Sparking the IoT Journey with Big Data Ignite

October 25th, 2018 | Jeff Ekdom | Events,IoT Notes

Big Data, Analytics, Cloud Computing, and IoT, these were the overwhelming undertones at the Big Data Ignite event at the DeVos Place on the shores of the Grand River in Grand Rapids, MI this fall. Pair these topics with the creative and electric vibes from that of the first days of ArtPrize (a large international art competition in the heart of downtown), and it was sure to be a great event to attend, learn, and network.

What is Symbiosis?

The theme for this year’s event was “Symbiotic Intelligence through Automation.” Symbiosis can be defined as “mutual and collective benefits derived from interaction” or, “benefits from connecting things & systems.” Here at SpinDance, this resonates well. This “connecting a physical thing to compute resources, and adding connectivity” is how we define IoT and what an “internet thing” is.

The Correlation of Big Data to the IoT Journey

Throughout the keynotes, panels, and talks we noticed a few trends and takeaways. At SpinDance, we know that every customer is on a unique path when it comes to IoT. We refer to this as their IoT Journey. There are four “stops” on this path – Awareness, Acceptance, Adoption, and Strategic. At this event, we saw a large correlation on these stops, with how customers are collecting, analyzing, and using their data. For some, they could be categorized more in the awareness or acceptance stage when it comes to their data….

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Interusability: IoT User Experience Beyond the Level of a Single Device

September 7th, 2018 | Brian Tol | Engineering,IoT Notes,SpinDance

In 2014, publisher and technology guru Tim O’Reilly gave a speech entitled “Software Above the Level of an Individual Device.” In it, he described the foundational pattern that IoT enables: instead of individual computers, we’re building a network of devices that “make it possible to completely rethink how we organize work, play and society itself.”

Implicit in O’Reilly’s argument is the need for new ways of interfacing with these device networks to unlock their potential: What we need are user experiences that go beyond the level of a single device.

This multi-device experience design is called interusability, and it is central to building successful IoT products.

What is Interusability?

The term “interusability” was coined in 2005 by Charles Denis and Laurent Karsenty. They argued that conventional UX design was ill-equipped to handle multi-device interfaces. The discussion continued in 2010 when a group of researchers published a practical framework for interusability. In 2015, O’Reilly Media launched Designing Connected Products, which we at SpinDance consider the current definitive work on the subject.

If you don’t have time for articles or books, Claire Rowland’s 49 slide presentation on the subject is worth checking out. In particular, this chart is a good guide for thinking about where interusability fits in the larger UX/software world:

So what is interusability?…

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Internet of Manufacturing – Patterns of IoT Success

July 3rd, 2018 | Jeff Ekdom | IoT Notes,News,SpinDance

Internet of Manufacturing

Technology leaders, business strategists, and product innovators from manufacturers across the globe gathered together a few weeks ago at the Internet of Manufacturing event based on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, IL. The event presented valuable opportunities to learn, network and discuss challenges and trends in IoT for the Industrial sector. Key themes at the event were digital transformation, changing customer expectations, workforce demographics, connectivity opportunities and revenue growth.

Challenges for Industrial IoT

There is a lot that goes into digital transformation and adopting IoT within the Industrial space. To make a successful shift from traditional thinking (decisions with certainty, 5-year plans, success at all cost) to digital thinking (calculated risks, failing smart, and agile thinking) takes time and buy-in from the entire organization.

New innovative use cases such as autonomous shop floor drones, cobots, AI-based predictive maintenance, AR/VR/MR for training and field support, and blockchain based supply chain are fuel for smarter business. Manufacturers can collect and utilize data (that was obsolete before IIoT) to make better decisions for the organization, reduce production & training costs, decrease risks of injury, and allow for greater focus on value and improved customer experiences.

Patterns of IoT Success

This digital transformation age for IIoT is affording countless lessons. Trends of success are emerging with clear & aligned objectives, repeatable innovation,…

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Booths and Attendees at the International Home and Housewares Show, March 2018

Trends Shaping the Future of the Connected Home

April 4th, 2018 | Jeff Ekdom | IoT Notes

When it comes to connected products, is the priority to save time, money, energy, or all of the above? Our fast-paced world deals brands with this question and we answer with innovative new technologies, which consumers are purchasing by the millions. In fact, some researchers are pinning the smart-home market at $40 billion by 2020, but that growth can only be accessed by focusing on the consumer’s needs rather than focusing solely on innovation. This shift in focus was the theme of last month’s International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago.

Shifting focus from technology to the consumer

“OK, Google: How do I get started?” or “Alexa, what do I do now?” – both of these questions are driving the experience of the newly connected consumer. As a consumer’s experience with connected products increases, engineers have opportunities to introduce multiple device solutions that provide crossovers between mobile, web, and in-home. But the mere introduction of these technologies doesn’t mean that consumers will automatically buy in. In fact, the act of saturating the market with products has only made consumers more skeptical and slower to buy.

During his IHHS keynote, Kevin Young from Continuum remarked that, “we are in an age now where the technology will always be there, it will now just become more naturally connected into our everyday lives.”

This mindset is critical to the direction engineers must take when innovating new products….

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From Demographic Profiles to Real World Data: How Insurance Companies are Leveraging IoT

January 19th, 2018 | Tom Miller | IoT Notes

Insurance companies have traditionally relied on demographic and geographic information to assess coverage rates for customers. Loss has typically been a trailing indicator, rather than a preventative event. IoT is changing this methodology and changing it quickly.

At the Insurance IoT USA Summit, held this year in Chicago, IL, the best of insurance companies were leading, listening and learning in sessions about how IoT innovations are and will transform the industry. SpinDance was there to share our IoT experience and be part of the narrative.

insurance IoTIoT is generating the data necessary to offer insurance customers the most personalized coverage — and rates — possible, while also providing the technology and information for further improvement. That data, which helps drive rates down and margins up, is available to large and small carriers alike, creating the disruptive playing field that is being experienced by many other industries: adapt or die.  An estimated 1,400 tech savvy insurance startups are demonstrating an awareness and readiness for the opportunity.

A few examples of IoT in insurance include:

  • Usage based auto coverage which collects data on mileage, speed, braking and turning will identify safe drivers regardless of age or gender.
  • Home, office, commercial and industrial facilities are equipped with sensors to detect internal and exterior environmental conditions, with two way communications able to respond instantly to smoke,

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Internet of Things

Hack the Train: SpinDance Shares Holiday Spirit with Interactive Window

December 19th, 2017 | Tom Miller | Development,IoT Notes,SpinDance

Storefront displays have come a long way since the Miracle on 34th Street. At SpinDance’s Holland, MI, headquarters, we think of it more as the Technology on River Avenue, as we’ve recently installed an interactive display to allow passersby of all ages the opportunity to touch the future of IoT development.

When you visit, you’ll notice that the first step in our display is an AWS IoT button attached to the company’s first floor office window, which allows you to control the lights on a Christmas tree. We used the popular NeoPixel platform to create the lights, and there are number of festive patterns you can cycle the lights through. The buttons runs some code in Amazon’s cloud, which then runs the commands on the tree.

After you’re done playing with the Christmas tree, you can scan the QR code on the window to access a web app which gives users the ability to control the speed and sound of a model train in the winter village. The train’s sound is amplified by a surface transducer that transforms the entire window into a large speaker.

As an IoT (Internet of Things) company, SpinDance is committed to using the same technology we implement for our customers in our own day-to-day lives. One way we do this is through our hackathons,…

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IoT Notes: Smart Bricks, Open Standards, and IoT for Cows

January 17th, 2017 | Brian Tol | IoT Notes

With the holidays firmly in the rearview mirror, SpinDance is looking forward to an exciting 2017. The IoT space continues to rapidly evolve, so we thought we’d try something new this year: in addition to long form blog posts, we’re going to start highlighting interesting news and technology in a series we’re calling IoT Notes.

SpinDance operates at the intersection of technology, business, and user experience. Those are the lenses we’ll be using to comment on the state of IoT. We’d love to hear from you; and if you have an idea for a topic or a reaction, please drop us a note at or tweet us at @SpinDanceInc.

IoT Bricks… The Good Kind

Sometimes software can “brick” your devices, but this time around, that’s a good thing. SpinDance engineer Chris Samuelson, and Pete Hoffswell, Broadband manager at the Holland Board of Public Works, are working to develop LoRa-enabled brick pavers to help monitor Holland’s snow melt system, the largest in the country. They both recently presented at the annual StartUp Weekend sponsored by Start Garden in Grand Rapids, MI.

New to LoRa? Chris wrote up an excellent tutorial on describing how to make a low-cost, single channel LoRa gateway using a $10 module and a Raspberry Pi….

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