Madeleine Redfern, the mayor of Iqaluit – the largest and only city in Nunavut, Canada – has a colorful way of describing how sparsely populated the territory is. “The seals outnumber the people.” With a population of just over 35,000 people spread out over an arctic 1,750,000 square kilometers, Internet access is a challenge. In fact, according to Redfern, her most favorited tweet was that she couldn’t tweet… because the connection was too slow.
Madeleine Redfern participated in the first ever Indigenous Connectivity Summit last November. She and other participants shared their experience and expertise to help close the connectivity gap in Indigenous communities. Many also sat down for brief interviews with the 1st-Mile Institute, a New Mexico nonprofit that has initiated a local “Broadband for All” program. The videos are now available to watch on the 1st-Mile Institute’s website.
The IoT has become reality. The foundation has been laid and IoT projects are growing, generating revenue, and making companies more efficient.
However, the IoT market continues to be a learning market, and large companies must be flexible and fast enough to meet the new demands they are facing.
Many blog posts on the list are about Industry 4.0. Not only is the manufacturing industry one of the first users of IoT, it is also playing a decisive role in the digital transformation. However, posts on agriculture are always among the most read. The global challenges are driving new applications, and Bosch Software Innovations also has solutions for the AgTech. I am pretty sure that we will read a lot more about this in 2018.
1. AI in self-driving cars – beyond science fiction
A buzzword in recent years, artificial intelligence was also the subject of Jen-Hsun Huang’s presentation at Bosch ConnectedWorld 2017. The co-founder and CEO of NVIDIA, Huang’s talk was a highlight of the event. This post describes how NIVIDIA and Bosch are helping advance self-driving car technology with AI.
2. How should large organizations adapt to a changing world?
How can companies adapt to the inevitable change the Internet of Things will bring forth? Uwe Raschke, member of the Bosch board of management, on why large organizations have to find their own approaches to digital transformation.
4. Customer case study: IoT in agriculture, from oysters to apples
How can we feed the world if the global population exceeds nine billion by 2050? Developing and advancing processes in the food sector is an important step. Read how Bosch IoT device management software enabled The Yield to make agriculture smart using real-time data.
6. Connected canteen: how to lunch in comfort with the IoT
How do you set the air conditioning to maximize comfort when everyone’s preferences vary? We select our preferences to suit our needs in many aspects of life. Now, the IoT adds temperature to the mix: Learn more about the IoT in action at the Bosch canteen in Singapore.
The Bosch IoT Suite connects more than six million devices, machines, and sensors. Based on this experience, Ansley Yeo put together examples of device management that highlight the heterogeneity and diversity of the objects we network.
When I think about what makes my job exceptional, it’s that I get to work with people who infuse honesty, intelligence and integrity into everything they do. It is more than just the technology we use or the awards we win. For starters, it is the feeling of knowing that every customer we serve has the transparency they need to make better decisions and improve how their business operates. It is also the knowledge that we employ hundreds of people with disabilities including veterans. Finally, it is the ability to constantly reinvent our processes to save our customers’ money to reinvest in new projects.
Doing the work we do – managing 8 million sq. ft of facilities space, performing thousands of vehicle repairs, operating 500,000 sq. ft of warehouse space, and managing an inventory valued at $ 750M – provides many opportunities for stories of innovation. Today, I wish to share some of my favorite front line stories.
Skookum Contract Services receiving the 2017 Uptime Award for Outstanding Maintenance & Reliability Program
1) Meter readings go mobile
When we assumed maintenance responsibilities at Army Base Fort Lee located in Richmond, VA, we took responsibility for meter reading and reporting for the facility. At the outset, there were three individuals who would go and manually record the readings. They would then come back and feed the data into the system. As you can imagine, this was time-consuming and prone to error. We installed Maximo and provided hand-held devices to the technicians.
Immediately, we saw accuracy and efficiency go through the roof! Not only were we inputting the data in real-time, we added parameters that would guide the technician with their input if it was outside expected parameters. If the reading was outside the anticipated parameter, the technician could take an image of the reading and attach it to the work order for verification, then move on to the next meter. By keeping them focused on reading meters, we gained efficiencies while allowing Maximo simultaneously create a child work order to diagnose the potential issue by specialists.
We went from three people reading meters to one individual with disabilities – creating fantastic increases in efficiency. As a side benefit, the ability to locate via GPS, communicate via text or video allows for peace of mind as well. A win- win for all!
2) The smartest people we work with are technicians
In some ways, maintaining the barracks of an army base is like managing hotel rooms. Before each occupancy, the barrack must be inspected. Using “eForms”, a Skookum developed electronic form, the technician enter the barrack and perform the necessary quality inspections. Checking the lightbulbs, power outlets, confirm the a/c is working, look for holes, check the screens, etc. For each item, the technician would toggle an affirmative ‘Yes’ on the “eForm” using their iPad. With thousands of rooms to inspect, they quickly found it was very time-intensive to constantly toggle ‘Yes’.
To improve efficiencies, the technicians proposed the idea of assuming everything works and flip the form on its head. Instead, they would only toggle ‘No’ if there was an issue. This allowed Maximo to create real-time trouble work orders, route it accordingly allowing for resources to repair. This tiny change in process saved our customer thousands of hours increasing efficiency. All because of a simple great idea from our technician.
3) Transparency in asset maintenance leads to client satisfaction
For nearly any task, there is a series of steps that, if followed, will ensure the job gets done right. We knew if we could get the right “recipe” for every task, we would save hours and gain efficiencies for our customers. This is why we created automated checklists, again based on the” eForm”. These checklists give the technicians the right recipe every time to ensure high consistent quality and save time with paperwork. Over time, we were able to incorporate a history for each asset and by having this information at the technician’s fingertips, they can best service the device. All of this work is available to our customer as they too have access to our systems as well as regular reporting proactively routed to their inbox.
4) Customizing inventory needs by technician
We had a huge inventory of spare parts – thousands of warehouse square feet all of which we inherited from a prior provider. Over time, we were able to schedule our preventive maintenance activities well in advance, coordinate the technician, and build the of PM parts needed for the month. Knowing this, we took these scheduled activities to our parts provider and asked them to shrink-wrap the parts by technician. The part “kit” was shipped to our site just in time allowing us to reduce our inventory handling costs. Once again, we achieved savings and shared it with our customer. This is often returned to us in the form of more work.
Honesty, transparency, & quality are the keys to our success
As you can see, the qualities that embody Skookum weave their way into every aspect of our business. Using Maximo, and empowering our technicians to think of innovative ways, allows us to continue to see incredible growth and create opportunities for people with disabilities.
When we think of storytelling, we tend to conjure up memories of childhood — fairy tales, fables, and campfires. Stories are an essential form of human communication and are often among the first conveyors of cultural norms and values. There’s a reason why many childhood lessons are conveyed as stories: Research has shown that the human brain likes to encode, store, and retrieve information in narrative form.
When consumers prepare to make purchase decisions, stories can deliver important information and shape the decision and the overall brand experience. With the advent of consumer-to-consumer social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, stories can be powerful tools for shaping cognitive processing, recall, brand image, and choice. However, relatively little is known about how this process works in digital marketing. Over the past five years, we pursued field research with two companies, BMW AG, the German automaker, and Suruga Bank Ltd., based in Numazu, Japan, to explore the role that story authorship plays in consumer choice. Through this research, we learned that stories significantly increase consumers’ engagement with websites and that stories originating from consumers are especially powerful in shaping brand attitudes in social media. Indeed, companies that aren’t offering experiences that leverage consumer input in brand-related narratives are missing out on important opportunities to connect in a meaningful way with potential buyers.
Increasingly, the locus of power in the digital marketplace is moving from the brand itself to a combination of the brand and the consumer. In traditional TV advertising, brand-to-consumer marketing messages have dominated. However, in a “multiscreen” marketplace, the traditional marketing model faces tough competition, as companies use brand websites and social media to deliver messaging with greater impact. Direct brand messages that have narrative structures can significantly increase persuasion and brand connections in both old and new media. But as consumer-to-consumer storytelling becomes increasingly ubiquitous on social media, previous notions of direct brand influence are being replaced by more nuanced notions of brand-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer marketing. This allows for complex combinations in which consumers share creative content with companies and then both the company and the brand users share that content further on social media.
Companies, too, have become more active in sharing consumer stories and even facilitating the creation of consumer-generated content. For example, in 2009 and again in 2013, Ford Motor Co. created a media buzz by loaning 100 new Ford Fiestas to select individuals for free for six months; in return, the recipients were asked to document their experiences with the car on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Ford used this promotional campaign to generate TV, print, and digital advertising for the car.
Relating to Stories
Traditional marketers need to understand why consumers engage in storytelling. Research studies show consumers share stories and engage in social-identity signaling and social comparison dynamics both to help other consumers and to compete with one another. Good marketing practices today require a clear understanding of the role of consumer-generated content and ways to put it to use.
The idea of a traditional rhetorical triangle — consisting of an author/storyteller, an audience, and a subject/context — is well-established in traditional face-to-face and print storytelling. However, little is known about how that triangle relates to consumers’ social media experiences. To learn how storytelling principles apply to an increasingly digitized world, we conducted three field experiments, two on behalf of BMW and the third for Suruga Bank. The studies were sponsored through the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, with the companies providing financial support, data, and managerial insights. Survey respondents were randomly selected from the companies’ target markets. For each study, we used authentic brand-related story content in test environments that simulated social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube. In the first BMW study, we used a video featuring a man named Daniel Falkenberg, who spoke of his passion for collecting vintage BMW 3 Series cars. The sample size for this study was 1,800 auto consumers. We began by measuring baseline attitudes and preferences for BMW, then showed the video (except to those participants who were in the control group, who received a neutral article to read instead), and then measured attitudes and preferences regarding BMW again. In the second BMW study, a consumer named Geoff Lee reminisced on video about the BMW 318i his parents had purchased the month he was born in 1984 (a car he referred to as his “twin”). The car, he offered, was there for him during major life events growing up (homecoming, graduations, first dates), and it is still part of his life. This study was based on 800 interviews and used measurement procedures similar to the first study.
The Suruga Bank study was built around a story video told by a well-known Japanese violinist, Iwao Furusawa, who described his dream of being an architect and how Suruga Bank helped him build his dream second home while other banks did not think he qualified for a mortgage. Approximately 1,250 respondents were interviewed for this study and shown the video after they expressed baseline measures of brand preference. A total of more than 3,800 respondents were surveyed across the three studies.
In each of the studies, we measured the incremental change in participants’ perceptions due to exposure to the stories. We tested for three things: (1) a self-brand connection (in other words, the strength of the linkage between the brand and the consumer’s personal life), (2) trust (belief in the brand and sense that it delivers on its promises), and (3) consideration (the probability that consumers would consider the brand for their next purchase in that category). After consumers were exposed to a story, we also asked specific questions to determine the degree to which they were able to “see themselves in the story” and were psychologically involved with the consumer stories.
Evaluating the Impact
From our studies, we found that consumer-based storytelling influences people to consider purchasing products. In fact, across the three studies, there was an average increase of 32% in purchasing consideration when consumer-based storytelling was employed. Statistically, the results were highly significant in the individual studies and also when the data from the three studies were pooled together and analyzed. Past research has shown that getting consumers to consider a purchase or business relationship correlates to future sales. For example, when consumers are preparing to purchase a new car, they frequently form consideration sets (typically made up of four to six options); if a brand is not on the list, the chance that a consumer will purchase it is very low. To the extent that more consumers are willing to consider buying a BMW, the company’s sales should see an increase. Similarly, if more people are open to doing business with a bank, the number of savings accounts, credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, and investment services with that bank is likely to rise.
We found that people who were exposed to stories about brands had significantly higher levels of connection to, and trust in, those brands than people who were not exposed to stories; stories led to about a 4% increase in trust and self-brand connection. In addition, respondents who were more likely to “see themselves in the story” had greater willingness to consider the brand and felt higher levels of self-brand connection and trust. (See “How Consumers Respond to Stories.”)
For would-be customers, we found that perceived authorship is important. Our research indicated that consumer-authored stories and stories jointly authored by consumers and companies had similar levels of impact — and both had more impact than stories authored by companies alone. On one level, it was surprising that consumer-authored stories didn’t have more impact than those jointly authored by consumers and companies, because we think of consumer stories as being more genuine. However, we found that, while people responded to consumer-sourced content, they also valued the legitimacy that came with the brand labeling. The good news for marketers is that they can post consumer stories on company-linked social media pages and gain the benefits of genuine stories without completely forfeiting control over content. Consumers, too, gain from coauthored stories because they can be assured the stories are legitimate when they appear on a trusted brand site.
Such findings prompted BMW to create a new social media campaign with the hashtag #BMWstories. In this campaign, the company presented consumer stories on its website and across a full range of social media — Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook channels. The campaign also included TV media advertising under the title “There are millions of BMW stories. What’s yours?” After interesting stories were identified, BMW sent film crews out to capture them with high-quality video and then presented the stories through its brand social media channels.
Leveraging Consumers’ Stories
Our research findings indicate that consumer storytelling is a powerful tool for brand preference. Given this, how does a company implement a consumer narrative strategy? We propose four steps.
1. Work with consumers to generate believable and compelling stories. By examining comments on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media sites, you should be able to find leads to consumer stories about your brand that you can follow up on. It’s a little like curating an art show: You need to find the best examples and work with storytellers to deliver the right message. Third-party fan sites provide another source of potential content. Customer-facing employees also may help identify additional material. For example, TD Bank Group, based in Toronto, Canada, developed a campaign rewarding selected customers with thank-you gifts that were dispensed by special ATMs (which the company dubbed “Automatic Thanking Machines”). In one case, a customer who was an avid fan of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team received an official team jersey, a hat, and an invitation to throw out the first pitch at a Blue Jays game. Another customer received airline tickets to visit her sick daughter in Trinidad. These interactions were recorded on video and were shared widely.
2. Convert stories into high-quality presentations. There’s a difference between high quality and “slick.” Video stories about consumers on the brand’s social media pages are most effective when they are consistent with consumer expectations for media quality. Although high-quality video can make strong impressions with potential customers, there is an important caveat: If the finished product is too polished or professional looking, it may be perceived as brand authored, which can undermine the feeling of consumer authenticity.
3. Embed stories in your social media mix. Posting videos of customer stories on your brand website means they will be perceived as coauthored by the consumer and the brand. Use true consumer stories and present them through your branded social media channels (for example, your YouTube channel and Facebook page) to maximize impact. Encourage comments, sharing, elaboration, and the creation of consumer-to-brand and consumer-to-consumer information chains across your array of social media. Complementary stories with positive messages can be distributed across a range of sites.
4. Integrate paid media strategies with voluntary sharing of stories on social media. Traditional media strategies designed for TV can effectively overlap with story-based consumer content generated for social media. New York City-based Weight Watchers International Inc., for example, has integrated consumer stories from social media into its national TV advertisements. Companies can pay to include stories in newsfeeds on Facebook and other paid sites; in addition, look for synergies between social media and mass media.
The social media revolution raises important questions for the future of brand marketing in the digital world — where everyone has a voice and consumers are heavily influenced by the judgment of other consumers. Our research indicates that marketers can influence consumer-to-consumer interactions by leveraging consumer-authored stories online as important elements of their brand strategy. Using coauthored stories can give brands a measure of control over their messaging while maintaining the sense of genuineness in consumer narratives. Coauthored stories shared on social media can also be synergistic with TV advertising, which can establish the company’s core brand positioning and drive people to the company’s social media sites.
Throughout history, storytelling has been an integral way to convey attitudes and values, and it will remain a key source of information and influence in the digital world. As new technologies such as virtual reality evolve and improve, brands can expect to continue to have new opportunities to use consumer storytelling in their communication strategy.
Ready to build upon your knowledge? Take a look at some of our demos and case studies to come out of this spectacular event.
Improving Tenant Experiences
What could be better than a comfy office filled with happy occupants? Comfy, a software company that is revolutionizing the way people interact with buildings, showed how building managers can improve occupants’ daily lives through instant personalization. Their solution enables individuals to control temperature, lighting, windows and more, all from Comfy’s smartphone app or any web browser. Watch our Comfy demo video from IBCon, read more in our smart office white paper, and visit comfyapp.com.
Smart Buildings Made Easy,
Another fantastic example of making building occupants’ lives easier was demonstrated by EnTouch Controls, which provides wireless building energy management systems that are quick and easy to install. No additional wires or upgrade server installations are needed, and EnTouch Controls handles the whole installation and commissioning process, making things easy for customers. Watch our EnTouch Controls demo video from IBCon and then learn more about EnTouch Controls at entouchcontrols.com.
Ultimate Fan Experiences: Smart Stadiums
Talk about too cool for school. Arizona State University is undertaking a multi-year renovation of its football stadium with help from both Intel, and Volteo, to improve game day experiences and increase operational efficiency. For example, an interactive “Victory Cheer” creates a fun competition to see which section can cheer the loudest; sensors installed underneath the bleachers send sound data to the cloud, which is displayed as a colorful heat map on a Jumbotron within a few seconds. I, for one, am definitely looking forward to experiencing this solution in person!
Bright Ideas for Smart Lighting
Intelligent lighting control can save energy in a number of ways, including controlling lighting based on present schedules and vacant room sensing, dimming lighting when natural light levels permit, and adjusting lighting to meet individual user preferences. The Daintree Networks System Controller, equipped with an Intel Xeon processor, provides processing and storage to enable capture and reporting of energy usage, system alerts, and event information.
A Gateway to Smart Buildings
Stepping up to the smart building challenge, the Dell Edge Gateway 5000 Series aggregates, secures, and relays sensor data. It’s based on our Intel Atom processor E3825 and can perform local analytics so that only relevant information is sent on to the cloud.
Intel Building Management Platform
We teamed up with Candi and Lucid for new uses featuring the Intel Building Management Platform. Candi PowerTools taps into the Intel Building Management Platform to connect to a broad set of building systems and sensors, filters and securely transfers data to the cloud (or on-premise) servers while facilitating required protocol translations needed in between. Watch our Candi demo video from IBCon and then visit candicontrols.com to learn more.
Then there’s Lucid BuildingOS, a leading cloud-based building management platform, integrating and aggregating portfolio-wide building and metering systems data for simple, collaborative analysis. Their BuildingOS software is completely vendor-agnostic and natively connects to 175+ building technologies. Watch our Lucid demo video from IBCon and then visit lucidconnects.com to learn more.
New Buildings: Intel India Smart Building
Intel’s SRR3 is a 10-story office-laboratory building in Bangalore, India. The building is equipped with nearly 10,000 sensors for temperature, occupancy, lighting, energy, water, and air quality management and monitoring. Some of the key functional use cases implemented in the building include connected lighting, HVAC learning algorithms, intelligent demand response, visitor vehicle digital escort, and differential usage of backup power. Learn more about our smart building case study.
Bringing Visibility to Data: Intel Headquarters
During IBCon we conducted a tour to our Intel corporate headquarters featuring state of the art systems including wind turbines, fuel cells and solar. But just how do we tap into all that data? Enter Intel IoT ecosystem partner Switch Automation. They aggregated seven data sources into a single database, then connected the Intel IoT gateway to our building automation network and created drivers that communicate with all of those systems.
That’s a wrap from this year’s IBCon 2016. I’d like to thank all our ecosystem partners and customers for such a memorable event!