element14 Community: Smarter Life Challenge
Although the "smart home" market has grown and will continue to over the next several years, the vast majority of appliances and machines we use still require manual operation. The field of home automation has not significantly progressed in the last 50+ years since shows like The Jetsons sparked our imaginations of what life in "the future" would hold. For example, a toaster still requires manual programming and can still burn your bread. Washing machines aren't automated and won't detect things like color bleeds or fabric type.
The award-winning element14 Community, which is approaching its 5-year anniversary this year, launched the Smarter Life Challenge to renew excitement and interest in futuristic technology. element14 allows design engineers to access technical information and product experts and share new project concepts with more than 240,000 global members. Challenge participants were invited to submit their ideas for forward-thinking technology projects with the potential to enhance the home, automobile or office environments using the Cypress PSoC® 4 Pioneer Kit. One of element14's most forward-thinking challenges ever, Smarter Life was promoted on the Community and through its various social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. The challenge garnered 138 applications from around the world and nearly 100,000 visits to the challenge landing page, setting new precedents in terms of global reach and member engagement on element14. Through Community marketing, social media promotion and traditional media outreach, we generated as much awareness and engagement in a challenge as we ever have before, and were thrilled with the amount of interest and attention this challenge received. Of the 138 submissions, 18 finalists received a kit of parts including the PSoC 4 and chronicled their progress on element14.com in the form of blog postings, pictures, videos, designs and Google Hangouts. element14 distributed a steady stream of that content via social channels.
Some of the key metrics in evaluating the success of the campaign, which lasted from September 24, 2013 to February 10, 2014, are as follows:
|Landing page visits:||97,754 (average of 698 per day)|
|Visits to challengers’ blogs:||21,436 (233 blogs; average of 92 visits each)|
|Smarter Life Facebook impressions:||2,030,305|
|Engagement on Facebook content:||67,689|
|Engagement rate:||3.3% (Engagement / Impressions) – Above 0.5 is considered a win|
The use of social media for this challenge is unique not only in its effectiveness, but because it called on fans and followers to develop ground-breaking ideas. Many of their innovative designs may be used in future products that could enhance our day-to-day lives. We had finalists in locations that spanned the globe, and were excited by how they used single-chip systems to improve their -- and potentially others' -- lives.
|Douglas Wong (U.S.) and his smart thermostat won the first-place prize, an all-expenses-paid trip to Germany and Embedded World 2014, Feb. 25-27, 2014. Wong’s project enhanced the functionality of the traditional thermostat to include speech recognition, Bluetooth connectivity, an Android app and a GPS-based clock that never needs to be set, among other features.|
|Anthony Kahl (Australia) and his Smart Bicycle Light took second place with a prize of a $1,500 voucher on element14 retail sites. The light turns on in darkness and when movement is detected, flashes in a number of different modes and turns off after a period of no movement, when removed from the bike and/or when light is detected. It’s also chargeable via USB and audibly alerts the user when the battery is low. Anthony intends to get Kickstarter funding so one day soon the public can buy his invention for themselves.|
|Javier Hernandez (Puerto Rico) and his GeoCar took home the “Peoples’ Choice” award and a $1,500 voucher on element14 retail sites. This project used technology including a GPS receiver, Bluetooth connectivity, a proximity sensor and an accelerometer to gather data on car use. Parents, for example, could confirm via smartphone the whereabouts of their children when borrowing the car. In the instance of an accident, speed and directional data could be extracted to determine the behavior of the driver.|