Archive for ‘October, 2011’

Over the weekend I dropped my iPad. It was a classic case of butter fingers and I’m so glad it was entirely my fault and nothing to do with my wife or children. It landed right on the corner, dented the casing and smashed the screen into hundreds of thumb shredding shards of toughened glass. Miraculously the device still worked perfectly. I couldn’t find anything wrong with it despite the fall except for of course the screen was criss-crossed with dozens of spider like cracks and resembled a cheese grater to the touch. I made an appointment at the Genius Bar of our local Apple Store at the Touchwood Centre in Solihull to find out what the damage to my wallet would be.

The Genius Bar in Solihull was pretty busy today. Lots of folks with problems with their iPhone and Macbooks, but the Geniuses were working hard to clear the backlog of appointments. My appointment with the Geniuses was booked for 2pm and it was about 2.25 before I was seen by anyone, but no matter I could see how busy it was. I told my Genius exactly what happened and it didn’t take him long to assess the damage. He asked me a couple of technical details about the accident in order to help improve future designs.

“What sort of surface did it fall onto?”
“Umm concrete…. No tarmac”

“What height did it fall from?”
“Umm this high” raising my hand to my chest…

“Did it slip out of your hands?”
“No if fell from a pile of stuff I was carrying…”

“Have you got insurance?”
“Yes, but I think that a repair won’t be covered by the excess…”

My Genius prods all this information into his weird little iPod Touch device, examines the damage and takes down details of serial number and so on…

“You’ve only had this a couple of weeks…” says he.
I reply in the affirmative and babble on about it being used at work for development and presenting before trying to press him about how long it will take to repair and how much it will cost.

“I tell you what,” he says, “how about I just replace it free of charge on the condition that you don’t drop it again?”

I’m speechless…. “yeah, of course, fantastic” I splutter.
I can’t believe it. He calls upstairs for a replacement unit and continues with the paperwork while I manage to pick up my lower jaw from the floor. The replacement iPad pitches up and is an exact match except it arrives in a non-descript cardboard box instead of the swish white retail packaging.

“Here you go” my Genius continues, “I’ll take this and here’s your free replacement. Have you backed up your iPad profile?”
I nod….
“What about erasing the data off this one” he asks….

I wipe my old iPad and before its even finished its bundled into a box, tagged and sent back upstairs. One more thing, I’m asked to confirm my name, email address and sign some paperwork and that’s me done….

Wow… just wow. I still can’t believe what has just happened, even a couple of hours after the event. What an awesome feat of customer service. I still can’t figure out how and why that happened. The paperwork that I received by email mentions a gesture of goodwill, but that doesn’t explain the commercials behind what just happened.


Here’s a little snippet from the repair paperwork. Note the Proposed Resolution.

The email address I used was my work email and isn’t connected to my Apple account, so its not as if they were able to deduce I’m a valued iTunes customer even if I was. I don’t remember stating I worked for an App developer, so that can’t have been a factor. However the cost of replacing my iPad free of charge means they have got me hooked as a loyal customer, but surely they don’t do that for everyone with a smashed up iPad, do they? Actually I don’t care about the rationale behind it, I’m just so happy about the outcome. And there’s more. I asked whether my new iPad was a reconditioned one or a brand new one. It’s brand new – apparently a reconditioned one “wouldn’t be very good customer service would it?”

Thank you to the Apple Store in Solihull. For replacing my smashed iPad free of charge, you have won my vote for the award of the most awesome demonstration of customer service skillz…. EVER!

Related Posts:
SLIDES: Singapore Keynote
SLIDES Tablet Strategy Bootcamp
Video: Tablets – is aviation ready for the post-pc era?

Author: Paul Saunders

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Conduce Consulting are proud to announce that we have been selected by TR Fleet to design, develop, integrate and implement a web application for their innovative new service Drive Secure. TR Fleet have an unparalleled reputation in the field of Vehicle Fleet Management and have recently developed the new Drive Secure service to assist employers to meet their duty of care requirements with regards to business drivers.
Conduce have already worked with TR Fleet on implementing a bespoke Customer Relationship Management application which has led to further implementation work and now a major development project. Conduce Consulting will be working in partnership with sister company Conduce Software to deliver a software application over a number of phases which is intended to grow with the Drive Secure service.
For more information about TR Fleet and the Drive Secure product please visit their website at www.tr-fleet.co.uk
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This week Microsoft have released their latest vision of the future in their YouTube video “Productivity Future Vision”. I was reminded that they did something very similar a couple of years ago. Here are the two videos together:

2009

2011

We like this kind of stuff at Conduce. Its striking how similar the two videos are with touchscreens, contextualised applications and immersive technology at the centre of their themes. They’ve even used a couple of the same actors. The subtle differences are equally striking. I noticed there is much more focus on augmented reality in the 2011 video and the user interface of all the applications is very Windows Metro-y, slightly cleaner and less cluttered.

So how long before we get to experience this world of technology? Five to ten years? I for one welcome our new technological overlords!

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Video: Tablets – is aviation ready for the post-pc era?

Author: Paul Saunders

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Part 2 – Women in Aviation & Aerospace Conference: The Afternoon.

After a rather splendid al fresco lunch on the terrace overlooking Hyde Park it was back to proceedings and the next session was split into 3 breakout workshops. I decided to go and sit in on the ’20 things you may not know about maternity rights’: the practical and legal aspects of combining motherhood and a career, given by Louise Grendon, a consultant solicitor with Keystone Law.  Whilst the small number who attended was not a reflection on the quality of the workshop the questions fired at Louise came thick and thin, and for those who attended and were pregnant it offered a really good opportunity to ask questions they had had difficulty getting proper answers to elsewhere. Nonetheless, for those who went along with more of ‘an employer’s head’ on it was clear and concise and definitely gave me some pointers especially concerning male-centric companies often not even having maternity policies in place.
The final speaker was the formidable Dr Helen Walker an astronomer by training currently working at CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. She talked about Mars, she showed some awesome films and pictures from explorations to Mars. More importantly, I think we could have sat there and listened to her for a quite a while longer. She rocked! In fact, if she was your granny, you would so be the coolest kid in the playground. And she delivered her speech with great comic timing and if she didn’t intend it, she definitely got laughs in all the right places. The best bit though was definitely when, by her own admission, she, an astronomer, was struggling to work her laptop to show us the film clip! Seriously, you couldn’t script this stuff.  
After the conference concluded there was a pleasant drinks reception, which given that the sun was still shining late in to the day, was held out on the terrace. Lots of mingling and chatting about work, oh, and home life, children etc., as women do. Business cards were even swapped: we were all too busy on arrival in the morning to start handing them out to strangers you see! I definitely think women see no benefit in distributing/collecting business cards to/from people with whom they haven’t had a good old chat.
So would I go again? Recommend it to other females in the industry? Absolutely! The conference was interesting, it was relevant in parts to my job, it was a networking opportunity, it was a chance to share my experiences and it made you proud to realise that most of the females there were working in positions within the industry other than those stereotypical roles that are often associated with girls. 
My award however, for ‘Best Irony at a Women-only Conference’ goes jointly to Dr Ruth Mallor, who recounting some of her experiences, said that sometimes, along the way, it really seemed that Men are from Mars, Women from Venus and Dr Helen Walker, talking about tests to see if there was life form on Mars. I definitely think there is a punch line somewhere in there! Let you decide what it is.
Oh and as for Hilda Hewlett, Dr Helen Walker hit the nail on the head by aptly answering that if the old bird were still around today, she would most probably be trying to fly to Mars, and then onto Venus, of course.
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This week has been a bit crazy. I’ve been over in Singapore for the Asia/Pacific leg of the Aircraft Commerce Airline & Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference. The conference was a great personal success with two presentations which went down very well with my fellow delegates.

On my way home my presentation made it to the front page of Slideshare.net and got over 30000 hits. I’m still not sure if this is true or whether I’m having a vivid jet-leg fuelled hallucination. In any case here’s how I did it.How to make it on to the front page of Slideshare

View more presentations from Paul Saunders

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Author: Paul Saunders

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I hadn’t heard of these conferences run by the Royal Aeronautical Society before nor did I know anyone who had attended any previous ones so I really didn’t know what to expect, well other than expecting not to see any men in attendance (but I wasn’t even sure about that). Was it a conference just for women in the industry or a conference about women in the industry? I wasn’t entirely certain to be honest but I was definitely looking forward to it.
The venue for the conference was the magnificent Royal Aeronautical Society in London, nestled away on a side street near to Hyde Park. Just stepping inside the building and being bowled over by its interior beauty was what set this conference apart from the start. Only women could break the ice with other females they had just met or were queuing behind for the Ladies over the beautiful staircase or the toile de jouy wallpaper in the loos. By the time the registration and coffee were over I had introduced myself to and met more conference delegates than I ever had at any other mixed gender event. The setting was definitely conducive to easing the fairer sex into striking up dialogue with strangers. The ‘less fairer’ sex often just thrust their business cards at you before you have had a chance to read their name tag. As far as I was concerned, the day could only get better, and it did.
Opening the day was Professor Dame Ann Dowling who gave a great insight into the Silent Aircraft Project she was leading. This presentation was right up my street given my airline background so whilst it may have been slightly on the technical side for some I found it really fascinating and have even had a poke about on the internet since I got home getting more information about the project so it obviously worked it for me.
Next up was Gail Hewlett, granddaughter-in-law of Hilda Hewlett, the first British women to gain a pilot’s licence, and set up and run the first flying school in the United Kingdom. In a nutshell, I would recommend anyone to read the book ‘Old Bird’, written by Gail. However what struck me most about this presentation was that, apart from some wonderful pictures she showed us at the end, Gail just stood there and quite simply told the audience the story. It has been a long time since I sat and listened to anyone telling me a story and I had forgotten just how dreamy it is to listen to someone, especially given that Gail has a lovely ‘story telling’ kind of voice, telling a story. She definitely did Hilda proud. In the question and answers that followed someone asked Gail what she thought the ‘old bird’ would have been doing today if she were still around. I think that question was answered quite nicely during the last presentation of the day.
More female innovators followed in Emily Teesdale’s informative presentation. Emily, a Patent Attorney, gave a really useful run through about Patents and Designs. And she did what it said on the tin, she took quite a complex subject and made it not only understandable but delivered it in an engaging manner. I myself found this presentation really useful from a business perspective and I didn’t realise how many female innovators of everyday stuff there had been (blogs on that subject to follow). Given that it was such a useful presentation it would be a shame if it didn’t find its way on to Slideshare for others to view.
Dr Ruth Mallor saw the morning session out with what can only be described as one of the most inspiring presentations I have seen. Again, I wouldn’t even describe it as a presentation; it was more like she was chatting to us. Absolutely no bearing on Ruth but I can’t even remember if she was showing slides. No idea whatsoever, but what I do remember about Ruth’s time on the stage was pretty much every single thing she said. 
What Ruth did was connect with the audience by speaking quite openly about how she got to where she is today in the face of male adversity. She shared with us some quite personal experiences and anecdotes: a few of us commented afterwards that we sensed she was actually welling up in places (as was I just listening to her). She talked about motivating the next generation, especially through female-focussed initiatives, by opening up the world of science, technology and engineering careers to school children, who to be fair, in some walks of life probably don’t even know these jobs even exist. She spoke about being on school boards and running work experience schemes. And that’s not even her day job. 
So as a homage to her presenting concept (sorry, bit of an ‘in joke’, you had to be there really) ‘three’ cheers for Ruth for stepping in with 48 hours notice to fill this slot. To conclude, I really, really liked this lady.
And so it was time for lunch…always something to look forward to and given the morning’s line up I was also looking forward to the afternoon session starting.

Related Blogs:
International Women’s Day – Miss Virginia Campbell
Education Comes Full Circle

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We are seeing on an almost daily basis how Social Media is influencing our life and our decisions, whether keeping in touch with friends on Facebook or following our favourite companies on twitter, Social Media is fast becoming the go-to source of new and information.

Airlines have been engaging with their customers for many years through Loyalty and Frequent Flyer programs and the following articles by SimpliFlying showing how the future of Social Media Powered Loyalty Programs is here!  Click the links to ‘See More’!

The future of loyalty programs will be powered by social media
BY SHASHANK NIGAM | SEPTEMBER 28TH, 2011

Did you know that over 80% of members of an airline loyalty program never earn enough miles to redeem a flight? And most of the other 20% fly so much that the last thing they want to do is to step on another plane! Do you see why some loyalty program managers are worried?
For airlines, the future of frequent flyer programs is now a pressing question, given the growth of social technologies. As such, many airlines are now rushing to find ways of driving social loyalty. Some of these have been covered in our slide-deck on the ‘Top 10 Social Loyalty Initiatives by Airlines’.

 See More Here:  http://bit.ly/qc75lU

Follow up to the Infographic…a very interesting Slide Deck on the Future of social Media based Loyalty Programs!  Click the links to ‘See More’!

Why the future of loyalty programs will be social-media based
BY SHUBHODEEP PAL | SEPTEMBER 30TH, 2011

A couple of days ago we released an exclusive infographic on how The Future of Loyalty Programs will be powered by Social Media. Given the excellent response it has received on Twitter as well as the blogosphere, we thought we’d go ahead and offer some more detailed insights into the current loyalty game and how social platforms are becoming increasingly important to it. 

View more presentations from Shashank Nigam

See More Here:  http://bit.ly/nX5GHt

  
Estonian Air makes history in loyalty marketing
In late October 2011, Estonian Air will launch a new social loyalty programme for its customers and fans, aiming to reward customers for not only flying the airline but also for being strong advocates online. This way Estonian Air creates history in loyalty marketing, being the first airline in the world launching social loyalty programme.

Estonian Air makes history in loyalty marketing from Estonian Air on Vimeo.

See More Here:  http://bit.ly/pNqLE5

Author : Charmaine Taraporvala

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Here are the slides from my keynote speech at the Aircraft Commerce Airline & Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference in Singapore from earlier today.Tablets: is aviation ready for the post-pc era – Singapore 2011

View more presentations from Paul Saunders

I was asked to give the presentation which I gave earlier in the year at the European leg of the conference, but I updated the content slightly for latest and greatest facts and figures. As per my presentation on day one, it was well received and there were some interesting questions from the other delegates.

I’m planning on doing a conference write up in the next few days once I am back in the UK. Watch this space.

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Testing Software is Child’s Play

Author: Paul Saunders

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Here are the presentation slides from my workshop “Tablet Strategy Bootcamp” which I gave earlier today at the Aircraft Commerce Airline & Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference in Singapore.Tablet strategy bootcamp

View more presentations from Paul Saunders

The presentation went really well and was very well attended… It was standing room only (bring your own chair). There was some lively debate and some very nice input from a number of delegates. Watch out for my Keynote speech tomorrow which I am giving at 9am local time tomorrow. I’ll try and get posted to the blog before my flight….

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Testing Software is Child’s Play

AircraftIT for iPad submitted to the App Store
Tablet Strategy Step 1: Buy an iPad

Author: Paul Saunders

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AircraftIT for iPad, is now available for FREE download on the iTunes App Store.

Preview AircraftIT for iPad here

Conduce Software were commisioned to develop an iPad app which would complement the vendor neutral Aviation IT website AircraftIT on the 27th of September 2011. After submitting the completed app to the iTunes App Store on the 7th of Oct we are delighted to announce that after only 5 days approval time version 1.0.0 is now ready for free download.

AircraftIT, which was launched earlier this year as a spin-off of the highly successful series of Aviation MRO & Operations IT Conferences is the brainchild of Aircraft Commerce’s Ed Haskey and was developed by Conduce Software’s sister company Dreamscape Design. Having analysed the amount of visitors accessing the website with iPads it made perfect sense to provide an app with optimised content that would allow for offline access to media and resources that the website provides to its users. The Conduce team consulted with AircraftIT to design a useful app that boosted the profile of the website, yet allowed users to take advantage of some of the website’s rich content whilst offline. One factor that was very important to AircraftIT was to make the app instantly usable and available on the app store in a very short period of time. In order to to this Conduce Software proposed a phased development approach which would allow an initial version to be released and approved on the App Store with one eye on developing more complex functions in future versions. It was our aim to have the app available in time for the Aircraft Commerce Airline & Aerospace MRO IT & Operations IT Conference in Singapore on the 18th and 19th of October.

The initial version of AircraftIT for iPad allows users to register on the AircraftIT website and read the current bi-monthly eJournals. Future versions will allow for back copies of journals to be read and software demonstration webinars to be viewed as well as extending other features of the website.

Please contact us for information about Conduce Software’s bespoke iOS development services.

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