Four Ways Augmented Reality will Invade your Life in 2013

With the impending arrival of Google Glass, augmented reality, long the stuff of science fiction, will soon be invading our every waking moment. It will turn us into faster learners, gamifying our everyday lives, transforming our to-do lists into streams of real-world next actions, and making advertising more intimate (and invasive) than ever. Next week, innovators from around the globe will gather for 2013’s Augmented Realty World Expo to show off some of the most useful—and improbable—applications of augmented reality. Here are some of the earth-shattering ways in which blending the virtual and digital worlds could change our lives.

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What is Social Media, Anyway? (And Why Managers Should Care)

What is social media? Seems like a simple question, doesn’t it?

Despite the considerable amount of attention paid to social media by business, the press, and academia, I’d argue that we still don’t have a clear understanding of what social media actually is.

When asked to define social media, most people probably rely on something similar to Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of obscenity: “I know it when I see it.” For these people, the definition of social media is formed by its most high-profile examples — Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

One problem with this definition is that these tools are moving targets with continually changing features. Another problem is that these tools are primarily consumer-oriented platforms that may not reflect the many possibilities of social media for business. They encompass part, but not all, of the term. Strike one.

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor‘s insight:

Managers need to keep up with what social media is becoming and how to use it.

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Developing Winning Products for Emerging Markets

A large automaker designed, developed, and—with appropriate fanfare—launched a commercial truck in India’s burgeoning and highly competitive market. The vehicle was engineered to let owners in a range of emerging markets run the trucks longer and faster, and at a relatively low operating cost. Higher asset utilization, company leaders believed, would improve profits for truck owners and, ultimately, the automaker.

The truck was a disappointment. The company hadn’t adequately accounted for India’s poor roads and infrastructure, which often prevent vehicles from maintaining the most efficient operating speeds. Even though the truck’s price was competitive against local offerings—and half that of a comparable vehicle in developed markets—in the buyers’ eyes the potentially higher utilization wasn’t worth the expense.

Think this was a ham-fisted multinational dabbling in a market it didn’t fully understand? Think again: the automaker was based in India. To be sure, multinationals tend to suffer such setbacks more often than local players do, but this company’s example underscores the difficulty of understanding customer needs in fast-changing emerging markets.

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor‘s insight:

To master the extremes of a fast-changing competitive landscape, challenge your company’s assumptions about designing, developing, and manufacturing products for these regions. A McKinsey Quarterly article.

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Breadwinner Mums

A record 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The share was just 11% in 1960.

These “breadwinner moms” are made up of two very different groups: 5.1 million (37%) are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands, and 8.6 million (63%) are single mothers.1

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor‘s insight:

Mothers Are the Sole or Primary Provider in Four-in-Ten Households with Children. The Public Conflicted about the Growing Trend.

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Middle Class Growth in Emerging Markets

By 2030, three billion people are expected to enter the middle class, mostly in emerging markets. Our report explores the relevant opportunities for businesses

The nineteenth century industrial revolution created a substantial Western European and American middle class, which grew again after the Second World War – a spurt which this time included Japan.

Today this is happening in the emerging markets (EMs).

In Asia alone, 525 million people can already count themselves middle class — more than the European Union’s total population. Over the next two decades, the middle class is expected to expand by another three billion, coming almost exclusively from the emerging world.

This paper looks at this growth and how it will change both developing and developed worlds.

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Seven Strategies for Simplifying Your Organization

Over the past several years we have heard hundreds of managers talk about the negative impact of complexity on both productivity and workplace morale. This message has been reinforced by the findings of major CEO surveys conducted by IBM and KPMG [PDF], both of which identified complexity as a key business challenge.

Agreeing on complexity as a problem is one thing, but doing something about it is quite another — particularly for managers who are already over-worked, stressed, and can barely keep up with their current workload. In fact, the Catch-22 of complexity is that most managers don’t feel that they have the time to focus on it: Having the problem precludes the ability to solve it.

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor‘s insight:

The Catch-22 of organizational complexity is that most managers don’t have the time to fix it.

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Smartphone Users Spend Almost One Hour Each Day On Their Devices

A report by Experian shows just how much time Americans devote to their mobile devices. U.S. mobile users spend 58 minutes on their smartphones each day, with texting and calling taking up the majority of that time.

Here’s the total breakdown:

  • Calling: 26%
  • Texting: 20%
  • Social Media: 16%
  • Browsing the web: 14%
  • Email: 9%
  • Games: 8%
  • Camera and GPS: 2%
  • Other: 9%

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