IoT products at CES – The overriding lessons of success

The dust has now settled on another Consumer Electronics Show and unsurprisingly, as predicted, it proved to be the year of IoT (Internet of things), artificial intelligence, drones and automotive surprises. However, what struck us was the most compelling or successful product lines seemed to demonstrated a number of key learnings.

Collaboration and compatibility are key – (IoT) Internet of Things devices seem to create the greatest value to the consumer when they work with other technologies and platforms to be part of a greater use case. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule but they tend to be few and far between.

The IoT Hub/Eco-system battle has continued to gather pace – Apple’s Homekit, Google’s Nest, Samsung SmartThings, and HTC’s connect giving consumers a single familiar interface to control their smart devices. These enhance product offering by allowing control as part of a bigger eco-system. Those companies trying to develop independent or proprietary eco-systems, will need to either be outstandingly good or have a totally unique use case that no one else can deliver.

However, the most obvious lesson from CES, is that most disruptive devices at CES deliver simplicity, ease of use, reduce costs, or perform mundane, complex or unanswered tasks. The best, deliver on all of these.

When it comes to commercial technology, these are lessons that have been already been learnt by Nexo. With a suite of services for cold drinks brand, Nexo optimises profits for cold beverage companies by providing a simple, easy to use, overview of sales and performance, an unanswered task until now. Nexo reduces cost by minimising loss and allowing remote diagnostics of these refrigeration assets. The system even gives a touch point in retail with consumers at the Point of Sale. And the best part, Nexo can provide API’s for the data and insights to be feed directly into other business systems, or remote access via a secure portal ensuring the value of the system is always accessible.

The IoT at the Consumer Electronics Show

It’s that time again. CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, undoubtedly the biggest technology showcase in the world will no doubt deliver the latest and greatest innovations soon to be unleashed onto tech hungry consumers.

During the last few years the IoT  (Internet of things) has gone from whispered rumor to be the buzz word around the whole show, but what has it delivered so far apart from hype and excitement? Some would say not a lot, and the reason why is very simple. It’s not about the technology which already exists it’s about the use case which identifies what a connected device should deliver.

For example, a connected oven sounds convenient, being able to adjust cooking temperature whilst at the local bar sipping a cocktail, but someone has to put the food in the oven to begin with. Most of us that cook understand that there is more to it than timing and temperature to produce truly great food. How can you do this remotely? What master chef would risk leaving the Sunday lunch in the hands of an app that just manages the temperature of the oven?

It’s no doubt very cutting edge showing friends your latest oven app but what value does it really deliver? A simple temperature adjustment or on/off switch is not a strong enough use case. Today all ovens have on/off timers so no real new value  is delivered by a consumer having this on an app.

Until product developers and marketers are clear on the use case, otherwise known as value proposition then technology alone will not fly…. Even the big boys don’t always get this right.. Sorry google glass!

At the heart of commercial success, is understanding, what problem technology can solve for the user. Until such time that this happens and real value can be delivered to the consumers,  a simple IoT connected oven through an app, really won’t set the world alight or deliver global mass market penetration of IoT devices.

Maybe add more value to this solution by allowing the app to control more things or be part of a totally connected kitchen? Then we might be getting closer to mass market adoption but even adding a chain of appliances whilst making the product offering broader does not always add more value. At the heart of the success is understanding the answer to the simple question of what problem will/can this solution solve that is relevant i.e. needs to be solved for the consumer? Unless there is a compelling answer then technology will simply remain technology. Answering this question at nexo has been at the heart or our IoT development.

Let’s see what progress has been made at CES this year. Happy New Year

Choose the right ‘Smart’ device this Christmas.

It’s finally here, believe the hype! 2015 will more than ever be the Christmas of ‘Smart’. Wearables, Devices, Homes, TV’s, Games consoles, we are becoming more and more connected and that’s only going to grow. The Internet of Things is here.

So how do you choose a gift for that loved one, or even for yourself? (to ask Santa for of course) that you’ll still be happy with even three or six months down the line?

Firstly, as there is such a multitude of choice in the market, I would suggest that you first think about what need will you fulfil with a smart device?

Looking at a use case is probably the best way to identify what would be the right smart present for which person. To me ‘smart’ is about a better or new way to do something you already do, something that adds value by reducing the time it takes to do mundane tasks, or does something that’s adds and entirely new dimension or value to your life.

For example, buying somebody the latest smart sports tracker, when all they do is walk to work everyday is probably not going to be a present that they’ll use for very long.

Do they have pets at home that they worry about in the day? Get them a connected camera so they can check on them, that’s something that they’ll probably use every day. Why not combine that with a smart heating? A Hive or Nest System, so as well as heating efficiencies they can get peace of mind that they can turn up the heating if it’s a cold day.

Worried about coming home late at night when its dark in your house? Get a smart light system like Philips Hue and turn it on whenever you want or set a schedule to make sure your house is well lit when you arrive home.

It’s the same process when choosing a smart supplier for your business. At Nexo, building smart technology and services for cold drinks businesses, we believe that answering the use cases for technology are the absolute driver of the value to our customers. That’s why before we build or develop anything, we identify the use case, who and how its going to be used and determine the potential value it creates.

So when it comes to choosing between us and other smart technologies it should be an easy choice for our customers. Choose something that is specifically designed to perform, driven by use cases, to add increasing value to your business over time.  Or something that is going to be put in a draw in a couple of months?

Make the ‘Smart’ choice, Happy Shopping this Christmas!

Delivering customer experience

Successful customer experience has always been at the heart of consumer marketing…the A,B,C of building brands and loyalty.

The delivery this customer experience is now going through a revolution as strategically important, millennial consumers have a different set of behaviors, values and beliefs. Its not enough to deliver a great single channel consumer experience, in order to succeed you need to deliver a seamless multi-channel, multi-touch point experience delivered in the way that your target market requires. These facts are changing not just the content of communications but also the delivery mechanism.

A successful experience needs to be simple, millennial’s don’t have time to break down complex offers….simple offers and good value are the new engagement DNA and “what’s in it for me?” needs to be delivered credibly.

Much more savvy consumers also value personalization, above the line marketing still has a role to play but as we have seen the year on year growth in digital spend means we are now targeting the consumer in a more personal way.

The next development is leveraging the key that sits in every consumers pocket, their smartphone, engaging with the consumer through technologies such as beacons….in fact, great technologies already exist in the market but pulling together the business model still requires vision and innovation.

Large consumer brands do understand the importance of getting directly to consumers at the Point of Sale with relevant content that resonates with the consumer, seen as a value and not a nuisance. Developing the content is the easy bit in this model but what is most challenging today is successful deployment of campaigns. This not helped by many suppliers offering global brands endlessly different technogical solutions.

Facebook recently announced, that upon request, they will give a free beacon to every retailer in USA and advertising avenues for the global social media player have seen incredible growth. This is a smart strategy to sell more advertising to global brands who are embracing social media to reach consumers and in the case of WeChat or Facebook it is these business that hold the key to the “new consumer”….Digital marketers ignore at your peril.

Power3 (The power of 3×3)

At Nexo we believe that every part of our solution should be valuable on its own, but when combined should be greater than the sum of its parts.

When we built our solution this was a driving force in development. How can we utilize all of our inputs to develop better insights, and improve recommended actions?

We can measure a fridge’s door openings very simply, and from a single data point, one can build an actionable recommendation. Low sales rate against the average for the channel? Reduce the size of your fridge, surely. High sales rate? Increase the size of your fridge, right?

As an example, lets look at the first scenario: low sales. Using a single data point, reducing the size of the fridge looks like the right thing to do. However, simply add ‘footfall’ to this equation and you can see that this could be the wrong decision. If footfall is low against the average then it’s no surprise that sales are low; the action here is to improve footfall, either by moving the fridge, or by driving increased footfall through other activities.

If footfall is high but conversion is low, we can theorize that the planogram may be wrong for that location, and can look at merchandising other brands. Alternatively… we can add another data point from another of the Nexo services, and see that the temperature of the fridge is too high. Therefore the reason for the lack of sales is simply that the drinks are warm, and consumers have worked this out. Remerchandising would not only be wrong, but it would lose even greater sales over the long term.

Where other services might use single or limited data points to develop their recommendations, Nexo uses the power of three.


Turning the “Internet of Things” into the “Internet of Value”

After all the hype, its time to deliver.

The “Internet of Things” has been trumpeted for a while now, and the promise has been that it will make the world better, quicker and simpler. Whilst these are all great notions, the question we believe everyone should be asking is “how will this add commercial value to my business?”

At Nexo we believe that we have the answer to this question. In fact, we’ve proven so by demonstrating our capability in the field in partnership with the worlds top soft drinks and beer brands.

The Nexo solution captures data from branded fridges deployed by cold drinks brands in retail channels. This data is then transmitted to the cloud, where the Nexo algorithms analyze the data to create insights for sales, operations, service, and marketing. The beauty of these insights is that they are collected in real time, and thanks to the connectivity of the fridge we have more continuous data than anyone has been able to collect before, at a cost effective price.

The beauty of the “Internet of Things” is not simply the opportunity to collect and collate this data, it’s the extra layer of benefits that arise from adding cloud storage and cloud computing power, to enable the next level of analysis and business information. The combination of these has enabled us to design solutions that have not even been thought about before. And the best thing is, this isn’t the future- it’s today.

On the back of our core technologies we now have the ability to develop real time insights, giving our customer the tools to immediately increase sales through action driven insights, de-risking and informing decision making.

It’s an exciting time, and we feel like we’ve only just started exploring the possibilities that deliver increasing value to our customers.

Mind the gap! Don’t worry, there isn’t one

It’s frustrating when you need multiple tools to manage your end to end campaigns. Knowledge, insights and eureka moments can be lost without you knowing. That’s why we built our system to be integrated from the ground up, to make sure there are no gaps.

At Nexo, we believe in offering value across the business, and the only way to do that is to have best-in-class services that are fully integrated with each other. We deliver end to end solutions so there are no gaps for anything to fall through.

We know that having an integrated approach allows a virtuous circle of engagement, measurement, learning and refinement, that adds value each and every time you run a campaign.

We design our solution to ensure that it works in the way our customers want. Many shopper marketing or beacon platforms can help a brand send a message to a consumer in store, but none can measure the effect of the campaign at each POS, thereby addressing the concerns we all have about relevance to consumer actions.

As well as measuring the direct purchasing impact, we can see over time if running these promotions increases the brand loyalty compared to when the promos are not running. We can tap into social media to understand a profile of our customers and deliver the view of fridge performance by demographics, and preferences. Once we understand this we can target campaigns with even more relevance, with the potential to synchronize with the ads that the person who visits the store can also see online.

The more we build our services to help our customers understand their consumers the more powerful our service becomes.