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Category: personalization

There are 6 posts published under personalization.

Personalized Online Tutor Technology

Let’s say there is a student in China who wants to learn English on the weekends. He types “English Tutor Online” into the search bar and clicks “Enter.” He finds a service, connects with a tutor, and schedules their first session.


The tutor and the student will need to utilize similar or identical tools on their respective ends to maintain the connection and foster learning. Tutoring has gone from across the desk to around the world, so it should be a priority for tutors to choose the right technology for their lessons. Online tutors need to choose the right tool for the job and know when to use it.


Education, in general, has gone from “the one-size fits all model resulting in unprepared students to technology-enabled solutions customized for each student” (The State of Education Infographic). So, most tech savvy students who need help with homework or receive actual instruction might want bells and whistles, but what about those who only know the basics? There are lessons that only need the bare minimum. Believe it or not, there are people who still have flip phones and write in MS Word 93.  Most tutoring sites utilize what is already available to the general consumer: Computer, internet connection, webcam, Shockwave, Flash player, whiteboard…beyond the basics, it is the tutor’s responsibility to choose the right tool for the job.


Like Eyal Eshed’s (the CEO of advice about designing mobile apps in his CitizenTekk article, On Designing Mobile Education Apps, when developing a lesson for a tutoring session, there should be a purpose, and the technology should fit that purpose. Refer back to the student in China who has just started his lesson with a new tutor. The tutor attempted to teach the student how to ask for a taxi at a hotel’s front desk, but had difficulty illustrating the connection between the word ‘car’ and the concept of a car to the student. The tutor can use visual cues (with such tools as video, internet or whiteboard) to combine text and pictures to illustrate his point (Tutoring sites will most likely provide them, but there are sites that provide whiteboards for use on your own computer [Windows’s Digital Whiteboard ]); the whiteboard or video served a purpose. If the tutor wanted to incorporate a calculator in that lesson, it would serve no other purpose but to confuse the student. But what happens when the tutor does not have enough tools for the lesson?


The tutor’s next student needs help with Revit architecture software. Unless the student can see what the tutor is talking about by drawings on a whiteboard, the tutor will need to incorporate more technology into their lessons.  Revit software is not a run-of-the-mill word processing program; it’s a little more involved than that. You can’t just open it up and be an expert at it. Revit software is


“specifically built for Building Information Modeling (BIM), empowering design and construction professionals to bring ideas from concept to construction with a coordinated and consistent model-based approach. Revit is a single application that includes features for architectural design, MEP and structural engineering, and construction.”                                              -

If the tutor does not have the software, how is that student supposed to learn from that particular tutor? As with any other program a student is trying to learn, to teach the aforementioned program it takes knowledge of its basics as well as its most complex features; you can’t do either/or without the program. The student would have better luck enrolling for a free trial or moving on to the next tutor who has the adequate tools for the job.


Online tutoring providers have taken advantage of technology to make their jobs easier and their services more available to students; the most effective tutor is the one who picks the right technology for the job and knows when to use it. As online tutors, you need to prepare your lesson and utilize the proper tool. As important as it is to choose the right tool for the job, it is equally important to know when it’s needed, or not needed. As a tutor, the most basic step to preparing for a lesson: prepare content and then see which technological tool will best serve it, not the other way around.


The Real Reasons to Adopt Marketing Personalization

According to Mckinsey & Company, digital marketing is entering a more challenging territory. Marketing should no longer be always “on” but rather “on demand.”


That is to say, with the innovations brought about in this digital age, marketing should also be innovated and the messages should evoke relevancy, responsiveness, and have the ability to cut through the noise that is ever-present today. Within marketing personalization there are certain benefits that come with adopting marketing personalization into your strategy and in this article we will touch on three of the most important ones.


The first reason that any company should integrate marketing personalization into their marketing practices is simply to cut through the clutter that has become so commonplace. In any marketplace, there is competition fighting for the same customers that you are; the big question comes as how one company gets their message to their appropriate customers in a sea of similar messages. Marketing personalization comes into play here because by analyzing data sets and identifying the best channels to reach customers, you can create powerful, individualized messages that will both break through the clutter and promote a call to action.


The second reason that marketing personalization is important is that it is a powerful platform to create holistic customer profiles with. By taking data about the same customer from multiple angles, you can build a profile of that customer that will allow you to better craft promotions, website greetings, and emails. The essentials of combining data sets to achieve marketing personalization allow marketers to not only target a large group of consumers individually, but also provide them with promotions that are relevant to them. By marketing to your consumers in this way, you will be able to stimulate sales and increase engagement.


The third reason to adopt marketing personalization is that it can create a strong sense of customer loyalty. Companies such as Neiman Marcus have a very loyal group of consumers. By being loyal to the brand you can receive discounts on your favorite brands, special presale items, and insider information. However, to join these ranks you have to spend over $3,000 at Neiman Marcus stores to get your first benefits. Unfortunately, not all companies have the budget to afford a customer loyalty program of that magnitude. That’s where marketing personalization comes in. By understanding and integrating data sets, you are able to build each individual customer their own promotions, personalized greetings, etc. All of these invoke a sense of loyalty in the customers and they will begin to follow and purchase your brand more frequently all because they feel like a highly-valued person rather than an ordinary customer with low lifetime value.


All of the above reasons are definitely convincing as to why a company should include marketing personalization in their market plan. The big questions, though, are where to start and how to implement it. Nectar Online Media is one of the solutions. Nectar provides marketing personalization software that can integrate your disparate data sets into one encompassing data set. Products like Nectar also have the capability to create and deploy campaigns to your customers at a great price point and time with our speedy deployment. Begin hyper-personalizing your content now!


Is Apple’s Closed iOS Its Downfall: Perspective of a Leading Android Developer

My friends have been joking that Apple product launches are not 90 minutes, but six months. Speculation on product features finally ended this month with the release of new iPhones and an upgraded iOS 7.


And now that the Apple buzz machine is in neutral, the market has spoken. Apple stock prices dropped 7% after the launch, partly because Apple didn’t offer a phone that was more affordable in China, a key growth market, but also for other reasons.


With the 2007 iPhone launch, Apple redefined the mobile phone from a communication device to a mobile internet device, propelling Apple to becoming the most valuable company in the world (based on market cap).


During the past five years, however, the Android OS has captured 75% of the smart phone market. The development of iPhone and iOS into a minority player closely resembles that of Mac and Mac OS, which has also been marginalized after an initial wild success.


As a leading Android developer, I believe the reason for Apple’s ups and downs is largely due to its ecosystem. Apple’s app store is more closed and regulated, acting as a double-edged sword. Its closed nature has ensured a standard user experience and data security, which has been a key for the iPhone’s initial success. But today, despite a head start, its market growth is significantly slower than Android’s and Apple has clearly missed significant opportunities as the market matured.


Apple still has not opened the home screen, lock screen, or app widget to outside developers. Android has stock home screen and desktop launcher as well, but users can switch to other launcher apps if they want a different or more personalized experience. Initially, people worried that my company, GO Launcher, would be shut down for replacing the stock Android home screen. To the contrary, we were actually honored as one of the handful of companies to demo at the annual Google developers conference, Google I/O, earlier this year.


Based on my experience, Google fundamentally believes that smartphone users don’t want to be limited, and that an open ecosystem can provide more flexibility. This is the philosophy that will make Android a vibrant and long-lasting community.


GO Launcher has hit more than 200 million installs since it was released in 2010. Two other apps, GO SMS Pro and GO Locker, have achieved 50 million installs each. This data makes me believe that the trend of personalization of the smartphone experience – not a closed system that is dictated from up high – is unstoppable.


Built upon a spirit of personalized user experience, GO Launcher is also an open platform. Designers from all over the world can publish home screen themes. There are over 10,000 themes for GO Launcher, and millions of downloads every day. People love to use different themes, lock screen pictures, and customized interaction to make the phone best fit their own personality.


But the iPhone cannot compete, because iOS reserves these features to Apple itself and only updates them when Apple feels there is a need. The user has little say in the arrangement.


There is an old Chinese saying, “the key to their success is also their undoing.” There’s no doubt that iPhone is still an excellent brand and a product in much demand. But the “walled garden” of iOS – so appealing several years ago – is a recipe for losing its competitiveness to the more open Android ecosystem.


We are seeing the story of the PC repeat itself for the mobile phone.


Envisioning an Integrated Device World

When I think about all the ways my smartphone helps me to meet up with friends—through voice, text, email, and a variety of friend-connectivity apps—I often find myself reflecting that mobile devices have been a terrific boon for my social life.

When I actually meet up with the friends that my phone has helped me find, however, I sometimes come to the opposite conclusion. I can’t count how many times I’ve ended up sitting at a bar booth, idly crunching beer nuts as I wait for my buddies to stop playing with their phones (and yes, often I’m the one playing with my phone while they crunch beer nuts). Far too frequently, the very thing that brought us together prevents us from having a meaningful interaction.

I know I’m not the only one bothered by device rudeness.  I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences with your friends, assuming you weren’t too distracted by your own device to notice that everyone else was immersed in theirs. This state of things has driven some to extreme measures, like requiring everyone to leave their phones at the door before entering a party. Others have just given up and resigned themselves to a life of interrupted conversations.

I am not among the people who despair about a future in which our devices constantly butt into our social interactions, however. That’s because I see device distraction as merely one phase—albeit  an annoying one—in the evolution of our technology. To me, that evolution seems to be pointing toward a world of technological integration, with tech assimilating to our physical environment and social fabric rather than rupturing it.

Many of the advances toward integrated devices are being made in the form of technologies that interact with human voice and touch. Technologies that project touch screens onto the physical environment so that we don’t have to carry our own personal devices everywhere we go are already in development, and applications of voice recognition technology are emerging that would embed that technology into everyday objects, even entire environments. Personal assistants tuned to your voice have already made their way into the consoles of cars, and they could be in the home before long, as well. Instead of fiddling with appliances, air-conditioning systems, and light switches, we will be able to direct the environment around us via voice command.

These new integrated device technologies would not be merely reactive—they’d  take the initiative, as well—predicting your preferences based on prior interactions, accessing your calendar, and email to remind you of meetings, etc. They would be much more like another person in the room and much less like a separate world for you to disappear into.

The implications for our social interactions are vast. Instead of serving as a break from the conversation, our technologies will become part of the conversation—available for everyone to see and interact with at once. We won’t have to worry about being pulled out of conversations by our devices, because they will seem like a natural part of the fabric of those conversations.




Are You Dating the Next Aaron Hernandez Online?

We’re all shocked.

Someone is not who he appeared to be.

(Insert sarcastic gasp.)

The Aaron Hernandez soap opera, which now includes blue bubblegum, once again reminds us that appearances can be deceiving. A person we once thought was worthy of respect now seems far from deserving any reverence.


Will these charges against Hernandez have all of us suspect those we idolize? Perhaps.  What we need to take from Hernandez’s story is that we must not take anyone at face value, whether in the real world or online. When meeting people in the real world, you can glean a certain amount about them through in-person interaction. The online world is a bit more secretive. I have created a roster of tips that will ensure that you trust the right people in your online interactions with strangers.


Your Roster for Safer Online Meetings


The QB – You’re the Quarterback. You call the shots and you are in control of your online transactions. If something seems too good to be true, like you’re a Wide Receiver being totally open, remember to check the Safety (pun intended). Remember, if someone is unwilling to provide the information you need to feel safe, whether that be a real name, a real address, or a photo, then keep on moving.


The Offensive Line – You want someone to cover your blindside. When using dating sites (Match, eHarmony, Zoosk, and Plenty of Fish), P2P Sites (Airbnb, Relayrides, and Flightcar), and Commerce Platforms (Craigslist,, and Angie’s List) you must make sure that they’re watching out for your best interest. Large platforms are the gatekeepers and have the ability to make the rules for what types of individuals they allow on their systems.


So, to that end, here are some good considerations when choosing platforms:

  • Background Checks – Does your platform run them and in what capacity? If the person you’re communicating with online were coming to your house, wouldn’t you like to know if she has a long list of burglary offenses?
  • Social Media Verifications – Is your platform actually using OAuth to connect social media accounts, which you’ll rely on for information, or are they permitting users to just drop in URL’s, which could be someone else’s?
  • Photo Verification – Is there any sort of check and balance on the photo? Does it come from a semi-reliable source like LinkedIn?
  • Certificates and Seals – See what other’s are saying about your platform and if it’s been vetted by anyone.
  • Safety Policies - How does the platform vet its users (if at all), and what information does it allow users to share for transparency. In the NFL, you want the best watching your butt.  So demand the same of your online platforms.


The Receiver  - Deals get done when two parties connect, whether it’s for a date or the selling of a car.  You want the other party in the transaction to be on the same page as you. For online transactions, make sure that you both feel comfortable with each other and that no red flags arise.


Sample Red Flags

  • Online Dating - No picture or a picture that is obviously photoshopped should make you think twice.
  • Online Dating – Is s/he too hot for you? Like your parents always said, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
  • House Rental – Pay attention to questions that seem out of the ordinary – “Do you have a place off the street to “hide” my car?” should send you running for the hills.
  • House Rental –Hesitate if your prospective renter makes inquiries for someone else.  Do you want to be turning over your keys to someone other than the person you checked out online?
  • Craigslist – Just like with dating, you should be suspicious if the deal seems way too good to be true.  Extreme urgency and prices well below market value should really make you question the goods.


The Defensive Line – Online, just like in the real world, the best offense is a good defense.  You need to surround yourself with a barrier to prevent the other party from getting too much of your personal info. Just like you tell the guy you met on Craigslist to meet you at a public place, you want to have some semblance of control when translating the online relationship into a real world relationship.  Consider ways in which you may control the information with systems like REPP.


The Kicker – In the future, we will all be meeting increasing amounts of strangers online in ways and for reasons that we’ve never imagined. Unfortunately, what comes hand in hand with these new opportunities are new ways that unsavory individuals can take advantage of you.  So, remember to always watch out for those little guys both on and off the field, with one small action, they can send you home disappointed.


While it’s very unlikely that you’re communicating with someone who’s the center of three murder investigations, it’s better to know that now than to find yourself being interviewed by CNN later.  No longer can you just assume that if he’s on a dating, commerce, or networking site, he must be everything he appears.  You must be vigilant to make sure that your time, trust, and safety are in the right place.



Food, the Internet, & the Paradox of Choice


As the Internet has evolved at a rapid rate over the last twenty years, we have truly become a connected, online world. Today there are an abundant number of content sites and various technological devices that help us receive the omnipresent information around us. We’ve never been more wired in for information, yet how can we decipher and sift through all that data in order to make a decision on something so simple as a place to eat?


We face a paradox of choice.  Having choice upon choice is a gift yet it’s also a curse. Many of us find ourselves looking for something as simple and rewarding as a place to eat.  But after wasted time sifting through the Interwebs, our well-intentioned action often risks abandonment. We say, “Ah, forget it.” That’s why we need to take control and reconsider the relationship we have with our frequent companion, the Web.


Would you rather spend Friday night perusing reviews or actually dining out on the town? If we can make technology work for us, we can find that hidden gem of a restaurant in a heartbeat.


Rewiring the Web is a win-win. New technologies are already connecting diners with restaurants and enabling the discovery of something new.


You can now tell your circle about your last meal, view a restaurant’s unique menu, and connect with your favorite chef online. Technology has even made it possible for us to make a reservation or order food delivered to our door with just a click of a button. There is a multitude of choice and convenience out there and it’s now being brought to you.


There are also many ways the Internet is benefiting restaurant owners and operators who work in an industry that runs on efficiency and volume. Restaurants can now electronically feed diners with everything from menus to exclusive specials to targeted surveys. There are even available technologies that monitor the wait time for a table and buzz the diner when a table is ready, capturing customers they might otherwise lose.


Turning paradox into personalization. As more connections are made between consumers and restaurants, we’ll be sifting through a tailored list of information that is most relevant to us. It will be easier for diners to find their restaurant match as computers grow able to learn what diners want and inherently narrow down their choices. No matter what we’re looking for, it will become easier for us to find a match without wasting any time.


As food and technology continue to escalate their romance, we will no longer be faced with the struggle of deciding, but rather the excitement of discovering.