Category: IoT Ecosystem

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.

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.

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.   

Energy Harvesting and IoT: Is it the end of the batteries?

Yes, it could be…but nowadays only if you need small energy quantities that can be reloaded with autonomous microgenerators.  This is called Energy Harvesting. There are big steps in this revolution that can be very useful to Internet of Things projects. The IoT revolution and Energy harvesting are very related and grow together.  Indeed is a necessary revolution, some predictions says that it will be near 34 billion of IoT devices by 2020.

Usually the sensors in IOT solutions need a minimal quantity of energy and can be supplied with energy around them. These sensors need a long-term solution of power to run properly. The microgenerators collect the necessary energy from different sources: vibrations, radio waves, small solar panels or  body heating ( kinetic, solar and thermal energy). The possibilities of course are endless, from machinery in industry  to wearable objects. In the next video you see an example of an energy harvesting backpack development by CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation):

The kinetic energy and the vibrations have opportunities in industry fields, for example with vibration machinery.  The french company Arveni has different B2B solutions in order to power wireless devices through microgenerators. In this line they are developed the T-Rex Vibration Energy Harvester (200 mW @ 50Hz 5 m / s²) who collects energy from the vibration of machinery (electric motors, pumps, fans, etc).

T-Rex_image

In IoT projects the sensors are the king and you need a good energy harvesting solution if you do not want to change batteries or to recharge batteries. A spanish company called Farsens works in RFID tags that do not need batteries. The RFID chip is integrated with low power sensors to collect and transmit data like temperature, pressure, humidity,…in the video you can see a demo about how to control a warehouse inventory with battery free sensors and with different weights of products.

EnOcean is one of the biggest companies in energy harvesting wireless technology and has  many partnerships to integrate this technology into IoT Solutions. Their technology allows to design self-powered IoT devices for industrial or home applications. Dr. Wald Siskens, CEO of EnOcean talks about some solutions.

What is your opinion about energy harvesting? Dou you have any doubts? Texas Instruments has a video where you can see how energy harvesting devices, with low-power microcontrollers, microgenerators and microsensors, can be present in our lives:  

Are you a Start Up looking for an acceleration program?

New opportunity for all our community users and startups who are developing their products and services with Carriots IoT Platform. In fact, the most difficult thing for startups and entrepreneurs is to find a way to grow faster and gain resources with minimal costs. Acceleration programs are a nice way to get closer to industrial companies that might be interested in the services they provide, even if they are still in a Proof of Concept (PoC).

Today, we talk about two initiatives for new startups in Spain that are very interesting: Bind 4.0 (an acceleration program) and SeedRockect (an entrepreneur campus).

The Bind 4.0 is an acceleration program in the North of Spain (Basque Country) who helps new startups to access different resources. For example: favorable financing (from 30.000 to 500.000 euros), networking sessions, connections with the main industrial Basque Companies or co-working space among other benefits. The Bind 4.0 program is oriented to startups founded less than five years ago and have already finished a product/service and need to accelerate their commercial development. You have all the information here but hurry, the selection ends on September the 16th!

BIND 4.0

SeedRockect is another acceleration program for selected startups in their Entrepreneur Campus, the next edition (this one is the 16th) is in Madrid, on October 25-28th. If your Startup is interested, the deadline ends September the 20th.The program offers benefits like a private invest up 150.000 euros or have a space in the SeedRockect space (in Madrid or Barcelona).

seedrocket XVI campus

This fall starts with good news and initiatives to help IoT Startups! Don´t let them pass!

Funding for European IoT experiments by CPSE Labs. Apply until June 22nd.

At Carriots we have many start-ups creating amazing IoT proof of concepts with our free accounts or corporate solutions. If you are one of these entrepreneurs and you are looking for funding, you might be interested in the CPSE Labs 3rd Open Call. Selected experiments may be awarded up to € 150,000 and gain access to high quality world class expertise. You can apply to CPSE Labs until June 22nd, 2016 at 17:00 h. CET.

Funding-Image EU
Source: http://www.euro-freelancers.eu/eu-funding/

Cyber-physical systems  are networked collections of interacting devices, sensors, hardware and software services for collaboratively delivering new functions. The field of CPS includes developers and manufacturers of devices and software, technology suppliers, and systems integrators. Many technology and engineering firms are already working in cyber-physical systems without identifying it as such. Almost all IoT devices are considered cyber-physical systems.

CPS_for_Manufacturing
CPS in Industrial solutions. Source: Wikipedia.org

Cyber-Physical Systems Engineering Labs (CPSE Labs)  is a European Union-funded initiative designed to provide support for engineering and technology businesses in Europe, which makes technical support and funding available to European technology businesses by funding experiments.

h2020
CPSE Labs is supported by the EU Horizon 2020 Programme

In particular, these experiments are expected to be focused and fast-track and aimed at developing cyber-physical systems (CPSs). Selected experiments may be awarded up to € 150,000 and, in addition to funding, gain access to support and advice from specialist research staff.

 

Any organisation eligible for EU support is very welcome to apply. Proposals from SMEs or organisations new to EU funding are particularly welcomed. Costs will be re-imbursed to industrial applicants and profit organization at the rate of 70% (including direct costs and 25% for indirect costs) and to non-profit at the rate of 100% (including direct costs and 25% for indirect costs).

 

Read the info of the call here: http://www.cpse-labs.eu/calls.php

 

Healthcare – the Internet of Things Hackathon

Bangalore, India, August 24, 2014: The inaugural edition of ThingHack: Healthcare – the Internet of Things Hackathon came to a close today in Bangalore, presented by IoTBLR – an open community for IoT enthusiasts, the event was hosted and supported by Cisco. The two day healthcare and wellness hackathon witnessed participation from 30 individuals who conceptualized, designed and made prototypes of connected healthcare devices that would benefit the society.

ThingHack received over 150 registrations which were narrowed down to 30 based on their ideas, skillsets and interviews conducted by a panel of technology mentors & experts. The shortlisted participants comprised of students, budding entrepreneurs and corporate employees.

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