24 November, 2016

5 IoT innovations that can’t advance without wireless power

Until wireless power goes mainstream, the Internet of Things (IoT) will fail to reach its potential. And by “wireless power,” I don’t mean the power pads that masquerade as wireless chargers. True wireless power eliminates the need for all power cables and contact. It resembles Wi-Fi in its ubiquity, safety, and range.

Essentially, there’s a conflict between the proliferation of IoT and our ability to power it. In five areas of innovation, wireless power could enable dozens of technologies that are otherwise unfeasible:

1. Home
Question: how many devices in your home require power? Count up everything that has batteries or power cables.

At my home, I count 130 devices, 90 of which are sensors in the security system. For comparison, as a kid in the 1970s, my home had two such devices: a transistor radio and flashlight. As innovators put computing in every “dumb” device, from , my 130 count is going to skyrocket.

That sounds like good news for companies that make surge protector power strips and batteries. In reality, it’s bad news for IoT innovators because consumers won’t bother with powering 500 devices – unless they can do it wirelessly, with zero effort.

2. Industrial
In a modern factory, loss of power to a single sensor can shut down the plant. Currently, factories power thousands of sensors with wires, but this has two shortcomings.

First, industrial-grade sensors cost roughly $50 while the wiring job can easily cost $1,000. Thus, installing and reconfiguring sensors is a heavy expense. Second, wired sensors don’t have backup power. If the wire fails, the sensor fails. These sensors are considered “wireless” since they communicate wirelessly, but nevertheless, they still need wired power today.

Wireless power would slash the installation cost and introduce redundancy. You can put two wireless power transmitters in range of each sensor, and if one transmitter fails, the sensor could switch to the backup. The cost of the transmitters would be a fraction of the cost of the wiring that’s installed today.

3. Retail
Today, the aisles in most stores are low-tech. Employees manually change paper price tags and post specials. In the few stores that use digital price tags, you can only modify them once or twice a day for one year before the battery dies (and again, wires would be impractical for a constantly shifting product positioning in the store).

Wireless power solves the problem. IoT price tags could automatically change as often as is optimal, and the staff wouldn’t need to constantly replace batteries as price tags black out. On wirelessly powered price tag screens, retailers could offer personalized ads and deals to create a new revenue stream.

4. Healthcare
Hospitals are starting to swap old-school stethoscopes and thermometers for mobile, IoT equivalents. Frankly, smart stethoscopes can tell doctors more about your heart than ears and intuition, and such devices can automatically transfer readings to patient records. Handheld ultrasound scanners, too, can capture information that used to require more time and expense.

But, if IoT medical devices can conk out, their use is limited. Healthcare organizations can’t risk leaving their staff underequipped to treat patients. Wireless power would eliminate that risk.

5. Wearables
Some entrepreneurs would like to create IoT wardrobes. Watches, shirts, hats, and socks are just the beginning. Today though, all wearables need to be charged with a power cord. Charging a single IoT smartwatch is one thing. Charging 50 wearables without wireless power is unviable.

This is especially true if people use wearables for health purposes. Most diabetics manually draw blood to test their glucose levels and then use a needle and syringe to inject insulin. While it would nice to switch to an IoT glucose monitor and automated insulin pump, who would risk their life on AAs or a rechargeable battery?

5 IoT innovations that can’t advance without wireless power

Until wireless power goes mainstream, the Internet of Things (IoT) will fail to reach its potential. And by “wireless power,” I don’t mean the power pads that masquerade as wireless chargers. True wireless power eliminates the need for all power cables and contact. It resembles Wi-Fi in its ubiquity, safety, and range.

Essentially, there’s a conflict between the proliferation of IoT and our ability to power it. In five areas of innovation, wireless power could enable dozens of technologies that are otherwise unfeasible:

1. Home
Question: how many devices in your home require power? Count up everything that has batteries or power cables.

At my home, I count 130 devices, 90 of which are sensors in the security system. For comparison, as a kid in the 1970s, my home had two such devices: a transistor radio and flashlight. As innovators put computing in every “dumb” device, from , my 130 count is going to skyrocket.

That sounds like good news for companies that make surge protector power strips and batteries. In reality, it’s bad news for IoT innovators because consumers won’t bother with powering 500 devices – unless they can do it wirelessly, with zero effort.

2. Industrial
In a modern factory, loss of power to a single sensor can shut down the plant. Currently, factories power thousands of sensors with wires, but this has two shortcomings.

First, industrial-grade sensors cost roughly $50 while the wiring job can easily cost $1,000. Thus, installing and reconfiguring sensors is a heavy expense. Second, wired sensors don’t have backup power. If the wire fails, the sensor fails. These sensors are considered “wireless” since they communicate wirelessly, but nevertheless, they still need wired power today.

Wireless power would slash the installation cost and introduce redundancy. You can put two wireless power transmitters in range of each sensor, and if one transmitter fails, the sensor could switch to the backup. The cost of the transmitters would be a fraction of the cost of the wiring that’s installed today.

3. Retail
Today, the aisles in most stores are low-tech. Employees manually change paper price tags and post specials. In the few stores that use digital price tags, you can only modify them once or twice a day for one year before the battery dies (and again, wires would be impractical for a constantly shifting product positioning in the store).

Wireless power solves the problem. IoT price tags could automatically change as often as is optimal, and the staff wouldn’t need to constantly replace batteries as price tags black out. On wirelessly powered price tag screens, retailers could offer personalized ads and deals to create a new revenue stream.

4. Healthcare
Hospitals are starting to swap old-school stethoscopes and thermometers for mobile, IoT equivalents. Frankly, smart stethoscopes can tell doctors more about your heart than ears and intuition, and such devices can automatically transfer readings to patient records. Handheld ultrasound scanners, too, can capture information that used to require more time and expense.

But, if IoT medical devices can conk out, their use is limited. Healthcare organizations can’t risk leaving their staff underequipped to treat patients. Wireless power would eliminate that risk.

5. Wearables
Some entrepreneurs would like to create IoT wardrobes. Watches, shirts, hats, and socks are just the beginning. Today though, all wearables need to be charged with a power cord. Charging a single IoT smartwatch is one thing. Charging 50 wearables without wireless power is unviable.

This is especially true if people use wearables for health purposes. Most diabetics manually draw blood to test their glucose levels and then use a needle and syringe to inject insulin. While it would nice to switch to an IoT glucose monitor and automated insulin pump, who would risk their life on AAs or a rechargeable battery?

27 June, 2016

UX vs CX: Which is more important?

You’ve probably heard the terms UX and CX, and how they’re the key to your company’s success. Many still aren’t clear, however about what the difference is between the two concepts. Perhaps you’re under the impression that only one of them is worth investing in, or that they’re both the same thing. Do you need to put more focus on one over the other? It’s an important question to ask – I mean, why waste resources on something irrelevant? For this reason, we wanted to give you a clear overview of the concepts and help you determine which is more important: UX or CX?

What’s the Difference?




While UX and CX are very similar concepts, the terms are not interchangeable. UX is a specific component within CX that concerns the usability of your product or site. CX, on the other hand encompasses the end-to-end customer interactions and deals with many touch points including web, mobile, brochures, and human contact (support and service).


Why is UX Important?

A good user experience gives your customers the ability to find information quickly and easily. It is the totality of your end users’ perceptions while they interact with your product or service. This includes the effectiveness, efficiency, emotional satisfaction, and the quality of the relationship with the organisation that provides the product or service.
UX is important for any digital product. No matter how beautifully designed your site may be, if your users don’t know how to navigate and find what they’re looking for, they simply won’t come back. By designing an experience rich with interactions that’s simple and easy to use, your users will have a positive experience that’ll keep them coming back. Users decide within only a few seconds whether your site or app is worth their time and this is where UX becomes vital.

Why is CX Important?


Customer experience involves designing and reacting to a customer’s interactions in order to either meet or exceed their expectations. In doing so, the objective is to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. This includes your customer’s ability to have a helpful, pleasant, and positive total experience with your organization.
CX is important because whether it’s positive or negative influences the likelihood that your customers will round off or repeat transactions with your company. This is especially important as your customers are tech savvy and have the power to choose between a multitude of competitors. Differentiating your product or service by offering a great CX could not only help increase your revenue and sales, but also help you gain competitive advantage. After all, studies have shown that 86% of your customers would be willing to pay more for a better CX.

To Wrap Up

User Experience is the foundation of a good customer experience. These fields are very much intertwined and one isn’t necessarily more ‘important’ than the other. UX and CX professionals have complementary skills, but currently are not working as closely together as they should be. UX doesn’t always deal with the customer specifically but with the product. Whereas, CX addresses the multichannel interactions that a user has with your company and ought to be consistent at each touchpoint, both online and offline.
So, it’s possible to have many customers who are generally unhappy with your UX. Similarly you can have the best UX possible but then your CX might be terrible. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you put your customer (or user) first. It’s all about finding the balance that works for your business, neither areas are necessarily more important than the other (not yet anyway).