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Talk to the hand because the brand ain't listening

Looking into the top lists of hotel loyalty programs in 2017, there is one common factor that begs the question:

Where is the promise of exclusive and individual service? Customers are often treated as pure data, based on how much and how often they spend with the brand. In these listings, some of the most personalized services called “Insider benefits” meant including complimentary internet access, discounted room rates or exclusive access to discounted vacation packages. As most of the hotels already provide free and limitless internet access, and “exclusive access to discounted vacation packages” doesn't really sound that luring, it raises the question of how these brands can retain their loyal customers
City lights, large

Brand switching seems to be a common issue for many companies nowadays. A loyalty program that treats customers based on numbers doesn’t create brand loyalty or an experience that attracts customers to stay with a specific brand. In all simplicity, relying on a point-based discount loyalty program isn’t enough anymore, since it doesn't take into account the share that customers spend with other brands. According to a survey by Deloitte’s Travel, Hospitality and Leisure practice roughly one third of hotel loyalty members are at risk of switching their preferred brand, and 50 percent of their annual hotel spend is not with their preferred brand. In the hospitality industry a retention rate of a mere 45% is considered adequate, but it also points out that brands could do more to have their customers return. Studies show that a returning customer can spend up to 167% more than a first-timer, and that the customer acquisition cost is generally 7 to 11 times more expensive than customer retention. The conclusion of these studies suggests brands should rebuild their loyalty program by encouraging specific behavior with unexpected rewards, making rewards personally meaningful, not penalizing behavior that loyalty programs encourage and by reshaping the customer experience. These suggestions are identical to the solutions PRE:MIND offers to its client brands.

PRE:MIND makes this data actionable

If the customer could be recognized by your staff, the opportunity of creating a meaningful level of customer loyalty and utilizing the knowledge of customer preferences could be used to preserve brand loyalty. The common pattern is that the relationship between the customer and the hotel they frequently stay at, is actually between the customer and a specific staff member - not the brand itself. Teaching new staff individually to recognize a frequent stayer would not only be inefficient but also time consuming, if not impossible. On top of that, the data for solving this problem already exists: consuming frequency and amounts are listed within the loyalty programs, and the staff is aware of how an individual regularly wishes to be treated. Some brands have moved their CRM-data into cloud services, yet still struggle to utilize that information in its fullest potential. PRE:MIND makes this data actionable to our client brands, and brings all these components into one platform. If the knowledge of a customer’s preferences and their consuming patterns with the brand could be shared between all staff members, the experience wouldn’t be restricted as personal communication between individuals—it would be communication with the whole brand.

Read more about what PRE:MIND can do on https://pre-mind.com.


Blipster registration @ Jakarta
Registering participants
The registration process has opened at the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta

Blipster continues to provide valuable data for stakeholders

Thanks to its implemented ground-breaking technology, Blipster was invited to show-case its usefulness during the Industry Platforms’™ IoT-event that was held in Jakarta, Indonesia, between 15-16 August 2016.

Event space under construction @ Marriott, Jakarta
Event space under construction
The event space, which consisted of over 2000m²

In the event space, which consisted of over 2000m² (21.500sqf), and was populated by over 200 attendees, the Blipster platform handled – with the help of over 40 individually placed hot spots – the tracking of everyone’s movements and interactions due to the 30M data points collected during the events’ duration.

Big Data was estimated to have generated $125B worldwide in 2015, but extremely few companies or services in the IoT-sector are capable to capture the movement of known individuals in a closed environment – such as an event space, hospital, school or kindergarten – as Blipster is proven to do.

brain training

We are very happy to announce that another eight of our puzzle- and brain-games from our library have been chosen in scientific studies at an American University. 

That means that so far, a grand total of 10 of our games, have been used for psychological studies and treatments. The first two games were 25 Boxes and rlax, which both have been part of extensive research trials since 2012. 25 Boxes was used for cognition research at the university while rlax was part of a stress trauma treament program in an another university, in Moscow, Russia.

In this latest study, data and results from each game is collected at a very detailed level to help to analyze the patients progress during a longer duration of time, creating and collecting invaluable information for the research teams.

As the NDA is soon comming to an end, we will be able to provide you with more details about the process, and what the results has tought us, from our cognitive games, apps and programs.

Making censorship circumvention efficient and for a cause
Making censorship circumvention efficient and for a cause

Alkasir is a software developed for the promotion of freedom and knowledge and does that for free. The software does not require any display of advertisements, nor does it require subscription payments. The program's ability to track censorship of individual ISPs in every country of the world makes it a unique research tool, in order to academically study the trends of censorship worldwide and hence, contributes to knowledge by presenting verifiable empirical data on censorship that is collected with the help of thousands of Alkasir users around the globe.

“Alkasir” is the English transliteration of الكاسر, which is the Arabic word for “the circumventor” or “the breaker” as a way to metaphorically signal its main task of breaking through digital firewalls and allowing users access to blocked websites. It was originally developed by Walid Al-Saqaf, a Yemeni journalist & software developer who had been subjected to censorship himself and decided to start a movement to confront and map censorship in the Arab world, which explains the source of its naming.

Today however, Alkasir allows users around the world to circumvent (bypass) censorship of URLs and simultaneously, helps keep track of patterns of URL blocking. It is predominantly used by persons in countries where there is censorship of political content such as news, opinion articles, blog entries, forum discussions, political videos, etc., but can also be used in any other country.

For Mapping and Circumventing Cyber Censorship

Alkasir 2.0 BETA has just recently been released and is currently being experimented by many users around the world. Our most senior developers at 23C have been working on it for over a year, and spent extensive time to ensure that it uses the most robust and versatile open-source libraries – including Tor's latest pluggable transport (obfs4) – and has implemented an API to allow reading anonymous statistics gathered from users across the globe

One of the unique features of Alkasir is its ability to keep you informed about which URLs are still blocked and which are not. The automatic update built-in feature of Alkasir makes allows it to track if any previously blocked URLs have been unblocked and removes it automatically from its database locally on the computer and on the database. Hence, it serves as a source of information about censorship patterns.

Dr. Walid Al-Saqaf
2010 TEDGlobal Fellow Walid Al-Saqaf's website, Yemeni Portal, was blocked by Yemen government in 2008. Listen to Walid as he talks through the birth of Alkasir 1.0 – the software that is preventing his site (and thousands of others) from being censored

“A cross-platform, open-source and robust website censorship circumvention tool that also maps censorship patterns around the world”

Alkasir 2.0 is open-source and its code is available for access directly in GitHub to fork. We see it as important to contribute to available open-source circumvention solutions, as it is to introduce new ideas and creative solutions to the ongoing problem of censorship online. Please consider participating with your thoughts and skills if you share similar feelings, either by getting in touch with us by e-mail or by collaborating on GitHub.

Initial feedback indicates that the software is indeed operating with good speed. However, enhancements to the interface, more languages, and improved functionality to deal with various settings are being planned. Thanks to the vast international support and ongoing help, mostly by NGO's – but also by individuals and others – the development of an Android version will commence shortly as soon as usability tests, interviews, and field studies, has completed. Even though an application with such an importance for political activists – who have a very strong self-interest in using the tool – it's imperative that there are no artificial barriers when assisting people to create their own future, or some might even be dissuaded.

Alkasir has been featured in many notable publications, such as Wired, The Guardian, CNN (video), Huffington Post, and Fusion.

You can download Alkasir, as it's available for Windows 32- & 64-bit, Mac OSX and Linux/GTK

Thomas Kunambi, the former CEO of 23C, has embarked on a voyage in order to recreate the 23C success story. This time, in Singapore.

Why open an office in Singapore?

Thomas: 23C has a growing presence in South East Asia - and as we've completed many projects for a number of global clients such as MediaTek, TNS, and Ikano - we are experiencing a growing interest from our Asian clients to help them adapt their offerings to the global market. In contrast to increasing globalization, end-user demands and fierce competition is forcing companies to adapt to local prerequisites. Our Singapore office will be able to help our clients expand into new markets with glocalised offerings based on what their customers really need and desire, now and in the future.

What made you decide to move to Singapore?

Thomas: The region and the mix of different cultures intrigue me. The fast-paced market, the vibrant and exciting start-up scene, and the tight-knit yet open-hearted business community here in Singaporea really sealed the deal for me. Also, for me, Singaporean food is only rivaled by the South Vietnamese kitchen!

Which are the growing markets?

Thomas: There are of course a lot of differences throughout South East Asia. Looking at the ASEAN area I believe digital life, health care, retail & customer retention, and other mobile related services, all have growth potential.

Do you have any recommendations for companies entering the Asian market?

Thomas: Be very attentive - there are many things that are said without being spoken. Being active in ASEAN is an investment for the future. It’s a great opportunity to follow software-, hardware-, and business development up close, to better and faster understand in which direction the future is pointing.
Development is unbelievable fast and they often leapfrog Europe and US in launching new generations of services and products.

Welcome to drop by the new office at Singapore Land Tower (MRT Raffles Place) or contact Thomas Kunambi at thomas.kunambi@23c.sg or +65 9613 6881.

Mircea Petza, CEO of 23C, can be reached on either mircea.petza@23c.se or +46 760 511 044