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What is an API? IoT platform definitions you should know

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The Internet of Things (IoT) market could reach $290 billion by 2017—and that could mean big opportunities to improve and grow your product line. But when it comes to smart product design, you’ll need to go beyond hardware.

To launch a connected product, you need a hardware module, a mobile app, a web portal, and cloud services that all work together to collect data and communicate with users. You’ll also need to consider whether or not to use an API to connect with other products and applications.

We’ve provided a cheat sheet of sorts to help you understand how APIs in IoT work. Read on for some helpful definitions.

Application programming interface (API)APIs are all about compatibility. It’s the technology that allows devices to talk to each other and to cloud-based programs. Think of an API as a language.

In IoT, an API makes it easier to share data and integrate applications. Assuming she has access, a developer can use an API to build new programs. Let’s say you manufacture a smart thermostat. Using the same API your thermostat is based on, a savvy programmer can write an app that lets you see the temperature changes in your home throughout the day.

Open or closed API—However, APIs aren’t always available to developers. A closed API is a proprietary, enterprise-level interface that may be shared only with certain business partners—or perhaps not at all. An open API, on the other hand, is available to the public. Any person or third party can use it to sync up new applications with your product.

IoT hubs—Today, IoT is the Wild West of consumer technology. In an effort to control it, some enterprises have launched IoT hubs that encourage developers to build on one platform. Google has Nest for home automation. Android Wear wants developers to use its API for wearables. The idea is that one of these many hubs will become the gold standard for how devices communicate with one another. However, there’s no clear leader in the field yet.

So why avoid IoT hubs? It’s all about your data. IoT hubs aggregate the data your products collect to the hub provider. By using an autonomous platform, like DADO’s, your data will remain with your company.

IFTTT—This web-based service, which stands for If This Then That, lets users create “recipes” that trigger actions based on specific conditions. For example, one recipe will automatically upload a Facebook photo to a users’ cloud-based archive if the user has been tagged. Recently, IFTTT has begun to imagine its recipes controlling IoT actions—think along the lines of users setting time-based triggers to turn on their coffee pots.

While IFTTT is a fun way to trigger some high-level actions, it doesn’t offer granular control. Plus, consumers are looking for less complexity, not more. DADO ensures users have a simple, focused encounter with their connected devices—and a valuable experience with the brands they already love.

Here at DADO, our IoT platform doesn’t require you to lock your product into a particular API. DADO products are autonomous, fully realized IoT products that don’t rely on third-party hubs or IFTTT-type instructions over the web.

In the future, we expect our platform to offer open APIs, making it easier for developers to create new programs that enhance the value of your product. We’re also exploring ways to integrate our code with third-party developers to better serve OEMs. You can learn more about how we help you develop and connect your products at www.dadolabs.com.

Disrupting the Marketplace With the Internet of Things

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Will you disrupt the market, or will you be disrupted? That’s the question many established companies are asking themselves as smart technologies find their way into more and more products. Being first to market for a new type of product—or a new technology integrated into an existing product line—can help you retain or even grow market share.

Take Honeywell, for example. The company invented one of the first thermostats back in 1885. When connected technologies for the home began to surface more than a century later, Honeywell jumped at the chance to manufacture thermostats embedded with Wi-Fi.

But the company went even farther to cement its leadership. When third-party companies launched new energy management tools that could collect data from home devices and analyze it at the cloud level, Honeywell relaxed its hold on data. With its new cloud-based open API, Honeywell smart thermostats will be able to integrate with a variety of home automation systems. This savvy move means Honeywell can continue to be a key player in the smart thermostat market, no matter which home automation systems make it big.

DADO Labs is uniquely positioned to speed time-to-market for other forward-looking companies that want to integrate connected technologies into existing products. From discovery to production, the hardware can be implemented in as little as six months.

To build an Internet of Things (IoT) platform internally, an OEM might spend $2 to $3 million and take anywhere from 18–24 months to complete the project. It would also need to manage manufacturing and supply chain processes.

The DADO platform is a turnkey, software as a service bundle that includes the hardware, mobile app, and analytics—at a fraction of the cost of in-house development. The platform streamlines overall product development and can cut months from the process, so OEMs can get to market—and disruption—faster than they could on their own.

You can learn more about the DADO platform and the OEMs we work with today at www.dadolabs.com.

Three Ways IoT Helps You Engage With Customers

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Get ready to know your customers like never before. The Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to change the way you collect information about the people using your products. It’s also going to fundamentally change customer service, revealing more ways to connect and engage.

Global CRM provider Salesforce.com says that today, customers expect they can talk to companies anytime, anywhere. But IoT will take that a step further. It could mean that customers never have to reach out for service at all.

Here are three things brands can do with connected technologies to both drive revenue and engage with customers in more meaningful ways:

  1. Offer deals. Once you know how customers are using your product, you can offer promotions and coupons for things they might be interested in. For example, you might send a coupon for a high-end grilling tool set to any customer who uses his or her outdoor grill more than a dozen times during the summer season.
  1. Promote events. Having a sale? Hosting a booth at the local Saturday market? Use data about your customers’ location to share the news to everyone living nearby, and you’ll get a better turnout.
  1. Provide customer service. If your products require occasional maintenance, be proactive. The data you collect can help you know which customers are due for service. Send them a friendly reminder and they’ll keep your brand top-of-mind. Connected devices can also alert users to impending issues before they happen.

The DADO platform makes collecting and using data easy for OEMs. Manufacturers simply draft terms of service and ask customers to opt in to sharing data about their use. DADO then collects the data and makes it available to OEMs. All customer data is stored securely in the cloud.

To learn more about brands already using the DADO platform, visit www.dadolabs.com.

Three Ways DADO Can Make Products Safer Through IoT

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The Internet of Things (IoT) can make life easier for consumers by connecting their home appliances, wearables, and even utilities to the Internet. But IoT can also make traditional products in the home—like smoke alarms, outdoor grills, and more—even safer.

People are more likely to pay a premium for smart home devices that offer safety over novelty, according to a study from Acquity Group. The firm found that 83% of consumers were willing to pay more for a smart alarm, compared to 59% for a smart refrigerator.

When DADO developed its IoT platform, product safety was a top concern. All DADO products are designed to resolve to a safe conclusion, with features like safety alerts and proximity triggers. Here are three ways the DADO platform can make everyday products safer:

  1. Monitoring.As part of its platform, DADO includes a proprietary tool that monitors all on-board sensors for errors and unsafe conditions.
  1. Smart triggers. In addition to monitoring, built-in triggers alert users to potentially unsafe conditions—think along the lines of a flame-out inside a grill. If the condition isn’t corrected, the DADO device will shut down.
  1. Proximity triggers. If the OEM prefers, DADO can build a proximity trigger into the device. This ensures an active user is within a safe range to use the product. If the user wanders out of range, a push notification can help nudge him or her back into proximity. If the notification is ignored, the device will shut down.

Learn more about DADO Labs and our IoT platform at www.dadolabs.com.

IoT In The Kitchen: The Family’s Gathering Place Gets Smart

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The modern kitchen is sleek, streamlined, and oh-so central to our lives. It’s the center of gravity at a party and the hub of everyday life. So it’s no wonder that the Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to hit the kitchen in a big way. In fact, the “smart kitchen” may result in a $10 billion industry by 2020, according to a report from NextMarket Insights.

One Forbes columnist has gone on the record saying the smart kitchen may be the biggest opportunity in all of IoT. After all, connected appliances deliver on comfort and convenience—a natural fit for the kitchen. And with smartphones having already made their way onto the household culinary scene—24% of people who cook use a tablet or smartphone regularly for assistance—more advanced technology is the next logical step.

Here are some smart kitchen appliances we’re already seeing on the market … and a few coming soon:

#1: Refrigerators. It’s the control center of your kitchen. Samsung and LG are among the manufacturers who have already introduced Wi-Fi connected fridges. Earlier this year, GE launched its smart fridge as part of its full suite of smart appliances. It can, among other things, tell you when it’s time to replace your filter or if the door has been left open. But we can’t help but look forward to the next generation of cool technology. Analysts think the fridge of the future will keep track of what’s in it and let you know when something’s gone bad. We can dream, at least.

#2: Coffee makers. Now here’s a better way to wake up. Behmor has announced that two smart appliances will be available later this year. Its connected brewer lets you control temperatures to within one degree of accuracy. A new roaster makes it easy to customize and save roasting profiles. Both are powered by the DADO platform, so users can control them using their smartphones.

#3: Ovens. Need to get dinner started? You don’t even have to walk into the kitchen. GE’s line of smart appliances includes wall ovens and ranges that are Wi-Fi-enabled and let you set timers, check cooking status, and preheat from anywhere.

#4: Dishwashers. Could clean-up get any easier? Whirlpool’s smart dishwasher links up with your home’s Wi-Fi network so you can turn it on from your smartphone. The app also lets you see when the dishwasher is running, how much power it’s using, and how much it’s costing you.

#5: Slow cookers. The appliance that has been a lifesaver for generations of working parents gets even better. Crock-Pot’s connected slow cooker gives you remote access to all functions. Stuck at the office? No worries. Just adjust the temperature or cooking time from your smartphone. Or turn it off altogether. Dinner’s been saved in a whole new way.

We hope to see smart connections making their way into more kitchen appliances. In fact, it’s what we do at DADO. We build the platform that makes it easy to integrate IoT technology into existing products (and all kinds of other devices). Take a minute to learn more about what we’re doing and catch up on our latest products.

4 Ways the Internet of Things Is Saving Energy, Water & Money

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way we use products and systems at home and work. And by focusing on energy- and water-efficient applications, IoT can also save money and help us reduce our impact on the environment.

Some of these technologies are already on the market. Others are waiting to be developed. Here are a few trends we’re watching.

  1. Energy-efficient appliances: Higher energy bills and gas prices are driving consumer demand for energy-efficient appliances, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. Manufacturers are responding with next-generation products, like this Whirlpool washer that senses how many clothes are inside and adjusts the water level. (It also uses about 75% less energy than conventional washers.) A monitoring system tracks the energy saved per load for both the washer and dryer, so customers can see how much they’ve saved over time. Now that’s motivation

  2. Smart meters: At the commercial level, some utilities are deploying smart meters that collect and deliver usage data, helping utility providers find target areas for conservation. In the future, residential customers may be able to log into an app to monitor their usage in real-time.

  3. Shifting to off-peak power hours: Even the U.S. Department of Energy is getting excited about connected technologies, which can lighten the load on the power grid. The DOE recently published tips for using smart appliances. Some appliances can subtly shift your water or energy use to off-peak hours. One example the DOE gives is a refrigerator delaying its defrost cycle until the middle of the night. Even if this approach results in the same amount of energy used, it could still save households money, since some utilities charge lower rates for electricity at night. Now that Tesla has entered the scene with its newly announced Powerwall, expect to see more of this trend.

  4. Smart heating systems: Smart heating systems are also growing in popularity. Zone heating can let you precisely control the temperature in every room of your house, so you can heat only the areas you’re spending time in. This saves you from heating unoccupied areas and can dramatically slash your power bill. Meanwhile, smart thermostats can let you control heating from your laptop or smartphone, so you can dial it down while you’re away from home.

Systems powered by the DADO platform can revolutionize heating and cooling for both consumers and commercial property managers. Consumers can either program room settings according to their schedules or allow their presence to trigger the system for a more ambient experience. Commercial property managers can see the status of all heating and cooling equipment from a centralized location, set universal rules for facilities management, and optimize energy use during high and low peak periods.

Learn more about the DADO platform at www.dadolabs.com, and check back often to watch as we help launch new technologies!

Beyond Cool: What Do Customers Really Want From IoT?

DADO_customerwantsSure, smart is cool. But if you’re an OEM with a new IoT-enabled consumer product in the works, you want it to be more than a conversation starter. Once your product loses its out-of-the-box freshness, how will it stay relevant? How will it become a part of your customer’s daily life, and not just another trend?

A whopping 30% of consumers already own or plan to buy an in-home connected device in the next two years, according to a report from Acquity Group. This includes smart appliances, thermostats, outdoor grills, and nearly anything people already use in their homes. But as Digital Trends playfully pointed out, what’s the point of downloading program cycles for your dryer if you’re going to use “normal” every time anyway?

Joking aside, pinpointing exactly what customers want from smart devices is a big question for OEMs—with a lot at stake. It’s not enough to be innovative. To have real stickiness, IoT products need to be useful. We have some ideas for OEMs who want to think beyond cool:

#1: Take to social media

Remember that Facebook page your marketing team created? It’s not just a formality. Nor is it another advertising channel. It’s a two-way street. That means you can actually ask customers what they want—and they’ll tell you! We suggest keeping it short and simple, with one-question surveys about specific features you’re considering adding to the next product line. Consider asking, for example:

  • If your grill suggested a new recipe, would you try it?
  • Would you like to save profiles in a smartphone app?
  • On a scale of 1-5, how useful would it be to check whether your oven is on while you’re away from home?

#2: Read reviews

Technology journalists are great critics—it’s just what they do. Take advantage of their industry expertise by reading reviews for products in your category. Often, tech reviewers will come right out and say what a new product is missing. This is your chance to design and build it better.

#3: Talk to customer service

Chat up the people who know your customers better than anyone: your customer service team. They’ve heard it all, from complaints to compliments. Chances are they have some insights into what your customers want, but they probably won’t pipe up unless you ask for their time. You might even offer an incentive or prize for providing feedback or suggesting new ideas based on what they’ve heard.

#4: Go shopping

Are your products at retail? Take the afternoon off and hit the mall … or the local big box, or wherever you’ll find your wares. Track down a store associate and ask for his help choosing a product in your line. Even better, ask him to explain how to use any “smart” features in your product. This exercise can be a great reality check, since it might reveal roadblocks in communicating the value of these features.

#5: Brainstorm with experts

Finally, you can always come to our team at DADO Labs for more ideas about using connected technologies to improve customer experiences. We work with companies like SABER, Char-Broil, and Behmor to bring the benefits of IoT to products that customers will love even more. Get in touch with us to learn more.

Smarter Cookouts With IoT-Enabled Grills

DADO_SummerCookoutsCookouts have been a hallmark of summer for ages. There couldn’t be a more perfect combination of food, drink, and friends. But if you’re hosting, you know all too well the feeling of being stuck behind the grill while your guests live it up. It’s time to join the party.

Barbeques may be timeless, but the technology behind them is not. Over the last few years, manufacturers have been trying to automate the work behind outdoor cooking so the host can spend more time with his or her guests. Plenty of high-tech grilling gadgets have hit the market as a result. Smart thermometers use a probe to measure the temperature of meats as they cook and send notifications to your smartphone when they’re ready. Other devices check your fuel level (if you’re using a propane grill). And because there’s an app for everything, you can easily find one that hooks you up with recipes and makes it easier to create shopping lists.

But the first generation of smart grilling innovations was missing one thing—a seamless experience. In other words, you had to set up one app to get cooking alerts, another app to check fuel levels, another for finding recipes … and so on.

The next generation of connected devices is bringing all these functions together. This year, expect to see grills that have all of the above capabilities built into the device, with one app to control everything. That’s the mission at the heart of the DADO platform, which makes it easy for manufacturers to build smart connections into products and for users to control them through a single smartphone app.

SABER and its parent company, Char-Broil, are already launching products that use the DADO platform. SABER introduced its EDGE grill earlier this year. The grill itself is super sleek and efficient, with an infrared cooking system that uses 30% less gas, pre-heats quickly, and keeps heat even across the entire grill surface. An LCD panel on the front shows the temperature, fuel tank levels, battery life, and more.

But where the EDGE really shines is in its connected features. Using one app, you can:

  • See real-time cooking information, such as the temperature, burner on/off status, and level of fuel in the tank
  • Get alerts when the grill is pre-heated, when the temperature changes, and when the grill is cool enough to safely clean
  • Access recipes and watch instructional videos
  • Store your own recipes and share them through social media

Later this year, Char-Broil will introduce a version of its Big Easy Smoker & Roaster that uses the same platform. Customers will be able to adjust the temperature of the cooking chamber, prolong the cooking cycle, and even shut off the device from the app. It could turn smoking from a day-long activity to one that takes just a few minutes at a time.

To learn more about what DADO is doing to put more party into your next cookout—and better experiences into other home appliances—check out the latest products being powered by our platform.

Three Companies Driving Commercial IoT: See What They’re Doing Right

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So far this year, we’ve seen a lot of excitement over “smart” consumer products. But when it comes to business, connected devices can deliver big returns. Imagine always having the right part on the assembly line, or updating your product’s software without asking customers to visit a store. The commercial applications for the Internet of Things (IoT) are virtually limitless.

Smart technology—like DADO’s platform, which enables Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections—can offer value in any industry. But the trend is really shifting into gear in the automotive industry. Here are three companies in the IoT express lane:

Driver #1: GM

What they did: Redesigned manufacturing processes to save millions

On the factory floor, little changes can make a big difference. Manufacturers have used sensors and automation for years, but the ones who are adopting the latest generation of smart technology—think integrated, network-based data—are winning big. Of the companies using smart manufacturing in their plants, 82% say they’ve boosted efficiency, 49% see fewer product defects, and 45% have happier customers, according to a survey from the American Society for Quality.

By collecting data at key points in the manufacturing process, companies can solve problems in the supply chain, make decisions faster, and create better automation. For example, GM uses sensor data to decide whether it’s too humid to paint a car. If it is, the car is routed to another part of the plant for other work. This minor change saved GM millions of dollars by cutting down on repainting work and downtime. Now that’s smart.

Driver #2: Tesla

What they did: Resolved a recall “over the air”

Recalls are costly for auto makers and frustrating for consumers. Normally, a recall forces customers to visit the nearest dealership for a repair, at the manufacturer’s cost. But thanks to smart technologies, these common disruptions may become a relic of the past.

Recently, Tesla needed to quickly resolve an issue with the electrical charging system in its popular Model S. Instead of asking customers to bring their cars into a Tesla Service Center, the company simply performed an “over the air” software update. Customers could confirm they received the update by tapping their car’s touchscreen—and then getting on with their lives.

Driver #3: Zipcar

What they did: Tracked every move of their rental cars

Connected technologies can fine-tune existing business models … or create entirely new ones. Take Zipcar. Customers may rent cars by the hour in return for usage and membership fees. Need a car right now? Members can use their smartphones to find the nearest vehicle, and with a swipe of their access card, unlock the door.

Zipcar tracks every car in its fleet by using RFID transponders and a wireless data link. These sensors and connections make it possible to lock and unlock doors, record mileage, and upload data to a central computer. This model has been so successful that more traditional car rental companies are taking note.

Until recently, the time and cost to develop connected systems were enough to put the brakes on many commercial applications. But today’s all-in-one IoT platforms make harnessing smart technology more accessible than ever. In fact, a single-source OEM integration platform could be the on-ramp for your next commercial IoT application, whether it’s for the assembly line, supply chain, or product lifecycle. To learn more, visit us at DADO Labs.

DADO & Partners Take Home Top Awards at Home Electronics Shows

As if seeing our vision of further connecting consumers to their ‘things’ come to life earlier this year wasn’t enough, we’re honored to share that we’ve kicked off the Spring of 2015 by accepting three awards with our partners SABER and Behmor at two leading home shows.

At the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo, the DADO Platform helped SABER Grills (Char-Broil, LLC) introduce its new EDGE grill to the world with Vesta Awards for both ‘Best in Show’ and ‘Best Gas Barbecue’. Simultaneously, at the International Housewares Association Show, the DADO-powered Behmor Brazen ‘Connected 8 Cup Brew System’ won the ‘Innovation Award for Kitchen Electrics’.

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These big wins at HPBE and IHA not only highlight the vision of our appliance partners in moving beyond mere home-automation in the IoT space, but they also help validate the DADO Platform as the premier IoT platform for brands looking to innovate in the IoT economy.

Watch for the EDGE Grill and the Behmor Brazen to hit retailers later in the spring. For more information about how DADO is helping make your favorite home appliances smarter, contact us.