Waiting stinks: How to redesign your product’s dead time

Some excellent design tips for #HKUiSAD developers on how to reduce the pain of customer wait time in your apps!

Gigaom

Recently my family gathered in North Carolina to celebrate a milestone in my sister’s life, and we arrived 10 minutes early for our reservation at a nice restaurant. “No problem,” they said, since the previous table was closing the check. We then stood waiting for more than half an hour –  during which we were refused water because the table was “almost ready”– and we checked in twice more before finally being seated. Though the restaurant eventually comped our appetizers, our meal was colored by a needlessly arduous bad start.

This situation made me think about my experiences with other establishments that have figured out ways to make waiting more pleasant. Some of these practices are well established in the real world, yet many of us working in the digital world fail to recognize or embrace those strategies to improve our products.

Above all, shrink the user’s wait

The…

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Project Anarchy: a free mobile 3D game engine

Havok, the folks behind games such as Halo 4, Assassin’s Creed III, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Guild Wars 2Call of Duty: Black Ops have released a free 3D mobile game engine. Called Project Anarchy, the toolset enables developers (or #HKUiSAD students) to develop and publish games on iOS and Android. The toolset can be installed from here.

Havok™ announces today that it has publicly launched Project Anarchy, Havok’s complete end-to-end mobile 3D game production engine. Games developed using Project Anarchy technology can be deployed for free on iOS, Android and Tizen mobile platforms without commercial restrictions on company size or revenue.

See the original press release here.

 

So what’s the catch?

To help Havok make Project Anarchy free for iOS, Android and Tizen we only ask for a few things in return. First and foremost we’d encourage you to become part of the Project Anarchy community and join us in making Project Anarchy a great place to make awesome games. Secondly we’d like the opportunity to do some co-marketing with you when you come to ship your game. We won’t be able to work with everyone that ships a title but when you sign up we do ask that you agree to Havok having the option, and don’t worry – we don’t bite! Thirdly, if you have created a game targeting Android (or another platform that supports x86 devices such as Tizen) that you plan to upload to an app store, the license requires that you build an equivalent x86-compatible version of the game and upload it alongside any other versions that you have built.

See here for more.

 

Below is the video with Project Anarchy in action.

 

Here is the original trailer.

 

Google’s Acquisition of Waze: A Triad of Benefits

Most analysts have hailed Google’s recent acquisition of Waze for $ 1.3 billion a masterstroke (a minority thinks that this is going to be a botched overstretch, a la Motorola). [See some nice reports here, here and here and the Waze blog announcement here.] However, there seems to be no agreement on whether this is a strategic M&A, a pure technology acquisition or an acqui-hire. Different folks have differing opinions; IMHO, this acquisition offers Google a few advantages of each of these.

Waze navigatiescherm

Waze navigatiescherm (Photo credit: Henk-Jan van der Klis)

A Pre-emptive strategic move: It was reported that there were several suitors for Waze, including Facebook and Apple. By spending a small part of its $50 billion plus cash pile, Google has managed to keep a key technological advancement out of the hands of the competition and this been able to maintain its pre-eminent position in the Maps market.

A technology acquisition: By definition, a technology acquisition provides the acquiring firm with a technology or technological knowhow. Waze will enable Google to add a critical element to its Maps technology – real-time, crowdsourced updates. A weakness of all the major players in the Maps market has been the need to spend millions of dollars to periodically update the maps for accuracy in a rapidly changing world (cue the Apple Maps disaster). Waze will augment Google’s efforts by providing a cheaper option for map updates as well potential future monetization through location based advertising.

An acqui-hire: While the technology artefact represented by Waze is impressive indeed, Google will also benefit from the knowledge residing within the employees of Waze. Google has committed to maintaining the Waze R&D team in an ‘as is’, independent state, thus ensuring continuity of tacit forms of individual and group level knowledge. This will maximize the potential innovation outcomes from the Waze R&D team, and Google will be able to benefit from potential knowledge spillovers to its own R&D centres (some of which are located relatively nearby). [It is reported that Waze employees have been offered nice retention bonuses to stay for 4-5 year post-acquisition, thus maximizing the time for spillovers, knowledge transfer, and innovation.]

Overall, the Waze acquisition provides Google with several benefits which will enable it to possibly dominate the ‘Lo’ portion of the next big battlefield – The SoMoLo Convergence.

Global IT Services growth in 2012 down to 2%

 

 

Gartner’s latest report says that the global IT services industry grew by 2 percent in 2012, down from 7.7 percent in 2011. The report also mentions that the top Indian IT service providers grew faster and Cognizant has overtaken Infosys as the number 2.

 

The top five Indian providers* grew 13.3 percent to reach $34.3 billion in 2012, exceeding the IT services industry growth of 2 percent according to Gartner, Inc. The growth decelerated for both industry groups, from 21.8 percent and 7.7 percent, in 2011.

“Cognizant displaced Infosys to become the second-largest Indian IT services provider (see Table 1), and Cognizant experienced the highest growth rate among the top five providers with an increase of 20.1 percent in 2012,“ said Arup Roy, research director at Gartner. ” TCS closed in on the top 10 worldwide market share leader, with less than $1.5 billion separating it from the 10th ranked provider, Hitachi.”

Indian IT Marketshare

Image via Gartner

 

 

See the original report here.

Microsoft Surface Redux: Lenovo’s take at a table computer

Remember the first version of the Microsoft Surface? The version that was aptly named the ‘Table Computer’. Lenovo has just introduced their version of the table computer at CES 2013. Key talking points – it is a large flat screen, running Windows 8, with multi-touch capabilities. Another play towards taking the computer from a personal to a social device.

 

Here is a CNET review:

 

 

 

Here is the original Microsoft Surface: