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Ikea’s Home Smart Line Could Shake Up the Smart Home Industry | WIRED

Source: Ikea’s Home Smart Line Could Shake Up the Smart Home Industry | WIRED


THE “SMART HOME” has not yet distinguished itself. Sure, you might dim your lights with an app; you might even talk to your large appliances. But despite years of promised ubiquity, the connected home has yet to cleave with mainstream reality. It’s too expensive, too futzy, too filled with interoperability landmines. You know who can fix that? Ikea. In fact, it’s already started to.

Ikea’s current smart home lineup is limited to a handful of lighting products. Nothing so special about that. But the way Ikea has so far approached its Trådfri LEDs illustrates exactly how the furniture behemoth can light a path toward a generation of products that finally fulfill the smart home’s potential. They’re cheap. They’re easy. And most importantly, they’ll soon speak HomeKit, Alexa, and Google Assistant with equal fluency.

No surprise, maybe, that a Swedish company embraces neutrality. But as Ikea goes, the rest of the industry may have to follow. Let’s hope so, anyway.

Stick To the Basics

The Ikea smart home—which it calls “Home Smart,” because even the branding is economical—reflects the rest of furniture giant’s strengths. The Trådfri lights strip down functionality and flash. They don’t change color, and you can’t control them from halfway around the world. If those immediately register as disadvantages to you, chances are you’re not the target market in the first place.

“The smart home has been possible for some time, but there’s been two major dilemmas,” says Björn Block, who heads up Ikea’s Home Smart division. “It’s too complicated, and too expensive. Let’s make it super easy to install and super easy to understand, at a price tag you haven’t seen before.”

To that end, Trådfri bulbs work right out of the box. Screw them in, put a battery in the included remote, and you’re set. Smart, but simple. You can also, of course, buy a hub and download an app so that you can control them through your phone, and most of buyers likely will. But at least you have the option of dumbing down your smart bulbs a bit.

Starting with just lighting also keeps things simple for Ikea. Rather than slapping a chip in the nearest Frostig, it entered the market playing to its strengths.

“They’ve had lighting fixtures for quite a long time,” says Brad Russell, a research analyst at Parks Associates. “It’s a natural fit for them. One of the use cases for lighting is design, so that fits into the design consciousness of the brand. Also more generally speaking, lighting is a low-cost entry point for any smart home.”

There’s a practical benefit to starting slowly, as well. By easing into the smart home market, Ikea can ease its customers along too. It doesn’t have to be a mess; in fact, it’s as easy as screwing in a lightbulb. Especially given Ikea’s commitment to working with whatever tech you already have in the house.

Trådfri of Babel

Some good news under the hood: Trådfri uses the Zigbee Light Link standard to communicate with the rest of the smart home, meaning it’ll play nice with a wide range of devices. That includes competing smart bulbs; after a planned software update, you’ll be able to control your Trådfri from within the Philips Hue app.

That commitment to interoperability feels rare in today’s smart home world. It’s valuable turf, after all. A home only has so many sockets. But Ikea has still chosen openness, a model that, in an ideal world, every retailer would follow.

“We were pretty clear from the start that we couldn’t succeed doing this by ourselves,” says Block. “It was never our intention to create a proprietary system that would knock other users out.”

Block likens that smart home approach to Ikea’s more conventional offerings. “If you look at Ikea furniture, you can match with furniture from other retailers. We want to tap into the same behavior, and same type of story,” says Block. “It should be the same type of freedom to choose.”

Perhaps just as importantly, Ikea announced this summer that it would extend that freedom of choice to voice voice assistants. After an incoming round of software updates, it won’t matter whether you own a Google Home or Amazon Echo, or both. You’ll be able to shout at your light fixtures, and have them respond.

OK, so it may sound silly when you put it like that. But voice commands will be an important part of making smart homes viable. Pulling out your phone, opening an app, and tapping a few times doesn’t feel all that more disrputive than just flipping a switch or adjusting a dimmer with your fingers. But a house that listens to you? That’s sci-fi material.

“Ikea’s move to support these intelligent assistants in the same device will appeal to a wider consumer base than could be obtained if they were to integrate with only one over another,” says Adam Wright, senior consumer IoT analyst for research company IDC.

And consider the alternative: A world in which being a Google Home or Echo Dot household determine big-ticket home purchases. That’s not as farfetched as it sounds; Sears recently cut a deal to sell Alexa-enabled Kenmore appliances through Amazon. Given that Amazon doesn’t even sell the Apple TV on its digital shelves, it seems unlikely that you’ll ever find a Siri-powered Kenmore dishwasher.

Set aside how appealing that might sound to you personally; if the smart home in general has a chance of mass appeal, it needs as much interoperability as possible. And that’s exactly what Ikea’s selling.

Big Footprint

Ikea’s biggest advantage—and its best opportunity to boost the smart home overall—lies in its sheer size. Over 900 million people pass through the doors of its 400 stores each year. It’s the biggest retailer in the world. That means Ikea can not just sell, but educate.

“The vast majority of consumers don’t understand the value proposition of these products,” says Russell. But what seems either too involved or not useful enough online can suddenly sharpen into focus when experienced in person. Being the first in-person introduction to the smart home should benefit Ikea, too, as it looks for ways to broaden its connected portfolio.

“We have a lot of insights, because when you try and test that product, that’s when you make the buying decision,” says Block.

Ikea hasn’t announced its next smart target, though Block says his team works together with most sectors of the company. That doesn’t imply a scattershot approach, though.

“I think we’re quite curious about different product areas in the home, but the common denominator is we will not step in just to do it,” says Block. “Only if it makes sense.”

In a world filled with smart shower heads, smart trash cans, and even a smart hair brush, it’s disorienting to hear a company focused on hitching fewer devices to the internet, not more. It’s unusual to think in terms not of moving fast and breaking things, but moving slowly, simply, and getting it right.

In fact, that deliberately modest quality feels so refreshing cinches it: No one wins more with Ikea entering the smart home than the smart home itself.

5 chiffres à retenir sur la croissance du marché du mobile – FrAndroid

Source: 5 chiffres à retenir sur la croissance du marché du mobile – FrAndroid

De récents rapports dévoilent des chiffres intéressants sur le marché du mobile. Nous en avons retenus cinq dans cet article.

Le nombre d’utilisateurs de téléphone mobile ne cesse d’augmenter à travers le monde. Je ne vous apprends rien en écrivant ceci. Néanmoins, vous pourriez peut-être être intéressés par quelques chiffres dévoilés par le rapport du troisième trimestre de l’agence We Are Social publié en partenariat avec Hootsuite. Ceux-ci permettent de mieux se rendre compte à quel point ce secteur représente des enjeux majeurs tant il touche une large portion de la population mondiale.

Notez qu’une partie des chiffres cités ci-dessous proviennent de GSMA Intelligence ou d’une étude menée par Ericsson que vous pouvez consulter ici (PDF).

Plus de 5 milliards d’utilisateurs

5,052 milliards de personnes utilisent au moins un appareil mobile (smartphone, feature phone ou tablette) au troisième trimestre 2017. Parmi ces utilisateurs, 2,78 milliards consultent régulièrement les réseaux sociaux depuis leurs terminaux.


72,9 %

72,9 % des connexions web effectuées depuis un support mobile sont réalisées sur un appareil Android. iOS représente 19,4 % tandis que les autres systèmes d’exploitation se partagent les 7,7 % restants.

2,3 Go

Au premier trimestre 2017, l’ensemble des utilisateurs de smartphones ont consommé en moyenne 2,3 Go de données par mois, que ce soit en débit montant ou descendant. Au total, plus de 9 milliards de Go ont été utilisés sur chacun des trois premiers mois de l’année. Le trafic est ainsi en progression de 70 % par rapport à la même période en 2016. Les appels VoIP sont comptabilisés dans ces résultats contrairement au DVB-H (diffusion numérique – mobile), au Wi-FI et au WiMAX mobile.


75 %

En 2022, la vidéo comptera pour 75 % du trafic de données mobiles dans le monde. Cela est notamment dû à l’accès à de meilleurs forfaits auprès des opérateurs, à la diffusion en masse de contenus vidéos sur les réseaux sociaux et la montée en puissance des plateformes de streaming favorisée par les écrans plus larges et mieux définis des téléphones.

87 %

87 % des utilisateurs de Facebook — qui en compte plus de 2 milliards — accèdent à la plateforme depuis un appareil mobile.

Vous pouvez consulter les infographies de We Are Social en téléchargeant le fichier PDF ici.

B2B video: Personalization is better than going viral (VB Live) | VentureBeat | Marketing | by VB Staff

Source: B2B video: Personalization is better than going viral (VB Live) | VentureBeat | Marketing | by VB Staff

Conversational videos drive traffic, boost engagement, and serve up information better than any other medium. Learn how to stand out in every step of the sales funnel with conversational video marketing when you join our latest interactive VB Live event.

Register here for free.

The video marketing dream is that you go viral and your brand is suddenly a household name. The reality is that B2B videos rarely go viral — but they’re an increasingly powerful marketing toolr that can also promote trust in your brand and your products. But only when done strategically, says Michael Ballard, senior manager of digital marketing at Lenovo.

Video marketing technology allows users to add video strategy to marketing automation platforms, unlocking the ability to reach and track users in the marketer’s favorite, most information-rich way. You can see who’s watching your video, exactly how long, add lead scoring and more.

“We saw a lot of great success not just in the information we can glean from it, but we also saw how highly engaging video is as a medium — how much people love to click the play button, and when they find really engaging content, how they interact with it,” says Ballard. “That’s where I really started to see what we could do with this.”

Users are particularly resonating with personalized video, Ballard says. His team experimented with a video piece in which they inserted each viewer’s name and company name as they watched. Playback graphs usually show that the majority of viewers drop off after the first second, probably because they hit play by accident, and then engagement holds steady throughout the video. Personalization put a kink in that curve.

“About three quarters of the way through — I’ve never seen this before — there was this little increase bump about three quarters of the way through,” Ballard says.

That bump happened in the third, personalized part of the video, showing that people were actually going back and rewatching that part. Further low-risk experimentation with long-lost, dusty parts of their customer database, such as inactive customers, also revealed astonishing results, he says. They used personalization in the video as well as in thumbnails they sent out, so that the first thing viewers saw was their name and a Play button.

“We had 4x the normal engagement rates with it,” Ballard says. “The power of those two things is like a magnet for someone to click on — it was incredible to see. ‘What? My name’s in a video?’ And they go and watch it.”

Another personalized video saw similar results, Ballard says. Within the first couple of weeks of video launch, it exceeded the number-one most-watched video they’d ever had. But they’re careful not to rely on a single personalization strategy.

“I think while it’s slightly gimmicky right now to just change out someone’s name, it’s kind of a fun gimmick and people watch it, but two or three times and then it’s old, ” Ballard explains.

They want to get smart with how they personalize, he says.

“Instead of just inserting someone’s name, why don’t we connect with Salesforce and customize that video content dynamically on the fly to align to that person’s industry, to align with that person’s open opportunities, to the interactions or lack of interactions that they’ve had digitally?” Ballard says. “We can start to dynamically create content that’s still unique and different to everyone, but not gimmicky. It’s actually realigning on the fly to that particular person’s needs, wants, and situation.”

Of course, the reach of video is huge, Ballard says. But nowadays, people pay to not see ads, and it takes a lot of energy and creativity to bust through natural skepticism and get on a customers’ radar, let alone become a worldwide phenomenon. You’ve got to be sharp, engaging, and you only have five seconds before someone hits the Skip Ad button.

How do you nail that tiny window of time, capture customer attention, and put your brand on their must-watch list? Register now for this VB Live event.

There are now over 3 billion social media users around the world

Source: There are now over 3 billion social media users around the world

There are now over 3 billion (!!!) people logging onto social media accounts around the world, meaning that almost half of the world’s population spends at least part of their day updating their status or story.A new report compiled by Hootsuite and We Are Social and published by The Next Webfound that there are 3.028 billion active social media users around the world. That’s a mind-boggling number, especially when you consider that the Earth’s  population is estimated to be 7.524 billion people.

That means about 40 percent of the global population is using social media, and only a small portion of the estimated 3.819 billion people with internet access around the world don’t have at least one social profile. Mobile users make up a large chunk of the base, with 2.780 billion active users.


These user numbers are massive, and according to the report’s data, which came from a wide range of international sources and the social platforms themselves, they’ll keep growing. There’s been a 4 percent uptick in total global users (which equates to 121 million people) since just this April. That’s about a million new users a day, which is rough news to hear for Twitter, which reported a flat user growth rate at its most recent letter to shareholders.

Facebook is, unsurprisingly, the king of the social media platforms, with an estimated 2.047 billion monthly active users (MAU), while its other properties, WhatsApp and Messenger were over the billion MAU mark as well in the third and fourth position, respectively. Instagram followed closely behind with roughly 700 million MAU.



You can check out the full report below for even more more detailed insights about the global social media landscape.


3 Reasons Why It’s Crucial for Brands to Introduce Machine Learning Into Their Marketing – Adweek

Source: 3 Reasons Why It’s Crucial for Brands to Introduce Machine Learning Into Their Marketing – Adweek

Every so often, a story ripples through the media along the lines of “Scientists say a ‘smart pill’ is just over the horizon to make us immediately more intelligent.” While there is no telling when we will actually see such a pill, there’s a metaphorical “smart pill” available to marketers now, and it comes in the form of artificial intelligence, or AI.

AI is rapidly transforming the enterprise—and that includes the marketing department. According to a recent Gartner survey, 85 percent of customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020.

Essentially, AI leverages machine learning to maximize the effectiveness of marketing efforts by predicting the best next customer interaction based on what it has learned through previous interactions. The more data AI has to work with, the better job it does identifying patterns of customer behavior and engaging them in more meaningful and authentic ways.

In today’s digitally connected world, customers are demanding brand experiences that resonate with them on the channels they prefer. And if they don’t feel as though a brand is being authentic, they’ll disengage. AI is the partner to the marketing team, helping it deliver the right message at the right time.

Moving past the anxiety about AI’s impact, Here are three reasons why CMOs should tell their teams to cheer—not fear—the power of AI:

Enables more precision

Marketers are awash in data. New technologies and channels are creating billions of customer interactions, yet marketing teams alone are not equipped to consume or mine all this data to target and engage each customer at the speed and scale required today. With the help of AI, marketers have the ability to optimize campaigns, including selecting the appropriate content, at the right cadence, across all channels, and to select segmentations. And AI can uncover opportunities that are inaccessible without its “brainpower.”

Encourage a test of personalized messages, pitting messages created in a traditional fashion against those devised by an AI solution.

Marketers’ fear of AI is due to a lack of understanding. The reality is AI will complement marketing rather than replace it. What’s more, AI will amplify their marketing efforts at a time when we are all forced to do more in less and less time.

Delivers better data insights

As data explodes even further in volume, velocity and complexity, AI can illuminate potential new customer journeys and new audience segments that were not obvious before.

Here’s an example: I’m a pharmaceutical company and I target doctors with a specific medical specialization. AI can help by uncovering insights in my data that indicate that I should be targeting a micro-segment of doctors based on current prescriptions written, geography, etc. This kind of
data-driven foresight is an invaluable advantage that companies cannot afford to ignore.

Uncovers new opportunities for the customer

Think Amazon, where AI powers the recommendations that are seen when we log in to our account such as the movies we should watch or the groceries we should buy. Increasingly, Amazon will be selling you things you didn’t even know you needed because it has learned what you like and are most inclined to buy.

But to drive true transformation, you need to do more than simply illustrate how AI can help. CMOs need to empower their teams to give AI a try. Here are three steps a CMO can take to encourage her team to bake AI into the marketing mix:

Test, then perfect. Marketers love testing messages. Encourage a test of personalized messages, pitting messages created in a traditional fashion against those devised by an AI solution. Sit back and see which did the best. Quite likely you’ll want more and more of your messages to be based on AI going forward.

Try it on one campaign. Select a campaign from initial touch points to the nurture process and let AI handle personalization of message/content, cadence, channels and segmentation. Assess the results, based both on campaign success and effort saved.

See the unseen. Help your marketers see what they may not be aware of by selecting an underserved segment in your database. Turn AI loose on it and get a better level of targeting.

Given its usefulness in so many areas, and on multiple levels, AI is destined to be a dominant force in marketing, sooner rather than later. It’s time for the marketing organization to embrace AI to drive revenue, which can help your team produce more leads that convert faster, power ongoing customer engagement and drive higher lifetime customer value.

CMOs, it’s now in your hands. Go champion efforts across your team to embrace AI’s disruptive power. It’s a smart pill you can’t afford not to take.

Claim to fame Cheryl Chavez is the group vp of product management and user experience at Marketo, with nearly 20 years of experience leading award-winning products and SaaS offerings.
Base San Mateo, Calif.
Twitter @cherylchavez17

AI for Marketing on the Hype Cycle: A Long Journey to the Plateau? 

Source: AI for Marketing on the Hype Cycle: A Long Journey to the Plateau? | How to be a leader in #service: #servicedesign and #designthinking

Gartner’s 2017 Hype Cycle for Marketing and Advertising is out (subscription required) and, predictably, AI for Marketing has appeared as a new dot making a rapid ascent toward the Peak of Inflated Expectations. I say “rapid” but some may be surprised to see us projecting that it will take more than 10 years for AI in Marketing to reach the Plateau of Productivity. Indeed, the timeframe drew some skepticism and we deliberated on this extensively, as have many organizations and communities.

AI for Marketing on the 2017 Hype Cycle for Marketing and Advertising
AI for Marketing on the 2017 Hype Cycle for Marketing and Advertising

First, let’s be clear about one thing: a long journey to the plateau is not a recommendation to ignore a transformational technology. However, it does raise questions of just what to expect in the nearer term.

Skeptics of a longer timeframe rightly point out the velocity with which digital leaders from Google to Amazon to Baidu and Alibaba are embracing these technologies today, and the impact they’re likely to have on marketing and advertising once they’ve cracked the code on predicting buying behavior and customer satisfaction and acting accordingly.

There’s no point in debating the seriousness of the leading digital companies when it comes to AI. The impact that AI will have on marketing is perhaps more debatable – some breakthrough benefits are already being realized, but – to use some AI jargon here – many problems at the heart of marketing exhibit high enough dimensionality to suggest they’re AI-complete. In other words, human behavior is influenced by a large number of variables which makes it hard to predict unless you’re human. On the other hand, we’ve seen dramatic lifts in conversion rates from AI-enhanced campaigns and the global scale of markets means that even modest improvements in matching people with products could have major effects. Net-net, we do believe AI that will have a transformational on marketing and that some of these transformational effects will be felt in fewer than ten years – in fact, they’re being felt already.

Still, in the words of Paul Saffo, “Never mistake a clear view for a short distance.” The magnitude of a technology’s impact is, if anything, a sign it will take longer than expected to reach some sort of equilibrium. Just look at the Internet. I still vividly recall the collective expectation that many of us held in 1999 that business productivity was just around the corner. The ensuing descent into the Trough of Disillusionment didn’t diminish the Internet’s ultimate impact – it just delayed it. But the delay was significant enough to give a few companies that kept the faith, like Google and Amazon, an insurmountable advantage when Internet at last plateaued, about 10 years later.

Proponents of faster impact point out that AI has already been through a Trough of Disillusionment maybe ten times as long as the Internet – the “AI Winter” that you can trace to the 1980s. By this reckoning, productivity is long overdue. This may be true for a number of domains – such as natural language processing and image recognition – but it’s hardly the case for the kinds of applications we’re considering in AI for Marketing. Before we could start on those we needed massive data collection on the input side, a cloud-based big data machine learning infrastructure, and real-time operations on the output side to accelerate the learning process to the point where we could start to frame the optimization problem in AI. Some of the algorithms may be quite old, but their real-time marketingcontext is certainly new.