add-ons, discount coupons, destination information, tips and other freebies. SOTC Box Holidays are available at Globus stores in Mumbai and select BigBazaar outlets in Delhi, as well as online.

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