Podcast: The Connected Home

In this episode, Phil Gordon, Sr. Consultant UX Research, sits down with Barrett Hunter the founder of Autom8, a home automation system design firm based near Chicago to discuss the Internet of Things (IoT) and home connectivity.

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Top Ten Ways Connected Products are Changing Companies

Contributions to this blog were made by JJ Conoscenti, Business Development Specialist.

As digital and physical worlds continue to merge, IT is becoming an integral part to all of our products. The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing, and according to Cisco, the number of connected products is expected to reach 50 billion by the year 2020. This translates to about 6.5 connected devices per person. Given the magnitude of this movement, businesses will inherently be disrupted. So let’s take a look at the top ten ways that connected products are changing companies.

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AI is the new UI: How advances in virtual assistants affect commerce

Dave Morin, the CEO of Path, a mobile social-networking company, is the first person attributed with the quote: “AI is the new UI”, way back in August of 2013 in Wired Magazine. It is certainly more applicable now more than ever before, as both Apple and Google have announced at their respective developer conferences a few weeks ago, that their virtual assistants will be making a leap forward in not only voice recognition accuracy, but also a better contextual understanding of how to respond to user requests. This means that not only can you ask “Who’s the lead singer of the Rolling Stones?”, you can ask “Who’s the lead singer?” while playing the Rolling Stones, and Google Now On Tap will understand you are referring to the Rolling Stones because their song is playing. Read More

Apple and Google ramp up the connected home

“Did I close the garage door?” “Was the front door locked?” “Did I turn off the lights?”

Thoughts like these may pass through the mind of homeowners daily as they are in-transit to or from their home. Previously, the only way to calm such worries would be to return home for your own personal verification. Today, thanks to the proliferation of the Internet of Things, answering these questions is as easy as pulling out your mobile phone.

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The top announcements from Apple's WWDC 2015

It certainly doesn’t feel like summer here at Solstice unless our developers are actively experimenting with the beta versions of Apple’s new operating systems, frameworks and hardware. Yesterday's WWDC 2015 event marked the introduction of Apple’s next iteration of its mobile operating system along with updates tied to the Mac and Apple Watch platforms. In the time honored tradition of bringing our insights on what these changes mean for developers to the Apple user community and the enterprise mobile world as a whole, let's dive right in and break down today’s announcements.

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Making logistics smarter with the Internet of Things

Contributions to this blog were made by Product Consultant, Nick Rohrbeck.

Logistics is viewed as the branch of engineering that creates “people systems”, rather than “machine systems”. Similarly, mobile technology is moving from a device-centric to a human-centric model, and as technology moves to meet user needs, industries have become more ripe for disruption. A major disrupting factor is the Internet of Things, and while this may sound like some new techy jargon, iOT is having a far-reaching impact beyond the technology space. Logistics companies now have the ability to make their processes “smarter”, and those companies that are slow to move in this space will begin to see point solutions unbundling their core business.

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Google I/O 2015 Recap

Contributions to this blog were made by Product Consultant, Adam Simpson.

In case you missed it last week, we combined the standout announcements from Google I/O, Google's annual conference announcing new Android features and updates. Check out the highlights and noteworthy mentions below:

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Direct-to-Consumer: Debunking fears & creating opportunities for commerce

In their most recent forecasts, Forrester is projecting ecommerce in the United States will surpass $300 billion for the first time in 2015. We as consumers are spending more time than ever before online and on our phones, which is in turn increasing our likelihood of finishing transactions in those same mediums.

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The Commerce Shift: Stop at nothing to be there for your customers

The consumer buying behavior is changing. On average, consumers spend 162 minutes per day on their phones. 162 minutes.  That’s alot of time. Those are 162 opportunities for a brand to get in front of a potential consumer at an opportune time.

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How improv can help grow your career

This blog was co-written by Angelique Rickhoff and Alyssa Mikev.

The term "yes, and” is key in improv, and it is just one of the many skillsets from this comedy focused art that could help you become a better consultant. While we both found ourselves on the more introverted side of the table at meetings, it made sense for us to want to improve our communication skills. Enter improv, Level A at The Second City in Chicago!

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