The CES Tech West Expo has a number of specific areas of coverage including fitness and health, wearables, connected home, family safety, and some young innovative companies located in the startup area of the section. I spent a few hours interviewing and discussing the Internet of Things (IoT) with as many vendors as I could find. I had many good laughs and shed a few tears during the process. To describe the process, the general communication would go something like this:
Me: "Can you point me at the most technical person you have at your booth? I'd like to talk about how you secure your devices and the sensitive / personal data that it accesses and collects."
Smartest tech person at the booth: "Oh! We are secure; we [insert security-specific line here]."
Me: "Never mind . . ." (dejected look on my face).
The wild west of mobile in insurance is getting tamed. Mobile is no longer just a fun experiment—it’s now a crucial element in the customer and agent experience. We first published our mobile insurance metrics report in August of 2013. At the time, we were struck by how dependent insurers were on a single metric to prove their mobile success: Application downloads.
With 15 more months of mobile development chops under their belts, in November, we decided to take a look at how much more sophisticated mobile insurance strategists had become in their mobile performance measurement strategies. The answer? Unlike other industries where mobile metrics have grown up, insurers remain stuck in mobile adolescence. How do we know? Because topping the mobile insurance metrics list in 2014 are web traffic and app downloads. Fewer insurers are tracking metrics that measure real business outcomes like conversions and mobile revenue transactions.
The hype around the Internet of Things was on full display over the last six weeks, with announcements and events from vendors such as ARM, Cisco, GE, IBM, Intel, PTC, and others. Much of the hype has focused on the possibility of saving lots of money because of all the new information that can help improve utilization and maintenance of expensive business assets. But in this age of the customer, where customer engagement rules, a focus only on cost savings is misplaced. When we look forward to 2015 and developments around the Internet of Things (IoT), we are predicting four key trends and implications for clients. Here are two of those predictions:
IoT customer success stories will displace “billions of devices” hype. Enough already with the Carl Sagan–like references to billions and billions of devices — we’ll finally see a focus on customer success stories about improved machine uptime, better customer experience, and new as-a-service business models.
IoT software platforms will become the rage, displacing the hardware. Much of the early hype has been about cool new sensors, high-tech wearables, and new wireless technologies. In 2015, we’ll see increased focus on the software and especially the cloud services to make all these sensors connect, upload data, and drive analytics that generate insights and enable business improvements.
Most apps are dead boring. Sensors can help add some zing. Sensors are data collectors that measure physical properties of the real-world such as location, pressure, humidity, touch, voice, and much more. You can find sensors just about anywhere these days, most obviously in mobile devices that have accelerometers, GPS, microphones, and more. There is also the Internet of Things (IoT) that refers to the proliferation of Internet connected and accessible sensors expanding into every corner of humanity. But, most applications barely use them to the fullest extent possible. Data from sensors can help make your apps predictive to impress customers, make workers more efficient, and boost your career as an application developer.
2013 was a year in which media attention and hype targeted 3D printing: “artisanal” do-it-yourself (DIY) upstarts on Kickstarter making headlines across the blogosphere every week; high-profile speculation, such as President Obama’s quip that 3D printing will create a new manufacturing economy in the US; and Victoria's Secret models strutting down the runway in elaborate 3D printed corsets and signature wing accessories.
The excitement has reached the C-suite, where execs are wondering how this elusive and unfamiliar new technology will affect their business. As the resident techie, the CIO should expect the questions to come her way: What are the business implications? How fast is the technology developing? What are the implications for business technology at your organization?
Here are three angles on how 3D printing is driving business impact and digital disruption:
1. 3D printing can create tremendous business value — today. 3D printing enables key business imperatives in the age of the customer: faster time to market, new products and new markets, and the expansion of personalized products or services.
The city of Santander boasts 20,000 fixed and mobile sensors throughout the city – on buses, in parks, waste bins and in buildings. These sensors capture bus locations, humidity in the air and soil, pollution etc. They tell bus riders when their bus will arrive; they tell city park workers when to water the gardens. They also dim lights when there is no one on the street at night, and turn them on when cars or pedestrians pass. They create a complex internet of things and a rich source of data. Together with the platform enabling the aggregation, analysis and visualization of these data, they (will) provide a valuable tool at the disposal of city leaders, enterprises, developers and citizens. Today Smart Santander is a living lab (with an application pending to be part of the European Network of Living Labs).
Having launched in September 2010 with €6 million budget (primarily from the EU) and 15 partners, the project is now in its 3rd and final phase. With its sensor network, the city demonstrates the benefits of the Internet of Things across several initiatives:
Urban mobility: Sensors on buses and in taxis make it easier for citizens and tourists to find transportation; parking sensors help drivers find available places more quickly.
Water management: Sensors embedded in urban gardens detect soil humidity and enable more efficient watering; the broader water initiative envisions smart water meters in homes and buildings, and use of the sensors by Aqualia, the city’s water company.