Going from smart buildings to intelligent – trend report from SBC2018

Winston Churchill once said “We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us”. At this year’s Smart Building Conference, SBC, we learned that dramatic changes lie ahead and we need to question that old truth. Smart buildings turn intelligent and we keep on changing them…. to adjust to us. This post will give you an insight in what we discussed at SBC and what inspiring changes lie ahead.  

 

How we plan and build commercial buildings is profoundly changing. The driving forces are people and the focus on enhancing human productivity. The technology of today can improve our wellbeing which naturally leads to an improved productivity, after all we come from nature so why not make the buildings more humancentric?

 

Workspace – as important as the paycheck
Millennials will comprise more than 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, a generation where the Internet revolution and digitalization has been a natural part of life and at SBC we learned that this generation has a different view of the workspace which will have a huge impact on the design of the workplace.

Open workplaces where co-working and creativity come naturally is highly desired by this generation still a personalized workspace is equally important. Studies show that this generation will not have the same loyalty to the employer as previous generations and the workplace environment is as important as the paycheck.

The EDGE building, Amsterdam

A personalized yet open workspace is possible to combine. The EDGE building in Amsterdam is a good example. Their success lies in breaking up the traditional silo thinking that for example light control systems and a HVAC systems only can be used for the original purpose and nothing else.  Thanks to smart use of technology the EDGE building is claimed to be the most sustainable building in the world and probably also the best workplace.

 

Wellbeing leads to increased productivity
The requirements on the modern office is amplified by the increased focus on productivity represented by the $3-$30-$300 rule. That is $3 of the spending in a building is related to energy, $30 to assets and $300 of that spending is related to productivity. One percent increased productivity or one percent savings on assets or energy… what would be most beneficial…? Well you do the math.

Productivity and a good workplace environment goes hand in hand. We come from the nature and bringing in some elements of nature into the commercial building will have a significant impact in the right direction. So how will this effect Light and HVAC controls?

 

The human in focus
The future of humancentric lighting and controlled indoor climate is to break the silo thinking and let the technology serve the humans on a personal level.

Personalized controls is the way forward which means that not only should I as an individual be allowed to adjust the indoor environment up to my preference, it shall also follow me from one work place to another in the building. For example, air temperature, light color temperature and light level should be the same wherever I work in the building. And this must work in the future creative and humancentric open work spaces.

What do we need to require from technology in making smart buildings intelligent? Everything needs to talk standard IP – when things can communicate across the silos, the silos will break!  Edge computing is identified as one of the key technologies for IoT by Gartner and indispensable in an intelligent building.

Thousand and thousands of sensors connected together will resemble the neurons of the human brain….connected with the synapses… making the building intelligent.

Want to know more about these underlying technologies? Keep an eye out for my next blogpost From smart buildings to intelligent – The key technologies.  

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Smart buildings series - Part 2/3

Smart buildings – The gains of adding connectivity to your products

[Smart buildings – part 2 of 3] Right now, there is an opening of exceptional magnitude for you as product manufacturer to revitalize your business and outrun your competitors by adding “smart” to your products and services. The question is no longer when buildings are transitioning from dumb to smart – instead it’s how and with what. This article will guide you through the essentials and help you launch your business into action.

Savings up, costs of entry down

IoT-enhanced solutions that focus on solving real problems for smart buildings is the holy grail for manufacturers wanting to get ahead of the competition. When you digitize your products, you will instantly broaden your present customer focus. Going from selling “just” core-ware to installers, your value-added products and services will instead attract a wider customer base – not just to real estate owners and contractors, but also the end users. To get that first foot in the door you should definitely be able to cut costs for your customers.

The beauty of the IoT and wireless connectivity is that it adds higher flexibility and lower installation costs by, for example, eliminating (or at least lessen) the need for complex cabling.

The business case: increased value for an extended customer-base

To really understand what IoT and wireless connectivity can bring to the table we will take a brief look at the stakeholders in the smart building ecosystem:

  • Construction companies – large-scale multitasking companies that plan and assemble a building. Also responsible for the original sustainability perspective. Overall design together with architects, engineering companies and construction managers
  • Real Estate owners (or entrepreneurs) – the buyers of a property. They invest, repair and improve the property in order to sell it for a profit
  • Installers – license and sell building equipment, material and systems (cables, clamps, connectors, etc.).
  • Building operators and facility managers –  rent out space and are responsible for the day-to-day care of the building
  • Businesses – lease office space
  • Consumers, employees and tenants (surprisingly heavy opinion makers with a strong say-so power)

It’s also important to get an elementary understanding of what the real value of going smart and green is:

  1. Lower operational costs
  2. Energy savings (sustainability)
  3. Increased property value
  4. Building and asset performance (easier maintenance and repairs)
  5. Improved occupant comfort, productivity and health
Lower operational costs

Upgradeable software replaces inflexible, cabled and time-consuming tasks. There will be less need for expensive staff that troubleshoot around the clock.

Energy savings and sustainability

After the installation of an automated building system there is a profound reduction in a building’s energy spend and the carbon footprint of the building literally shrinks with every equipment data sensor.

Increased property value

An improvement in technology and sustainability leads to a higher property value as the building now can be certified on a higher level growing rental rates by up to 24.9% compared to a conventional building.

Building and asset performance (easier maintenance and repairs)

An automated asset management system will pay for itself quickly by measuring different property life-cycles, which in turn will lessen expensive repairs down the road.

Improved occupant comfort, productivity and health

This is a pretty obvious one: when a building can keep its tenants comfortable, healthy, productive and happy, the more likely it is that they’ll thrive – and stay.

Picking the low hanging fruits

The initial steps towards intelligence in buildings are pretty straight-forward; cool the air, turn off the lights, lock the door, alert me when there’s a fire and so on. Upgrades and retrofits of run-of-the-mill systems, like lighting, security, fire detection and HVAC are the true low hanging fruits.

Smart lighting

A smart lighting system retrofitted with very-low-power, short-range wireless technology and non-invasive, low-cost sensors can automatically regulate the energy use by measuring light levels, motion and temperature.

Optimized HVAC Systems

The obvious drawback of older legacy HVAC-systems is that they spend extreme amounts of energy that in many countries come from fossil fuels which, as we know, cause high carbon dioxide emissions.

A retrofitted, demand-controlled HVAC-system will automatically set heating (or cooling) to a minimum when employees aren’t there, for example at night. Consequently, when there are zero people in the building, the energy use is also next-to-zero energy.  With a demand-controlled HVAC-system in place, a real estate owner can save up to 80% in fan electricity and 40% of heating and cooling energy compared to a constant airflow and unfluctuating temperature.

Indoor climate as a service

People is a forceful reason to go green. Occupants’ and company employees comfort, health and productivity is a high priority for most real estate owners. A study by Harvard University says that the indoor environment is affecting cognitive function and that better air quality increases the cognitive function performance of employees, suggesting that the same goes for other tenants.

Building security

Automated intrusion detection systems that are interlinked with other critical building management systems, like fire detection, simplifies security and safety-monitoring of company employees, tenants and building assets.  Another important dimension is that they have the potential to save money by preventing unnecessary energy-waste.

An option-roadmap for smart product manufacturers

Depending on what product business your in – smart commercial- or industrial buildings, healthcare or retail – you may have specific requirements of what your IoT-enabled product should deliver. So, in order not to get lost in the mountain of alternatives to digitize your products, we compiled a handy Q&A available in our final article. It is a checklist that gives you an overview of available options and hopefully an idea where to start.

Learn more by joining our webinar

Adding connectivity to your product offers will definitely give you a competitive edge. As opposed to be “just” an equipment manufacturer you are now a smart buildings supplier and that makes all the difference in the world to your customers. To get more in-depth knowledge, be inspired by the opportunities and learn about the pitfalls, you are welcome to register for our webinar.

This article is part 2 of 3 of our Smart Building series. Read part 1 here.
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Smart buildings series - Part 1/3

Smart buildings to the rescue

[Smart buildings – part 1 of 3] – Smart buildings offer the entire building sector serious appeal, and for good reason. In the midst of the unprecedented growth of smart technologies, there is a unique window of opportunity for product owners to get ahead of the competition and super-charge an existing product business.

This is the first in a series of articles that will shed light on what you as a product manufacturer should know about industry trends and the driving forces behind smart buildings.

Building Internet of Things

The expressions “intelligent buildings” or “smart buildings” are a tad bit overused, suggesting that it has something to do with sensors, monitors, and dashboards.  But the “smart” part is really their ability to reduce energy-waste, cut costs and promote productivity. So, in essence we build smart buildings to address environmental challenges, save money and get the enhanced lifestyles as a bonus. Technology is just the enabler. Having said that, Big Data, high-speed wireless connectivity, the cloud and IoT-enabled automation systems in buildings are somewhat a prerequisite to support all stakeholders bottom line as well as Mother Earth’s.

Point of no return

The world’s cities are already occupied by 4 billion people and by 2030 two thirds of the earth’s population will live in urban areas. Second only to fossil fuels, cities are the real culprits behind the amplified global warming. This development is deeply unsustainable both environmentally and economically. Clean, more habitable and resilient cities start with smart buildings. So, developing a truly networked infrastructure, where smart, green buildings can be fully realized, is undoubtedly an immediate global concern.

Sustainability is no longer a choice

Cities are speeding up the construction of smart buildings and retrofits of the existing building stock by partnering up with the private sector, the academia and innovative tech-startups. A strong motivator for this development is the EU Nearly-Zero Energy Building Directive. This new legislation requires all public buildings to be nearly-zero energy already this year to meet the EU’s targets to bring down CO2 emissions with 20% by 2020. The fast track to curb energy-waste has proven to be the nearly-zero energy building. A nearly-zero energy building is an environmentally friendly giant that produces the same amount of clean energy as it spends – and at that – in its own backyard.

Methods to support sustainable building practices

The BREEAM sustainability assessment method and the energy efficiency benchmarking tool LEED are developed to certify that a building delivers on all strict sustainability requirements from the get-go, from energy use and indoor environment to waste management and of course the overall environmental impacts of the building.

A sustainability certified building will also make a smart building’s performance comparable internationally which gives property owners a clear indication of how environmentally friendly their building is. The more sustainable, the better financial and environmental payoffs for building owners, tenants and facility managers.

Existing buildings will also get smarter

In the UK there is a commitment to halve all greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. But around 80% of the building stock that will exist in 2025 has already been built. This is more or less the case in the rest of the western world. Yet it’s not realistic to replace all outdated infrastructure, especially in older buildings that were not built with automation in mind. This is where retrofitting with IoT comes into play.

To retrofit existing building management systems with low-cost sensors connected to the Internet is an inexpensive way to start crunching the numbers without the need to sign up for a costly whole-system makeover. Standard systems for energy management, HVAC, access control, fire detection and lighting are the nearest shore. This system-by-system upgrade approach is increasingly adopted by building owners and facility managers according to research firm IHS.

So what about future proofing? Well, given that technology innovation is advancing in an unheard-of tempo it’s impossible to predict what lies ahead in just a few years. Just the same, we should be prepared. Even tough today’s smart technologies are state-of-the-art, they will surely be seen as antiquated compared to the technology that will be available in the future. So, to choose a wireless solution that at least can anticipate and adapt to what the future will bring is a clever move to safeguard the intelligent building systems’ lifespan over time.

Cybersecurity by Design

A major drawback on the path towards the promised land of connected buildings is cyberthreats. In a world where a smart lock (or any other connected device in a building) can initiate a cyberattack that cripple a whole building’s critical functions, it becomes mandatory to address cybersecurity risks. It’s important that digital, physical and cyber security is not an afterthought but is built in by design.

Data privacy

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect in May this year. It will impact what type of personal data we store in smart buildings. Making sure that individual tenants or office workers are informed that, and how, their data is used and get their consent stands in stark contrast to the tendency to collect data because it is useful for building operations or just interesting. It’s a no-brainer that all privacy question marks must be cleared up if smart buildings are going to reach their full potential.

The global market

It’s no understatement that there is a snowballing demand for clever networked solutions in the building sector, we see innovations pop up almost daily. Smart buildings are reputedly becoming the number one market for IoT-enabled products and devices according to Deloitte.

As per Navigant Research’s latest report the global smart buildings market is expected to grow from $3.6 billion in 2017 to $10.2 billion by 2026. Based on Market and Research’s recent report the global market for connected services and hardware will grow from $8.8Bn in 2016 to over $18.4Bn by 2021. IHS in turn predicts that the global building automation equipment marketplace will grow by 4 percent this year. Finally, the Memoori complete report on market sizing and opportunities for Smart Commercial buildings 2016-2021 indicates that unconnected BAS-market for energy and control systems will grow 7.2% CAGR with the strongest growth in lighting control.

Final words

Connected products are not just improving value creation, but are also shattering the boundaries of competition itself and creating whole new industries. For many manufacturing companies, smart products will push the underlying enigma to the surface; “What market am I competing in?”. Our next article will provide you with the answers that will make you hit the ground running! And – given that you as a manufacturer embrace the opportunities at hand, we would say – from now on you are in the smart, connected product market.

Read part 2 in our article serie about smart buildings – Click here
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Smart building conference

EVENT | Smart Building Conference

Smart Building Conference (SBC) is an event that explores the latest technologies, business strategies, market research and case studies from more than 30 of the world’s leading smart building experts and thought leaders. We are proud to announce that LumenRadio is participating as both a sponsor and a keynote speaker.

SBC takes place on the 5th February at the RAI Amsterdam, the day before Integrated Systems Europe 2018 and is a must-attend summit for professionals working in smart buildings, smart cities, smart homes and smart offices.

The conference has an omni-disciplinary approach and brings together experts from IT, AV, building, architecture, facilities management and others. This year’s theme is From Smart Building to Smart City with two twin tracks; Residential and Commercial.

LumenRadio’s CTO Niclas Norlén is a keynote speaker talking about Value creation at the networks Edge; “I really look forward to SBC and to share our experience in how you can create competitive advantage with IoT and what values are created at the Edge. Our patents and technology is the motor behind for example Swegon’s new revolutionary IoT enabled HVAC system. The first system of its kind on the market, built on commercially available products” says Niclas Norlén.

“We’re looking forward to the keynote by Niclas Norlén, founder and CTO at LumenRadio,” says Bob Snyder, Content Chairman for the Smart Building Conference. “As wireless connectivity experts, LumenRadio products have been used in everything from big Hollywood movie productions to heavy industry installation. So many companies are talking about IoT solutions, but LumenRadio is one of the few that can discuss real solutions at the networks’ Edge.”

Alexander Hellström, CEO of LumenRadio comments the participation in Smart Buildings Conference; “I would say that SBC is one of the leading European events for smart buildings and as such we are off course delighted that our offer for Future-Proof Connectivity is recognised. He continues; “As the future smart building will be overwhelmed with wireless technologies, it’s very important to be able to adapt. With our technology our customers products are Future-Proof as they will coexist along with other wireless technologies, not being interfered and not causing interference.”

Key note from LumenRadio at SBC on the 5th of February:  

Value creation at the networks Edge

The Edge is much talked about today but what is it? Why are huge enterprises like Microsoft, Intel and Dell intensifying development of technologies for the Edge? We will answer these questions from the viewpoint of what values are created at the Edge and how you can get a competitive advantage in IoT for Smart Buildings.

Benefits:  

  • What is the Edge?
  • Real use case experience of how value is being created at the Edge.
  • Pitfalls to avoid and what to consider for a Future-Proof Edge offer for Smart Buildings

The speakers and panellists for Smart Building Conference 2018 is now revealed. You find can find the programme schedule here

Related: Whitepaper | Become Future-proof with Cognitive Coexistence.

 

 

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Predictive-Maintenance

Take predictive maintenance to the next level!

Many manufacturers are today looking at the possibilities of implementing predictive maintenance and embracing digitalisation. With this post we want to explain the importance of choosing a wireless connectivity that can take your predictive maintenance solutions to the next level!

Already in the 1950s the concept “condition-based monitoring”, CBM, was introduced in the industry to predict impending failures early enough to save components and over time the concept predictive maintenance has evolved. However, the final target is still to determine the condition of a machine and detect problems before they cause downtime. To me, the big difference between condition based monitoring and predictive maintenance is the amount of gathered data and how the data is used. Simply – The more historical condition based data that is available, the better and more accurate predictive maintenance can be done.

High installation costs

It’s easy to see the beauty in predictive maintenance and one may wonder why the method is not used everywhere when the advantages over planned maintenance are so significant. The simple answer is because of high installation costs. When the decreased maintenance cost is less than the increased installation cost the willingness to invest in new systems is very low.

Until now, wired sensor has been the only reliable alternative but it entails disadvantages such as purchasing of expensive cables, hours of installation work and limitation in scalability.  Not to mention all the instruments equipped with diagnostics about the process that is unused because of the difficulties it implies to install wired connections in the field. I could go on but I guess you got the point.

The right wireless technology

Now imagine if countless different sensors could be mounted wirelessly anywhere in a harsh industrial environment. All connected to each other in a perfectly applied meshed network,  running on battery or energy harvesting technology. Then picture yourself that the wireless connection is even more reliable and robust in comparison to wired solutions.

With LumenRadio’s Cognitive coexisting technology in combination with a meshed network and firmware-over the air updates (FOTA) this scenario is not fictive anymore but rather the reality of today.

With Future-Proof radio technology predictive maintenance will be applied more widely than ever. For the end customer, this means easier installation, lower installation cost, increased flexibility and scalability but also improved profitability as the service life of the machine will be optimally managed.

It is the ability to collect and process large amount of information that will boost your manufacturing. With wireless technology more sensors can be connected gathering more data for your decisions. More connected sensors implies a higher demand for interference management. This is why choosing the right wireless connectivity technology will be crucial for the future success of your business, so don’t settle for mediocre standards.

 

If there is anything else you’d like to know regarding wireless technologies for predictive maintenance, you can always contact me directly:

Christian Sahlin

International Sales manager

E: christian.sahlin@lumenradio.com

T: +46 (0) 703 40 89 00

 

Remember to also check out our Whitepaper – Future Proof with Wireless standards, which will give you an overview on the standards that are relevant to consider related to wireless communication and give you guidance and knowledge in choosing a wireless IoT standard.

 

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IoT Podden

Start with a tangible problem! – Latest episode from IoT-podden

How are the major Swedish manufacturing companies dealing with IoT and digitalisation and how can we strengthen the innovation process in the manufacturing industry? These were important topics at the Elmia Subcontractor tradeshow in november, a tradeshow dedicated to product development and purchasing.

The Swedish magazine Ny Teknik’s podcast IoT-podden was recorded live at the tradeshow and the focus was how small innovative tech companies can kickstart the bigger manufacturers IoT agenda. Three young and promising innovation companies with the aim to revolutionise the manufacturing industry with their IoT solutions were invited to discuss this topic. Alexander Hellström, CEO of LumenRadio was one of the interviewed as well as Carl Elgh from H&D wireless and Olof Samuelsson från Addsecure. All three shared the same view that Swedish manufacturing companies really need to ignite their IoT agenda by starting to evaluate new solutions today since there will be no time to spare regarding digitalisation if you want to stay ahead of the competition.

Listen to the podcast episode here (In Swedish) 

 

 

IoT-podden-event   

“The most important factor in digitalisation and enabling your product for IoT is to focus on solving real tangible problems. What challenges are your company, products and solution facing today and how could you solve this with new technique? Doing this you will early in the project have a solid business case to rely on. Then you can later on focus on the larger opportunity at hand by creating a broader more cross functional digitalisation agenda” – Alexander Hellström, CEO of LumenRadio.

“It is often believed Sweden is at the forefront, but reports shows that digitization is slow, and that Swedish companies are below the European average. This does not apply to all, but many Swedish companies in the manufacturing industry are approaching IoT in a rather slow pace. It needs to go faster – competition is rock hard now, especially from Asia and the United States” – Carl Elgh, R&D Manager at H&D Wireless

 

If you are interested in Wireless Connectivity for your product, apply for an inspiration workshop here

 

 

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Trend report from IoT Solution World Congress Barcelona

Barcelona is probably the perfect mix of wonderful food, marvelous drinks and a strong nest for IoT-technology trends. LumenRadio was of course present at the IoT Solution World Congress, participating in the discussion and contributing by sharing our experiences.

This year the exhibition IoT Solution World Congress 2017 (IOTSWC 17) exceeded expectations and delivered a sparkling mix of really interesting trends.

Compared to IOTSWC 16 we see more focus on concrete applications and many of the exhibiting companies are showcasing real use cases that have been deployed. Quite the opposite of last year’s IOTSWC, when we talked about visions and what value IoT could bring to the table in the future.

Focus on the Edge

At IOTSWC 17 the focus was on the Edge and how devices connect within it. We can see giants like Microsoft, Intel and Google showcasing solutions for the Edge and the southbound devices, that is the sensors and actuators below the Edge.

The EdgeX Foundry project, which aims to build a common open framework for IoT Edge computing, has got quite a momentum. Since the project started in April 2017 more than 60 members have joined, including Samsung, Dell/RSA, Cumulocity and many more. Quite a few of the EdgeX member companies were exhibiting. Seen from a hardware perspective this confirms the importance of having computing capabilities in the devices and a gateway solution that stands up to the task. I can only agree on the importance of having computing capabilities within the Edge – the devices are creating value!

Intel’s GM of IoT, Jonathan Ballon, confirms this and says “Value is being created within the Edge and the cloud.”* In other words, what Jonathan is saying is that value is not only being created in the cloud, which was the general opinion just one year ago. I really agree when he says that we see that IoT currently is being reignited.

IoT is happening!

Furthermore we see that wireless connectivity is in focus, in particular meshing technologies. For example, this year we can see the Bluetooth SIG exhibiting, which otherwise is an unusual sight. For me and my colleagues it has been busy days in the LumenRadio booth, much busier than IOTSWC 16. There is a great interest in wireless connectivity solutions for devices and this is of course in line with the increased focus on the Edge. To succeed in creating value at the Edge, Future-Proof Connectivity is a necessity. The typical topics we’ve been discussing are:

  • Ultra-low power battery operation
  • Firmware update capabilities
  • Device computing capacity
  • Wireless standards
  • The importance of reliable and secure connectivity

Those are the key challenges for device-to-device connectivity within the Edge and are being taken seriously at this year’s IOTSWC. Me and my colleagues are leaving IOTSWC with a great feeling – IoT has passed the phase of disillusionment and is on the slope of enlightenment. IoT is happening for real, and we’re on the Edge of something great!

 

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Frankfurt skyline

LumenRadio opens Sales & Engineering office in Frankfurt, Germany 

As part of our growth journey to become the global leader within ultra-reliable and Future-Proof wireless connectivity, and to better service our customers on the DACH markets, we now open an office in Frankfurt, Germany.
The German office is the first in our international expansion and we are happy to introduce Erik Orrskog as the first member of the German team. Erik has been part of the LumenRadio team since several years, working out of our Swedish HQ, but has extensive experience from living and working on the German market – please contact him to discuss challenges and possibilities within IoT and wireless connectivity. Erik will soon be joined by more German colleagues, forming a team capable of supporting local customers from first idea, through Proof-of-Concept all the way to an integrated solution.
About us: LumenRadio is a global partner in wireless connectivity. With patented ultra-reliable Cognitive Coexistence technologies, they offer radio modules and an operating system that can be integrated straight into their customer’s products, enabling future IoT-offerings. By focusing on Future-Proof Connectivity, LumenRadio is Creating Connectivity for a better tomorrow.
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Meet LumenRadio at IOTSWC

The IoT Solutions World Congress (IOTSWC) in Barcelona is the biggest industrial IoT event worldwide and of course LumenRadio will be there. More accurate, you will find us in booth F695 – in the Swedish pavilion. So please come over for a cup of coffee and let us discuss reliable and Future-Proof connectivity.

Are you going and are interested of a discounted ticket or want to book a meeting? Please contact Christian Sahlin. +46 (0) 703 40 89 00 or christian.sahlin@lumenradio.com

LumenRadio is your wireless partner for reliably connecting your products and we offer radio modules and an operating system that easily can be integrated straight into your products.

 

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Retail store

Smart products – The future of the connected retail store!

How can your next generation of products enable your retailer to provider a better In-store experience, driving increased sales and better conversion rates? How can entrance systems, gates, shelves, refrigerated counters, lights or price tags become smart products that helps in the battle between the online vs the offline customer?

Well, making your products connected and equipped with sensors could be part of the answer and by doing this you could extend your offer to not only be an inventory in a store but also a think tank that can collect and gain a lot of understanding of the customer. By collecting and storing all the produced data from your products you will be able to use smart analytics to turn this data into new exciting services that you of course should charge for!

The “Amazon problem”

“Retailers don’t have weather problems, they have Amazon problems.” Those are the words coming from Scot Wingy, one of the co-producers to the weekly podcast  “The Jason and Scot Show” at RetailGeek [1].

It´s no surprise that the discussion within retail today aims at how to manage the battle between online vs offline and the questions I hear quite often is if it will be possible to get the customers back to the store again? Maybe, maybe not, but one thing is for sure. If we are going to succeed in attracting customers to the store, we need to be able to gain much more knowledge about what’s happening in the store and how we can influence the customers when they actually are there. Compared to an online-retailer, who’s got access to a never ending story of analytics and campaign tools for optimizing the online experience, we don’t have that many (if any at all) in the physical store,

So what if we could gain as much knowledge about the offline customers and their habits as the online retailer can? How could that impact your average retailer?

POPAI claimed in their “Shopper Engagement Study 2014” that up to 82% of all buying decisions were made In-store  [2]. That means that today’s shopper is making more decisions in-store than ever before and can very much be influenced in the buying moment.

What are the new retail store opportunities?

So in this context, what are the new opportunities in your offer when all your products all of a sudden become connected and maybe equipped with sensors?

Let’s give an example of a dumb simple product that now is connected – a hanger. What value could that possibly add to the in-store experience? Let’s have a look at the picture below:

What does the number show – price, weight, inventory level? It’s actually the number of “likes” on Facebook in real time. The brazilian fashion retailer C&A has connected their hangers and if you, while walking the shop’s racks, find something likeable you just touch the Facebook-connected hanger and your “like” will immediately be up on the network. An exciting idea that may help some undecided shoppers to do the right pick purchases based on each items popularity.

At LumenRadio we think this trend of connecting products and making them smart, is just the start of a really big wave of new exciting value added services that will be provided by the manufacturers.

Engaging the customer

How can your products influence in-store customers to become more engaged in their purchases and decision making? I dare to say it doesn’t matter if you provide entrance systems, gates, shelves, refrigerated counters, lights or price tags. All of them can become smart products that helps in the battle between the online vs the offline customer

Imagine a customer journey where the customer is just window shopping. Imagine developing a concept named, let say, “The Barker” – with the purpose of attracting more customers into the store. “The Barker” could be a solution that detects the number of visitors passing outside the store window and when a potential customer is passing by it triggers an event (the sound of a whistle, something moving) making the customer look into the store while at the same time the spotlight is dimming up over a real bargain deal, making the customer enter the store.

Equipping your product with sensors and connectivity you would not only be able to see how many are entering the store but also how many that you are able to attract into the store (conversion rate).

But today’s retailers aren’t just interested in WHAT the customers buy… they also want to know HOW they shop. Taking the concept one step further – when the customer enters the store, where do they go? Where do they spend time? And what do they touch or interact with?

This is just one of many examples on how existing products can provide exciting value added services. So how can your product be a part of the customer journey? How can your product collect data, help increase sales or cut costs?

If you want know more about how your products can get connected and optimize the in-store experience drop me an email at alexander.hellstrom@lumenradio.com.

References

[1] National Retail federation

[2] POPAI Mass merchant shopper engagement study 

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