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BeBop Sensors Award Write Up

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2015 North American Smart Fabric Sensors
Technology Innovation Award

Veröffentlicht in: Technologie
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BeBop Sensors Award Write Up

  1. 1. © Frost & Sullivan 2015 1 “We Accelerate Growth”
  2. 2. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2015 2 “We Accelerate Growth” Contents Industry Challenges....................................................................................................3 Technology Attributes and Future Business Value .....................................................3 Conclusion...........................................................................................................5 Significance of Technology Innovation ..........................................................................6 Understanding Technology Innovation ..........................................................................6 Key Benchmarking Criteria ....................................................................................7 Best Practice Award Analysis for BeBop Sensors.............................................................7 Decision Support Scorecard ...................................................................................7 Technology Attributes ...........................................................................................8 Future Business Value...........................................................................................8 Decision Support Matrix ........................................................................................9 The Intersection between 360-Degree Research and Best Practices Awards.....................10 Research Methodology ........................................................................................10 Best Practices Recognition: 10 Steps to Researching, Identifying, and Recognizing Best Practices .................................................................................................................11 About Frost & Sullivan ..............................................................................................12
  3. 3. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2015 3 “We Accelerate Growth” Background and Company Performance Industry Challenges Currently, there is a lot of interest in wearable electronics, including smart fabrics with special integrated functionalities, such as responsiveness to environmental stimuli and tools to enable an individual to more intuitively interact with his or her environment. One of the key functionalities in next-generation smart fabrics is sensing capabilities able to detect and monitor various key parameters, including physical parameters such as pressure, force, shape, motion, and presence. However, a key challenge faced by developers is to procure or produce sensors that can acquire reliable data over time. Because rigid sensing systems do not work well in fabrics, sensors in this kind of application need to be flexible to provide optimum results. Another challenge for product developers is to find ready-to-use sensors customized for their specific application. For example, certain applications require a wider temperature tolerance or ability to perform under high stress and resistance to water. Technology Attributes and Future Business Value Industry Impact BeBop Sensors’ technology has evolved from sensing technology that was initially developed for musical instruments. Its earliest sensors gathered input from people to control musical instruments, such as pad controller devices for Keith McMillen Instruments (KMI). BeBop Sensors has developed this base technology further, employing it to improve wearable sensor systems. Various smart fabric sensors are available in the market, but they tend to focus on monitoring physiological parameters, or they cannot monitor multiple parameters, which is a key to how BeBop Sensors stand out in the market. Plus, sensor reliability tends to be a key issue with many of today's wearable sensors. BeBop Sensors, however, offer superior reliability, which has been proven through its deployments in musical instruments, as mentioned earlier. BeBop Sensors uses fabric with conductive, resistive, and dielectric inks to enable stable pressure and touch sensors. The sensors are also of negligible weight and thickness (0.2 mm), enabling optimum comfort. Its flexibility and stretchability also allows easy integration into fabrics making these sensors very attractive compared to competing sensors. Product Impact The core technology is based on printed piezoresistive sensors. Piezoresistivity refers to electric properties that change upon the application of pressure. The outputs from these sensors, when placed in varied geometries, enable the fabric to detect various parameters such as bend, force, position, torsion, location, rotation, angle, torque. For example,
  4. 4. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2015 4 “We Accelerate Growth” multiple sensors can determine the distribution of pressure. The change of pressure on different sensors can monitor the motion, bend, and other aspects of the interaction. The sensors can be used in various products such as clothes, hospital bed sheets, and shoe insoles, to name a few. Their potential uses in clothing, wearables, sports equipment, and industrial process lines, are virtually limitless. This is primarily because BeBop has focused on reducing the footprint of the systems, as well as making the sensors flexible. However, a most important aspect of the sensors is their cost, which is very low compared to competing sensors. To have a substantial impact and gain market share, OEMs need to price the final products to be relatively competitive with traditional clothes or other devices. Scalability BeBop Sensors has considerable expertise in printing technologies for manufacturing the sensors at high volumes. This expertise is hard for even OEMs to replicate. As a result, BeBop provides OEMs with a final sensor module that can be easily integrated into their products or solutions. The company has two manufacturing facilities in North America and China, which are equipped to handle volume production. The company has a flexible manufacturing line that can ramp up volume in 30 to 60 days. BeBop continues to invest in R&D to enable advanced features, such as lower footprint sensors; greater tolerance to temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors; as well as higher dynamic range sensors. Since smart fabrics is currently a niche application segment poised to witness rapid growth in the future, it is imperative to continue sustained technology advancements to meet and exceed end user demands. Most companies tend to focus on a particular application segment with a limited operating range. However, the key is to be able to provide OEMs with a gamut of options, which BeBop Sensors does easily. Visionary Innovation BeBop Sensors has its roots in the musical instruments company KMI. Its pressure- sensing technology has been used in musical keyboard controllers, which proved a major success. This generated interest from various OEMs in diverse fields. Understanding the potential of the sensor technology, Keith McMillen, founder of BeBop Sensors, spun out the company to cater to the needs of OEMs. BeBop Sensors also realized that, to enable user-friendly smart fabrics, integrated sensors and circuits needed to be flexible. This led the company to transform its rigid and semi- rigid sensor technology to flexible electronics now manufactured with printed electronics. To do this, the company has worked with renowned materials company DuPont Microcircuit Materials (DMM) to develop printing inks that are used to develop the circuits used in the fabrics.
  5. 5. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2015 5 “We Accelerate Growth” Application Diversity As mentioned earlier, the most definitive application for BeBop Sensors is wearable smart fabric. This sector can include smart clothing, accessories, insoles, wearable controllers, and so on. These devices aid in athlete training and fitness monitoring. Knowing the interaction (such as position and angle) between an athlete’s foot and the ground, for example, enables accurate monitoring and even improvement of his or her gait. In automobiles, fabric sensors can monitor the presence or absence of passengers in individual seats. This can assist the deployment of smart airbags and in car steering wheels to sense driver alertness. In healthcare, BeBop Sensors in bedsheets can determine whether the patient has turned or is positioned properly. Robotics is another key application area for BeBop’s fabric sensing technology. Robots require a sense of touch to accurately interact with its environment, as well as for mobility. Other potential applications are in manufacturing lines, where the sensors can determine the presence and position of individual items, and in military/defense applications, such as wearable water reservoirs that detect when a soldier is in danger of being dehydrated, or measuring a soldier’s activity to determine if one is down or only laying low. BeBop Sensors’ technology has such a wide application scope because it can integrate with multiple fabric types, including felt, cotton weave, spandex, and artificial silk. Moreover, the sensors can be fine-tuned to operate at different dynamic ranges and temperature tolerances. Competing technologies are not as broadly compatible or flexible. Customer Acquisition BeBop Sensors has already received a lot of interest from different industries. Its best-in- class sensors, ability to manufacture in volumes, and solutions tailored to specific industries have given BeBop very high customer acquisition potential. With advancements in data analytics, various companies have developed software and models to analyze data generated from body worn sensors. However, the acquisition of data has remained a major challenge until now. BeBop has resolved this challenge, which also opens the door for BeBop to collaborate with or supply, companies involved in the “quantified self” market. Conclusion Fabric embedded sensors are part of an emerging field that holds a lot of potential in various industries such as wearables, sports, healthcare, and manufacturing. OEMs find it challenging to develop or procure smart fabric sensors that are multi-functional, reliable, and low-priced. Luckily for them, BeBop Sensor’s innovative smart fabric sensor technology meets these requirements, and Frost & Sullivan feels that it is the ideal solution to propel further growth for today's flexible fabric sensors industry. Because of its strong overall performance, BeBop Sensors is recognized with Frost & Sullivan’s 2015 Technology Innovation Award in Smart Fabric Sensors.
  6. 6. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2015 6 “We Accelerate Growth” Significance of Technology Innovation Ultimately, growth in any organization depends upon finding new ways to excite the market, and upon maintaining a long-term commitment to innovation. At its core, technology innovation or any other type of innovation can only be sustained with leadership in three key areas: understanding demand, nurturing the brand, and differentiating from the competition. Understanding Technology Innovation Technology innovation begins with a spark of creativity that is systematically pursued, developed, and commercialized. That spark can result from a successful partnership, a productive in-house innovation group, or the mind of a singular individual. Regardless of the source, the success of any new technology is ultimately determined by its innovativeness and its impact on the business as a whole.
  7. 7. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2015 7 “We Accelerate Growth” Key Benchmarking Criteria For the Technology Innovation Award, Frost & Sullivan analysts independently evaluated two key factors—Technology Attributes and Future Business Value—according to the criteria identified below. Technology Attributes Criterion 1: Industry Impact Criterion 2: Product Impact Criterion 3: Scalability Criterion 4: Visionary Innovation Criterion 5: Application Diversity Future Business Value Criterion 1: Financial Performance Criterion 2: Customer Acquisition Criterion 3: Technology Licensing Criterion 4: Brand Loyalty Criterion 5: Human Capital Best Practice Award Analysis for BeBop Sensors Decision Support Scorecard To support its evaluation of best practices across multiple business performance categories, Frost & Sullivan employs a customized Decision Support Scorecard. This tool allows our research and consulting teams to objectively analyze performance, according to the key benchmarking criteria listed in the previous section, and to assign ratings on that basis. The tool follows a 10-point scale that allows for nuances in performance evaluation; ratings guidelines are illustrated below. RATINGS GUIDELINES The Decision Support Scorecard is organized by Technology Attributes and Future Business Value (i.e., the overarching categories for all 10 benchmarking criteria; the definitions for each criteria are provided beneath the scorecard). The research team confirms the veracity of this weighted scorecard through sensitivity analysis, which confirms that small changes to the ratings for a specific criterion do not lead to a significant change in the overall relative rankings of the companies.
  8. 8. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2015 8 “We Accelerate Growth” The results of this analysis are shown below. To remain unbiased and to protect the interests of all organizations reviewed, we have chosen to refer to the other key players as Competitor 2 and Competitor 3. Measurement of 1–10 (1 = poor; 10 = excellent) Technology Innovation Technology Attributes Future Business Value Average Rating BeBop Sensors 9.5 8.5 9.0 Competitor 2 8.0 7.0 7.5 Competitor 3 6.0 6.0 6.0 Technology Attributes Criterion 1: Industry Impact Requirement: Technology enables the pursuit of groundbreaking new ideas, contributing to the betterment of the entire industry Criterion 2: Product Impact Requirement: Specific technology helps enhance features and functionality of the entire product line for the company Criterion 3: Scalability Requirement: Technology is scalable, enabling new generations of products over time, with increasing levels of quality and functionality Criterion 4: Visionary Innovation Requirement: Specific new technology represents true innovation based on a deep understanding of future needs and applications Criterion 5: Application Diversity Requirement: New technology serves multiple products, multiple applications, and multiple user environments Future Business Value Criterion 1: Financial Performance Requirement: High potential for strong financial performance in terms of revenues, operating margins and other relevant financial metrics Criterion 2: Customer Acquisition Requirement: Specific technology enables acquisition of new customers, even as it enhances value to current customers Criterion 3: Technology Licensing Requirement: New technology displays great potential to be licensed across many sectors and applications, thereby driving incremental revenue streams
  9. 9. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2015 9 “We Accelerate Growth” Criterion 4: Brand Loyalty Requirement: New technology enhances the company’s brand, creating and/or nurturing brand loyalty Criterion 5: Human Capital Requirement: Customer impact is enhanced through the leverage of specific technology, translating into positive impact on employee morale and retention Decision Support Matrix Once all companies have been evaluated according to the Decision Support Scorecard, analysts can then position the candidates on the matrix shown below, enabling them to visualize which companies are truly breakthrough and which ones are not yet operating at best-in-class levels. High Low Low High FutureBusinessValue Technology Attributes BeBop Sensors Competitor2 Competitor3
  10. 10. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2015 10 “We Accelerate Growth” The Intersection between 360-Degree Research and Best Practices Awards Research Methodology Frost & Sullivan’s 360-degree research methodology represents the analytical rigor of our research process. It offers a 360-degree-view of industry challenges, trends, and issues by integrating all 7 of Frost & Sullivan's research methodologies. Too often, companies make important growth decisions based on a narrow understanding of their environment, leading to errors of both omission and commission. Successful growth strategies are founded on a thorough understanding of market, technical, economic, financial, customer, best practices, and demographic analyses. The integration of these research disciplines into the 360-degree research methodology provides an evaluation platform for benchmarking industry players and for identifying those performing at best- in-class levels. 360-DEGREE RESEARCH: SEEING ORDER IN THE CHAOS
  11. 11. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2015 11 “We Accelerate Growth” Best Practices Recognition: 10 Steps to Researching, Identifying, and Recognizing Best Practices Frost & Sullivan Awards follow a 10-step process to evaluate award candidates and assess their fit with select best practice criteria. The reputation and integrity of the Awards are based on close adherence to this process. STEP OBJECTIVE KEY ACTIVITIES OUTPUT 1 Monitor, target, and screen Identify award recipient candidates from around the globe  Conduct in-depth industry research  Identify emerging sectors  Scan multiple geographies Pipeline of candidates who potentially meet all best- practice criteria 2 Perform 360-degree research Perform comprehensive, 360-degree research on all candidates in the pipeline  Interview thought leaders and industry practitioners  Assess candidates’ fit with best-practice criteria  Rank all candidates Matrix positioning all candidates’ performance relative to one another 3 Invite thought leadership in best practices Perform in-depth examination of all candidates  Confirm best-practice criteria  Examine eligibility of all candidates  Identify any information gaps Detailed profiles of all ranked candidates 4 Initiate research director review Conduct an unbiased evaluation of all candidate profiles  Brainstorm ranking options  Invite multiple perspectives on candidates’ performance  Update candidate profiles Final prioritization of all eligible candidates and companion best-practice positioning paper 5 Assemble panel of industry experts Present findings to an expert panel of industry thought leaders  Share findings  Strengthen cases for candidate eligibility  Prioritize candidates Refined list of prioritized award candidates 6 Conduct global industry review Build consensus on award candidates’ eligibility  Hold global team meeting to review all candidates  Pressure-test fit with criteria  Confirm inclusion of all eligible candidates Final list of eligible award candidates, representing success stories worldwide 7 Perform quality check Develop official award consideration materials  Perform final performance benchmarking activities  Write nominations  Perform quality review High-quality, accurate, and creative presentation of nominees’ successes 8 Reconnect with panel of industry experts Finalize the selection of the best-practice award recipient  Review analysis with panel  Build consensus  Select winner Decision on which company performs best against all best-practice criteria 9 Communicate recognition Inform award recipient of award recognition  Present award to the CEO  Inspire the organization for continued success  Celebrate the recipient’s performance Announcement of award and plan for how recipient can use the award to enhance the brand 10 Take strategic action Upon licensing, company may share award news with stakeholders and customers  Coordinate media outreach  Design a marketing plan  Assess award’s role in future strategic planning Widespread awareness of recipient’s award status among investors, media personnel, and employees
  12. 12. BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH © Frost & Sullivan 2015 12 “We Accelerate Growth” About Frost & Sullivan Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best in class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company's Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO's Growth Team with disciplined research and best practice models to drive the generation, evaluation and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages almost 50 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from 31 offices on six continents. To join our Growth Partnership, please visit http://www.frost.com.

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