25
Jun

Changing Tides in IoT New Product Development

By Lucas Lowden
Research Director

In early February 2018, I was lucky enough to embark on what many might consider the trip of a lifetime.

My wife and I, along with three other couples, arranged a bareboat charter to sail around the Abaco Islands in the northeast Bahamas for eight days and seven nights. The chartered 40’ catamaran was our “home” for the subsequent week’s adventure of going somewhere new and different each day.

If you are considering taking a trip like this, I can’t recommend it enough. As Nike says – just do it!

Back home, and finally remembering what I did for my day job, came a realization.

My sailing trip parallels well with the development of innovative solutions here at Morpace, and the lessons we continue to learn in the product development process:

  1. Find someone to captain the ship in unfamiliar territory
  2. Focus first, then iterate development so you don’t end up marooned at sea
  3. Don’t let rough seas deter your development – embrace a flexible and adaptive mindset that comes with new adventures

My focus over the last 18 months has been facilitating a cross-functional team to develop big data and IoT capabilities within Morpace – specifically, our first-ever commercially-released mobile application, DataDialogue™|Pulse. This app takes our knowledge of commercial fleets and their business purpose as well as our experience working with telematics data to provide fleet professionals with an easy-to-use mobile app designed to prioritize performance issues adversely impacting profitability.
With data management and analytics in our marketing research DNA, that sounds pretty straightforward, right? Hardly. It has required deep internal engagements, a lot of perspective, and some key partnerships along the way.

  1. In any new venture, it is paramount to be strategic in your pursuits, working closely with partners, as needed.

Seems like a no-brainer, but it is not always easy. This requires you and your team to be completely honest with yourselves—taking a good, hard look in the mirror. The key is to play to your strengths and find partners to supplement you where needed.

In my boating analogy, a friend in the group is a certified and licensed captain, so we were not required to hire a captain or crew. With the captain in place, the other seven of us were the de facto crew. While this was our second trip as a group, we still leaned on his expertise to navigate us safely through the sea. Who knows where we would have ended up if I was captain of that ship.

As we’ve built DataDialogue|Pulse, there are skills and workflows required that are not necessarily the forte of a traditional marketing research company. After some internal cross-functional efforts and debate, we partnered and consulted with a Michigan-based fleet, data scientist, and application development agency (among others) to supplement our product development process with their deeper subject matter expertise.

We see this in today’s changing automotive landscape as well. OEMs are acquiring or partnering within the mobility and autonomy ecosystems with focused start-ups in hopes of getting a leg up in the race to establish a presence in this emerging space. Generally, the more narrowly-focused start-ups lend a much deeper, specific expertise to the broader-focused OEM.

  1. You want to start with the end in mind. Develop a solution that delivers the minimum acceptable level of value and iterate solutions from there.

Especially in today’s tech-centric approach to development, you must begin with a vision for a minimum viable product – a set of features and content that is essential to the success of the product or service. From there, you can plan for more detailed development around expansion in future iterations.

This also requires you to acknowledge selecting tools that work best for your problem/solution, and not vice versa. For example, we built the proof of concept within Microsoft’s PowerBI offering. This worked quite well for that stage of development, however, we ultimately opted for a custom app build to deliver the long-term scalable solution.

Our trip began and ended at the same marina, so we planned an overall course to achieve this. We certainly couldn’t stray hundreds of miles into the open ocean -after all, we had to end back where we started. This required deciding which islands and cays would best fit into a desirable route. Lastly, we decided on the specifics of choosing which islands and activities we wanted to enjoy.

  1. Despite all the planning in the world, your development process will ebb and flow. In the face of it, you will forge ahead even better if you remain flexible.

Doing so requires an adaptive mindset. Seas and weather change, much as does the business environment. You have to constantly assess your situation for disruption or, if you’re lucky, opportunity. Things do not always go as planned, so you need to be able to think quickly, improvise strategically, and move on.

Fortunately in sailing, if the weather becomes prohibitive, there isn’t much of an option than to stay put and ride it out. In business, that generally isn’t the best strategy. Many times, it may require reversing some decisions or work completed to get back onto the best path of development. Do not be discouraged by setbacks; rather, embrace them and learn from them. Sometimes, small setbacks can be the catalyst for an even better strategy.

In our app, we had assumed a relationship of one fleet manager to one fleet business. We quickly learned that one fleet manager may oversee multiple business lines. This dynamic forced our hand to allow for one user to profile multiple fleets’ data sets. While it was a step back in development, it also gave us a more scalable and robust solution in the long run.

As inspiration to you on your path to new product development, I share a handful of adages that ring true for us on our path to developing DataDialogue|Pulse:

  • Be a trailblazer, take the road less traveled
  • If it was easy, everyone would be doing it
  • Take calculated risks – nothing ventured, nothing gained
  • Embrace the opportunity to learn and grow, but fail fast
  • Enjoy the ride – it’s about the journey as well as the destination

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for dedicating your valuable time. Feel free to contact me directly to discuss our new product development journey, more details about my sailing adventure, or to tell me how much you love/hate my blog at llowden@morpace.com.

And don’t forget to pay attention for more news from Morpace and the upcoming release of the DataDialogue|Pulse v1.0 mobile app!

More
14
Sep

For Most Americans, Being “Mobile” Still Requires a Personal Vehicle

For Americans, Being "Moble" Still Requires a Personal VehicleBy: Bryan Krulikowski, Senior Vice President

How do you get from point A to point B? Given that 4-in-10 consumers believe their primary mode of transportation will be different five years from now than today, the answer to this is going to become increasingly complex.

The goal of the Morpace MOVETM Study that was recently fielded and is now available as a syndicated study is to help answer this question. We surveyed more than 3,000 consumers across eight U.S. metropolitan markets and uncovered some interesting consumer insights about the role of transportation and mobility in this new “Sharing Economy.”

Consider:

  • Overall, more than two-thirds of respondents would have their ability to get around strongly impacted by not owning their own personal vehicle.
  • Although ride-sharing services are currently being used at a greater rate than car-sharing services, they are reserved for “occasional” use and not relied on as every day transportation.
  • Despite lower levels of vehicle ownership, Urbanites have a stronger emotional attachment to their vehicle than Suburbanites—even going so far as to give their vehicle a name.
  • Finally, fewer than one-third of respondents feel that alternative mobility solutions are practical for them. After all, consumers do not see any other option as convenient as owning a primary vehicle in the U.S.

This shouldn’t come as a major surprise. For decades, vehicles have represented freedom for many Americans. The national highway system has made it feasible to get from state to state, where driving long distances for work or play is more common than in other parts of the world.

Among the many findings in this study is the idea that the majority of consumers clearly feel that having their own vehicle is necessary. They may not use it every day, as other results from the Morpace MOVETM Study show us, but when they need their vehicle, THEY WANT IT.

The study also gives us ideas for how and when personal vehicles are used compared to other forms of transportation. Public transit, particularly in urban areas, does (and will continue to) play a role, perhaps based most on convenience and cost. One-half of respondents have access to public transportation within one mile of their residence. Still, public transportation comprises just part of the mobility puzzle for Americans today.

Morpace MOVETM found that eBike, shared bikes, and car-sharing modes show the greatest potential increase in spend in the next one to three years. But there are times that Americans want to get where they want, when they need to get there. So even for those living in some of the country’s most densely populated communities, nearly all respondents use their own vehicle at least a couple times per month. And three-quarters of current vehicle owners are planning to buy or lease a new vehicle in the next five years.

We may now be part of the “alternative mobility” movement in the U.S. Yet, the value and importance of a personal vehicle remains high for Americans because of that sense of freedom it provides – no matter where you live in this country.

Other findings and insights are available through our Morpace MOVETM Study and you can learn more by clicking here.

More
29
Feb

What Would it Take to Use Mobile Banking?

mobile banking image

By: Steven Welling, Project Director

With mobile banking continuing to rise in popularity, the financial services team here at Morpace wanted to look a bit further into mobile banking usage and understand what features consumers would most like to see added.

In our monthly Omnibus, we found that increased mobile banking usage among consumers is associated with higher satisfaction with their primary bank, suggesting that introducing customers to mobile banking and/or providing additional tools within mobile banking may have a positive effect on overall satisfaction.

The Federal Reserve Board’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs (DCCA) conducts a yearly study about consumer and mobile financial services. (You can find the most current study—released in March 2015— on the Federal Reserve Board’s website here.)

Many of the findings from this survey confirm the understanding we have about mobile phones and banking, including the top reasons why some consumers do not use mobile banking. These include:

  1. Their needs are already met
  2. They don’t see a reason to use it
  3. They are concerned about security

We investigated this further and looked at not only consumer interest in mobile banking, but also their concerns. We considered if all consumer concerns were alleviated, what exactly would create the most interest in using mobile banking? We created an exercise to rank the importance of various enhancements to determine the relative magnitude of the impact when it comes to encouraging mobile banking usage.

We asked consumers: For those who currently use mobile banking, what would increase their usage? For those who do not use mobile banking, what would increase their likelihood of using mobile banking?

We found that not only were some form of incentives the top choice, but the relative magnitude was quite substantial. In fact, those already using mobile banking are over four-times as likely to increase their usage due to some form of an incentive as the second most important, fingerprint authentication.

Financial Services chart

While incentives are still the most important for those who have never used mobile banking, they are not as strong of a motivator for increasing the use of mobile banking. Two-factor authentication (using two separate security verifications to login), fingerprint authentication, and live 24/7 support are also strong influencers when it comes to introducing consumers to mobile banking.

These findings show us that the motivation for mobile banking is not as simple as just introducing them to the app. Individuals have various reasons as to what would make them consider mobile banking or increase their usage. These factors need to be taken into consideration when a financial institution is trying to promote their mobile banking capabilities.

While these findings provide more insight into understanding mobile banking usage, we plan to explore this further by examining how the results would change if incentives were not an option. If a financial institution is unable to offer incentives, how much do the rankings change and how does the relative magnitude of each change as well?

As we continue to monitor and analyze these results we will make sure to keep you up to date on our findings. If you would like to learn more about this research and hear about what our future results tell us, make sure to follow our blog or contact our financial services team here at Morpace.

 

More