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#IIeX Innovation Insight Competition


By Jeffrey Henning

The presentation round of the Insight Innovation Competition today in Philadelphia involved 5 minute pitches from a variety of finalists, who then had to answer the judges’ questions. The judges will announce the winner tomorrow at 2 pm.

Turning Emotion into Smart Decisions at Scale
Tim Llewellynn of Inviso discussed an online platform for turning emotion into smart decisions. Based on a 12-year research program on improving human-computer interaction, tested with over 1 million subjects worldwide, Inviso can recognize displays of emotion by focusing on the face in real time, passively, using webcams. It combines cultural understanding of facial expressions as well as universals. It successfully processes out data noise introduced by real world issues such as bad lighting and participants touching their faces. The Inviso solution is available on an ad hoc basis and via subscription; Inviso has 20 to 30 global clients and has run in 20 countries worldwide. It is marketed as a tool that integrates with larger research efforts. Their primary competition is the industry’s reliance on post-rationalization of emotions though questions. Their sweet spot is serving market research agencies for validating concept work in the early stage of video development.

RetailSenses – Optimizing Digital Signage with Automated In-store Eye Tracking
Sean Copeland of Abacus Data shared a story of a quick serve restaurant owner trying to understand how changing to digital menu boards affected purchases. The system, in prototype form today, is designed to optimize digital signage with automated in-store eye tracking, which measures gaze across multiple screens from 10 to 15 feet away without changing the purchase experience. RetailSenses can optimize the digital menu board to catch customer attention, to make it easier to order and to emphasize specific items. Abacus Data is seeking new funding to work on development, to do an in-store pilot, for server software development, and for marketing and sales. The prototype is currently designed for ad hoc work, but the team would like to develop it as permanent installation, as many digital boards are being changed all the time with new products and new promotions. The output takes the form of heat maps and trail maps, showing where they looked first, second, and third; a full bodied data set combined with time-stamped sales data provides even sharper insights.

The “Pop-Up CLT” for 1:1 Consumer-Product Testing – Andrea Poe from Tastemakers Research Group touted the only offline research innovation in the competition (though it too has an online component). Rather than do Central Location Testing through a fixed location, pop-up crowd intercepts are staged at events. It is “both high touch and high tech, resulting in better, faster and cheaper product testing for companies with all sizes of research budgets.” Participants experience a product and then complete a self-administered survey on a laptop (using Qualtrics). The format supports the completion of up to several hundred quantitative consumer surveys per day, with qualitative insights and a topline report available within 24 hours of testing. The format is engaging, with a drop-out rate less than 5% . The service eliminates the overhead of CLT facilities, replacing it with low venue fees. One advantage over online surveys is tighter control of intellectual property, since the product being evaluated is never represented online.

AnswerTap – Zach Simmons and Jim Longo from AnswerTap had noticed that market penetration of online qualitative has not achieved the same results as online quantitative. The main pain points for researchers were that existing methods were too expensive, too slow, and too logistically cumbersome: requiring a lot of 3rd party management and coordination, they could take up to 3 or 4 weeks. AnswerTap provides self-service fulfillment of In Depth Interviews and group interviews — simply define a target market, which recruits respondents from a 9-million member panel to live webcam interviews and video chat sessions, and the system handles scheduling, the event itself and immediately produces audio transcripts (keyword searchable) that are time-synced to the video. A clipping tool makes it easy to share project video with colleagues and clients anywhere, anytime. A project with 10 interviews can be completed in 2 days for $990 using panel, $690 if the client provides the potential people to be interviewed. Rather than competing with existing qualitative vendors, Jim believes AnswerTap will dramatically expand the market for qualitative research by reducing recruiting time, technological barriers and behavioral behaviors.

RawData – Mobile Metering and Surveying – Chad Nuesmeyer from Raw Data provides passive data collection using smart phones. For instance, how many people change the station when a particular radio ad comes on? The audio and ambient data stream collected by Raw Data can be analyzed for events such as this. The technology has been running in a single DMA for ad agencies and broadcasters using a panel of 1,500 consumers who are offered $40 per month towards an unlimited calling plan for their smart phones. The impact of the passive data collection app on battery life is 5-7%, less than the impact of Pandora. The data is being monetized through subscriptions to the passive data stream and for active inquiry. Raw Data has a good relationship with carriers, who are not interested in entering the business itself because of privacy restrictions; Sprint did an audit on Raw Data and began using the service. Raw Data is looking to raise funding for rapid expansion: “We are not satisfied to grow business through single DMA to DMA: we want to grow nationally.”

RIWI Nano-Survey Technology — Neil Seeman and Eric Meerkamper offered a new, randomized, fresh, unincented and scalage stream of respondents in every country in the world except North Korea. RIWI (an acronym for Real-time Interactive Worldwide Intelligence) was incubated at the University of Toronto for NGO pandemic detection and has been peer reviewed. “We are profitable and are on a tremendously exciting journey, given that we have only been commercializing for 12 months,” said Neal. The randomization comes from leveraging the Internet’s architecture, the direct navigation bar, to capturing millions of people on every web enabled device who mistype a URL and end up at a site offering a RIWI survey instead (the company has a patent on the process). RIWI was the only research firm to predict the Egyptian election, using a mobile survey completed by 10,000 Egyptians. Surveys are typically 4 to 9 questions long.

One lucky firm will become the winner tomorrow.

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