The Six Ways Your Business Will Use Mixed Reality

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By Jaimy Szymanski with Jeremiah Owyang

Though consumer applications may receive most of the fanfare, mixed reality technologies offer enterprises many opportunities to supercharge employee skill-sets as well.

Utilizing internal-facing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications––often referred to simply as “XR” for “extended reality”––companies can increase collaboration and transform traditional approaches to education and training, repairs and maintenance, sales, product and site design, and more.

The latest report from Kaleido Insights’ we published “Prepare for the New Reality of ‘Super Employees,’” explores in detail the most effective cross-departmental use cases of mixed reality within organizations. These are applicable to a variety of industries (see Fig. 1 below), with advantages of utilizing XR over traditional processes, practices, and legacy technologies abound. The six enterprise use cases are:

  1. Engineering and Design Modeling: Utilizing 3D modeling in engineering products is a tried-and-true method in most manufacturing environments. Reviewing designs in a collaborative VR space offers novel opportunities as traditional computer-aided design and modeling (CAD/CAM) technologies evolve.
  2. Training and Employee Education: Conducting training exercises in a VR environment offers many benefits over real-world programs, including increased safety; managing information transfer amidst high employee turnover; scaling trainers; and upskilling existing workers.
  3. Real-time Information Overlay: Primarily a use case meant for AR, real-time information is provided to a viewer utilizing wearable AR headsets or accessible through a mobile device or tablet via an AR app, while simultaneously viewing real-world surroundings.
  4. Theft Protection: Though primarily retail in its industrial application, theft protection is an emerging use case utilized by large retailers to combat shrinkage of high ticket-value items.
  5. B2B Sales: VR and AR can offer new, immersive opportunities to sell industrial products while simultaneously increasing portability and scaling salesperson efforts.
  6. Marketing and Entertainment: AR and VR content marketing is a growing field for digital marketers looking to reach audiences in new, engaging ways in order to compete with other online and mobile experiences.

From designing machinery in a collaborative VR space to avoid collision issues, to utilizing AR wearables to overlay information for technician repairs in real-time, the XR space is filled with opportunity for innovative corporations seeking to empower “super employees” while achieving greater efficiencies and engagement. Like many modern-day superheroes, these employees are strengthened with superpowers made possible via technological sidekicks that augment their bionic brains.

Learn more about each enterprise XR use case, as well as challenges to adoption and recommendations for implementation, by downloading the full report here. 

Virtual Assistant Management Systems (VAMS)

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By Jeremiah Owyang and Jessica Groopman, Kaleido Insights Analysts.

A new category of software companies must emerge, these companies enable a business to manage multiple virtual assistant experiences from one single platform.

Business needs: marketing, customer care, and other departments are struggling to manage various virtual assistant and AI platforms ranging from Alexa, Cortana, Facebook messenger, and beyond. The APIs will frequently change, often without notice, multiple scripts will have to be integrated and managed per each platform.

These vendors have the following features:

  1. Enable a business buyer to manage a single set of chat scripts from a single platform,
  2. Manage changing APIs from various Virtual Assistant companies, reducing customization by the business buyer
  3. Enterprise-class data security and compliance
  4. Provide aggregated analytics and dashboard reports cross-platforms
  5. Foster data integration and common data standards
  6. We’ll obtain more business requirements from the large companies we speak with on a regular basis.

If this patterns sounds familiar, we saw this same exact market movement in the social business industry, and a rise of Social Media Management Systems emerged (I covered this market at great length) to manage dozens of social networks with ever varied and changing platforms.

Management tool will need to manage AI agents across multiple functions, channels, platform providers:

  • Voice services (Alexa, Cortana, Siri, Google Assistant)
  • Branded service agents (IPsoft’s Amelia; Autodesk’s AVA)
  • Massaging Chatbots (via Facebook, WhatsApp, website)Platform agents (Adobe’s Sensei; SFDC’s Einstein)
  • Custom back-office agents (workflow, project management, productivity, recruiting, sales, ecommerce, advertising, inventory search etc.)

Photo used with attribution by UnSplash

Analysis: Should Blockchain Power Your Customer Loyalty Program?

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By Kaleido Insights Research Analysts: Jeremiah Owyang, Jessica Groopman, Jaimy Szymanski, and Rebecca Lieb

Trend: Nearly a dozen companies have announced their intent to launch blockchain-based loyalty programs and/or branded cryptotokens to encourage customer engagement.

But should your company? 


Is it right for your loyalty program? Is it just hype? Should you deploy? Our analysis of what you should consider.

Keep in mind, many of these are corporate announcements of intention to launch the programs, few are currently deploying. A few examples:

  1. Recently, restaurant holding group Chanticleer (franchises include Little Big Burger, American Burger Co., Hooters, Just Fresh, and BGR) announced its intent to use a blockchain-based loyalty coin for rewards across its dining brands,
  2. Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten just announced a token at Mobile World Congress called Rakuten Coin aimed at deriving additional loyalty from customers,
  3. Singapore airlines announced a blockchain based loyalty wallet across retail partners for frequent flyer loyalty wallets,
  4. Coffee brand Latesso announced partnership with qiibee for loyalty cryptocurrency across locations in Switzerland, Germany, Russia, Austria, and Benelux,
  5. A tea company rebranded to Long Blockchain Company, and their stock price tripled,
  6. In 2016, China Unionpay (CU), the third-largest payment network by value of transactions processed, behind Visa and Mastercard, recently announced a blockchain PoC project in collaboration with IBM to develop a loyalty bonus points exchange for its 200+ members across 150 countries,
  7. Snipps (digital marketing promotions provider) recently partnered with LoyalCoi,n
  8. Elements’ ELM token cryptocurrency miners can earn ELM for “proof of work” processing. These universal tokens can be used for shopping, airlines, movies, etc.
  9. Russian Burger King’s WhopperCoin announced their program

Business Opportunities:
While private blockchains and branded cryptos are nascent, bleeding edge technologies with limitations, we have to ask: Why is this a budding trend? We see many potential business opportunities including:

  • Fraud reduction: Blockchain reduces loyalty fraud, as members in the network have key information shared in the distributed ledger––a core feature of blockchain. It’s a “single source of truth;”
  • Loyalty exchange: Interchangeable points for other currencies, including other cryptos or even fiat based currencies, this provides more value than holding points to one single company’s loyalty program.  
  • Transferability: Tokens could theoretically be exchanged across other businesses or services, allowing customers to freely choose how to redeem for rewards, discounts, and more, all which encourages repeat engagement. Rewards or tokens become equity, monetizable to consumers.
  • More flexibility: Blockchain enables rewards to be more easily tracked, transferred, and allocated into micro-redemptions. In addition, new modes of engagement (e.g. tied to specific content consumption; IoT product use; biometric authentication; beacons; local or regional campaigns) could be more easily scaled up or down across loyalty networks.
  • More cost effective: Creating or expanding loyalty programs across affiliates is historically very time- and cost-intensive, especially considering systems integration. A distributed ledger can significantly reduce development, integration, reconciliation, and security costs.
  • Low(er)-risk: As blockchain-based applications go, loyalty programs are relatively lower risk initiatives than those involving capital markets, healthcare, or other highly sensitive data.

Risks and Challenges:
This nascent space is fraught with froth, due to media hype, low barriers to entry and more.

  • So. Much. Hype. Many of the announcements are not fully deployed systems, but rather a promise. In general, the blockchain space is brimming with more press releases than at-scale deployments (most enterprise blockchain projects are in PoC today). Some of these large companies are likely following the popular trend of tech startups launching ICOs (initial coin offerings) to raise funds.
  • Token fatigue, sigh: Consumers may soon feel overwhelmed by all the token offerings, and eventually become apathetic (as many have of current, disconnected loyalty programs)
  • “What’s Blockchain?” steep learning curve: Customers like loyalty programs––it’s unsure if they’ll see more value in a blockchain or token-based loyalty program.here are multiple steps to educate customers, as well as encourage them to download, setup, and manage token wallets and accounts.
  • But will it scale?: This remains an issue, particularly involving public blockchain networks or programs with high volume transactions, including other charges against the scaling issues with blockchain as an overall industry.
  • Hands off my data. Brands will have to collect less personally identifiable information (PII) data for these programs. Not only because of GDPR, and inability to scale, but will have to limit how much PII can be put on a shared network. This also means data aggregators and brokers become less relevant to loyalty programs.  

Kaleido Insights’ Recommendations: Deploy blockchain for your loyalty program if:

  1. You’re poised to experiment with an emerging technology that reshuffles economic benefits of loyalty programs, in favor of brand, affiliates, and customers,
  2. You’re ready to deploy significant upfront marketing spend to educate customers on what and how to use blockchain,
  3. Your company is a holding company with multiple disparate brands, products, locations, and systems,
  4. You’re part of a partnership with multiple companies that all share a common loyalty program, but the systems are not well interconnected,
  5. Current partnerships aren’t delivering meaningful business ROI; are too cumbersome or costly to scale; customer loyalty is not growing,
  6. You’re frustrated with the loyalty vendors in your market, and want to give them notice, there’s a new distributed way to maintain customer loyalty,
  7. Your customers deserve a more flexible loyalty rewards program, and you want to empower them (key segments: early adopters, millennials, crypto-enthusiasts).

We’ve compiled a short list of a few vendors, including: Elements, Loyyal, LoyalCoin, Blockpoint, leave a comment if you hear of others.

Learn More: Kaleido Insights
We’ve published a number of reports on Blockchain including “Blockchain and IoT” and “Business models of Blockchain” and more, to learn more about our advisory, education and speaking services, contact us at Kaleido Insights.

Image from Pixels

5G Networks will give rise to Intelligent Devices

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The vast discussion at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress isn’t about new devices, but instead about the promise of what an ultra fast 5G network will do. Not only will it enable you to have a fast connection for rich media on your mobile devices, it will also empower many devices to quickly communicate to each other. This is key as we see the rise of the Autonomous World, where intelligent machines can operate independently of direct human control.

How Your Industry will be Impacted by 5G
Working with my partners at Kaleido Insights, we conducted analysis to predict what 5G will mean to a variety of industries, you can read the full post to find out more.

  • Smart grids and smart factories. 5G, combined with “network slicing,” which allows network resources to be allocated on demand, is being tested with traditional power and factory models. In 2017, China’s Huaweidemonstrated a network slicing application for the smart grid, showing how 5G can be used to restore power in 300 ms. It upends traditional models in its ability to be secure, reliable, and high-performing at a low price. Similarly, Ericsson and China Mobile jointly showed how these technologies provide cost-effective, real-time, and low-energy solutions for various manufacturing scenarios.
  • VR and AR. According to Qualcomm, 5G is needed to take VR and AR to the next level for uniform automotive video streaming (when self-driving cars become the norm), social sharing at crowded venues (upload capacity of 12.5 Tbps/km2), 6 DOF immersive content (high throughput, low latency),  and remote control/tactile internet (low latency). Kaleido partner Jaimy Szymanski extends the thinking around how AR/VR and 5G will be technologies in tandem growth.
  • Smart agricultureLanner reports that 5G networks will provide farmers and the agricultural industry Smart Farming IoT technologies for tracking, monitoring, automating and analyzing their agricultural and industrial operations.
  • Industrial IoT (IIoT). Relative to many other industries, the IIoT industry entails more complex data issues for the following reasons: the variety of data source types, messy data, complex data relations, different sizes, different volumes, and varied frequency. Initiative’s like The OpenFog Consortium, launched by Cisco, entail data-intensive IoT applications and analytics with the goal of addressing the complex data issues by enabling AI, IoT, and 5G to work together with fog computing.
  • Autonomous driving. Intel is making 5G modem chips that will transfer gigabits of data on a second by second basis over wireless networks. They believe that this will make autonomous cars smarter by allowing the cars to communicate with a connected infrastructure that will help process sensor, safety, and other information quickly.
  • Law enforcement. 5G’s ultra low latency combined with distributed simultaneous localization and mapping (D-SLAM) will allow law enforcement to exchange live vision feeds between front-end agents dealing with an incident. The benefits are that it will improve the mission’s overall efficiency, as well as situational awareness at an individual level when going into an unknown field.
  • Marketing. AdAge sees 5G changing marketing in some distinct ways. They see an opportunity for hyper-personalization, with consumers interacting with holographic brand representatives based on what they find attractive. And with 5G’s ultra fast download speeds, they see rich mobile video experiences taking off.
  • Security and Identity. Blockchain has the potential to mitigate some of 5G’s security issues. It could help lower the cost of fraud in roaming and identity management, it could secure P2P connectivity for thousands of IoT devices in a cost-efficient manner, and it could be used with identity and data management, with telecom companies providing subscribers unique IDs for automatic authentication on e-commerce websites.
  • Internet of tasks (“tactile internet”). The tactile internet is able to precisely and synchronously map a person’s movements, giving rise to the possibility of duplicating the person’s work remotely and synchronously. This has real-world applications with its near-zero (one ms) latency. Using this technology, a surgeon, for example, could perform remote surgery on a soldier located in a different part of the world.
  • Adult Entertainment. The adult entertainment industry has long been early adopters of technological shifts, starting with VHS in the late 1970s. Now, they’re leading the way with VR. It’s estimated that more than 50% of all VR content is adult-related and that adult content is a large driver of hardware sales. Gene Munster, head of research firm Loup Ventures, estimates the 2017 revenue for the VR adult market to be $93 million, with the possibility of reaching $1.4 billion by 2025. But, the industry faces barriers from large headset makers like Samsung, Sony, and Facebook’s Oculus. Producers feel that the headset makers block adult apps from their online stores, making it harder for consumers to access adult VR content.
  • Supply Chain. As 5G takes off, it will create supply chain opportunities. A couple of key opportunities relate to hardware and smart logistics. The hardware industry will see a boom with the need for new devices and platforms, aimed at both consumers and carriers. Qualcomm and Samsung are currently focusing on consumer needs by developing modems and routers, respectively. And Nokia and Ericsson are targeting carriers, with Ericsson saying they already developed the first 5G radio system. Smart logistics, a subset of IIoT, will be enhanced with 5G by negating much of the human error by changing the manual nature of the industry. The overall benefits are time and cost savings, exemplified through passive RFID tags and “digital twins.” Passive RFID tags can be attached to inventory to automate the process of tracking and recording, as well as sharing this data with relevant parties in real time. When cargo in transit is damaged, smart logistics will clearly show which party is responsible. “Digital twins” (a virtual replica of physical assets, processes or systems) can be used in smart logistics to log changes in real time so that companies can quickly respond to events, such as shipment delays, shortages, and extreme weather. Some of the benefits, as reported by Deloitte, include: always-on agility, connected community, intelligent optimization, end-to-end transparency, and holistic decision-making.

Read the full post on the Kaleido Insights website to learn more.

 

 

Report Details 5 Models to Organize Internally for Corporate Innovation

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The third report in our series on Corporate Innovation, this report documents how companies have organized for innovation success.

When innovation occurs in multiple pockets throughout a corporation, organizing to thrive and achieve results may seem an arduous––if not impossible!––task. In Catalyst Companies’ new research report, we detail five models that corporations are organizing under to achieve maximum efficiency, ideation, collaboration, and output from their innovation programs.

It’s much like building an orchestral ensemble, wherein a conductor leads multiple musicians and instruments that must act in concert in order to make beautiful music. For each of the five distinct models for corporate innovation, we pair them with easy-to-grasp metaphors that relate to how musicians organize as they mature in their craft. Within each model you’ll learn its pros and cons, who makes decisions, the speed of innovation, and the typical amount of funnels. See the infographic below for a preview of the research:

This members-only report also outlines the top challenges corporations face in organizing for innovation, including a lack of understanding around org model best practices, slow-moving efforts with unclear goals, and departmental or BU “bottlenecks.” Readers will also better understand the types of internal and external funnels that feed innovation efforts, and recommendations in selecting the right model for your company’s size, resources, and innovation vision.

A Sneak Peek at the Most Mature Model: “Symphony Orchestra”

As organizations work their way through innovation program maturity, the ultimate end goal is complete orchestration led by an aligned, visionary group of leaders. We call this model the “Symphony Orchestra.” Multi-functional Innovation CoE of senior leaders from all departments operate in concert with a view of all innovation efforts within the organization. The CoE enables innovation across multiple departments within the company, and members serving on the CoE are also responsible for senior leadership within various corporate groups. Common departments included: marketing/digital, PR, legal, HR, IT, and product. The goal of the CoE is to standardize and scale innovation across the company, providing guidance to efforts that do not yet have dedicated teams or leadership.

Through interviewing nearly 20 senior leaders at large organizations, Catalyst Companies aims to better innovation leaders’ understanding of how to organize their company for rapid innovation. This is best done throughout an orchestration of multiple business units, departments, and teams––all aligning together under common goals and vision for success. For a more robust preview of the report, or to inquire about becoming a Catalyst Companies member, please email Carl Bohlin, Member Success Manager, at carl [at] catalystcompanies.co.

 

 

Research: Measurements Critical For Corporate Innovation Success

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As part of my continued research stream on corporate innovation at Catalyst Companies, an Innovation Council, we’ve completed 3/4 research reports on how large companies are acting more like startups. Here’s some of the findings of how companies formalized innovation programs are shaping up. In this latest research effort, which I partnered with Jaimy Szymanski, looks at how companies are measuring their innovation efforts.

Success of Innovation Programs Depends on Metrics
We’ve identified the most common innovation programs in previous research. However, these programs – and innovation efforts themselves – will fail if metrics are assumed to be equal across all domains. Challenge: Early innovation efforts shouldn’t be measured by revenue –especially when compared to billion dollar product lines. So how should companies measure? Here’s what we found:

Fallacy: Revenue is King
At a high level the typical metric most often discussed at corporate is return on investment (ROI) or what shareholders prefer to hear, revenue. This mindset has, and will, condemn any formalized innovation efforts and undermine the success of innovation leaders themselves. Organizations with successful innovation programs reveal specific metrics for success – which may not include revenue, yet.

Recipe for Success
For any innovation program to mature it must have appropriate metrics aligned at the onset which will ultimately result in the organization’s goal of increased revenue in the long term. The metrics below were gained through qualitative analysis of Fortune 500 companies within the Catalyst Companies Council, as well as outside corporate executives, startup innovators and ecosystem experts.

Programs and their Success Metrics

  • Dedicated Innovation Team
  • Metrics are indistinguishable between these programs. Ideation is the key for these programs and should be accounted for accordingly.
  • Amount of ideas generated to “top of funnel”, incubated, prototyped or meaningfully launched to market.
  • Speed and efficiency for each of the aforementioned
  • Return on marketing investment or product development expense
  • Increase of customer satisfaction through specific metrics like NPS, testimonials or another identified metric
  • Effectiveness of a new product or service through measurements like adoption, growth, retention etc
  • Percent of leadership time spent on innovation vs daily operations.

Intrapreneur Program
Engagement is key for this program’s success. As such metrics should be assigned to measure overall involvement. Things like:

  • Employee participation, trained or engaged
  • Role or rank of participants
  • Amount of workshops, training and attendance
  • Amount of ideas submitted or generated
  • Amount of ideas generated by innovation sponsors BU as compared to others
  • Conversion rates of ideas
  • ROI from ideas to market
  • Efficiency of time to market
  • Customer satisfaction

Open Innovation
Allowing external parties into corporate provides a symbiotic relationship which must be measured. Participating parties look to their benefits of things like potential funding or corporate support. Corporations must measure;

  • Amount of ideas generated or participation through votes, comments or engagement
  • Quality of start-ups participating in challenge/contest
  • Amount of ideas that generate minimum viable product (MVP), measured per quarter
  • Amount of ideas to production
  • Efficiency from idea to MVP to production
  • Development costs MVP or POC
  • ROI and use of products resulting from challenge, contest or program

Metrics Tell Your Story and Prove Your Worth!
Aligning the innovation groups goals to corporate initiatives has never been more important. Revenue cannot be the only measurement, or the group and its leaders & personnel, will fail miserably. Identification of metrics at the start – including desired business outcome – will help determine which program is best suited for your organizational goals.

To learn more about this research, please send me an email at jko@cataylstcompanies.co