Internet of Things: a Marketing Revolution

Working with Marketing teams to develop  IoT solutions or products is one of the challenges we have in Carriots. This happens because Internet of Things has changed  the vision of some aspects in marketing related with connected products, like: the product lifecycle, the customer engagement or the quality of the service.

Managing the product lifecycle – imagine that you buy a car. Traditionally a car had not a connexion with Internet. Nowadays, most of cars are connected in many different ways and that situation generate new management opportunities and challenges:

  • New business models: most of vehicules are connected products that offer new services to users. On the first year these services can be free and after that they mostly start to have a cost per year or trimestre. The weather service or the parking information can be some examples. This “add-on” is indeed a new business model for brands that obtain new benefits after the sell and now marketers need to learn how to manage this. For example marketers now need to focus on the conversion process of a free trial service into a subscription.
  • New software updates that offer new features. Software updates have become a daily routine, where our mobile apps constantly add new features and this is also becoming normal in connected products using software in the user experience like a Tesla car. Imagine the power to introduce new features to the product by downloading an actualization that transforms the product into  something different from when the customer acquired it.

 

Photo by Laura Gariglio 3
Photo by Laura Gariglio

Customer engagement.-

  • Some weeks ago we wrote a post about that ( you can read it here) . The conclusion was that now you have real data about your clients and how is their relationship with your products. If you offer them something in exchange (for example, the weather forecast for free in the cars) the customers might share with you information about how they use your product.
  • But is not only this, marketers can also track information about how the customers share their product usage in social media . This is information about how people use your product and it is a good feedback.  Marketers here can play a big role, not only analyzing that data . They can cheer up people to use their media to share experiences and create challenges for the customers. Nike, for example, has a big community of runners using their products and sharing information (#justdoit).  

Quality of service.

  • For companies: Like recently was in our post about Condition Monitoring and how Internet of Things are changing the maintenance processes. Including some sensor in products and introducing IOT Data Analytics you can improve a product. A better maintenance increases security and reduces costs. The company not only sells just a product, it is now a connected product that offers new quality guaranties that were impossible before.
  • For customers: Internet of Things can change your relationship with a product. Recently, Jaguar and Shell announced that they launched together the first in-car payment system. It works via Shell app and Shell service stations and is a part  of the new jaguar XE, XF and the F-Pace.The system provides a new step in the quality of service  for both companies: Shell offers something different from another’s gas stations, a benefit for customer: commodity. And Jaguar offers to their clients a new experience, another option. For sure, we will see more of this type of alliance in the near future.

jagshellcashlesspaymentimage15021710-resize-1024x768 (1)

 

Internet of Things is a marketing revolution in someway, because the teams need to have a deep knowledge about  this new features and services that no were available before.

Design Thinking for Internet of Things

To launch an Internet of Things product is easy. The difficulty is to launch a good IoT product that solves a real consumer need or  improves a process in a factory. This means, create something to have an utility and usability and  take advantage of the IoT possibilities. Here, is where design thinking can help you. This trendy path involves company multidisciplinary teams in order to prioritize the user’s preferences or necessities. This is is the center of design thinking, realizing that  people have something to say about the products they will use. If you can include  the possibilities of IoT on it, probably your new product has less risks when you will decide to launch it in the market. With IoT, the product, the “things” can tell you too, how to improve a design. For example, an IoT product sends information about how the consumer use it and you can include these preferences to build another one or to include new features ( the real customer experience). If you know well the customer experience journey, it will be easy to have a good product design.  

Photo by Defi de la Rua
Photo by Delfi de la Rua

Some agencies around the world are now working in Design Thinking for all type of business working with very qualified and multidisciplinary teams. One of them is Altair. They have a specific lab to help companies in product design and include all the process: from the concept design and prototype to the test and prototyping.

AltairTL

Another example well know is Fjordnet a company bought by Accenture in 2013. They have a portfolio of works that you can see at their website. One of them was with the airline company Finnair and the objective was to change the customer experience and improve it with a digital solution around the complete travel of a customer and not only the flight.

Finnair

They are a few product design companies, like Enero, smaller but  specialized in IoT products and design.   

If you want to know more about Design Thinking , here are some book recommendations to start:

Book Designing Connected Products

Book The Design of Everyday Things

Designing Connected Products have been writing for different authors and describes well all the path: From the differences of user experience with Iot products, the technology of connected devices , how to translate the research in products definitions, prototyping,….

If you are new to design and want to start with the basics, a good start is: The Design of Every Day Things was published for first time in 1988. the author Don Norman is an electric Engineer and a Phycologist and he puts in value concepts related with human behaviour, design and things.A must.

 

5 Business Ideas to Automatize Processes with IoT

The Internet of Things and Cloud Computing have been accelerating the digitization of different economic sectors from the last 30 years. This is exactly the case of the Industrial Sector, where pioneers, started decades ago working on digitization and process automation, always looking better efficiency in their processes to be more competitive. This digital revolution of  Process Automation started in the fabrication area, inside the factories,  where the computers started managing connected machines and business systems.

Ten year ago, match in time  with the first mobility technologies and other technologies like Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) or GPS Systems in real time, another process started in the factories: the automation of processes outside factories, like logistic systems. Nowadays it seems normal to see traceability packages from factories to clients or in other areas of supply chain like inventory warehouse. Since a few year ago, many companies in different sectors are including Internet of Things in their strategies to transform and digitalize their businesses. The consequences  of introducing this tech are various and can give an answer to many different cases. The Process Automation outside factories is a good illustration about the use of IoT technologies to cost reduction and better efficiency.

When a company decides to transform their products into connected products, including sensors and internet connectivity into them, on one hand they want to explore new business models and in other hand  they also can use this information to automate some processes thanks the new information available or remote control over the products.There are so many examples already available, for example about Condition Monitoring ( we wrote a post about that here with a few examples)  on of them is Max, an elevator of Thyssen Krupp.

In the lift case,The elevators companies can introduce IoT in their maintenance processes and  include some sensors to receive information, analyze that and can predict some errors or failures before they happen. This improvement is a big change because now you can have the information in real time and before this specific information was only available if the maintenance team are there. The evolution of lifts towards the Internet of Things to the lift permits :

  1. Analyzing operational data from distance and improve the predictive maintenance, avoid failures  for example in some pieces that are starting to work improperly. It can automatize the maintenance, programming better scheduled calendar, including less maintenance.
  2. Improving the on-site maintenance by automating the process of provisioning the list of materials needed by the technician to do the job on the first visit. Therefore avoiding a second visit an intervention with the associated extra cost.    
  3. Automate the supervision of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) guarantee and process. Because you have real time information about availability and operation of the equipment, companies can improve their warranty service.
  4. Some quality processes can be automatize too, because now you have almost all the  statistical  information needed in the detection defective parts or production batches.  
  5. Billing processes can be improved by IoT too, for example including new variables like usage based billing usage conditions.

The Automation Process for connected objects is just one of the multiples choices  and challenges that  Internet of Things offers. If we have a map of the processes of a company, we will surely see IoT impacting in most of them. In some cases we can even see how the process is transformed from a manual process into a fully automated process.

Take for example a car rental through a mobile app . Thanks to IoT, now you can choose a car in one point of a city and return it in another place without human interaction in the process. Companies like Car2go and Emov are already this service in Madrid City.

Are you thinking to improve your business processes and be more efficiency with IoT? Contact us, tell us about your business  and we offer our best IoT solution to you.

Recently our CEO Miguel Castillo was invited by ICEMD (spanish) to write an article about Process Automation and IoT. This post is not a literal traduction but include some of his words in that.

Tutorial: How to integrate Carriots with Google Suite (Google Sheets)

Google Suite is a powerful tool you can use in an easy way in your IoT projects too. With this Tutorial, Carriots make it easy and allow important benefits for your project like:

  • Send and save data in a Google Sheet
  • Read data from a Google Sheet and use it in your IoT project in Carriots

Here is a diagram of the setup we have in the Tutorial where a RPi device uses Carriots and Google Sheet API V4 to send and read data:

Tutorial G Suite

The tutorial has 5 steps to follow and some links if you need help about some topics like Google API or how to create a listener in our platform ( this is the example we use to show you how it works). Carriots policy is to be an open IoT Platform and the benefits to be integrated with Google G Suite and Google Drive are enormous. For example it allows you to access the information wherever you are, from any device and you can share it with different people. The benefits of Google Sheet too are that you can create presentations with the data to show it. Google Sheets are a part of a Google Suite that have many resources and they are always making innovations. For example , in the next video, G-Suite explain a new feature about presentations that maybe you can see useful:

Google Suite was formerly known as Google Apps for Work and Google Apps for your Domain.

In Carriots, we believe in makings things easy, open, and useful for everyone. If you need help in any way, please use our forum to contact our team or drop us an email to support (support@carriots.com)

Enjoy it!

The last beauty secret: Internet of Things

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is one of the most important showcases to launch new electronic products. There are news in many sectors every year, and the beauty sector, which move millions of dollars around the world tries to take advantage here.  The pharmaceutical group Pierre Fabre, through the Elancyl brand, has launched a new IoT product: Le Slim Massage Coach ( you can read the french article here). The company focuses in anticellulite treatments. This product introduces a new feature in the market: the personal coach. This “ coach” runs with an mobile app too that tell you information about your progress.

slim-massage-coach

Recently we read an article in techcrunch about the well known company L´Oreal.The big emporio has a brand, Kérastase that has launched at CES, a smart hairbrush.  The brush runs with different sensors (including a microphone) and with a mobile app too. For example, the microphone detects the hair soundwaves to identify dryness, breakage or frizziness. The other sensors take information about the brushing force or speed. All the data about your hair or how you use your brush on it, are analyzed in order to recommended you special treatments or products .

These companies are big players in the beauty sector, and their brands are well know to million of consumers around the globe. They also have a very good marketing machinery behind to sell their product lines, combining IoT devices with their existing products. But technology always leaves space for innovative companies. This is the case of HIMirror Plus. The company launched a new mirror that  identifies you and analyzes your skin (including wrinkles and black spots). It can for example simulate different light scenarios in order to help with your make up or tell you about your progress. You have all the information about it in their website.

HImirrorPlusj

The business of Beauty is all about giving personalized products to your customers. All “smart beauty” products follow that approach. IoT technology is the perfect technology to transform a normal product into a connected and personalized product.  At Carriots, we have a experienced team to carry your company to the next IoT level. Let’s talk.

Happy New Year!

Carriots Happy New Year 2017

We love our job.

Every day all of us believe that our work can change the world, creating new products, improving people’s lives and giving better IoT solutions to our partners and clients in their business. We are sure 2017 is going to be very exciting, full of interesting projects, challenges, hard work and lots of fun doing it.

We hope the next year brings all of our clients, partners, friends and families only good things.

In Carriots, we are ready for 2017!

Happy New Year!

Learning about Customer Engagement with IoT products

Nowadays in the Internet of People, many businesses rely on collecting big data on how users surf the web or share content in exchange of free applications such as social media, search engines or websites. Most business analysts state that people are the product and advertising is the income.

Consumers mainly pay for physical products like Cars, TVs, smoke detectors, etc… and these products are more and more connected devices to your smart phone or directly to the Internet. This connection enables the manufacturer to offer new features like real time traffic info for cars or online content for TVs.

Imagine you buy a new car that has embedded connectivity and your dealer ask you these questions: “Are you willing to share data from your car with the manufacturer? And what do you want in exchange?”

Well you can find a similar question Accenture Report, The Internet of Things: the Future of Consumer Adoption”

Survey Accenture

So many customers are willing to share their consumer habits in exchange of a free service or Feature.

If a connected product has an active connection to the Internet then the cost of collecting info on how your customers uses your product is just a few dollars (or euros) per year. Information on customer engagement with a product is something very new and very valuable. For example it helps the designer of the product to understand how the customers use the product and how to design the new version or new features.

So the Marketing potential for manufacturers of connected products is huge. The problem is not technology. The main concern should be how these companies build a relationship with their customers to be:

  • Clearly stated: If you buy a product that collects info on your habits: you should be noticed and be aware of this.
  • Accepted by the consumer: There should be mechanisms for the consumer to “opt-out” is this data exchange.
  • Secure and Private: The manufacturer should provide ways to offer privacy through making data anonymous or control third party info exchange like brands, advertisers, friends and family.
  • Fair: Most users will only accept this data collection if there is an incentive form them.

Brand Research and Analysis companies like Altimeter Group  are already doing reports on how to craft a digital strategy and the possibilities of customer experience in IoT products. On their report you can find their recommended methodology to build your strategy:

4 steps to architecting consumer IoT experiences

Customer Engagement Analysis of connected products should be a priority of any Digital Strategy. Carriots IoT platform is already evolving to support this.

Is Blockchain a game changer for the Supply Chain?

Probably you are already familiar with the the Blockchain concept. It is like a Digital Big Bookkeeping in which the information is distributed and safely stored in many places instead of in a single bookkeeper. These places are databases that offer  the  guarantee that the information is always true using the Blockchain algorithms. Using Blockchain for record and track transactions can be useful in many ways, one of the most interesting is the traceability of products, like food. This can revolutionize the food supply chain  and this is precisely the idea of initiatives like Provenance.

Provenance  defines itself like a “platform  that empowers brands to take steps toward greater transparency by tracing the origins and history of products”. They use blockchain, for example  in a pilot about tracking tuna from Indonesia with a traceability tool: a great idea, don’t you think? This  pilot was developed from january to june this year, tracking yellowfin and tuna fish from fisherman to export stage. And at the end of the chain, consumers  have access to all the information about the product:  from the data of the tuna catches to  the conversion in factories in tuna cans. The quality, the ethic, the day of the catches …  this is the revolution, the access to the all the information in the chain and the guarantee that always this information is true.

Mega-Diagram

Actual players in distribution, like Walmart, are taking positions working in programs to track food and put chinese pork on a blockchain. Thinking for a moment about that: you can see all the steps of a product chain until it arrives in your hands. You can also check the authenticity of it, if you want ( including second hand products!)  Is it the end of fake products thanks to blockchain? Can brands protect their creations from fraud? The global trade of counterfeit products are worth nearly half a trillion dollars a year said by OECD. Brands want to protect from fakes and this is an opportunity for new business like VeChain  who use blockchain technology to protect brands & products. Check also BlockVerify and how they  track pharmaceutical products by offering a to ensure consumers that they receive an original product.

Blockverify

In this point  new business and new paradigms are changing some industries and emerge new type of business like Everledger that actually works avoiding fraud and following an ethic chain path in diamonds.

Everledger

The benefits of putting Blockchain technology in the supply chain systems are huge and we will see more wonderful ideas of companies and how old industries adapt to it. The way to do contracts (Smart Contracts), banks and venture capital companies are the first interesting parts in blockchain, surely you read some news about partnerships and ideas around them.

As you can imagine, in order to use Blockchain technology in the supply chain, some of the systems have to implement IoT devices in order to get new sources of data.   

IoT Gifts for December 2016

We have made a selection of devices and products we think can help you with your presents for this holidays!!!

1.- To forgetful people

Where I parked my car ? have you seen my keys? where is my wallet? is the person near you always asking the same questions? Clearly he or she needs Tile. Tile is a tiny Bluetooth tracker and easy-to-use app that helps you find everyday items in seconds (watch the video if you want to see how it works) . From 25$ .

Tile

And if your friend is a very, but very very forgetful person then the Glue keys are a good solution. Easy to use, you only need a smartphone to lock or unlock doors. You can create digital keys too. From 299$. More economic in this line works Garageio, a company sells from 199$ a system to automatize with your phone the garage´s door.

2.- For your house ( and also your pocket!)

And for those who have all type of gadgets, devices and other tech elements….which present can be perfect for the holidays??? In this field we offer you alternative ideas for the big forgotten: our homes. For example, a smart thermostats can be a good option for those who want to reduce his receipt at the end of the month: like Nest, one of the most knowed smart thermostat in the market (we wrote about a selection of smart thermostats recently , you can read the post here). From 249$.

3.- Personal assistance

Here we talk about two biggers. In the one hand,  Amazon Echo ( from 179$): A hands-free speakers connects to Alexa Voice Service and tell you the weather, select your music, read the meeting of the day…in the other hand Google Home ( from 99$ ) another hands -free speaker to answer questions….included the connection with your Nest Thermostat we have already see a some lines before.

 home

4.-For pet lovers

Another gift option can be for dogs and cats … they are part of the families and sometimes can be a good inspiration for your gifts … which can run with IoT too!! Read here about some ideas we gave you this november, like PetCube: a company who has a device who has a reward cookie system that  allows you to have streaming video of your pet , talk to him and play.( Available early 2017).

Petcube-Bites_Gameplay-1

5.- Fashionist

The mix between fashion industry and IoT can be great! Some companies are already using the technology with RFID tags for inventories for example. But Spinali, is one of the first company to launch to the market a connected jeans (available in pre-order until 12/12/2016). The jeans has 2 sensors and with GPS permits through vibration offers a guide to the city….From 89$.

PANTALON_VESTE_COURTE_IMG_4393_2048x2048

6.- For new parents

If you are expecting a baby or looking gifts for new parents you must read our article about baby´s wearables .You can find some interesting ( and useful ideas) about how IOT can help new parents with some worries about how to care a baby.Like Owlet:  a smart sock that scans the heart rate and monitors the oxygen, using oximetry technology. The information is sent to a base station you can put in your room. In case something goes wrong, alarms with sound red light can wake you.From 249$.

 

1

7.- For kids too

There are some toys are perfect for kids and fit perfectly in this review like Leapfrog Leapband. It is an activity tracker but designed for kids with a customizable pet that encourages an active play with a reward points system. From 29.99$.

leapband-activity-band_19263_1

8.- For stressful people

Buying gifts generates stress at yourself?? Do not worry, we found a perfect gift for you too. Thync: using electric stimulation to change your mood through your mobile. Nearly  unbelievable!!! From 199$.

Thync

9.- For makers

We have a present for you all the year guys! If you have an idea you can make a Proof of Concept and take advantage with our IoT Platform for free. You can start your project with one or two devices and create a unique gift for your loved ones or even design the the next big IoT success with Carriots!!

logo_carriots (1)

 

And now, are you ready for the Holiday Gift Time?

Tutorial: How to Connect an Apple device to Carriots

Of course, one of the most demanded questions made by makers is how to connect Apple devices to Carriots. The Big Apple company has 1 billion active devices in the world and we are sure that you are thinking that your project must be compatible with iOS. In this Tutorial we show you how easy is to create a Proof of Concept (POC) prototype using an IPhone app, an  Apple Watch (using WatchOS), a Raspberry  and our IoT Platform Carriots.

How it works: Apple to Carriots

In the example, iOS and watchOS are programmed using Swift to send a data stream to Carriots that closes or open a light circuit. All the data streams sent by the iPhone or the Apple WATCH are collected and stored in Carriots. In this tutorial  you will also learn how to build a very simple Alert App that sends an email to you in case the Raspberry Pi closes the light circuit thanks to the streams sent by Apple devices.

Image Carriots on Iphone

We hope you can make marvelous POC´s with this feature and tutorial . And if you have any doubts you can use our forum to contact our team or drop us an email to support support@carriots.com )

Enjoy it!