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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The Future of Voice: A Recap of VOICE Summit 2018

August 10th, 2018 | Jeff Ekdom | News,Opinion,SpinDance

About the Event

This summer over 2,800 thought leaders within the voice space gathered at the campus of the New Jersey Institute of Technology for the 2018 VOICE Summit. This first-time event sponsored by Amazon Alexa and designed for all those getting into natural language AI, NLP, and Alexa Skills programming.  The event included powerful keynotes, informative breakout sessions, thought-provoking panels, and valuable professional networking.

The theme of this year’s event was “Voice First.” The term voice-first refers to devices that use voice as the primary input method that points the way towards more integrated and useful user experience.  The event provided an opportunity for sharing, learning, and discussion about the future and the value of voice-first from both a consumer and business perspective.

The Future of Voice

In business and as consumers, we live very busy lives, and we are frequently searching to find ways to be more efficient.  Voice is a powerful tool; it is an efficient input modality: it allows users to give commands to a system quickly and on their terms. Hands-free controls allow users to multitask, and effective natural language processing eliminates the need for complex navigation menus, at least for familiar tasks and common commands.  Voice-first can meet user goals and business objectives for efficiency now and in the future.

Since children are exposed to digital and voice experiences at a very young age,…

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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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IoT Blossoms at Technology Symposium

June 5th, 2018 | Tom Miller | News,SpinDance

Tulips were in full color all around the downtown area in Holland, MI this spring when 100,000 visitors converged on the Great Lakes coastal community to allow Tulip Time, a spring festival in Michigan, to renew and inspire with a fresh outlook. SpinDance, our Holland-based IoT design, development and support company, followed the lead of this annual tradition by hosting Technology & Tulips: Blooming Strategies for IoT, an event on the top floor of the beautiful City View hotel

Companies large and small, new and established, face big questions about IoT’s role and strategic contribution. What is IoT? How does it impact my industry and company?  What should I do? IoT is technically challenging and is a significant shift from traditional product development.  So what did a day of IoT & tulips yield you ask?

Stages of IoT  
Companies are all on an IoT journey either through their product or process, or with the engagement of the customers, suppliers, and partners they rely on in their business. Each company is in one of several stages: awareness, exploration, adoption, or strategy.  Regardless of stage, most are feeling anxious about the step they are in wondering how the next step impacts their industry and company.  The IoT Symposium allowed attendees in all stages to share and listen to stories of both challenge and success….

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Dusk over CityVu Events Building with graphic depiction of tech symposium

Join us in May for our Technology Symposium

April 6th, 2018 | Erin Bernhard Erno | News,SpinDance

There’s no denying it – the Internet of Things is here to stay. However, about 61% of executives in the United States believe that they’ve barely scratched the surface of what IoT can do for their business. For most, the question is, “How can I best integrate IoT solutions into our existing business strategy?”

If this is a question you’ve been asking, then you’re in luck. You just need to block out your calendar on May 10, 2018.

Technology Symposium: Blooming Strategies for IoT

May 10, 2018
IOT Bootcamp and Journeys in IoT
City Flats Hotel, Downtown Holland

Join us in Holland, Michigan, to learn from pioneers in the IoT industry. Participating in any part of this free event will give you the opportunity to better understand how to enhance your business goals by including the Internet of Things.

In the morning, you’ll receive key insights into the nuances of IoT from the highly-trained staff at SpinDance by participating in our IoT Bootcamp ($1500 value), which we’re making available to you free of charge. After lunch, you’ll hear from key business leaders who have prioritized IoT for their businesses. By the end of the day, you’ll have created your own IoT strategy, learned about a wide variety of IoT solutions, and networked with leaders from a variety of industries….

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The Future’s Future: SpinDance Hosts High School Students for Winterim

February 9th, 2018 | Erin Bernhard Erno | SpinDance

During the second week of January 2018, SpinDance was abuzz with activity. The reason? A group of Holland Christian High School students were in the office, exploring the world of IoT to “test drive” a career in Software Engineering  during the school’s annual “Winterim” internship program. By the end of the week, they had successfully learned how to implement a smart IoT system through the cloud to light and power a small ceramic house with voice commands. Here’s what they worked on:

At the beginning of Winterim, students received an AWS IoT button and WeMo outlet for exploration. They quickly taught themselves about AWS IoT and Lambda, while creating AWS accounts and connecting their AWS IoT buttons to the cloud.  

“Setting up the AWS IoT Button is a good introduction to IoT because it introduces a person to the major concepts of IoT through configuration rather than writing code,” said SpinDance’s Director Engineering, Mike Stroud. “Concepts include the AWS Cloud, connecting a device (the button) to WiFi access point, associating the device with their AWS IoT account, and editing a Lambda function to associate an event (button press) with and action (sending an SMS).  

“It doesn’t take long to experience these concepts which builds interest and boosts confidence.”  Thanks to the support of SpinDance’s own Chris Samuelson, they were able to implement an AWS Lambda function to send a custom SMS message to their phones when the AWS IoT Button was pressed –…

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Creating Community through Professional Development: The SpinDance Book Club

February 1st, 2018 | Erin Bernhard Erno | SpinDance

At SpinDance, one of our universal commitments is to seek and communicate truth within our teams as well as for our customers. We want to make sure that our teams are dynamic, energetic about being at here, and always learning new ideas to improve themselves and to create better solutions for our customers. Last November, the SpinDance Book Club was created to engage the SpinDance team in dialog around various skills and interests that range from management of teams to being better developers.

Group of professionals meeting to discuss a book

What We’re Reading

As a group of 17 SpinDance staffers, we brainstormed a number of different books and decided to kick off the inauguration of the book club with Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams. We decided to start with this book not only because it’s relatively short and structured in a way that each chapter presents one key idea for us to discuss, but because it gives us a top-level view of organizational goals that any staffer can relate to. All project failures described in the book resulted from people issues and not technology issues. This can be seen not only in the book, but also in our own experiences.

At SpinDance, the successes of our projects with customers are measured both by our team interactions internally and customer interactions externally. As an organization that delivers custom software for our clients,…

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Introducing the IoT Canvas: Planning Worksheets For Connected Products

December 19th, 2017 | Brian Tol | News,Operations,SpinDance

Managing an IoT project can be tricky. Every month, SpinDance talks to one or two organizations who are stuck somewhere on the IoT journey. Some of the scenarios we’ve heard recently include:

  • The project team is struggling to sort through competing vendor claims.
  • The organization isn’t sure how to build a business case or calculate long-term ROI.
  • Their QA process is taking 3x as long as expected, forcing them to rush a inferior product to market.
  • They didn’t plan for essential features like over-the-air updates, and are scrambling to add them to a suboptimal embedded design.
  • Their device analytics are not answering the questions the business /really/ cares about.
  • The outsourced cloud development team is months behind delivering a product, and there is finger pointing between all the various delivery groups.

These are all true stories we’ve seen up close, and unfortunately they aren’t isolated experiences. Cisco recently did a survey that found that 85% of IoT projects are considered business failures at some level. Meanwhile, we continue to consult with project teams that aren’t sure where to turn next.

There’s no reason that a properly-planned project should fail, so this raises the critical question: why are IoT projects so difficult?

Why is IoT so difficult?

There are lots of symptoms that contribute to the difficulty of IoT project management,…

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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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Get To Know SpinDance

March 6th, 2017 | Brian Tol | SpinDance

SpinDance was recently featured in a short video produced by Grand Rapids Tech List, an organization that highlights local technology businesses by sharing their stories through video. We’re in good company, and SpinDance CEO Mike Ellis tells the 10,000-foot story of what we’re all about.

Take a look:…

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