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Willkommen im Übermorgen!

Innovationen überschwemmen uns in immer schnellerer Abfolge. So schnell, dass man als Unternehmer und Manager den Bezug dazu verlieren kann. Welche Veränderung findet statt? Welche wird das eigene Geschäft betreffen? Auf dieser Seite, unserem #Future Blog,  informieren wir kurz über die neuesten Entwicklungen und versuchen zudem, in unregelmäßiger Folge die Auswirkungen dieser Neuheiten einzuordnen.

 

Welcome to the day after tomorrow!

Innovations are flooding us in ever more rapid succession. So fast that entrepreneurs and managers can lose their grip on the situation. Which changes are happening? On this website, our #future blog, we briefly inform you about the latest developments and additionally try to sporadically arrange in order the impacts of these developments.

 

 

2. January 2018

Same procedure as every year: 2018 - What 'Future Experts' really are good for

Every year there are so-called experts who tell us what the future will look like - and every year they are all wrong again.

Philip E. In his 2006 book "Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?", Tetlock already proved that so-called experts are hardly better at predicting the future than "a monkey that throws arrows at a dart disc". In order to be able to do this, he had observed and evaluated forecasts of renowned (i. e. well-paid) opinion formers over a period of almost thirty years.

The result was - as already described - frightening.

It is strange, however, that we receive a large number of forecasts on the economic, political and social development of the new year in many specialist media, television stations and websites every year at the beginning of the year, but none of the media in question takes the trouble to look at such forecasts critically in retrospect.

We, too, would like to be as cautious as possible, because apart from a little bit of cheerfulness about missing The end of the world, such retrospectives are at best tiring. For most experts fail because of the simple fact that they are travelling monothematically and see the development of the world only from one perspective: Their field of speciality.

A fine example of this is Michio Kaku - actually a serious US physicist - who as a TV expert usually tries to present technology and physics in a generally understandable way. For his book "The Physics of the Future - Our Life in 100 Years", published for the first time in 2011 (!), Kaku asked 300 physicists and technicians about their vision and created a small almanac of the technically possible. But already on page 48 of the German edition, he hopelessly starts to get lost:

"The transition to intelligent cars will not happen overnight. First of all, the military will use these vehicles and in the course of this, all the quirks will be eradicated. Then, robotic cars will be launched on the market, and used first on long and boring long-distance routes..."

Anyone who regularly reads this blog will know that only six years after this prophecy, the first autonomously driving buses on German roads are already in trial operation - in the city centres and by no means pre-tested by the military!

A real highlight of monothematic perspectives on the future was a scientist who, in addition to his professorship at a university in Hamburg, founded a company called "Economic Trends Research": In a guest article in the Hamburger Abendblatt (you will find the whole article here), Professor Michael Bräuninger appeals to politicians not to be seduced by technology. This refers to the focus on e-mobility and battery-powered power storage in particular. It lists every conceivable thought that speaks against e-mobility. Apparently logical and scientifically sound. But only apparently:

The scientifically unclean argumentation begins with the introduction in which Professor Bräuninger wants to use the slow start of e-mobility as proof of the inability of the technology. As a scientist, he should have heard in the course of his studies that almost every growth process in nature and the economy is exponential - and such developments have the (natural) characteristic of barely growing at the beginning. A look beyond national borders, e. g. to Norway, would have quickly shown that after the quiet initial phase, the steep climb follows: In Norway, 50% of newly registered vehicles will be e-mobile or hybrid by 2017.

Then, Mr. Bräuninger continues to argue, the charging capacity for batteries is so low that trucks can hardly be moved over long distances.  Again only half right: e-mobility is currently being discussed primarily for passenger transport. No one is talking about battery-operated trucks at the moment, nor about battery-operated trains or large aircrafts.

And then comes the killer argument of the holiday trip - with which the author conjures up the horror scenario of endless queues of cars at the giant gas stations, because everyone wanted to go to Italy and to the charging station on the motorway at the same time with their e-vehicle. Sounds logical - as long as one regards the future as a linear continuation of the present like Professor Bräuninger.

But: That's not how the future works!

Just as the changes from typewriter to PC or from mobile phone to smartphone have radically changed people's behaviour, so too will the successor of the oil-based engine drive future means of transport.  In addition, a technical change rarely comes by itself and therefore future scenarios should always be considered holistically. In the case of e-mobility, autonomous driving (to name just one of several aspects to be taken into account) is also on the rise and will change the way we drive together - presumably even dramatically. If  Axel Heinrich, VW's Head of Corporate Research, is right, autonomous cars with maximum safety equipment will be able to reduce fatal accidents by 90%. This and the significantly smaller space requirement in road traffic (and thus the potential to reduce traffic routes) could be a great incentive for politicians to give this technology priority on German roads.

In the coming year, the first 100 autonomous minibuses will be tested in Hamburg, which are to receive passengers individually. This technology has the power to blur the boundaries between public buses, taxis and car sharing and, depending on technological progress, it has already become the preferred means of transport in cities within a decade.

Such mobile systems would then presumably be rented rather than owned and disappear for charging just as taxis do today: they load when there is no passenger on board. If there are traffic jams at charging stations, the user can be completely indifferent - he would not be aware of this loading process.

How about vacation?

Well, if you really want to believe that we will continue to start our holiday in Italy with a 1,200 km drive by car in the future... Then perhaps an intelligent CarSharing will come into play. Renault and the Chinese car manufacturer Neo expect batteries with a range of 1,000 km from 2020. And if that's not enough, a second car sharing vehicle is waiting somewhere halfway along the route and you change trains once.

Error in energy balance calculation

Incidentally, the energy balance in Professor Bräuninger's article is not correct either: At the time of my studies, we had similar comments from some of our physics professors, who rated it as certain that we would never be able to generate a significant proportion of renewable energies. Fortunately, that was not true. According to the German Federal Environment Agency, 31.7% of our energy is already produced from sustainable sources - and the trend continues to increase. Our neighbour Denmark already generates almost 50% of its electricity requirements from renewable energy sources - and plans to turn it into 100% by 2030.

And the process promised by Professor Bräuninger to "convert CO2 into hydrogen, gas or liquid fuels"? Well, first of all, carbon dioxide, which is made up of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms, cannot be used to produce hydrogen at best will - unless you are a medieval alchemist.

Remains the other technically feasible processes, he mentioned. The costs for these are not only, as he described,"too high at the moment", but will always remain so: In order to turn CO2 into a fuel, you need about four times as much energy as is available in the fuel produced. This is (unfortunately) a physico-chemical constant and inevitably leads to the logical question why 75% of the available energy should be wasted in order to put the remainder into the survival of theoil-based engines, even if it could be used 100% for moving e-mobile vehicles.

Those who want to plan for the future must never think linearly nor only look at the development of a technology. And whoever wants as an expert to risk making a prognosis should keep the German philosopher Artur Schopenhauer in mind, who said:
Every human being considers the limits of his or her own field of vision to be the limits of the world.

 

Image: Theo Crazzolara - Feuerwerk, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49572804

 

 

Same procedure as every year: 2018 - What 'Future Experts' really are good for

21. December 2017

HEAT: Second project on autonomous driving for Hamburg on its way

In Hamburg, a consortium has successfully tapped the federal government's funding pool. The second project is scheduled to go live in Hamburg as early as 2018.

A small, inconspicuous press release issued yesterday by the Hamburg Ministry of Economic Affairs, Transport and Innovation shows that the topic of autonomous driving in Hamburg is now gaining massive momentum: A consortium called HEAT (Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation), consisting of authorities and companies of the city of Hamburg, has successfully applied for a federal subsidy budget and plans to have the first autonomous buses drive through HafenCity as early as the second half of 2018.

In contrast to the pilot project agreed with the German railway company Deutsche Bahn (see entry of 10 July 2017), this project is not to take place in the outer, less populated and less frequented outskirts of Hamburg. Instead, the planned buses will travel through Hamburg's prestigious HafenCity.

The Senate (Hamburgs regional government) is serious about its announcement that it wants to be an exemplary host for the 2021 ITS World Congress.

Click here for the press release

Image: Deutsche Bahn AG / Uwe Miethe

HEAT: Zweites Projekt zum autonomen Fahren für Hamburg ist auf dem Weg (2)

26. October 2017

[FutureBlog] First fully autonomous vehicle on German roads: Deutsche Bahn tests electric bus

The time has come: the future of autonomous driving has begun. When does Deutsche Bahn compete with CarSharing and Taxi nationwide?

Since yesterday, the first completely autonomous vehicle has been available on the public roads of Germany. In a small town called Bad Birnbach, the autonomous Deutsche Bahn bus will be tested on a 700-metre test track before it will also be used in other cities such as Hamburg from 2018 onwards.
The vehicle was designed and built by a French company called EasyMile and has been tested in over 60 locations worldwide since 2015.

In Bad Birnbach, the small autonomous car still drives through the streets at a speed of 15 kilometres per hour and is also accompanied by an employee of Deutsche Bahn who could intervene in the journey at any time. However, both are measures that serve to secure the test, as the vehicle can travel completely autonomously on the previously surveyed route at speeds of up to 40 km/h.

The day yesterday was without doubt the milestone that will change our roads in the future. If in a few years' time the technology will be tested and further developed - why shouldn't there be small units that pick up passengers from every place and bring them to their destination like a mixture of car sharing and taxi?

Such vehicles would be much safer than human-controlled cars today, networked and coordinated with each other, and can drive through the cities like a string of pearls. Such developments would even have an impact on the urban development of the future

All information about the first public self-propelled vehicle can be found on the  Deutschen Bahn website.

Illustration: Deutsche Bahn AG / Uwe Miethe

First fully autonomous vehicle on German roads: Deutsche Bahn tests electric bus

10. October 2017

[FutureBlog] Addendum to the car debate: Paris wants to ban petrol and diesel vehicles from the city by 2030

Special conditions required for metropolises

In a radio interview, an official from the transport authority of the city of Paris said that Paris could ban cars with petrol engines as early as 2030. There would be a particular burden on metropolises such as Paris - which is why they had to start there earlier than in the rest of the country. For diesel vehicles, he also did not rule out an even earlier restriction of driving licences in the city.
France plans to ban the re-registration of such vehicles from 2040 onwards for the whole country.


Here is the current overview of planned bans:
France: from 2040 no longer approved
Paris: no longer has access to the urban area from 2030
UK: also from 2014 no registration of new vehicles with internal combustion engine
Netherlands: from 2030 no registration of new vehicles with internal combustion engine
Germany: The Greens are in favour of a ban on registration from 2030
Norway: From 2025 onwards, all new vehicles will be emission-free.


So far, however, all these data are mere announcements. There are no concrete legislative proposals in any country.


Picture by I, BrokenSphere, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2460048

Addendum to the car debate: Paris wants t

6. October 2017

Google has made the universal translator a reality.

No more communication problems: Language courses are thus largely superfluous.

A little bit lost in the latest Google product presentation was a small product at the end of the show: The Pixel Buds - two Bluetooth earphones with concentrated artificial intelligence - like everything that Google had presented on that day. The special thing about this part of the show was the demonstration of the buds with the integrated call of the Google Assistant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWb1ysqtc4o.

By simply tapping on the earphones, it became possible to call up Google's Translator and perform a practical simultaneous translation. This feature was demonstrated by two Google employees who spoke English and Swedish to each other.

Even if this function is still a bit bumpy and requires user intervention (press button): In a few years this function will be perfected and we will be able to communicate directly and without any foreign culture. Learning languages will then become a hobby for many people.

Figure: Legoland Billund, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Legoland_Indianer.jpg#/media/File:Legoland_Indianer.jpg

Google has made the universal translator a reality.

29. September 2017

China far ahead of all industrialized countries? From 2019, a quota for e-vehicles and hybrids will apply

Anyone who still has doubts that the change is imminent will be taught a better lesson.

Since 28 September, it has been clear that anyone who produces and sells noteworthy cars in China from 2019 will have to meet a quota for vehicles with alternative drives. Every tenth car must then already be equipped with electric or hybrid drive. That was announced by the Chinese government that day.
This makes it clear that China will immediately approve 10% of all vehicles from the year after next year onwards in an environmentally friendly manner. In China, just over 23 million cars have been sold in recent years, which is more than in Germany (2016:3.5 million) and the USA (2016:17.5 million) combined. In 2019, this figure is expected to rise to around 27 million vehicles, which is equivalent to an annual market of just under 3 million alternative cars.
It is also clear that, with such a large market, the pace of development of electric vehicles, which in any case has already grown massively this year, will continue to accelerate. This will be accompanied by the mileage per battery charge and, inevitably, the number of charging stations.
And once this process has begun in China, Germany and the USA, other countries will soon follow suit.

Source: FAZ

 

Abbildung: By Australian cowboy (talk) - Own work (Original text: I (Australian cowboy (talk)) created this work entirely by myself.), GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11970448

 

China far ahead of all industrialized countries? From 2019, a quota for e-vehicles and hybrids…

27. October 2016

in Imaging

The end of the Smartphones: Dawn of a new photographic market?

New study of Mayflower Concepts shows huge potential for the post-smartphone era

The global photographic industry  has lost about 75% of its business just in the past 5 years. And actual figures show: the bottom of that tendency doesn´t come in sight yet. Each supplier and brand  is currently seeking for individual ways out of this crisis. Companies shrunk themselve, release  staff and adjust their line-up to the falling demand.

But:  resources, which are reduced now, are lacking for the next generation of photo-devices, which is going to come soon.

Our recently published study

Global Imaging Business Report 2016

The end of smartphones- what will we use for photos tomorrow?

shows, that the end of the smart phone era is expected to come within the next five to eight years. And it will be followed by new technologies, which have the potential for about 350 million image capture devices every year.

By this, this new photographic market would be about three times bigger than the traditional camera market ever was.

How do you prepare your business for the future?  Have a look to the content of the report, which we have attached to this mail.

The Global Imaging Business Report 2016 can be ordered via e-mail or on our website and is available for members of the photographic industry for free.

Succeeding Smartphones - a new photo market

in Imaging

4. September 2015

in Imaging

Collapsing camera market: Have we finally reached the bottom line?

New analysis of the camera market of Mayflower Concepts brings surprising findings

A quick look at the latest data provided from Mayflower Concepts on the base of the raw data from Japanese Imaging Association CIPA could make the market participants feel slightly optimistic again. Using so-called 12 month rolling data* there seems to be at first sight a reassurance of the market. However, unfortunately, this is a misleading interpretation of reality.

  
 
A look to the details shows quickly that the world markets develop very differently and "optimism" is not yet the right expression to describe the European imaging market. 
 
Europe : compact decreases , SLR crashes - but as well mirrorless system cameras cannot increase since long any more
 
While the sales figures for compact camera** stabilized in Europe at a low level , the SLR figures ** crashed here stronger than in other world markets . In addition, the mirrorless systems in Europe develop for two years just stable and thus - in contrary to the widely published success stories - gain market share only because of the decrease of SLRs.
 
 
 
Based on the CIPA numbers can also be seen that the increase of average prices in the European markets is not happening because consumers did consciously choose more valuable, more expensive cameras: After transfering the CIPA data into local currencies using historical exchange rates , it becomes clear that the camera makers at best achieve stable average prices .
 
Mayflower Concepts will publsih a free study about the development of the global photo market this autumn. If you like to receive this study directly , please send us an email to contact@mayflower-concepts.com.
 
* We convert the raw CIPA data on into so called rolling years. So each month always shows the sales or production figures of the last 12 months. By this all seasonalities such as  Christmas or holiday shopping peaks are included in each record.

** Shipments to Europe

Collapsing camera market: Have we finally reached the bottom line?

in Imaging

15. January 2015

in Imaging

'Smartphones are not the real enemy!'

Why the photographic market collapses and how effective countermeasures could look like.

Presentation held at Consumer Electronic Show (CES) and PMA, Las Vegas, January, 2015

It is an ongoing discussion: Smart phones killed the traditional camera and photo business. But surprisingly enough: No-one ever has checked and proven that statement by analyzing the facts behind that statement.

Thanks to data, we have received from German market research company GfK, we could first time ever compare ten years of sales data for smartphones, cameras and MP-3 players.

The results are astonishing enough - and give hope, that manufacturers, service providers and trade do not need only to stand and watch the shrinking market - but can start to work on effective countermeasures.

Here you find the presentation as PDF and - even better for understanding - the full presentation as video.

In case you are using Mozilla Firefox, the PDF may not be shown correctly due to a bug in Firefox. Please download the file and open it using Adobe PDF-Reader.

 

Find here the full length presentation held at Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas (50 min)

Smartphones are not the enemy

in Imaging

4. December 2013

in Imaging

Dying market 'Photography'? A call to action to CIPA, Photoindustrie-Verband and PMA

Presentation held at Gfk Imaging Summit 2013

The imaging market is in one of the biggest crisis ever: The market for cameras is shrinking with double digit percentage year on year and - according to actual CIPA - may reach this year only 50% of what we saw just four years ago.

How to stop this? How to turn the market back to something, which inspires consumers, enhances the market and satisfies trade and manufacturers again?

Find here the presentation video.

If you like to read the presentation itself, please find it here.

In case you are using Mozilla Firefox, the PDF may not be shown correctly due to a bug in Firefox. Please download the file and open it using Adobe PDF-Reader.

 

 

Dying market Photography: A call for Action to CIPA, Photoindustrie-Verband and PMA

in Imaging

7. October 2013

 

Saving money through optimized processes in international marketing

Why companies still give away a significant portion of their marketing budgets

 

 

7

OCT

2013

Let's be honest: When have you lastly checked and adapted your marketing processes fundamentally?

The way of working in marketing has changed quite dramatically over the past 15 years : New channels (web , CRM , social networking, mobile marketing , etc), new methods and new markets always require new workflows for both, employees and agencies.

In fact, many of these workflows are existing - but organically grown rather than designed. In the best case one has simply copied and adapted
an available, well-running workflow according to the new requirements.

The greatest potential for massive budget optimizations, however, is resuting exactly from this organic growth of the processes.

 

 

Potential for savings : From € 100,000 up to several million euros per year *

Using a model calculation based on real data we at Mayflower C
oncepts have determined a cost saving potential in a six-digit range for SMEs - and up to a million Euros potential in larger enterprises - per year!* The amount of savings depends primarily on the frequency a company need to produce/rework advertising materials , web pages , manuals in different languages. And obvisously the number of markets a company is in, is another important factor.

To unfreeze those budget savings it is necessary to question the existing materials, the re-design of processes and the introduction of new methods for localization.

 

Internationalization rarely is a planned, well designed and optimized process

 

The trend to pan-European or even global marketing production has grown tremendously in the past 10 to 15 years. Hardly any company that does not try to centralizeas many marketing processes as possible - following the logic that it is cheaper to invent something once from a headquarter instead of 30 times locally.

We saw processes growing like this:
To run the production process for the first foreign market a new process is developed. For the second, third and all following markets this process the simply is copied.

As a results we see huge Ecxel spreadsheets to control translation and production processes.


5 questions to help you determine whether there is a saving potential in your company:

1. You cannot figure out the your localization costs with just one look to your budget summary?
2. Do your staff members use excel lists to control the production local language materials?
3. Please multiply the number of countries that you operate in with the yearly number of advertising materials, websites, manuals , etc. Does this number exceeds 100?
4. You cannot name the time your colleagues in local subsidiaries need to care for such processes per week?
5. In your company there are various, independent departments responsible for the creation of local materials (such as advertising materials, web pages operation manuals, etc.)

You answered any of these questions with 'yes' ? Then we should talk!

Consultancy without risk: Free for our clients

If you can not manage this redesign by yourself, we at Mayflower Concepts have a special offer : For process management in the field of localization Mayflower Concepts works for free for our clients. Our consultancy fee is based on the amount saved and will be due only with success!

Saving money through optimized processes in international marketing

3. October 2013

 

Since January:Your website is ranked down in Google search results.

But: There is a chance to move your website to the local results too - even as centrally operating brand!


 

 

3

OCT

2013

It is not well known yet: just a few months ago Google changed the ranking methodology for its search results: The first sites shown below the paid ads a preferely given to local results.

By this, Google just follows it's own findings, stating that already now 20 % of all searches on PCs  are seeking for results in the immediate vicinity - and on mobile devices this share is increasing up to 40 %.

Consequently around 7% of all search results are already local results in US (source:Google) and Germany (source: Sitrix http://www.sistrix.de/).
 
Place 1 to 5 of the
Google search results usually show paid advertisements and local results

 

This means: Other pages such as yours are clearly shifted down. A disaster - if you bear in mind that the fifth position in Google search is just clicked by 5% of user only - and click through rates (CTR) from the second page show figures belwo 1% .


Or in other words :

You lose at position 6 has 95 out of 100 potential customers - and from the second results page already 99 of the possible 100 prospects.

 

Google itself recommends to set up up an own page for each branch including an entry on Google maps. Matt Cutts ( head of Webspam team at Google ) recommends this strategy in his blog.

But: What to do, if your company operates centrally - without local branches? According to Matt Cutts there is no chance to get into the  regional results .

Our tipp: What do you do when you as a brand has only one location - involve partners !

Since January: Your website is ranked down in Google search results

2. October 2013

in Imaging

Facebook: Just eight posts to success.

Photo industry far behind - fashion in front

Brand activities on Facebook evaluated

 

 

2

OCT

2013

What are the factors for success on Facebook? What generates 'Likes', 'talk abouts' and user comments ? To figure out these factor, Mayflower Concepts and its partners have developed a tool called Socialysis , which we are testing currently. Socialysis compares  facebook users' reactions (comments, shares and likes)with the activity rate of the site operators.

For a marketing presentation at the international congress Business Forum Imaging , we put the first , very surprising results together. 280 Facebook pages from different sectors were analyzed for this.

We were curious, if we could find correlations between activities and reactions, which may help to  develop rules for an cost saving, efficient use of the medium of Facebook.

In fact, the preliminary findings suggest that one can find such rules.

One example is, that most companies
activate their fans with less than 10 own posts per week . In the observed period we found significantly higher values only from just companies in transport services (such as airlines or railroad  lines) with 40 posts per week , and fashion brands specialized on the young target group (34 posts per week ) .

 

But both branches pay for the flood of posts with a (relative) decline of consumer interest . In KPIs - the responses to these posts (post Likes ) and in the relative growth rates - both industries can be found rather in the lower third of the observed branches.

Photo business scores below average


For the preparation of our presentation at the Business Forum Imaging in Cologne we were particularlyinterested in the question of whether the photo industry benefits from the special role, images play in social networks.

In fact, it turned out that people on Facebook are much more interested in pictures as such as to the information published by photo brands, service providers and trade there.

If you are interested in further details, don't hesitate to call us or write us.

Facebook: Just eight posts to success - photo industry far behind - fashion in front

in Imaging