IoT-enabled Platform for Connected Buildings

A project working for improving the relationship within a company and its users.

PROJECT OVERVIEW

It is my capstone project that works with Userade as a UX researcher internship in Austin. The project mainly studies a flagship product of a global power solutions company. This Product is a complete IoT-enabled platform for connected buildings, and we especially focus on its commercial real estate (CRE) segment. Through this project, the Company would like to realize their users more and create a seamless user experience for its users.

Team

Individual Project

My role

UX researcher intern

Moderator

Duration

3 months

LITERATURE REVIEW

What is the Product ?

Why uses the Product ?

The Product is an open, scalable, and secure platform that harnesses the power of the Internet of Things to help create smart buildings.

The Product can optimize through digital transformation, saving costs and time, and using energy efficiently.

Where to use the Product ?

Who related to the Product ?

The Product can use in buildings, data centers, infrastructure, and industries. For CRE, it targets at 5 top cities: Hong Kong, London, New York City, Paris, and Singapore.

The Product for commercial real estate is the company's IoT-enabled architecture related to commercial real estate professionals, property developers, property owners, facility managers, and tenant occupants.

At the beginning of the project, we received several documents from the Company. These documents help me to understand the details about the Prodcut and Commercial real estate.

Problem

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

I analyzed eight different competitors who have similar or related businesses like the Company.

Key Findings

  • Sustainability and energy-saving are high-profile concerns for the whole industry in the near future.

  • Human-center buildings and smart buildings have been developing recently which based on the demands of the modern IoT enabled world.

  • Companies like Siemens, ABB, EATON, PHILIPS cover more general markets that allow them to reach out to diverse customers.

  • Competitor websites have a slick design, clear information architecture, and up-to-date information.

STAKEHOLDER INTERVIEW

Who we talked to?

  1. Strategic Marketing Communication Director

  2. Vice President, Marketing, Digital Energy & Secure Power

  3. Global Strategic Marketing Director, Commercial Real Estate

  4. Content and Campaign Manager

  5. VP Product Management | Global Business Development Director

  6. Global Business Sales Director

  7. Business Development Director

  8. Strategy Director and Global Segment Architect

What we talked about?

  1. Stakeholder Roles

  2. The Product definition

  3. Differentiation in market

  4. Personas involve in the Product

  5. Challenges and pain points

  6. Goals and objectives for the project

What did they tell us?

Several issues exist in the Company organization

  • It is a huge company, hard to get alignment and consensus since a lot of people involved in the decision-making processes.

  • Every project is case by case, the Company should provide customized solutions to different clients.

  • Customers don't get the speed the response that they would expect from a big company like the Company.

  • Stakeholders got the second-hand resource from other teams, but they don’t know how other teams works, such as supply chain and marketing teams.

Too open, too many issues depend on whom you speak to.

The Company doesn't know how its users perceive them, so doesn't know how to close the gap either.

  • People only know the Company is a power company, they don’t know we provide building management systems and solutions.

  • The Company’s website provides much abstract information and said the same thing repeatedly.

  • The Company lacks a lot of compelling CTA to tell the customers what they want them to do.

  • The Company needs an intensive brand image and exposure more in social media.

Our value proposition could be stronger.

Problems when stakeholders interact with customers in the real estate scenario

  • Stakeholders don't know who is an influencer in the customer decision making processes.

  • The Company should deliver the right value proposition to the right person.

  • The Company doesn’t know enough about their customers, and stakeholders believe the Company should learn and communicate more with customers.

The way our occupants using buildings is changing, we all much more level of expectation.

Stakeholders believe that the Company should take these actions in the future

  • Tailor the story completely, explain how the Company operates, maintains, and improves the buildings.

  • All of the competitors focus on sustainability and energy-efficiency direction, but the Company should have differentiation.

  • The Company should build up a good connection with operations director, consultants, specifier, and management companies (such as JLL and CBRE)

Everybody pretty much talks in the same language. I think what has changed is the depth of this conversation.

However...

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the user interviews are on hold now. I am still waiting for further information. Still, I will head in the above section to Userade and hope my study so far will contribute to the Company.

Stay healthy and safe

LESSONS LEARNED

How to lead the interview.

Thanks to my mentor Hisham, he teaches me how to lead an interview carefully without making the interviewees uncomfortable. We interviewed eight stakeholders, so sometimes the questions might be repeated. However, I saw him still paid attention to repeated questions and answers and extend the depth of conversation. As an interviewer, I should always present my appreciation to the interviewees, respect their opinions, and let them know their answers are valuable. 

Filter and collect useful information.

The Company provided a lot of documents for us to understand their company, however, these are all from the marketing team. When I read these documents, it became a little bit difficult to understand the points of view from other teams. Furthermore, some documents are not very useful to realize the issue we focus on. Therefore, it is very important to prioritize the importance of the documents when reviewing it and asked for more resources from different functional teams.