Tagged: IOT

Tutorial: How to build a public dashboard with Geckobard

One of the advantages of Internet of Things is that you have more information. How you use it in your benefit can make a big difference. Re-organize all the information you have and make a clear vision of all of it, helps you to make better decisions. Today, we offer you a tutorial about how to build a dashboard with Geckoboard. Geckoboard is an online software to create public dashboards with your metrics. To have a dashboard can help you to see the information.

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The tutorial has 6 simple steps to build a nice visual dashboard which collects data from Carriots platform. We have used our meteo station to feed the example. The tutorial ends talking about some advises about Geckoboard and some ideas to enhance your project like improving widgets functionalities adding filters for comparison of metrics for example. The tutorial explains this step too. We hope you enjoy it!

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.   

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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!

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It´s raining cats and dogs … wearables and devices!

The wearables market has exploded and there are dozens of solutions for many daily problems that we have or wearables that make our life easier and comfortable. But when we talk about wearables, people usually think about wearables for humans and there is another market with dozens of IoT solutions:we talk about pets. And it will be a big market, recently we read an article about pet wearables and tech by Sandy Robins who says that this market is set to be a $2.6 billion industry by 2019 (according to a IDTechEx report).

Our domestic animals are part of our families and we can take care of them using some IoT devices. Dogs and Cats are the kings of this category. One of the most  used features for pet wearables is a GPS to record the activity of your pet and send the information to your phone . This information tells you if your pet is a bit lazy and need practice more sport. There are some companies working in this area like PitPat, Whistle or Wonderwoof. All works with a smart collar or a device you must to put in the collar of your cat/dog.

wonderwoof 4

A bit further is Pet Pace, that tracks health information of your cat or dog like: temperature, heart beating, respiration rate or the body posture of you pet to identify pain for example. This devices is sold to veterinarians too . The information is collected by a smart non-invasive collar and send all the data to an app mobile to manage it.

PetPace

Beyond these connected collars, there are other devices to help us take care of our pets like PetNet which Is a Smart Feeder that allows you to manage the feeding times and the portion sizes from your smartphone. PetCube is another company who has many solutions in this line, like a reward cookie system or a device that  allows you to have streaming video of your pet , talk to him and play with a laser toy. You can see the video to see how it works.

Petcube-Bites_Gameplay-1

And also PetCube  works with your Apple Watch. Not all useful things are made with very high tech, sometimes devices for our pets are only good ideas, like Piqapoo. It is a kickstarter project, very well explained by Matthew Hughes here( video is funny to see).

There is no census of connected dogs versus cats but, do you prefer cats or dogs?

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Winter is coming … to the Smart Home!!

Carriots headquarters are located in Madrid and the weather is normally great here! The first cold arrived to our lives without last week without notice. A good opportunity to talk about the efficiency of heating systems and how IoT devices can help us.

Recently, at SouthSummit, we met Momit, a spanish startup that has developed a Smart Thermostat. All the features you can imagine in this product are included: temperature control (cold and heat) through a mobile app, presence detection, contrast weather predictions, learn your routines and with geolocalization detecting if you are near your home.

If you are not sure if this device can save your money, they offer a calculator in their website to decide comparing the surface of your home, your heating system and your budget.

We are sure you certainly know Nest, the company turned very famous when Google bought it a few years ago.  Nest has a Learning Thermostat: turns off when you leave your house, see your daily energy consumed and tell you how to reduce it. It does so by detecting your daily routines and at the end, it programs itself!  

Nest has another interesting product: a Smoke + CO2 detector ( our CEO bought one, we will ask him to tell us his opinion sometime). If you are looking for more examples, we recommended an article where Chris Barracloug talks about Nest and other smart thermostats: Hive (British Gas) Tadoº , Netamo, Honeywell Evohome and Ecobee3.

We end talking about Ecovent, that is another type of system for heating systems based on hot air. It works installing one smart sensor in every room you want to check and changing your ventilation grill. You can control the temperature of each room independently through the mobile app. Ecovent explains how it works in this funny company video (must see):

Are you planning to transform your heating into a Smart System this winter? It is a good investment in IoT that can save you a lot of money! 

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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:  

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