IoT relies on streams of data, connecting to one another and providing real time information on user engagement with any “thing”, product or process. This means that the success of IoT is tied to the amount of interaction users have with the object collecting data. The central question for IoT solution success then becomes “how do I incentivize engagement to collect data?”
Think about Waze, the crowd sourcing traffic information app. Waze operates on the information provided by users. Users can login and mark speed traps, accidents, construction, hazardous road conditions, gas stations, and preferred routes to destinations. This allows every user on the road to receive information in real time and adjust their travel plans accordingly.
Waze is successful for any number of reasons, but two major ones are accessibility and value.
In terms of accessibility, the mobile app interface is user friendly: offering a few features not available on other popular map applications, such as traffic volume indicators, ETA notifications that can be sent through Android messaging, and speed limit displays on screen. The visuals are bright and colorful, clearly illustrating your route and potential roadblocks or stops that may be of interest. The app is highly customizable, allowing for a tailored user experience.
The value of Waze is multi-faceted. Not only are you getting an automated navigational assistant, you are receiving real time data on the road ahead. Hitting the road only to get stuck in a traffic jam is not a pleasurable experience, but if you were warned ahead of time and had an alternative route suggested…that might just save the day. Users are willing to share their information in exchange for access to other user data. This collective effort results in more efficient travel.
The app also incentivizes users to contribute information by gamifying the experience. You can earn different character emoji figures called “moods” that display to other app users when you are on the road. This is more of a fun socialization tactic, but one that has proven effective in encouraging engagement.
Without users updating the information available on Waze, the app provides very little added value. The users are the data sources that power the product. Waze is an excellent example of how a well-designed UI/UX and proper incentives improve data collection and produce a data product. Through understanding the pain points of users with other mapping applications, and iterating upon those revelations, Waze has managed to crowdsource travel data.
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