Arya Stark would love the iPhone X Face ID technology.

This is not a review of the new iPhone X, for that you will have zillions of websites to inform you, the sames I read myself yesterday. One thing has been surprisingly new in the most recent Apple flagship phone and it’s not the full screen, it’s not the “ears”, it’s not the battery life, nor the wireless charger. It’s Face ID.

It’s funny to see when a company tries to innovate changing things in a quite established phone design (mainly Nokia, in the pre-iPhone era, was bold enough to design crazy phones), there are a bunch of collateral effects that sometimes create something unique. Since Samsung launched the S6 Edge, the race to have the best screen surface vs. size ratio had begun. But that meant a lot for the iPhone, since the home button was an iconic element since the very beginning. Taking the home button out from the front would mean you have to put it elsewhere (like on the back as many LGs do since 3 or 4 years), or innovate and take it completely out, like they finally did. The original functionality of the home button could be easily replaced by other gestures on the screen, but in the last years that button was also holding the fingerprint reader, which has evolved in terms of security to a point where Apple based the payment authentication on it.

By sacrificing the fingerprint reader, Apple creates (yet) a new playground for phones

The only possible, obvious identification mechanism left was to use the front camera. Samsung explored the iris scan (a historical way to authenticate people in security areas) but it seems it’s not 100% secure and a flat picture could be easily faked. So Apple had to “innovate”, using another well known technology, 3D mapping via infrared grid.

It’s well known because the first version of Microsoft Kinect had it, although it has been replaced with newer and more accurate technologies.

Future app developers could integrate 3D mapping via the infrared grid for a myriad of usages, not only identification or payments

And this has a lot of implications:

  • If it doesn’t exist (didn’t have much time to investigate) a new picture format will be created, not only containing the image itself, but the 3D correspondence for each dot.
  • Panoramic pictures will also be possible, scanning an entire object or person and building the complete 3D model.
  • With this new 3D layer AIs could be exponentially better in identifying objects. This has a lot of implications in object recognition, such in shopping environments.
  • 3D people models could be an input for online fashion retailers. no need to give your pants size anymore.
  • 3D models could be sent to 3D printers directly and Amazon Prints will send you the piece.
  • Hackers will steal 3D models of faces, and use it for malicious purposes
  • Arya Stark wouldn’t need to kill people to have their faces, with the iPhone X, she would be able to print them at home.

Finally Apple innovates again, even if it’s with existing technology. Double merit.

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The Next Big Disruption in Retail (and no, it’s not iBeacons)

Smart shopping is around the corner, much has been written about the extended possibilities of digital interaction within physical stores, leveraging on mobile and other technologies such as iBeacon or NFC.

Microsoft recently announced, through a concept video (a must see) their HoloLens. A very interesting release since just a week before Google announced they were stopping to sell their similar product, Google Glass. Same product? not really. Google took the wearable path, and this generated much controversy not only because the cost (to be a wearable), but because of the uses of the product, which limited it to be an additional screen to your phone (the same as a watch could be). Microsoft, on the other hand, has played the augmented reality game, which is not new at all, but which gives a great twist into the uses of the product. Read the rest of this entry »


7 Reasons Why Shopper Marketing is Not Enough.

“Shopper Marketing is the elephant in the room that nobody sees the same way.”
[Markus Stahlberg]

And what an Elephant! Every single client I’ve been lately working with is renaming their trade marketing departments to Shopper Marketing, which is something much more appealing and finally puts their activities at least at the same level that the “traditional” marketing departments. We can find as many definitions of shopper marketing as gurus trying to sell their Shopper Marketing Books, but one I particularly like is the usage of insights in order to target shoppers for creating experiences focusing on business results.

In the past years I have been analyzing the path to purchase and decision journeys of many clients in a decent number of categories, from cars to beauty or energy drinks, and, although there are differences, we can find common patterns in consumers/shoppers behaviors, because at the end, the same shopper buys beers and deodorant in the same purchase. Before listing them, it’s important to understand that in many categories consumers are the same people than shoppers (some call them Shopsumers), and, when it’s not the case (e.g. pet food) the “traditional” marketing is also impacting them (but probably with different values, e.g. kids stuff).

What behaviors are the most common across categories?

Consumers are distrustful towards the brands. Even if the awareness and consideration levels are high, the impact of massive channels is limited for making them try. They use other inputs for getting informed and check the brand proposition veracity.

The impact of other’s opinions is huge. They know a brand, they consider it, but they will always go online to look for the product and get the right answers to conform their opinion. Most people don’t browse the brand website (except they’re on site with their smartphone), nor their social networks, and if they do, they do not give them much relevance. They mostly go for opinions in trusted sites (from retailers such as Amazon or Tripadvisor), blogs and forums, or YouTube when they want to see the product experience.

Employees matter. In those categories where there is a person in the process, it plays a very influential recommendation role, if he or she is well trained. When comparing different retailers, we do see important differences, that can only be explained by the different levels of training and consumer orientation.

Offers and promotions will affect decision, within a choice set. If the brand is not in the choice set, offers will hardly make it get in the circle. If you’re entering the category, leverage on other values.

Working on occasions is a good way to foster trial. Working from the consumer to the product will show how to tackle this occasions, quantifying and twisting your communication towards them, choosing your channels accordingly.

But focus on very specific consumption occasions in the long run will limit growth. Most consumers see a barrier of purchase the fact that the product is not for the occasion, and sometimes it could be with the appropriate change of perspective.

Mobile is everywhere. When asking friends and relatives for opinions, or checking for prices. In fact, a recent study we ran for Geometry Global says 60% of consumers use their mobile device when visiting a physical store looking for prices or additional information.

Ok, good enough. Let’s go back to Shopper Marketing. Just review the seven behaviors and find where typical Trade Marketing, sorry, Shopper Marketing department will make an impact………. yes you’re right, in the point of sales. And the rest? Most of the influences are occurring outside the store. It’s amazing to see how Shopper Marketing is gathering very powerful consumer/shopper insights (business oriented) covering a myriad of touch points which responsibles are dispersed in different departments. Maybe it’s time of a little bit of consumer centricity, don’t you think?

Shopper marketing is not enough, or then everything should be shopper marketing, an elephant in the room is just an elephant, it’s your consumer, and everybody in the company should see it the same way. Who will bell the cat (or the elephant)?

This post was originally posted here.


It’s not (only) about the Hardware. Why Apple waited so long for NFC.

Yesterday Apple announced their new, long awaited, expected and desired, device: the Apple Watch (replacing the “i” by an apple, might be a new naming line?) with the new , in both sizes. Really nothing new, or very few, based on the information leaked in the previous months. Maybe the Digital Crown was unexpected. You like it or not, we’ll see sales evolution when it comes to market, much later than other equivalent devices such as the Motorola 360 or the LG G Watch.

From the Apple watch just one remark, it will only work with the iphone 5 and above, which is a limitation but quite normal knowing how closed the Apple ecosystem is. And this ecosystem will be open to app developers that will take the device much beyond the initial usages. The watch is fully packed with all kind of sensors, great for many many cool options from sports to sleeping improvement.

The feature everybody was expecting and finally came, both in the Apple Watch and the iPhone 6 is NFC. Since it has been a standard within Android devices since a couple of years now, Apple seemed to be reluctant to implement this short range communication technology, to the point, seeing how Bluetooth LE and the iBeacon technology has evolved this year, to wonder if they were going to adopt it ever.

The truth is, as they did with the MP3 and the iPod, with the Phone and the iPhone, Apple waited to launch some hardware piece, even apparently mature, until the software ecosystem was ready. And they did it again.

Not only they are including NFC, they are including Apple Pay, a big big competition to PayPal and Amazon Payments, thanks toan agreement with the three major credit card issuers. And that’s where the next big thing is. Banks and credit card companies have invested millions deploying both cards and PoS terminals working with contactless (NFC) technology, and in that arena Apple needed to play a role. Now they’re there, but with their own rules, as always.

 

This article has originally been posted here.