BLOGTHNG

Last week EVRYTHNG attended and spoke at The Economist’s CMO conference in New York. The theme was marketing with a start-up mindset – lean and agile, with an appetite for cutting edge technologies and innovation that can be scaled up fast when it works.

It was a high quality, exclusive and intimate affair of about 200 executives and influencers (in spite of a New York snowstorm’s best efforts to spoil the party). I was there with EVRYTHNG’s investor director Jeff Burde and co-founder and CMO Andy Hobsbawm who was a panelist for ‘Multi-platform: marketing on the Internet of things’.

Interesting pairings of established and growth stage companies kept the sessions lively and varied – for example, Andy was interviewed alongside Howard Pyle, Vice-president of IBM’s marketing innovation group.

Among many points during that particular discussion, Andy re-iterated the criticality of CMOs being able to operate their physical products as core strategic digital assets. Now that a variety of smart tags and connectivity technologies like printed electronics exist, in combination with smartphones and smart software in the cloud, any product can become interactive, trackable, and come with an added digital layer of personalized, real-time services.

By turning products into ‘Always On’ media companies can deliver the most useful, relevant content, tools, and experiences on demand. This digital layer differentiates products at the point of sale, increases switching costs, and creates new usage-based and subscription-based business models. It also powers a ‘product graph’ of powerful data on the associations between consumers and different products – most brands are happy to know how many product units they sold, now they can know who bought it, how and where they used it, how content drives interaction and sales, and what other products their customers also bought and interacted with.

The Big Rethink New York, 2015

Three final notes on conference themes, trends and takeaways:

1. Stay true to marketing fundamentals.

  • There was an emphasis on going back to basics: what does the customer really need? How can the brand help?
  • To be a good marketer, be a human first.
  • Trust. Trust. Trust. Play the long game.
  • It should be pointed out that this message came not just from ‘traditional’ marketers at brands like Unilever, PepsiCo and Kellogg’s, but equally from the CMOs of Salesforce, Pandora and Dropbox.

 

2. Adtech will not save us.

  • There was a lot of debate about the extent to which adtech has lived up to its promise. Lots ‘buzz’ but not much has been delivered many thought; it over-hyped?

 

3. IoT is coming.

  • In a mobile-first world, context is king so keep things hyper relevant. So if you are behind with your mobile strategy now, you will struggle even more as IoT picks up and physical things become part of the Web. As we like to say: If you thought there was a lot of data online today, just wait until all the products start talking!

 

SXSWi

We’re excited to announce that we’ll be at SXSW Interactive this year (although personally rather disappointed not to be able to stay for the music festival too).

We’re looking forward to presenting and meeting with digital innovators, thinkers & doers and leadership brands who are exploring how products can be re-imagined as a combination of hardware, software and real-time data, and how IoT fits into the consumer product manufacturing and retailing landscape. (And, of course, how a cloud-based IoT Smart Products Platform like EVRYTHNG is an essential data management layer in the technology stack to make this happen).

SXSW Interactive 2015

I’ll be attending, along with our VP of Customer Success, Zack Bennett. If you’d like to explore how the Internet of Things and real-time data-management in the cloud to drive applications and customer experiences direct from your products can transform your business, we’d love to talk! Please get in touch and we can schedule in a meeting.

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Austin photograph by Web Designer Steve Floyd

Mobile World Congress 2015

As we announced yesterday, the EVRYTHNG team is looking forward to Mobile World Congress next week. We’re spending time on stage, at booths and in face-to-face meetings, helping consumer product manufacturers understand how IoT drives business transformation by fundamentally changing the relationship between consumers, products and brands.

We’ll be explaining how brands can use an IoT Smart Products Platform like EVRYTHNG to connect their products to the web and manage the associated real-time data to transform how they are made, sold and used. Physical products that come with a digital layer of personalized interactive services use data to improve the consumer experience and supply chain operations over time. They are stickier, differentiated and create new revenue opportunities from subscription or usage-based services.

There are several opportunities to see our IoT platform in action:

Diageo-Thinfilm-OpenSense-printed-electronics

* I’ll be speaking on a panel and giving a live product demo in the Business of IoT session on Thursday 5th, from 2.30pm – 4pm CET.
 (If you’re on Twitter, you can follow the session with the hashtag “#MWC15IOT3″).

We’ve collaborated with our partners Thinfilm and client Diageo on a prototype of a smart bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue®, using Thinfilm’s revolutionary OpenSense™ printed sensor tags in combination with EVRYTHNG’s IoT cloud for real-time data management driving applications and analytics. So please drop by the Thinfilm booth throughout the event to see the smart bottle demo

Davor Sutja, CEO of Thinfilm, will give a keynote on Thursday 5th at 9.30am CET, which will highlight the Johnnie Walker Blue® prototype.

I’ll be attending with Curt Schacker, Vice President and Managing Director, Connected Systems; and Nick McNamara from our EMEA Enterprise New Business Development group. So if you’re attending MWC and would like to discuss how our IoT cloud platform can help make your products smart, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to schedule a meeting.

LED light

We were delighted to announce this week our partnership with disruptive LED lighting IoT / M2M venture GOOEE who selected EVRYTHNG’s IoT Smart Products Platform as the scalable, intelligent cloud software to power their state of the art, patented LED sensing, control and energy management technology.

Scalability was a particularly important criteria for Gooee give the sheer number of lighting endpoints in the market and resulting data volumes. As technology analysts ABi Research just noted in their ‘Hot Tech Innovators‘ report: “An additional advantage that EVRYTHNG has is the scalability: since the platform has been architected to support pronouncedly high-volume product environments, it is relatively well future-proofed for any use cases where the future growth in connections and data are difficult to predict.”

We asked Gooee CTO Simon Coombes a couple of questions about the company, and here’s what he had to say:

What is Gooee’s vision for the future of LED lighting?

“Gooee’s operating platform is the world’s first full-stack interoperable ecosystem of physical and software components that can enable an LED Lighting company to add intelligence to their product range, connect them to the IoT and ultimately transform their business model from being a traditional product company towards more an application and service based business.

We envisage this move from the traditional business model will offer new revenue opportunities across the LED Lighting value chain.

Lighting is the most pervasive and ubiquitous endpoint within a building, so it offers the capability of being leveraged for other uses in gathering data and interacting with its environment, both physical and ambient. The data gathered and stored in the cloud platform has multiple uses across a range of applications and industry sectors, with the initial focus on residential, commercial and retail.”

Gooee ecosystem

Why did it make sense to partner with EVRYTHNG?

”Our technology stack was designed to ensure the best technologies are implemented at each layer of the ecosystem, rather than focus on hardware and view software as a complimentary component later on. Our team has a strong background in software and data and so we knew from the outset that the cloud platform had to be scalable and capable of rapidly adapting to high volume transaction data, as well as connect easily into the wider ecosystem of smart, connected devices, IoT data streams and clouds.

EVRYTHNG’s real-time IoT data and identity management platform not only provides this but there’s a shared vision of what we are trying to achieve. We are confident that combining our sensing, control and energy management technology with EVRYTHNG’s scalability, ecosystem connectivity, open web standards and IoT industry expertise will create the best and most robust operating platform for the lighting world.”

YT vid

What are some lessons learned from decades of industry experience about the lighting opportunities and challenges created by IoT technologies?

We have an experienced team covering both Lighting and Software, so we’re coming into this fully aware of the scale of what is required at all levels.

In the Lighting field we’ve always worked close to the market to understand how products are used and how they need to be commissioned and controlled. The experience users have with our products from installation through to actuation and usage is critical for us and we are working hard to ensure that from Gooee’s perspective, we make the experience LED lighting companies and their subsequent users have as hassle free as possible.

This is where having a solid software framework will be a core strength for Gooee; software will be one of the primary interfaces into this experience and having a strong partner like EVRYTHNG is critical.”

McKinsey

Why is lighting such an important part of the Internet of Things?

“Lighting is the most pervasive, ubiquitous product in every area of a building. It has the potential to be the largest number of smart endpoints when compared to any other product that can be smart-enabled.

By building smart LED Lighting components, with integrated sensors, that can be used across a range of applications we’re ultimately creating a platform upon which additional value added services can be offered.

In addition to this, by connecting lighting to the IoT we can open up additional energy saving opportunities above what can already be offered by moving from traditional lights source technology to solid state lighting.”

 

LED lighting image from Midorisyu, under a Creative Commons licence.

As you can guess from the name, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s “Beer Garage Hackathon” event was a beer-themed, weekend-long hackathon to create new apps with digital content and mobile experiences around beer.

bgh

More specifically, the hackathon launched ABInBev’s new beer and food pairing API, which they developed with the help of Mashery. We added the EVRYTHNG API to the mix, and watched as the developers explored cool new mobile-first ways of selecting beer.

The EVRYTHNG IoT cloud platform makes two kinds of products smart: Tagged, non-electronic products like beer (which interact with smartphones to get online), and Connected products like appliances and consumer electronics.

The Tagged products side of the platform works with a range of tagging connectivity technologies from RFID and beacons to QR codes and printed electronics on packaging, but it also has an image recognition engine to make it super east to visually “tag” and recognize any packaging or label, apply real-time rules and deliver back personalized content and services.

EVRYTHNG Co-founder & EVP of R&D gives feedback on the use of the EVRYTHNG API in the hackathon

Vlad Trifa, EVRYTHNG’s Co-founder & EVP of R&D gives feedback on the use of the EVRYTHNG API. (Photo courtesy @BeMyAppUK)

There were overall ABinBev prizes for the best hacks, but EVRYTHNG also awarded a prize of 4 Raspberry Pi 2s to the team who made best use of our API. This was won by the Beerweiser project team, who used the Image Recognition features in our API to turn beer and food matching into a mobile, social game.

Beerweiser

In their own words:

“Drinking beer is an enjoyable moment. Why not make it even more fun? As children we played POKEMON with our brick-like Gameboys, collecting pocket monsters and showing these to our friends, sharing what we’ve learnt in the game. Beerweiser is a beer version of POKEMON (or Foursquare) aimed to provide the same happy experience.

By using Beerweiser, users can collect the beer they’ve tried to build their own beer gallery, earning badges by drinking certain amount, brands and countries of beer etc. Users can conquer the world simply by drinking beer from different origins. Users can advance their levels or earn even more badges by having the best combination of beer and food.

(Photo courtesy of the Beerwiser team)

 

The Beerweiser team used EVRYTHNG’s Image Recognition capabilities to scan the beer bottle/ label to identify which beer the user is drinking, and the Thng-Push API to push information to user devices to inform them that a new beer or challenge was available for them to try.

This ability for third party developers or agency and integrator partners to easily use product data to build real-time consumer mobile web apps is essential if brands want to leverage IoT technologies in a marketing context.

It’s pretty exciting to watch as big companies like ABInBev open up their data like this, and get together smart, creative people to use it in new ways. And it was great to make EVRYTHNG’s API part of this experience and see people rapidly prototype, deploy, iterate and optimize their creations using physical products to trigger real-time, personalized digital experiences. Cheers!