What To Ask On the First Date (with potential IoT partners)

It’s official: your brand is ready to jump into the IoT (Internet of Things). You’ve run the numbers, you’ve set a clear business goal for your IoT solution, and now you’ve started researching who will effectively partner with you to meet these goals. Like all new business partners, you need to shop around. See who the players are and decide who will be the right fit for you. But how will you know who the right fit is when you hardly speak the IoT language? Finding an IoT partner can be confusing and challenging. So we’ve got a cheat sheet of questions for you to start the conversation:

How will you strategize with me to deliver a smart, operational IoT product?

The right partner will have done their research on who you are as a brand and will be just as passionate about its integrity as you are. They won’t try to overrun your business by suggesting a complete overhaul of your products—they will suggest a tiered approach, providing opportunities for small successes first and build on them in the future.

How will partnering with you increase my profit?

First of all, we suggest watching this quick explanation for why an IoT partner makes sense. A partner that understands your business goals as well as the ins and outs of the IoT world will provide faster time-to-market and security you can always trust.

How will you support me throughout the process?

An IoT partner should provide more than the right plug-in and then wave you goodbye. Creating an IoT product inherently produces an overwhelming amount of data that a traditional enterprise isn’t used to. An IoT partner should be able to provide solutions for not only managing this data but also leveraging it to grow your profits even more, all the while keeping your data safe.

What kinds of IoT products are you already working on?

You’ll want to look for a partner that provides scalable, agile services to accommodate different use cases and existing technology experience within your enterprise. Meaning, they should be familiar with your industry and know how to maximize the benefits of a smart IoT platform for your specific needs. Having an experienced partner with a finger on the pulse of the IoT landscape will ensure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Looking for more unbiased advice? Gartner has a great report on how to dip your toes into finding the right IoT business solution for you. You can also give us a call with any questions—including the ones above!

3 Lessons For Brands From the Smart Kitchen Summit


The Internet of Things (IoT) is an arms race focused on disrupting incumbents and brands grabbing their share of a multi-trillion-dollar pie. If you’re an existing appliance manufacturer out to “win”  – or even stake a claim – in the IoT, you’ll need to reimagine your brand and seize the strategic advantages you have over late entrants and “disruptors” in your category (more on disruptors here).  For your brand to be successful in the IoT, you’ll need to 1) Build products people love AND have connected features, 2) Disrupt your business, and 3) Collaborate.

Smart Kitchen Summit

Last week in Seattle, I had the privilege of attending the first ever Smart Kitchen Summit. Michael Wolf and his team brought brands, manufacturers, startups, and retailers from around the world to learn how the Internet of Things (IoT) is impacting our relationship with our kitchens.  As expected, I got to meet and hear from a number of IoT startups who are bringing smart appliances to market. But, more interestingly, I learned first-hand about the challenges traditional, big-brand appliance manufacturers face when trying to enter into the IoT economy.

1) Build products people love AND have connected features

No one is sure how any individual connected device will be received, but Jen Miller, Global Digital & Social Marketing Director for Coca-Cola said it most succinctly in a recent tweet:


Brands need to challenge their assumptions about what their first generation of connected appliances should do. Throughout the Smart Kitchen Summit, there was general agreement that “great connected appliances” were “great appliances” first with connected features that offered value because of their connectivity. In a nutshell, great connected products are:

  • an improvement in the consumer’s experience
  • easy to use
  • able to inspire consumers to want more connected features

What’s left is the fun part – or, as Anova CEO Stephen Svajian posed to the crowd, “What can you do now that traditional devices can connect that you couldn’t do before?”

2) Disrupt yourself – reimagine yourself or fall behind.

While the IoT is still in its early days, it’s important for brands to be perceived as having the “First Mover Advantage.”  This will be easy for disruptive start-ups, but not so easy for entrenched, incumbent brands who are focused on traditional appliance metrics and margins. Traditional brands need to recognize that there is not a 3-5-year window through which they can wait-and-see where this “new-fangled interwebs gizmo market” is heading. In fact, it is more important for the consumer brands that consumers already know and love establish a beach-head in the kitchen with a solid, connected feature set to help nudge consumers – and the market – into the next generation of valuable features.

To compete in the IoT, brands need to disrupt their old ways of thinking and adopt a Lean Startup mentality, buck their own cultural status quo, and take intelligent risks with a small product line of connected appliances. Further, they will need to design the physical appliances with an eye toward early adopters and then cascade these improvements to the mass market. Finally, appliance manufacturers will need to reimagine themselves not only as hardline goods producers, but also as technology companies. When entering the IoT, big brands have big responsibility to get it right – consumers have a long memory for bad experiences.

3) Collaborate

The good news for appliance manufacturers and traditional big brands is that they don’t have to go it alone. IoT platform companies, like DADO Labs, allow brands to focus on what they do best, while providing a turnkey, IoT platform that simplifies the creation of connected product lines.

When choosing an IoT platform partner, big brands should look for a collaboration partner that has:

  • experience with bringing other big brands to the IoT
  • an end-to-end solution – from hardware/firmware expertise to native app development
  • a robust cloud, data, and analytics package to help manage, make sense of, and monetize the steady stream of data

Lastly, you should look for an IoT platform partner that understands your brand and that will be as focused on protecting your brand as you are.

You can watch all sessions from the Smart Kitchen Summit here.

Frank D’Andrea is the Vice President of Software and Business Development at DADO Labs.

3 Questions To Ask About Process Automation With IoT

processautomationThe smart home is certainly a hot topic, yet the unsung—arguably geeky—hero behind it all is process automation. This is the actual programming within devices that allows user input to automatically spur an action within the device. (You can find a great explanation of the differences between IoT, connected devices, and automation here.)

In order to make smart devices more mainstream, developers need to keep the excitement strong and hold the consumer’s attention by using automated processes, including automated updates and troubleshooting. Customers will demand a balance of control between the user and device. They want easy setup (think “plug and play”) and intuitive customization. So how do you do that? You start with developing your process automation roadmap. Here are the top questions to get you started on the right path:

Why should I bother with process automation?

While the answer will be different for everyone, automation will free up your resources, reduce downtime with errors, improve customer satisfaction, streamline internal processes, and ensure standards are being met.

When you start delving into the IoT, the data it produces can quickly become overwhelming. It’ll be difficult to determine what’s important, and you’ll need a lot more storage and analysis capabilities to handle it all. By using out-of-the-box platforms like DADO, you’ll have peace of mind that you’re using your space and data wisely. You’ll be able to seamlessly integrate automation into your product, and all of its benefits, while maintaining your product’s awesomeness/integrity.

Where do I start?

To be smart about process automation, you’ll want to develop a roadmap for it. And just like eating an apple, don’t shove the whole thing in your mouth—take off small bites at a time. Create small steps to build into your larger strategy. Start with low hanging fruit—what will bring the most value to your customer? Being able to accomplish small tasks first will keep you motivated to build more automation into your product later.

How can I measure ROI for process automation?

As with all new business ventures, make sure you can measure your success. Don’t automate willy-nilly. Identify 1-3 key performance indicators (KPIs) and match metrics with these. Are you looking to reduce time it takes to get updates to all of your devices? Track manual hours before and after you implement your automated process. Are you mostly concerned with response time for customer service? Start tracking the difference in time before and after you’ve automated processes. For extra credit, you can associate revenue with these improvements.

Still looking for more helpful tips? Take a look at some mistakes to avoid.

Each device comes with its own set of requirements and wish lists for process automation. Being able to develop and deploy automation can be tricky. Give us a shout if you’d like to start brainstorming how to navigate it (we actually get super pumped talking about it!).

The Connected Kitchen: Reimagining Your Brand With IoT


Every day, it seems that there are dozens of new “smart” devices being announced for the kitchen—everything from grills to slow-cookers to coffee makers. So how does a known brand shift into this burgeoning space? The way we see it, there are three major hurdles to jump over:

  1. Showing customers how connected features will make their lives easier.
  2. Adding value beyond the interaction.
  3. Making sure the technology delivers.

Major retailers are already investing a lot of money to get the IoT message across. Demos, videos, and concept stores are popping up everywhere, all educating the consumer on the connected home. Even Target has opened a smart home concept store in San Francisco called the Target Open House, which will soon host tech talks and product launches in addition to its showcase of smart products.

Pirch, a luxury kitchen, bath, and outdoor product retailer, is also reinventing what it means to shop. In order to fully experience their products, they’ve hired chefs to work in their kitchen showrooms (and even have a delicious, curated list of recipes!).  Education and hands on experience is the key to promoting your brand, and there is a big push in retail to support your products.

You also want to make sure there’s more to your smart product than just bells and whistles. The novelty of a connected product will wear off unless it’s useful for your customer. IoT has the power to deliver tons of data, including predictive analytics and system automation, saving your customer time and potentially added costs. But in order to provide such a high performing product, you’ll need to be smart about your technology. Your IoT platform should actually lower your costs and improve your customer retention rates while upping the ante on product robustness—all the while gaining you valuable real-time insights on how your product is being used.

Then there’s the problem with making sure your technology works. With all the hype around Apple’s HomeKit, there have already been some major concerns with it. Richard Gunther, creator of the Home: On podcast, has discussed on his show and on Twitter his experience so far with HomeKit-enabled products. His stance so far? Set up can be frustrating and there are even devices that aren’t working with the latest updates. Some are afraid these experiences are going to scare away mainstream customers.

We’ve talked before about the complexity of the IoT technology, and growing pains are bound to happen. But we make it simple (and cost effective) for you to successfully get your products connected and make sure your customers continue to enjoy your brand. Throw us a line to see how we can help you get over those last hurdles.


The Connected Kitchen: Saying Goodbye to Annoying Food Problems

DADO_ConnectedKitchenThe smart home is officially a big deal. So much so, CNET has bought an entire house to turn into a playground for testing and reviewing smart home products. And as we’ve said before, the kitchen will be the most popular room in the house for connected devices.

Maybe that’s because it’s the room with the most activity—and the most mishaps. Here’s a collection of familiar food problems that will soon be laughable, thanks to innovations in the smart kitchen:

  • Say goodbye to: That time you burned your steak so bad, by the time you cut off all the charred bits for your dog, you had enough meat for a mini slider and a $26 bowl of dog food.
  • Say hello to: The grill that you can program to cook your steak exactly how you want it. And if it’s getting too hot? Adjust the temp from your smartphone. You can even clean the grill afterwards with a touch of a button.
  • Say goodbye to: That time you served sludge for coffee to your overnight guests because you weren’t used to brewing more than your usual two cups.
  • Say hello to: Brewing the perfect pot with a programmed water-to-coffee ratio—all from the comfort of your bed. You’ll be able to hit the “brew” button with your smartphone even before you greet your guests with your epic bedhead.
  • Say goodbye to: That time you had to get off the couch five times to check your pizza in the oven, but there was an awesome play that you couldn’t keep your eyes off of so your pizza burned anyway.
  • Say hello to: Perfect pizza, no matter the play. Companies like June are putting cameras in the oven (among other unique innovations) that connect to your smart phone so that you can check on your pizza without leaving the couch.

There’s so much happening in the smart kitchen that Michael Wolf, chief analyst at NextMarket Insights, has created the The Smart Kitchen Summit, a conference devoted to where we’re headed with our food and tech, which happens to center around IoT.

You can also hear more about where technology’s been and where it’s going in the kitchen with the Smart Kitchen Show podcast. You’ll gain insights into how companies like DADO are gearing up for this next era of cooking.

What is an API? IoT platform definitions you should know


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

Disrupting the Marketplace With the Internet of Things


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

Three Ways IoT Helps You Engage With Customers


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 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

Three Ways DADO Can Make Products Safer Through IoT


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

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


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.