Posts on Jan 2018

Canvy Google HTC brands humanizing trends

Humanizing brands – what does it mean in our age?

On the background of the news concerning the Google acquisition of certain HTC employees for a sum of $11 billion in cash, as captured by ZDNet, we wondered what does the public associate brands with  – nowadays.

The individual-behind-the brand is an obsolete trend. We remember the Steve Jobs cult, yet most of the customers of the same company today could hardly pin the current Apple CEO. A few amends can be made to this conclusion, however, since Facebook definitely means Zuckerberg, Virgin Group means Richard Branson and Tesla means Elon Musk.

When we see a person as being the brand, as in determining the fundamental decisions that steer a brand in what its products and societal impact mean, we’ve humanized the brand. All its employees and values are infused by the characteristics we associate with the one person that IS the brand.

However, is this just a perception, or does it have a nugget of truth in it?

 

The value of brand humanization

Profits. Influence. Isn’t that the core of commerce? These apparently come easier when instead of random clients, brands have loyal customers or even absolute fans. OK, let’s settle for the middle area of loyal customers – fans, although extremely in fashion for decades, are in fact a bit more. The amount of emotion involved in being a fan makes the entire thing a bit extreme, and in any serious study, the extremes are not taken into consideration.

*For those who enjoy video materials, here’s an Inc video on the value of brand humanization subject.

The process starts from the inside. As the brand owners personalize and humanize its presence, by attributing “character traits – likes, dislikes, mannerisms and a dialect” to it, and by positioning their campaigns “in and around these traits”, they induce the same perception to their target audience.

The process might take time, but it sure pays off in the end. There are recipes on how to approach this whole humanize-your-brand business. Big companies invest a lot of resources into it, smaller companies strike gold when they manage to infuse it on a more restrained budget.

The baseline – it’s not easy. Some specialize in it, others simply make the brand in their likeness. And yes, it is mostly about perception.

 

When the branding story parts with reality

Of course, all stories benefit or suffer from this phenomenon. Yet there is digression and digression. There are brands that have fallen due to being exposed as being the exact opposite of their official story. One cannot pretend to be ethical, for example, while in fact, not being – or can they?

Well, to put it bluntly, keeping up appearances works as long as no unwanted exposure turns the fans into haters. The game is a dangerous, especially when the reality does not at least partially keep up with the official image.

There are examples when the brand fans believe what they were led into believing, and ultimately contribute to fueling the image they want to be true. For example, Android and iOS are competitors, yet the big tech companies beneath these operating systems are in fact working together. Due to the patent system, one company actually gains when a product of the “adversary” is bought. Now, in a humanized version, would we see them as frenemies, as fair-play competitors, or as being in cahoots?

The same with merging, acquisitions and important personnel shifts – when actual humans associated with one brand go to a completely different company. We assume these former employees are imbued with the company values, and in turn the company values reside in each such employee. So, what happens when changes occur?

 

Keeping brand-related likes and dislikes genuine…

Snatching the approval of the potential audience is a game with high stakes. With Machine earning, AI, algorithms and big data involved, the customer is like an ancient king, maneuvered by clever, calculated decision makers.

However, even the turbulent history of humanity managed to have a few wise kings. Making educated choices, reaching a higher level of likes and dislikes, a level where we are emotional,, but also rational – here’s a possible way of actually being in charge as customers.

By supporting the brands which fake it less, and sanctioning the changes that we don’t like, we contribute as customers to a better future. Of course, we have to really understand what the values worth fighting for are, as well as the deep (yet amazingly prone to invisibility) link between what surrounds us and our own choices.

125 computer-security-padlock-hacker-163009

Get the best out of modern cybersecurity, don’t let it get the best out of you

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, just launched its own cyber-security project, entitled Chronicle. The project targets enterprises and aims to help such customers better manage their own security.

The online media debate tackles the fact that, the Chronicle project resembles other countless similar projects. It hasn’t been disclosed so far what makes this particular project relevant and outstanding in the cyber-security environment. Gizmodo, for example, wonders what exactly qualifies as moonshot about this entire endeavor, besides being associated with Google, that is.

 

Modern cyber vulnerabilities call for modern cyber-security

 

Of course, we have a Captain Obvious thing here. Who does not know this in our day and age?  Well, when you juxtapose this with the fact that modern cyber-security is still in the making, perhaps we start getting the image of a current dilemma.

Most companies are aware of the IoT dawning upon their operations. The decision makers have moved forward to implement the necessary hardware and software changes. Yet the IoT comes along with cyber-vulnerabilities like never before, some of which have already been acted out.

It’s only logical that ubiquitous connectivity can be reversed into ubiquitous hacking, and malicious parties taking control of the companies’ networks. The cyber-security experts work continually towards improving the means of protection, yet sometimes it seems that the enemy manages to be ahead of them.

This fluctuating gap between the protectors and the attackers in cyber-security leaves room for a lot of misrepresentation, fuelled by the enterprises’ real and deeply rooted concern for their critical and sensitive data.

There are no standardized solutions, there are ambiguous sets of best practice measures, and there are quite a lot brands and branded cyber-security projects. The field is crowded, and there is a lot of noise – not at all the best atmosphere for encouraging straight thinking.

 

Get the best out of modern cyber-security

 

The online media means any piece of news travels fast and has a potentially global reach. Keep updated on the trajectory of the leading brands in cyber-security. As a CIO person, even as a CEO, the latest in cyber-security is now mandatory, not optional. At least a weekly update on what happened to notable importance is well advised.

This way you have a chance of learning from the mistakes of others, instead of repeating these mistakes. Also, when approached with various offers, it is easier to discern the actually possible/doable from the mass of wishful thinking you can be presented with by a bold, yet dubiously trustful specialized brand.

 

Now, the leading cyber-security brands rarely venture in making promises they cannot sustain. Reliability and consistency is part of being successful on the market for a long time. However, when their solutions seem similar, an educated partner of discussion from your company can go through the process of understanding what makes one potential partner stand out against the others.

 

In other words, you have to make the first step, and in order to do so (and be a solid discussion partner in cyber-security matters), you need a background, a pool of thematic general knowledge. There is no universal recipe for how to keep informed on the most important matters, but it is mandatory that you do so.

 

Don’t let it modern cyber-security get the best out of you

 

…especially that, as we’ve mentioned, there is no official modern cyber-security operations set, but rather a work-in-progress phenomenon.

In conclusion, the iterations that exude complete self-confidence and reassure you that your operations are completely protected in any eventuality – not valid.

A cyber-security partner that guarantees virtually nothing, because, well, it’s a big bad world and an infinity of threats out there – also to avoid.

The key is in the previous experience, in the continuous market presence, combined with a solid agreement – look for relevant certifications, find out whether your industry’s unique considerations are provided for and so on.

It takes patience and attention, but it pays off in the end. As the representative of a company or as a privacy-concerned individual, in this field is better to leave the enthusiastic attitude at the door, and poke into each detail, calmly and in the most concerned and calculated manner – before selecting your partner.

Canvy communication

Communication should be flawless, except sometimes it isn’t, but it makes up by being funny

Local and global habits and etiquette have a way of growing on people. We all want to belong, to smooth relations and interactions, and to get one step closer to our goals by playing by the rules. Or at least by playing by those rules that are easier to abide.

A certain appearance, a way of addressing the others, paying attention to various embedded habits – and one becomes a sleek member of the (business/creative/domestic) community that makes up one’s environment.

Of course, such an intended compliance doesn’t always go as planned – and sometimes it’s for the better.

Minor miscommunications can break the ice

Due to the fact that an anticipated course of events generally represents our comfort zone, when things go as planned, all you will see of one person is all they desire to be seen. Some have histrionic talents are not at all what you see of them when the expected scenario goes on unhindered. Some have simply learned to go through the moves – and perhaps their job doesn’t even require more than this for everything to be OK.

Well, only when the unexpected is at work you can get to the second level of this game. Of course, some have backups for this too, and they just employ yet another role for themselves – “starring in the Mayhem movie” this time.

But it may well happen that unpredictable things crack the shell of people and they end up communicating for real, or even sharing meaningful connections. Perhaps a question was misheard, a meeting was postponed or wrongfully scheduled – that kind of things.

Of course, minor is minor, and sometimes interpersonal or intercultural differences are so impactful that the results are borderline funny, yet more like disastrous.  This is an article on this subject, where you may find out how some of the famous international brands ended up marketing their products in hilarious, even offensive ways by mistake.

Just laugh the embarrassment away

If the previous communication you had with someone just lead to confusion or to a situation you would have rather avoided, don’t make it worse by remaining stuck in a state of embarrassment and lack of creativity.

We are all humans after all, and humor is essential to our survival – it keeps the mind fresh and boosts happiness. Just see the things from outside, take a deep breath, think of how everybody went through similar stuff many a times, and, if possible, move on with a wisecrack and a nice joke.

Of course, managing carefully your appointments, your communications and your less inspirational moments is a thing to never give up a priori. We always strive to be the best version of us, but it is very important to accept our real version – and make a bit of fun about it, if necessary.

Just look at this funny website and have a couple of refreshing laughs – while, if a native English speaker, you recap the foreign languages you know well enough to avoid being “lost in translation”. Have a nice week!

Canvy CES 2018 connectivity laptop smartphone Android

Does your smartphone limit your great ideas sometimes? Connecting it to your PC is the next step, it seems…

The Las Vegas annual technology trade show is soon to begin (it takes place 9 to 12 January), and word of the most interesting tech novelties is already all over the Internet. The Consumer Electronics Show marked a tradition of half a century last year, and surely the products exposed nowadays don’t resemble those that amazed people back in 1967.

Since we are all about connectivity, out of the various pieces of news related to CES 2018, we chose to focus this time on the Dell PC-smartphone integration software, the richest in feature of its kind so far. Let’s explore the underlying implications a bit.

A possible laptop revival

The purpose of Dell Mobile Connect is out in the open, starting with its denomination. The software allows “Android and iOS users to make calls, send texts, get notifications, and interact with all of their favorite mobile apps straight from their PC screen.” Of course, the main scenario considers people at work, who, while employing this functionality, would reduce unnecessary distractions, without getting disconnected.

This move has in its background the results of specialized studies, showing that traditional devices lose ground when confronted with the almighty portable, connected and multifunctional smartphone. Since our mobiles now are gateways to being in the loop and integrated in various types of virtual communities, when it comes to choosing between them and laptops, for example, we are reluctant to take a break from the phones, to say the least.

The concept behind this software embodies the “why choose, when you can have both?” motto. It’s pretty neat and straightforward, and provided it works well and it’s currently alone in a niche, it should be a hit.

Acknowledging how the contemporaneous workforce looks like

There we have it – a product that acknowledges the modern way of working. We are always on, ever since smartphones gained traction. Ignoring this fact or trying to ban it is nothing more than denial. As with other powerful digital era trends, the sooner we admit the reality of it and integrate it in a productive manner in our mainstream habits, the better.

The Mobile Connect software (or for that matter, other similar concept products) also help users overcome one inconvenient in smartphones, respectively the reduced screen size. This imperfection was previously tackled with phablets, yet, since it makes the devices harder to carry around, conceal or put in a normal sized pocket, this attempt is being pushed back.

Also, smartphones do suffer from an amazing ineptitude when it comes to connectivity – you need dedicated drives & software, depending on the model, and the compatibility remains reduced. The files are in a different format, one cannot perform operations easily with them even through the computer installed dashboards, and the processes involved are mainly frustrating. Although details on the software remain to emerge, it is plausible that the smartphone mirroring function will cover the aspects mentioned above.

 A step towards the consumer computer systems of the future

In many technology fields, segmentation is a progress killer. All the bright new viable concepts end up drowning in a pool of compatibility settings, third-party selections and roadblocks. We have to face hardware and software borders everywhere, and ubiquitous connectivity id hindered by a state of facts that still has a long way to go until changing for the better.

In a way, the situation is understandable, since the leading tech producers do compete with each other. It’s simply the way the market works. Yet the changes in dynamic push for even more changes. The direction is a bit weird – meaning that, if in the past some social revolutions were driven by philosophical and others by industrial breakthroughs, nowadays the change inducers are mainly technological. Their implications may not even be fully understood by their makers themselves, as it was the case with other huge inventions humankind prides itself with. Nevertheless, the pressures are big, and one direction for them is to unify hardware and software standards, in order to smooth out the global connectivity’s path.

Therefore, allowing your laptops to connect with both iOS and Android smartphones is a step in the right direction. We shall see its merits and perhaps its limitations as the users provide pertinent feedback – we can only wait for this.

canvy, gamification, games, trending

Is the gamification trend counter-efficient?

While gamification translates as employing “game-based  mechanics,  aesthetics  and  game  thinking  to  engage people,  motivate  action,  promote  learning,  and  solve  problems” (see the 1st hyperlink below), in fields previously characterized by a non-game structures and an overall seriousness, this trend is catching on in the tech world, as well as in education and business.

The gamification hype

“If it’s games they like, let’s give them games” – this seems to be the motto guiding the adoption of game-like structures in various fields. Of course, learning through play it’s a century old truth. But the yesteryear play that allowed youngsters to mimic life and thus enhance and exercise their skills was a full three-dimensional type of exercise. Nowadays we play games that put our imagination within different type of boundaries, whilst greatly remaining different from the reality in which we breathe, live and interact. Furthermore, the gamification that’s been imported into the workplace, education, training or business operations is derived from video games, since this might well be the singular trigger for interest when dealing with the digital generation.

The gamification hype doesn’t ask questions – businesses adopt and employ gamification because it’s trendy and because it delivers short-term results. Once the recipients of gamified products and programs respond to this approach, the psychological downsizes to this process seem to concern almost no one.

Games teach us something, but there is a price

 Of course, there is a wide variety of games, even inside the video game genre. Strategy, fight, survival, creative, click and play, open world and so on, each subgenre implies a different set of rules and develops certain skills and thinking abilities.

There are learning games and there are escapist games. The truth nobody wants to hear is that all games are escapist – we turn our back to immediate reality and immerse ourselves as players in a fantasy world where we live the illusion of our actions being constructive or important. To a certain extent, they are. Games perpetuate a cause and effect dynamic that is not always met by reality, and many players do not concern themselves with the difference between a regulated, enclosed environment and the vastness of reality, nor with the difference of rhythm between a video game and life, where often the slow pace and the effort beneath each action predominate.

Games and gamified processes teach us what they have been destined to teach us. They deliver a simplified, clear experience that stands in opposition with the chaotic way life unravels. Many a time those who have played more games that lived challenging life situations find it hard to process complex situations. The tendency to simplify things and reduce multi-layered situations to their closes flat counterpart does come out of being too familiar with game-based dynamics.

As studies have noted, games perpetuate the winner philosophy – the learning value of failing lacks or is strongly neglected, and thus they promote a distorted perception of the world.

Are we strong enough to remember the rules of the biggest game of all?

To paraphrase Lewis Carroll “life, what is it but a game?” While it may surely be considered so, the rules of this game are partly mysterious and (fortunately) yet elusive. We may wish to simply it all, and make it all more understandable – but it hardly works this way.

Gamification highly serves the technology hype, as well as humanity’s dreams of automation and robotics. Any device stands the possibility of being programmed to understand the rules of a game and apply these rules in order to win. We are already making the first steps to introduce gamification in talent assessment, in education, and companies enthrall their employees by bringing games into the workplace.

We are thus encouraged to remain or to become again kids, eager to express ourselves, to have fun, to go for the immediate advantage.

To go back to literature, perhaps it would be useful to read or re-read Lord of the Flies – in a world of kids, who will be humane, kind and wise?

The biggest game of all has different rules, and it still awaits for us to be adults, mature and to have gained the degree of understanding and knowledge to be able to play it. In life, true victory is a victory for many, not just for one. Winning means turning your opponents around, perhaps changing our own position to meet in the middle. Finding out our purpose, communicating, sharing, feeling that we still have a soul – such are the victories of this intense, dynamic, trying and challenging “game”.

Meanwhile, in Gamelandia…

The online news is topped by game-related news, such as the one about the French start-up Blade bringing their cloud game service to the U.S, or the Mad Catz manufacturers resurfacing soon at CES 2018. Millions hold their breath when reading about their favorite video game latest addition, version or release, in a disproportionate effusion of sentiments.

As an old-fashioned teacher would say “first do your chores, then play”. But at a global level our chores are long forgotten, while our play comes first, or at least its two-dimensional or three-dimensional replica does.