Lockitron Communicates Data With Light

Kickstarter-shunned startup Lockitron recently announced its system for networking its deadbolt attachment for use with smartphones, and it’s quite clever.  The device is connected to the internet via an Electric Imp wi-fi chip, but without a screen or input interface, selecting connection preferences poses an issue.  A smartphone app allows users to input their network information which is then translated into flashes of light played back to a sensor on the Lockitron itself.  This computer-readable data transmission could be applied across many industries including as a part of customer loyalty programs or out of home installations, giving the slightest bit of tactile interaction back in an otherwise wireless world.

The Challenges Of Kickstarter

Kickstarter’s premise is pretty great. Take a bunch of clever entrepreneurs and empower them to make the creations people demand. But as Fast Co’s Mark Wilson points out, there can be a lot of risks involved, particularly regarding supply chain. While larger corporations may be able to handle the production to create scalable products, it may stifle the very creativity Kickstarter is known for.    

Netflix’s crowdsourced victory

Netflix's crowdsourced victory (Netflix)Three years and one million dollers later, Netflix has an improved ratings and recommendation system, and months of free advertising in the lead up to a jubuilent conclusion for the BellKore Pragmatic Chaos team. Thousands of teams from across the world submitted their ideas, ultimately leading to a final round of mergings which brought team BellKore across the finish line 20 minutes before their primary competitor, Ensemble.

The experiment is a three-fold triumph: For Netflix (the company’s stock has been steadily climbing over this year and was up .30 on Monday when the results were announced); For the wider technology community who will get to benefit from the winning team’s algorithms–publishing methods was one of the stated requirements of the competition; and for the infinite possibilities of crowdsourcing–both as a problem solving and a marketing tool. Continue reading “Netflix’s crowdsourced victory”

Crowdsourcing for product improvement

crowdsTraditionally, large companies depended on their internal and trusted resources for new product and service development. Today, the idea of companies outsourcing their R&D efforts to consumers has caught on. With the excess of online collaborative tools in the age of consumers as creators, companies are engaging with and listening to customers in entirely new ways. With easy access to loyal fans and eager customers, why not tap into the collective intelligence for product development?

Companies, large and small, are seeing the value of casting a broader net and are opening up the design process to the “crowd” (customers, vendors, employees, consumers, and experts). Several have launched dedicated sites with built-in community elements that allow customers to share, vote, and discuss ideas on the products and services. Anyone is invited to participate at such sites as: Continue reading “Crowdsourcing for product improvement”