To sign up for our daily email newsletter, CLICK HERE
As the computer industry continues to evolve, the number of computer software applications continues to grow. In the business world, companies utilize software programs to perform scheduling, accounting, and processing functions, among others.
Many industries utilize software-driven manufacturing and automation processes, ensuring accurate equipment operation and faster production cycles. For years, the automobile industry has successfully used these methods to achieve more efficient vehicle production.
Taking a different perspective, software and sensors can be embedded into physical objects such as smart refrigerators, smart thermostats, and even self-driving cars. Multiple objects can exchange data using wireless Internet networks. This integrated web of software-embedded objects is collectively called the “Internet of Things (or IoT).”
Snapshot of IoT History
The Internet of Things is a relatively young phenomenon. The “connected devices” concept was introduced in the 1970s, although it was generally dubbed “embedded internet” at the time.
Finally, in 1999, a Procter & Gamble supply chain expert named Kevin Ashton put the IoT pieces together. For context, Ashton was preparing to update senior managers on an emerging connective technology (IoT) that linked numerous devices using RFID tags.
At that time, the Internet was just starting to become the latest topic of conversation. So, Kevin Ashton decided to get the executives’ attention by using the term in his presentation’s title. Hence, he titled the talk “Internet of Things.”
Following that burst of publicity, IoT stayed under the radar for more than 10 years. In 2010, IoT finally began to attract the public’s attention. By 2014, this unconventional term finally entered the mainstream news cycle.
IoT Technology Continues to Evolve
In 2021, almost every industry will integrate some type of IoT solutions. For example, the manufacturing, oil and energy, transportation, retail operations, and healthcare industries use IoT applications in some way. In addition, well-known manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, and Cisco have ramped up the production of IoT-enabled consumer products.
As IoT continues to evolve, manufacturers of IoT-enabled products have gradually changed their production focus. Rather than mostly creating mass-market consumer products, these companies are gradually shifting their resources to custom solutions for targeted industries and market segments.
Custom IoT Solutions Development Issues
Historically, creating a custom software solution has been a laborious (and often expensive) process. First, a business schedules a consultation with a software development firm. Based on that initial meeting, the developer designs the software program infrastructure and performs all the coding work.
After the system is launched, a software professional monitors its functions to ensure accurate operation. In a larger firm, an internal development team might handle these time-consuming tasks.
Upon examination, many of these custom software solutions’ analytics functions did not perform as desired. Combined with the often cumbersome (and pricey) development process, this led many businesses to opt against IoT systems implementation.
Pitchbook’s Negative IoT Solutions Assessment
Pitchbook issued a rather critical assessment of its own. The Company published an October 2020 report titled “The Current State of IoT Platforms” that called out the available solutions’ functionality and overall quality.
“We view IoT software as ripe for disruption given the poor quality of existing solutions on the market. Vendor offerings typically offer poor analytics functionality and user experiences…They do not have prebuilt playbooks to improve business outcomes, leaving them underutilized by customers.”
In non-technical terms, Pitchbook is saying that the current solutions often leave much to be desired. They require professional system development and maintenance, and the solutions often do not work very well.
Equally importantly, the entire system development process takes the business owner out of the equation. There is little (or no) effort to create a solution that a non-technology professional will find comfortable and easy to use. This lack of attention to the end-user (the business owner) makes it clear that a completely new approach to IoT custom solutions is needed.
Ombori Grid’s No-Code IoT Solutions
Ombori Grid, a Swedish retail technology company with a “can-do” attitude, has responded to this demonstrated need for easy-to-understand IoT solutions. Ombori Grid recently placed several relevant solutions in its app store Marketplace.
These solutions contain available “Plug and Play” technology, which essentially means they are ready to use when taken out of the box. Also called “prebuilt playbooks,” the solutions are a natural progression of Ombori’s targeted applications that the Company successfully developed for its clients.
These pre-tested Ombori IoT solutions enable companies of all sizes to streamline their business operations. Ombori also offers digital tools that will help to elevate customer experiences.
Most importantly, these no-code IoT solutions are the first such software apps to be placed in a click-to-deploy Marketplace. These ground-breaking products are expected to completely disrupt the IoT solutions development industry.
The Ombori Grid’s System Unifying Factor
Each Ombori IoT solution operates within the Ombori Grid, a development platform that enables data exchange between two or more separate apps. As the data is transmitted back and forth, the Grid is also able to perform complex analytics functions on it.
Because all interactions occur in real-time, the system continually generates a flow of relevant data that provides real insights to the business owner. Companies with multiple locations, such as retailers, will find the Ombori Grid very easy to scale to multiple locations.
Ombori “Phygital” Apps Act as a Virtual Bridge
Ombori has also created several “phygital” applications that link the physical and online operational arenas. Seven pre-tested apps are currently available in the Marketplace, with more coming online soon.
Retailers who want to fine-tune their physical shopping spaces should note the first series of applications. Ombori’s people counter, occupancy control, and queue management apps will enable smoother customer flow and help customers to feel safer while inside the store.
While customers are on-site, the appointment generation and omni-visit applications seamlessly facilitate person-to-person and video-based interactions. The versatile signage playlist app offers budget-focused animated templates instead of videos geared to a targeted campaign.
Once shoppers have made their purchases, Ombori Grid’s order pickup (or curbside pickup) solution makes it easy for customers to retrieve their paid-for items from a central location.
Advantages for Devices and Developers
Ombori Grid’s timely app solutions operate seamlessly on several types of devices. Besides running smoothly on IoT frameworks, each software solution works well on digital screens and mobile phones. In addition, the solutions have impressive reliability, and they can easily be scaled to multiple locations.
Software developers will find the Ombori Grid’s tools extremely easy to manage. In addition, developers can devote their time to creating satisfying customer experiences rather than designing mundane system architecture.
The Story Behind Ombori’s No-Code Solutions
Ombori developed its innovative IoT solutions after working closely with retailers throughout the world. Through extensive client interactions, Ombori learned that consumers expect seamless, satisfying online (or eCommerce) shopping experiences.
This collective expectation largely originated (and increased in magnitude) during 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic. With many businesses locked down, and shoppers told to stay home, they turned their attention to online shopping.
As purchase volumes accelerated, online merchants ramped up their customer fulfillment frameworks. With few exceptions, customers experienced lightning-fast product deliveries, leaving them satisfied with their overall shopping experiences.
In 2021, the pandemic has diminished in magnitude, and most shoppers have returned to local and regional shopping venues. These customers want (and expect) their satisfying online shopping experiences to be duplicated in the physical realm.
Ombori feels strongly that enhancing digital functionality in these retail environments will elevate customer experiences. As customers enjoy more positive shopping interactions, retailers’ revenues will increase over time. Taking a bigger-picture view, growing the number of digitized retail environments also leads to the expansion of the aggregate IoT market.
Oskar Jakobsson Brings Solutions Expertise to Ombori
Well-known solutions innovator Oskar Jakobsson will lead Ombori’s IoT solutions team. Specifically, Jakobsson will direct the Ombori Grid’s ongoing implementation. He will also drive the Marketplace apps’ introduction and expansion. Jakobsson, who previously was H&M’s Head of Solution and Innovation, joined Ombori on May 1, 2021.
During his H&M tenure, Jakobsson directed the leading fashion retailer’s innovation and testing programs. He also brings 20 years of customer-centric retail experience to the table. Collectively, these experiences have given Oskar Jakobsson a well-rounded retail industry perspective that will benefit his Ombori management experiences.
Oskar Jakobsson emphasizes that Ombori is providing the right strategic leadership during the IoT market’s evolution. “We as a company are perfectly placed and the product itself is really at the forefront. Not least last year’s pandemic has shown this and new customers are being added all the time.”
Beneficial Ombori-Microsoft Collaborations
Many IoT solutions operate on Microsoft’s powerful Azure IoT platform. Specifically, the Azure framework hosts the Ombori Grid and the growing number of Marketplace apps solutions.
Ombori and Microsoft have formed a mutually beneficial working relationship. Tony Shakib, Microsoft’s Internet of Things & Intelligent Cloud BD, notes that the ongoing collaboration provides advantages for each party. Additionally, Microsoft’s Chase Hawkins expands upon the importance of launching these ready-to-use solutions for business owners. Hawkins states, “They (business owners) don’t want to talk about the technology, they view it as ‘plumbing’. They want the solutions.”
Enterprise Microsoft members can derive special benefits from Ombori’s Marketplace app solutions. Each Enterprise membership automatically includes solutions access with no additional expense or effort.
Recreation and Hospitality Industries’ Benefits
Ombori’s versatile IoT solutions have also been proven effective in the recreation and hospitality industries. In the recreation arena, Switzerland’s Andermatt Ski Resort put Ombori’s queue management solution to work, hoping to resolve the challenge of long downhill ski lift lines.
The lift lines bottleneck emerged during the busiest weeks of the Swiss Alps’ winter ski season, which also coincided with the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Ombori’s system was up to the challenge, eliminating all lift lines even during peak demand hours.
Andermatt’s Radisson Blu Hotel also successfully utilized the Ombori queue management solution. To minimize COVID-19 risks, this top-tier lodging wanted to establish a smoother flow of restaurant and spa reservations. Both venues achieved their goals while providing guests with seamless customer experiences.
Ombori Partners’ IoT Solutions Options
Ombori will continue to provide each client with the proper Ombori Grid framework. The Company will perform ongoing maintenance to ensure the Grid’s smooth operation. Ombori also plans to add more apps to the Marketplace.
With these activities as a backdrop, Ombori expects its partners to engage in system installation and support. Each partner should also handle its hardware maintenance activities.
Each Ombori partner is also invited to design targeted software solutions. Alternatively, the client can ask Ombori to design a custom application. Once the solution is complete, the partner can add it to the Apps Marketplace.
Ombori possesses the technical expertise to craft quality IoT solutions for its clients. By enabling each business to deliver elevated customer experiences and streamline its operations, Ombori can help the company to chart its path for growth. To learn more about Ombori Grid’s no-code IoT solutions, visit the Ombori website.