Fifty Examples of Digital Business

  • Digital business involves the exploitation of the increasingly blurred space between the connected world of digital information and the physical world where we live and work.

  • There are many examples of digital business in action in traditional industries and among conventional companies — not just in venture-funded startups.

  • Examples of digital business are visible in many kinds of industries, not just consumer-facing but also heavy industrial.

  • Digital business innovations are adding new kinds of value for customers, sometimes helping products to break out of a commodity state.

 

By 2016, 70% of successful digital business models will rely on deliberately unstable processes designed to shift as the situation changes and people's needs shift (see "Digital Business Gives Rise to the New Economics of Connections" ).

 

By 2017, nearly 75% of manufacturers will have R&D strategies that include an increased number of sensors in products, but most of them will lag with digital data integration capabilities (see "Predicts 2015: The Rise of Digital R&D Innovation for Manufacturers" ).

 

By 2018, six billion connected things will be requesting support (see "Top Strategic Predictions for 2016 and Beyond: The Future Is a Digital Thing" ).

What is Inside by Category

 

B2B Product Industry Examples

 

B2B Service Industry Examples

 

B2C Product Industry Examples

 

B2C Service Industry Examples

 

What is Inside by Customer Impact

Making Life Safer, Smarter and Healthier

  • 1. 3M stethoscope

  • 3. AstraZeneca/Adherium smart inhaler

  • 8. Proteus/Novartis/Otsuka pills

  • 9. Bigbelly bins

  • 11. FedEx SenseAware

  • 12. Generali IoT initiatives

  • 14. Roche patient monitoring

  • 15. Simavita digital continence management

  • 32. Nestle BabyNes

  • 34. P&G Oral-B toothbrush

  • 39. Tory Burch Fitbit

  • 40. Under Armour apps

  • 43. Aviva Drive app

  • 47. City of Montreal Info-Neige

  • 45. British Gas Hive Active Heating

  • 50. John Hancock Vitality Fitbit

 

Making Work Safer and Better

  • 5. Goldcorp connected mine

  • 16. Starwood SPG Keyless

  • 41. Allstate drones

Making Industry Smarter and More-Efficient

  • 2. Airbus 3D printing

  • 4. AzkoNobel Dulux AR apps

  • 6. GE Industrial Internet

  • 7. SCA digital washroom

  • 10. Monsanto climate data science

  • 13. Munich Re learning investment

  • 17. SteadyServ iKeg

  • 19. UPS 3D printing services

  • 24. DeWalt power tool battery

  • 29. Honda 3D printed concept car models

 

Making Leisure and Play More Fun

  • 20. Adidas smart soccer ball

  • 22. Babolat Play racquet

  • 25. Diageo smart bottle

  • 26. Fossil smartwatch wearable

  • 27. Hasbro 3D printed toys

  • 28. Hershey's CocoJet

  • 31. Lego Minecraft

  • 33. Oakley AR ski googles

  • 35. Paulig coffee mug

  • 36. Ralph Lauren PoloTech

  • 37. R.J. Reynolds Vuse

  • 46. City of London AR app

  • 48. Disney MagicBands

 

Making Shopping Better

  • 18. Swiss Post drone delivery

  • 21. Audi Connect Easy Delivery

  • 23. Coca-Cola Freestyle vending

  • 30. L'Oreal makeup mirror app

  • 38. Scarosso 3D custom-made shoes

  • 42. Amazon Dash Button

  • 44. Barclays bPay

  • 49. IKEA AR catalog app

The examples we chose conform to Gartner's simple definition of digital business:

 

"The creation of new business designs by blurring the physical and digital world"

The examples are primarily from "traditional" industry companies, not startups or those "born digital" first.

In each of the examples, we will explain as briefly and simply as we can the new business design and the physical/digital blurring characteristic that makes it relevant. We cite sources for each example, with public links to explore.A long list of examples is hard to digest, so the list has been categorized. We deliberately avoided classification by industry. That's because digital business starts to blur the boundaries between traditional sectors, and we believe clients must search outside the traditional peer competitor comfort zone to understand the nature of digital business disruption opportunities and threats.

B2B Product Industry Examples

 

1. 3M Markets a Bluetooth-Connected Digital Stethoscope

3M has introduced a digital electronic stethoscope that can send audio data to a PC for visual and algorithmic diagnostic analysis, or onward and over the Internet to a specialist. The 3M Littmann Electronic Stethoscope Model 3200 works together with StethAssist Heart and Lung Sound Visualization Software. The TeleSteth software enables live telemedicine transmission of the stethoscope sounds over the Internet.

New business design: Adds smart data-tracking service to a simple/commodity medical device.

Blurring physical and digital: Usage of sensor information about physical asthma drug inhaling activity.

Sources:

 

2. Airbus Uses Production 3D Printing Extensively in Its A350 XWB Aircraft

Airbus has used 3D printing in the production manufacture of many parts of its new A350 long-range passenger jet aircraft variant, first shown at airshows in 2015.

New business design: More fuel-efficient additive-manufactured products attract airline buyers.

Blurring physical and digital: 3D printing of semihollow computer-aided designs (CADs) to produce reduced weight parts.

Sources:

  • Airbus press release announces the use of 3D printing in the A350 aircraft.

  • BBC news story explains that the A350 has more than 1,000 3D printed parts.

  • 3D printer manufacturer's blog post expands on how the tech is used at Airbus.

 

3. AstraZeneca and Adherium Collaborate on Smart Inhalers

New Zealand-based, publicly traded company Adherium is working with one of its investors, AstraZeneca, to bring to market its digital medical drug inhaler device. The inhaler records date, time and dosage — for example, of asthma medicine consumption. That data is transmitted to a smartphone app for examination and analysis by the patient's physician.

New business design: Adds smart data-tracking service to a simple/commodity medical device.

Blurring physical and digital: Usage sensor transmits information about physical asthma drug inhaling activity.

Sources:

 

4. AzkoNobel Dulux Provides Augmented Reality (AR) and Color Data Capture Smart Device Apps

Dulux, a paint and coatings subsidiary of global chemical company AzkoNobel, provides a smartphone and tablet app that helps contractors see how paint colors will look on the wall before they are applied. Clients and consumers can capture colors they like with the apps so paints can be mixed for a tailored color match.

New business design: Provides value-added tools to help contractors win and specify jobs.

Blurring physical and digital: Smart devices capture real-world colors and create augmented reality views.

Sources:

  • Dulux trade paint expert app website explain AR feature

  • AzkoNobel news story on the apps

  • Dulux Australia website explains color capture feature

 

5. Goldcorp — Connected Mine Provides Safer and Less Costly Operations

Goldcorp has outfitted its mine in Northern Quebec with Internet of Things (IoT) technologies that track people and assets, and monitor ventilation. Machines are monitored for optimal use and can self-call for maintenance. The ventilation self-adjusts based on the location of people and machines to provide optimal conditions and save the mine a potential $1.5 million to $2.5 million per year in energy costs.

New business design: Connects physical assets and people for better operations and management.

Blurring physical and digital : Digital Internet of Things technologies monitor a physical environment to deliver optimal conditions, safety and cost savings.

Sources :

  • Goldcorp news item about the mineworker tracking technology

  • Video about the Goldcorp connected mine

  • RFID trade journal article about the Goldcorp connected mine

 

6. GE's Industrial Internet Generates New Productivity and Revenue Opportunities

In 2012, GE started to formally address an opportunity to use Internet of Things technologies to get the most out of the machines it makes, made and services. The effort was termed Industrial Internet and a software center in Silicon Valley was established to build the technology. Today, each of GE's business units use the principles and the technology of the Industrial Internet to monitor machines for better uptime, optimized performance and longer life. The results are reduced costs, new revenue opportunities, and increased margins for GE and the customers who use GE's machines.

New business design : Connect new and existing industrial assets to provide enhanced service, more utilization and productivity. Internet and big data technologies bring new areas of benefits not possible with older telematics-style implementations.

Blurring physical and digital: Industrial assets become as much about their software as their physical attributes. The merging of the two creates a better machine that lasts longer and produces more.

Sources :

  • GE press release about the opening up of its Industrial Internet platform

  • GE video of 2014 Minds and Machine summit about its industrial Internet strategy

  • Video of Gartner Symposium interview with Jeffrey Immelt, GE CEO

 

7. SCA Creates Digital Washroom Products and Services

In 2014, Swedish paper and hygiene products company SCA introduced a services system of washroom dispensers that tracks usage of consumables such as tissue and liquid soap. Information relayed to mobile devices helps operators ensure that washrooms are always stocked.

New business design: New management efficiency is offered to washroom operating service customers.

Blurring physical and digital: Wireless electronic product relays live status data to assess usage.

Sources:

 

8. Novartis and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Collaborate With Proteus Digital Health on Sensor-Enabled Pharmaceuticals

In 2010, Novartis agreed to make a large investment in startup Proteus to help develop sensor technology so small and chemically inert that it can be hidden in regular pharmaceutical pills and ingested. Proteus pills send unique wireless ID signals to say when they have been taken. In 2015, they were approved by the FDA for first use in a mental health drug made by Otsuka.

New business design: A new pill consumption traceability service to optimize pharma use.

Blurring physical and digital: An ingestible digital wireless sensor is embedded into regular medicines.

Sources:

 

9. Bigbelly Garbage and Recycling Bins Use Sensors to Know When to Empty Bins

Bigbelly sells its smart garbage and recycling bins that can signal when each individual bin needs to be emptied. Some of the bins also contain built-in compactors and are solar-powered. Municipalities such as Los Angeles and Atlanta and other public- and private-sector enterprises use these connected bins for more-efficient operations and a cleaner environment.

New business design: Eliminates the need to do rounds to monitor if bins need emptying.

Blurring physical and digital: Physical bins are connected to provide the real-time status and analytics capabilities of digital.

Sources :

 

10. Monsanto Acquires Its Way Into Agriculture Big Data Analytics

In 2014, U.S. agribusiness Monsanto bought Climate Corp., a specialty data science company focusing on microclimate data. Farm or field-level weather data is important in helping farmers decide whether and when to apply various agrichemical treatments in their fields.

New business design: Seed, fertilizer and pesticides maker provides data science services.

Blurring physical and digital: Microclimate weather data is collected from multiple environmental sensors.

Sources:

 

B2B Service Industry Examples

 

11. FedEx SenseAware Tracks Location and Condition of a Package Through Its Journey

FedEx SenseAware is a small cellular data sensor device that can be placed in a parcel or package. The device sends live updates about location and physical conditions (such as light and temperature) as part of a data-tracking service.

New business design: The value-added service remotely manages packages through their journey.

Blurring physical and digital: The device collects environment data from connected physical packages in transit.

Sources:

  • FedEx SenseAware website

  • Business Roundtable Web page on SenseAware history

  • Video explains how customer United Airlines uses SenseAware

 

12. Generali Insurance Issues IoT Open Innovation Call and Makes a "Techquisition"

In September 2015, Italy-based global insurer Generali issued an open call for companies and individuals to assist it with insurance-related innovations based on the Internet of Things. In July 2015, Generali acquired MyDrive Solutions, a technology startup focused on tools for data analytics of driving styles.

New business design: Using open innovation and acquisition to acquire digital business capabilities.

Blurring physical and digital: Using physical-world telematics and Internet of Things data in insurance.

Sources:

 

13. Munich Re Insurance Sponsors Internet of Things Startup Accelerator

In April 2015, global reinsurance company Munich Re sponsored Plug and Play — a 12-week accelerator program for Internet of Things startups.

New business design: Executive education and learning by investing in an emerging tech space.

Blurring physical and digital : Understanding how the Internet of Things will impact future insurance risks.

Sources:

 

14. Roche Moves Into Patient Monitoring

In 2015, Swiss pharma and medical device company Roche announced a collaboration with Qualcomm to create medical patient remote-monitoring services, starting with portable anticoagulation meters.

New business design: A new kind of data gathering an analytics service for patient care.

Blurring physical and digital: Gathering and analyzing data from blood analysis equipment

Sources:

 

15. Simavita Is a New Public Company in a New Category of Digital Healthcare Systems

Simavita provides a system of remote digital monitoring for adult diapers for use mostly in hospitals and aged care facilities. The company started commercializing the medical research technology in 2008, and today it is publicly traded on the Australian Securities Exchange.

New business design : Digital service platform for remote monitoring patient activity.

Blurring physical and digital : Collecting incontinence data from connected diapers.

Sources:

 

16. Starwood's SPG Keyless Lets Guests Access Their Room With a Smartphone

In 2014, Starwood started rolling out a keyless service to many of its properties in different hotel brand chains. The system permits a guest to access their room using Bluetooth and an app on their smartphone. This avoids the need for the front desk to issue a key card; speeding check-in.

New business design : A superior hotel service product with no need to visit the check-in desk.

Blurring physical and digital : Turning a mobile phone into a door key.

Sources:

 

17. SteadyServ iKeg — Connected Beer Kegs to Ensure Beer Is Always Flowing at the Taps

It can be very difficult for a bar, hotel or hospitality venue to know how much beer it has. Beer kegs are very heavy and are sometimes stacked in tightly cramped cold rooms — making it hard to even visually check inventory and further complicated by faulty pressure gauges. Through the use of an Internet-connected ring that the kegs sit on, a retailer/hospitality venue knows exactly how much beer it has left. This data can be shared from retailer to distributor and even with the brewer — making a more-efficient supply chain.

New business design : Inventory control for a challenging environment (liquid and metal). Retailers are offered the ability to offset or eliminate the cost of the system if they share their data with upstream partners (such as distributors).

Blurring physical and digital: Hard-to-track physical products are complemented by digital real-time visibility, analytics and collaboration.

Sources :

 

18. Swiss Postal Service Experiments With Drone Package Delivery

In 2015, Swiss Post, the national postal service of Switzerland, started experiments in drone package delivery using a drone system by U.S. maker Matternet. Matternet's ideas include using multiple short drone hops to move a package, analogous to the way IP routers move a data packet.

New business design: A possible future last-mile rapid package delivery service avoiding roads.

Blurring physical and digital: Using digitally tracked and controlled semiautonomous aerial drones.

Sources:

 

19. UPS Stores Offer 3D Printing Services

Package logistics services company UPS has set up the capability to provide 3D printing services in 100 of its store locations across the U.S.

New business design: A new line of business for UPS to offer its small-business customers.

Blurring physical and digital: Local creation of physical objects from data, sometimes instead of transporting.

Sources:

  • UPS Store 3D printing services website

  • UPS video shows a pro golfer using 3D print service to replace a golf club head

  • Wall Street Journal story on UPS 3D printing services business

 

B2C Product Industry Examples

 

20. Adidas Markets a Smart Connected Soccer Ball

German sports clothing and equipment maker Adidas introduced a smart, trackable soccer ball in 2015. The ball contains sensors that measure its speed, flightpath and spin. Data from the ball is transmitted to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. The product is an addition to a range of athlete-wearable devices the company has been developing over several years.

New business design: Adds a new level of game analysis and coaching data service to a product.

Blurring physical and digital: Data sensing and wireless reporting from within a ball.

Sources:

  • Adidas miCoach soccer ball website

  • Adidas miCoach soccer ball video

  • News article about Adidas lab testing the ball in 2013

 

21. Audi Connect Easy Delivery — Delivering E-Commerce Package to a Car's Trunk

In May 2015, Audi, Amazon and DHL started trials for the delivery of a package to the trunk of a vehicle's car. The idea is that home delivery is not always convenient, as people are not home to accept the package, and a package left on a doorstep is susceptible to theft. By agreeing to have their vehicle location's tracked on the day of delivery, Amazon Prime customers will allow DHL couriers to locate and unlock the trunk of the car for delivery.

New business design : Real-time tracking and remote unlock is used to orchestrate delivery to nonfixed points. This provides more convenience to customers.

Blurring physical and digital: Digital technology is used to connect automobiles to innovatively transform them into points of delivery.

Sources:

 

22. Babolat Play Connected Tennis Racquet Lets Players Analyze Their Game

First revealed in 2012 and then brought to market in 2013, the "Play" connected racquet from Babolat contains an accelerometer sensor embedded in the handle that sends data by Bluetooth to a phone or tablet. Analysis of the data reveals forehands, backhands, top spin, power, sweet-spot hit rate and other key game variables. The equipment is permitted to store data during competitive match play and is now in use by some top professional players.

New business design: Adds cloud-stored, game analytics services to a top product proposition.

Blurring physical and digital: Takes a physical real-world game and adds detailed data analytics to it.

Sources:

 

23. Coca-Cola Freestyle Vending Machines Let Customers Mix Their Own Flavors

In 2014, Coca-Cola launched Freestyle vending machines that contain the syrups of all of their brands (such as Coke and Sprite) in a single machine. An applike interface on the machines allows customers to mix any combination of flavors to create their own drinks. Customers can choose popular mixes, repeat favorites or choose plain-old single flavor traditional drinks.

New business design : Mass customization of drinks delivered quickly in a familiar vending machine format.

Blurring physical and digital: The digital power of mass customization and easy and fun-to-use interface converges with a self-contained vending unit that serves individual drinks.

Sources :

 

24. DeWalt Power Tool Batteries Gain Bluetooth Connection and Smartphone App

In 2015 DeWalt, a subsidiary of Black & Decker, released a new generation of power tool batteries with Bluetooth wireless data connectivity. The batteries connect to a smartphone app to provide additional user features such as charge monitoring, virtual tether theft alarm and scheduled operation control.

New business design: Information and remote-control services feature addition to a simple product.

Blurring physical and digital: Digital sensor, control and data-tracking function for a physical battery.

Sources:

 

25. Diageo Tests a Sensor-Enabled Smart Bottle for Premium Liquor Products

In 2015, Diageo demonstrated a "smart bottle" technology using Near Field Communication (NFC) to connect a whiskey bottle to a consumer's smartphone. The sensor detects when the bottle seal has been broken and provides ID information about the bottle.

New business design: Adds provenance, traceability and authenticity information to a branded product.

Blurring physical and digital: Digital status sensor and wireless identity connects a bottle to a phone.

Sources:

 

26. Fashion Watch Company Fossil Moves Into Wearables

In 2015, Fossil, a fashion and watch brand in business since 1954, introduced its "Q" range of connected wearable information devices.

New business design: A new category of fashion wear products to offer Fossil brand customers.

Blurring physical and digital: A watch with a Bluetooth data connection to a smartphone and the Internet.

 

27. Hasbro Enables Toy Fans to Get Unique Artist-Tailored Versions of Its Toys

In 2014, Hasbro collaborated with Shapeways — a 3D design and print service company — to offer authorized fans artist variants of its branded character toys, printed on demand.

New business design: Legitimizes and leverages fan art variations of branded characters.

Blurring physical and digital: Uses 3D printing to bring fan art into the physical toy world.

Sources:

 

28. Hershey's Co-Develops Chocolate 3D Printing, to Customize Confectionary

In the U.S., chocolate manufacturer Hershey's and 3D printer maker 3D Systems demonstrated the results of a collaborative partnership to develop 3D printing in chocolate. An early version of the CocoJet printer, capable of producing customized chocolate shapes, was shown at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. The two companies have a multiyear agreement to develop the technology.

New business design: Individually customized-shape chocolate products for consumers.

Blurring physical and digital: Digital designs can be rendered directly into physical chocolate products.

Sources:

 

29. Honda Offers 3D Printing of Concept Car Models

In 2014, Honda made available a number of 3D print computer-aided design (CAD) files and encouraged public downloading. The files were specifically designed to be easy to print on consumer-grade 3D printers and released under a creative commons license.

New business design: Open innovation talent encouragement and brand marketing with 3D printing.

Blurring physical and digital: Downloadable, noncopyright files that can be converted into plastic models.

Sources:

 

30. L'Oreal Makeup Genius App Uses Augmented Reality to Try on Makeup

In 2014, L'Oreal launched an app that allows customers to "virtually" try on the company's cosmetics. The smartphone's camera captures a live video image of the customer and recasts the customer wearing the makeup that she has chosen (for example, lipstick or eye shadow). Think of viewing yourself in the mirror with makeup on. Customers can try on complete "looks" of bundled products or individual products.

New business design: Customers can virtually and rapidly "try on" many cosmetics without going to the store or using real samples.

Blurring physical and digital: Cosmetics are overlaid on top of the real physical image of a live and moving customer.

Sources:

 

31. Lego Created Physical Toys From a Virtual Block-Building Game

In 2013-2014, Danish toymaker Lego teamed up with the makers of the highly successful children's creative video game Minecraft. Instead of competing against or denying the importance of the virtual-world block-building system, Lego listened to customers and collaborated to make a series of physical toys to mirror parts of the game.

New business design: A new subcategory of toys, leveraging video game consumer interest.

Blurring physical and digital: Physical block-building toys that emulate a virtual block-building world.

Sources:

 

32. Nestle Has Created a Smartphone App-Connected Baby Formula Machine

In 2011, Nestle first introduced BabyNes — a capsule machine for making individual servings of baby formula somewhat similar to its Nespresso coffee makers. The machine has a wireless connection to smartphone and tablet apps for baby nutrition tracking and capsule supply reorder reminders.

New business design : Digital nutrition analysis smart services related to enhance the product.

Blurring physical and digital: Food delivery machine relays usage data to enable analytic services.

Sources:

 

33. Oakley Makes Connected Ski Goggles With Inbuilt Augmented Reality Display

Since 2012, Oakley — an eyewear brand of Luxottica — has offered its Airwave goggles with inbuilt augmented reality information display functions for serious skiers This wearable tech tracks the ski run speed, descent, path and location of other proximate skiers who are also using the device.

New business design : A new class of eyewear product to offer customers.

Blurring physical and digital: Embeds digital sensor and display capability into eyewear, linked to the Internet.

Sources:

 

34. P&G/Oral-B Connected Toothbrush Turns Brushing Into a Science

P&G's Oral-B has digitalized the toothbrush, enabling the simple act of brushing to become a data-rich practice. Everything from brushing frequency, time to brush, and even toothbrush pressure is captured for analysis and reminders. For digitalized products, the apps are as important as the connected device (that is, the toothbrush), so Oral-B has created a strong companion app that tracks and challenges consumers.

New business design : Digitalizing a product brings a new revenue item to market. The data stream from these products provides much of the benefit and can be shared (with dentists in the case of the Oral-B toothbrush). Done right, this data analyzes, encourages and creates a whole new experience.

Blurring physical and digital: A physical consumer product becomes connected to provide value in the physical and digital worlds.

Sources:

P&G toothbrush press release

P&G app press release

Oral-B SmartSeries website

 

35. Paulig Is Developing a Connected Coffee Mug

In 2015, Paulig, a 140-year-old midsize coffee business based in Finland, started taking preorders for its Muki smartphone-connected coffee mug. The mug is able to wirelessly retrieve an image and display it on an e-ink panel, using electricity generated from the heat of the hot beverage.

New business design : A digital social-drinking vessel as part of the coffee experience.

Blurring physical and digital: Energy-scavenging digital display embedded within a drinking vessel.

Sources:

 

36. Ralph Lauren Has Created a Shirt With Fitness Monitoring Capability

In 2015, Ralph Lauren introduced a new PoloTech brand sports t-shirt product capable of measuring heart and respiration rate retailing for $295. The shirt was developed in collaboration with wearable technology company OMsignal. It uses silver wire woven into the cloth as a sensor.

New business design : A new clothing item with information-gathering as a customer proposition.

Blurring physical and digital: Embedded wearable technology putting digital into the cloth of the apparel.

Sources:

  • Ralph Lauren PoloTech shirt website

  • Ralph Lauren PoloTech launch press release acknowledging OMsignal partnership

  • Wall Street Journal article about the product, including executive quotes

 

37. The Vuse "Digital" Cigarette Is a Fast-Growth Part of R.J. Reynolds' Strategy

Many tobacco companies have entered the electronic cigarette market, either organically or by acquisition. R.J. Reynolds explicitly recognizes this is a digital innovation. The microprocessor and vaping algorithm inside the device are crucial. R.J. Reynolds' CEO has remarked on the importance of this fast-growing part of the market for nicotine consumers.

New business design: R.J. Reynolds makes money from a razorblade-like model for nicotine "juice."

Blurring physical and digital: A significant proportion of the total customer value proposition comes from digital marketing, electronic commerce and a digitally controlled electronic product.

Sources:

 

38. Scarosso Creates a Tailored Shoe Service Using 3D Scanning Technology

Luxury Italian footwear maker Scarosso is introducing a custom-made (individually tailored) shoe-making service that involves the customer creating a 3D scan of her own foot using her smartphone. The service uses technology from Volumental.

New business design: High-value remote custom-made perfect-fitting service.

Blurring physical and digital: Collecting 3D scan of a customer's foot from her smartphone.

Sources:

  • Scarosso custom-made service website

  • Volumental 3D scanning technology website

  • Guardian news article about the Scarosso/Volumental innovation

 

39. Tory Burch Turns Fitbits Into Fashion Jewelry

In 2014, Tory Burch, a U.S. fashion design and retail company, collaborated with fitness tracker maker Fitbit to create a range of functional female jewelry accessories. This included bracelets and pendants with embedded fitness activity tracking capability.

New business design: A new category of fitness tracking wearables for fashion conscious females.

Blurring physical and digital: Embedding Bluetooth-connected sensor devices inside jewelry.

Sources:

 

40. Under Armour's Big Move Into Mobile Fitness Apps

In 2013 and 2015, U.S. sports clothing maker Under Armour acquired major mobile fitness and diet tracking mobile app companies. The company understands the strategic importance of "quantified-self" data in the sports and fitness business and intends in future to make its own connected clothing products that will generate sensor data.

New business design: Mobile app, sensor data, cloud-based information services for consumers.

Blurring physical and digital: Gradually linking physical running and fitness wear into the online world.

Sources:

Under Armour's first mobile app 2013 acquisition and 2015 acquisitions

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank explains the platform strategy in a CNBC interview

Under Armour digital officer says one day all Under Armour products will be smart

 

B2C Service Industry Examples

 

41. Allstate Drones Provide a Safe and Efficient Way to Inspect Damage

In 2015, Allstate and other insurance companies got the clearance to use drones to do aerial claims inspections of property damage. The benefit of using drones is based on faster and safer inspection of damage. The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) has given Allstate the right to fly the drones in U.S. airspace for this purpose.

New business design : On-site inspections can be done remotely and safely, and deployed faster. This is particularly important in large-scale natural disasters situations.

Blurring physical and digital: The digital capabilities of a drone (camera, remote flight) replace what was often a dangerous and manual physical task of getting on-site and checking roof and property damage.

Sources:

 

42. Amazon Dash Buttons Can Automatically (Re)order Products When Pressed

In 2015, Amazon introduced a set of physical buttons that are about the size of a key fob. When pressed, they reorder household products such as detergents, foods, and health and beauty products. Each button orders a single product (such as Tide) and can be adhered to a surface such as an appliance or pantry door. Amazon has many products and brands available that are suited to these "press and replenish" orders, which are shipped the next day via the Amazon Prime program.

New business design: Replenishment orders can be done right at the point of need (such as reordering detergent at the laundry machine) instead of pulling out a smartphone or laptop to do e-commerce.

Blurring physical and digital: The buttons are meant to be used in physical environments such as kitchens and laundry rooms without the need for a digital interface — yet are fully digital and wireless.

Sources :

 

43. Aviva Drive App Helps Safer Drivers Win an Insurance Discount

In late 2012, British insurance company Aviva introduced a smartphone app that collects data about a driver's behavior from 200 miles of driving activity. The app then calculates a safe driving score. If the score is high enough, the driver can apply for a significant discount on driving insurance. The company claims that by mid-2014 more than 20,000 drivers used the app.

New business design: Aviva assesses and prices risk from directly measured behavior data.

Blurring physical and digital: The app offers an insurance discount using real-world motion sensor data.

Sources:

 

44. Barclays Makes Payment a Digital Wearable Option for Customers

In 2015, U.K.-based international bank Barclays introduced "bPay," an NFC contactless payment armband device and service. The service can be linked indirectly to any credit card, including those from competitors. The introduction was cited by the CEO as evidence of Barclays leadership through technology. The CFO called it a way of Barclays "disintermediating itself" through its own technology.

New business design: Creation of a more open payment service and device.

Blurring physical and digital: Takes payment into a wearable context — wrist swipe as you go.

Sources:

 

45. British Gas Provides a Smart Home Heating Controller Called Hive Active Heating

Technology startup Nest (now part of Google Alphabet) is famous for introducing a wireless and sensor-enabled intelligent home heating controller, but it is not alone. In 2014, U.K. consumer energy provider British Gas developed and marketed Hive Active Heating — a device that enables remote access and control of the user's home heating by smartphone from anywhere in the world. It also learns consumer lifestyle patterns and adjusts the heating accordingly.

New business design: Adds a new level of differentiating customer services to a "commodity" product.

Blurring physical and digital: Wireless remote heating system control with sensor-based learning algorithms.

Sources:

 

46. City of London Uses AR to Create a Virtual Asset Network of Convenience

In 2014, the City of London authority (the local government for the central district of the U.K. capital) offered a new consumer smartphone app for public toilet location. The app has an augmented reality capability for way-finding to a network of "public conveniences" that include shops and restaurants. Traditional government-run public toilets have declined in number due to costs.

New business design: Exploiting a network of virtual assets not owned by the enterprise itself.

Blurring physical and digital: App uses location and AR capability to help users navigate the streetscape.

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47. City of Montreal Info-Neige: Real-Time Tracking of Snow Plows to Help Citizens

When the city of Montreal needs to clear the streets of snow, cars parked in the path of the snow plows are towed. In 2014, Montreal introduced a mobile app that gave citizens real-time visibility to snow plows and their intended routes. This win-win situation gives citizens the heads-up for when they need to move their cars and creates less towing labor and delays because cars have to be removed so the plows can do their job.

New business design : Provide real-time status and planned routes that helps motorists and snow removal staff. Provides citizens convenience, and the city less labor and more-efficient plowing.

Blurring of physical and digital : The snow plows and their intended routes are digitalized making what was once an opaque process into one of full transparency.

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48. Disney's MagicBands: Wearable Creates Magical Experience

In 2013, Disney started trialing the use of RFID bands to allow guests to go on rides by tapping their bands for admission. The trials have grown to one of the best examples of the power of wearables. Guests can now pay, unlock their hotel rooms, enter parking lots, reserve food ahead of time in restaurants, and perform many other functions that create an excellent customer experience. Real-time sensors throughout the park can track guest traffic and activities.

New business design : The MagicBands are all about creating an amazing customer experience, but they also lead to ease of spending since payment is also possible by simply tapping the band.

Blurring of physical and digital : Guests gladly opt-in to wear the bands and be tracked because of the benefits of the MagicBand. Very few companies have been able to achieve this level of participation in the tracking of guests.

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49. IKEA Augmented Reality Catalog App Helps Customers "Try Before They Buy"

In 2013, the Sweden-based IKEA furnishing company introduced a smartphone and tablet app that uses augmented reality to help customers see what items of furniture would look like in their own homes. The app overlays a 3D rendering of a furniture item in correct proportion and perspective onto the live camera screen view of a customer's own living room or bedroom.

New business design: A virtual "try at home" service.

Blurring physical and digital: Overlaying an image of a physical item on a live digital view of the world.

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50. John Hancock Insurance Offers Free Fitbits to Measure Lifestyle

In 2015, U.S. financial services company John Hancock teamed up with Vitality to provide a points-based health activity program as part of its insurance offer. Some customers who signed up for the program were given a free Fitbit device to help monitor their personal activity.

New business design : Incentivized use of quantified-self data for health insurance.

Blurring physical and digital : Personal activity sensor providing data to a life and health insurer.

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