As the Internet of Things (or IoT) technology continues to mature, embedded software applications are found in a growing number of functional objects. Cisco, Apple, Samsung, Ombori Grid, and other global technology firms have increased their production of IoT-enabled consumer products. Smart refrigerators, smart thermostats, and self-driving cars are a few notable examples.
In fact, nearly every industry contains some form of IoT functionality. In 2021, the transportation, manufacturing, oil and energy, retail operations, and healthcare arenas all utilize IoT applications to one degree or another.
As often happens during a technology’s evolution, IoT manufacturers have begun to transition away from products that meet mass-market needs. Instead, the makers have increasingly focused their attention on custom solutions for specific market segments and industries.
Problematic IoT Design and Development
In many cases, the IoT custom solutions’ design and rollout have been a less-than-optimal experience. Until now, a company had to undertake a lengthy process that began with hiring a development firm for a consultation.
Based on the results, the developer(s) engaged in intensive (and often expensive) system build, coding, and monitoring functions. In larger companies, internal development teams handled these labor-intensive tasks.
Unfortunately, many of the finished software solutions lacked the necessary analytics functionality. Because of the laborious development process, and the often-substandard finished product, many businesses decided not to jump on the IoT bandwagon.
Pitchbook Offers a Stark Assessment
The well-regarded Pitchbook framed the issue in concrete terms. In its October 2020 report titled “The Current State of IoT Platforms,” the Company was critical of the available solutions’ quality and functionality.
“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 other words, the currently available IoT solutions require professional design and development expertise. The resultant software often does not meet necessary functionality standards.
In addition, there is little effort to provide the average business owner with a good user experience. Clearly, the market is ready for a paradigm shift that sets the stage for an entirely new approach.
Ombori Grid Launches No-Code IoT Solutions
Swedish retail technology firm OmboriGrid AB (publ) believes that every business owner should have access to simple, understandable IoT solutions. After careful market analysis, it was clear that the market lacked these much-needed applications. To remedy the situation, Ombori Grid recently placed several just-launched software solutions in the app store Marketplace. Speaking to the ways in which Ombori’s Marketplace solutions can elevate business operations, Ombori Grid held a live stream launch event on July 7th, at 11:00 am EST.
These targeted “Plug and Play” offerings enable variably sized companies to streamline their operations and enhance customer experiences. The solutions will be an attractive option for businesses searching for broad-use solutions for their IoT/intuitive tech usage across many company functions.
Ombori’s “prebuilt playbooks” use available Marketplace technology and can be implemented straight out of the box. The solutions are an outgrowth of Ombori-developed applications that have been successfully deployed to its clients.
These no-code software solutions are the first such apps to reach the IoT market. Not surprisingly, they are expected to completely disrupt the playing field.
The Ombori Grid Acts as a Unifying Factor
The Ombori Grid platform acts as an integration layer as it also facilitates the exchange of data between discrete apps. The Grid is also able to capture that data to perform high-level analytics functions to further improve business outcomes.
Every interaction takes place in real-time, enabling accelerated deployment and decreasing system maintenance costs. Multi-store retailers can easily scale the Ombori Grid to additional locations.
Ombori Grid “Phygital” Apps Play Key Roles
Ombori Grid is also introducing multiple “phygital” apps that act as a bridge between the physical and online domains. The Marketplace currently contains seven pre-tested applications, with additional offerings to follow.
The first series of apps are geared to retailers who want to streamline their physical shopping spaces and increase customers’ feelings of safety. Ombori Grid’s people counter, queue management, and occupancy control apps flawlessly perform these functions.
Together, the appointment-setting and omni-visit apps easily facilitate in-store and video consultations. The signage playlist app utilizes cost-effective animated templates rather than videos for each targeted campaign.
Finally, assume that shoppers have purchased their goods. The Ombori order pickup (also known as curbside pickup) solution enables customers to easily collect their items from a convenient location.
Flexible Software and Easy-Use Developer Tools
Ombori’s versatile app solutions function flawlessly across several devices. In addition to operating on IoT platforms, the software displays excellent functionality on mobile phones and digital screens. The Ombori solutions also feature proven reliability and seamless scaling to additional locations.
Developers will note the Ombori app solutions’ easily managed software tools. In addition, developers are enabled to focus on the creation of optimal customer experiences rather than on the design of basic system architecture.
What’s Behind Ombori’s “Plug and Play” Solutions
Ombori’s innovative IoT solutions resulted from its extensive work with retailers around the globe. Through interactions with clients, Ombori became aware that consumers have become accustomed to efficient online shopping experiences.
This consumer expectation arose (and grew) during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic’s widespread lockdowns. With people essentially trapped at home, they drastically increased their online shopping activities. In response, online retailers improved their customer fulfillment operations to execute fast, efficient product deliveries.
In 2021, the pandemic has largely wound down, and most consumers have resumed their normal shopping habits. However, many customers expect their seamless online shopping experiences to be duplicated in physical spaces, including the retail environment.
Ombori believes that adding digital functionality to these customer-centric settings will elevate customer experiences. Over time, improved customer experiences will raise retailers’ revenues. Looking at the bigger picture, increasing the number of digitized shopping environments also means an expansion of the IoT market segment.
Solutions Innovator Oskar Jakobsson Joins the Ombori Team
Well-regarded solutions expert Oskar Jakobsson will drive the Ombori Grid’s continued implementation. He will also direct the Marketplace apps’ rollout and expansion. Jakobsson, who previously served as H&M’s Head of Solution and Innovation, joined the Ombori team on May 1, 2021.
During his tenure with the leading fashion retailer, Jakobsson managed H&M’s innovation and testing initiatives. These wide-ranging activities, along with 20 years of customer-focused retail work, have given Jakobsson a distinct perspective that will enhance his diverse Ombori project work.
Oskar Jakobsson stresses that Ombori is the right strategic leader to drive this IoT market trend’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.”
Ombori-Microsoft Partnerships Provide Mutual Benefits
The Microsoft Azure IoT platform plays a key role in many IoT solutions’ implementation. Specifically, the Ombori Grid and the expanding roster of Marketplace solutions are hosted on this powerful software platform.
Ombori has established a mutually beneficial working relationship with Microsoft. Tony Shakib, Microsoft’s Internet of Things & Intelligent Cloud BD, emphasizes that the firms’ ongoing collaboration enhances both parties’ market position. To further expand upon the ongoing collaboration, Microsoft’s Chase Hawkins was a featured speaker at Ombori’s Marketplace launch live stream event, speaking to the symbiotic relationship in bringing plug-and-play solutions to the masses.
Enterprise Microsoft members can utilize Ombori’s Marketplace app solutions without any extra effort or cost. All Enterprise memberships automatically include access to the Marketplace solutions.
Proven Ombori IoT Solutions
Ombori’s Marketplace app solutions have similarities to currently operational software developed for Ombori’s clients. Specifically, retail and recreation/hospitality companies have successfully deployed these solutions to resolve targeted operational challenges.
Ombori’s partners have been extremely satisfied with the respective solutions’ functionality and reliability. Each partner has also realized positive results from their solution’s implementation.
Ombori Solutions for Retailers
Ombori’s Endless Aisles are a prominent fixture in Target Australia’s expansive retail stores. The Endless Aisles are a series of visually striking in-store kiosk displays that seamlessly blend virtual and store-based shopping experiences.
When a customer wants to find a certain product, they use their voice to query the kiosk about the item’s location. The Ombori Wayfinder quickly displays the answer.
If the product is out of stock, the Wayfinder lists two easy purchase options. By quickly addressing the customer’s product question, and providing purchase alternatives, Target Australia turns a potentially negative experience into a positive outcome.
Ombori’s virtual queue management system has also been a resounding success. Prominent home furnishings retailer IKEA employs this powerful Ombori software solution to efficiently manage its high-volume design appointment scheduling function.
Each customer schedules their one-hour design appointment via an in-store interactive display or on IKEA’s mobile-friendly website. The customer receives a quick confirmation via their mobile phone. From a customer standpoint, they can now accomplish this previously laborious task with a few easy clicks.
While the customer waits for their appointment, they can continue shopping and may find items to purchase. IKEA sales associates keep the design appointment queue on track using the staff interface function.
The Ombori queue management system is currently installed in six IKEA flagship stores in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. With overwhelmingly positive results, IKEA has plans to expand the system to other regions.
Recreation and Hospitality Solutions
Ombori’s powerful IoT solutions also have applications in the recreation and hospitality industries. In the recreation industry, Switzerland’s Andermatt Ski Resort used Ombori’s queue management system to resolve the challenge of long downhill ski lift lines.
The lift lines problem surfaced during the COVID-19 pandemic, which also coincided with the busiest part of the Swiss Alps’ winter ski season. The smartphone-enabled Ombori system entirely eliminated the lines, even during peak operating hours.
In the same Swiss Alps town, the Radisson Blu Hotel also used Ombori’s queue management system to streamline the facility’s restaurant and spa bookings. Both venues achieved seamless customer flows while minimizing COVID-19 exposures.
Ombori Partners’ Targeted Solutions
As Ombori builds out the Ombori Grid for its clients, the Company will continue to perform a full slate of platform maintenance activities. Ombori also has plans to expand its Marketplace apps offerings. At the same time, Ombori’s partners are expected to handle their system installation and support along with hardware maintenance tasks.
Partners are encouraged to design their own targeted solutions. If they prefer, they can request Ombori’s help with custom applications. The partner is welcome to add the completed solution to the Apps Marketplace.
Ombori is well-positioned to identify and build targeted IoT solutions for its clients. By helping each business to solve specific problems, and by being proactive about emerging trends and opportunities, Ombori can play a key role in each company’s growth.