Intelligent Safety Glasses

                  InCloud and Wearable Technology

               

Smartglasses are the all-work, no-play wearable that people actually use

The future of smartglasses will be realized by a factory worker operating a 3000-pound stamp press, not a gamer stomping on virtual-reality bad guys. Face computers are all about scanning bar codes on cardboard boxes, punching in and out on production equipment, and providing real time tracking progression of work orders, not scanning tourist attractions for augmented reality overlays.

Are you getting this? 

Smartglasses are a productivity story. They’re about getting things done. This is the vision of InCloud Control, which this Friday will begin seeding XOEYES Smartglass Manufacturing Solution to some two-dozen companies in blue-collar business sectors ranging from small manufacturing to oil and gas.

The XOEYES has two user-changeable earpieces. One earpiece contains the glasses’ battery, while the other one houses sensors and core-logic. A 5-megapixel video camera sits smack-dab in the middle of the frames.

Smartglasses represent the next wave of business communication. Every 20 years, a new technological breakthrough fundamentally changes how workers communicate with each other and clients. In the 1950’s, the enterprise space depended mostly on phones. Faxes made an impact in the 70’s, and email changed everything in the 90’s.
Next up: “activity streams.” Smartglasses like the XOEYES will share streams of data—audio, video and even rarefied sensor information—to connect workers with colleagues in unprecedented and liberating ways.
”If a technician could share an activity stream from these glasses instead of waiting for a supervisor to physically come to that location – just imagine how much faster problems would be resolved.”

Activity streams are the next 20-year cycle, and wearables are a huge part of this.   Whether it’s capturing a bar code, or capturing video of what a technician is seeing, I’m able to transmit data from the employee to the cloud to various devices in the workplace. Right now, people trade email and video to troubleshoot problems. But if a technician could share an activity stream from these glasses instead waiting for a supervisor to physically come to that location – just imagine how much faster problems would be resolved.
I see, you see, we see
The XOEYES Manufacturing concept is simple by design, and it needs to be if roughnecks on an oil rig or hardhats on a factory floor are going to bother with newfangled tech. An employee dons the XOEYES glasses, and everything he or she sees is streamed from an onboard 5-megapixel video camera to InCloudVision, our own cloud platform. Tapping into InCloudVision, remote colleagues can see everything the employee sees—and from the employee’s point of view.

A factory worker operating heavy machinery could give her foreman a clear point-of-view video of everything she’s seeing. Here we see an early hardware prototype.
The smartglasses also include two microphones and a set of earbuds, so employees at a job site can easily speak with coworkers, whether they’re located in a different part of the same building or 2000 miles away. And because the InCloud glasses include an accelerometer and gyroscope, InCloud’s Vision platform can log body movements, inviting new possibilities for managing worker safety and ergonomics.
Let’s walk through a few scenarios. The most obvious InCloud application involves telepresence-based troubleshooting: A manager in a remote location guides a field technician through a complex diagnostics process, using the XOEYES glasses as his eyes and ears. Windover scripts a typical exchange: “Grab this wire. No, not that one, that one. Great, now tighten that down. Let’s hear it again. No, it still doesn’t sound right. Turn it off. Let’s try something else.”
Sure, that field worker may not always appreciate being guided like a marionette by a puppet master half a continent away, but telepresence can save companies expensive plane trips for on-site visits, as well as critical time.
Hands-free scanning—finally
Because camera sensors can also read bar codes, the XOEYES could be a huge benefit to the shop floor workers as well.  Currently, employees spend thousands or hours hunting down routing sheets that travel along with the work order.  High profile customers often trump running production schedules and that is where the fun usually begins for supervisors.  An employee wearing the XOEYES glasses could scan into a work order, a specific production machine, scan a specific task they need to perform and get to work on the order.  When the change hits the shop floor a simple scan out of the order can place a “Paused or Held” status on in the InCloud MX system.  Then simply starting the new order is a scan and off to the races.  When that order is completed the employee goes back to the Held order and continues the process.  A single employee can run multiple orders as well.  One of the common practices in small manufacturing is one employee running multiple orders in parallel.  This creates a difficulty in tracking true manufacturing costs if the employee is spread across multiple machines.  Problem solved when that same employee is wearing XOEYES glasses connected to InCloud MX.  True time tracking is made easy and provides the most accurate and non-intrusive methodology by scanning the machines to punch in and out.
In the front office, supervisors, sales teams, and owners can get an update view of the production schedule and how each order is progressing.  Customer service is handled instantly from accurate real time data that is being fed and updated from the shop floor team as changes occur.
The same XOEYES glasses can be used by airlines that need to route thousands of pieces of luggage every hour. Currently, this is a grueling process that requires an employee to pull a heavy suitcase off a conveyor belt with one hand, while reading the luggage tag with a handheld scanner in the other hand.
But if an airline mothballs its $1000 handheld scanners for the $500 face-mounted XOEYES, it can save money and reduce workplace injuries. 
“Every time one of our airline customers has a shoulder injury, it costs them thirty thousand bucks,” Windover says. “Something like this, which is a fraction of the cost, lets them pick up that bag with two hands. It totally changes the amount of safety and injury issues.”
Of course, the truck drivers who work for FedEx and UPS use handheld scanners too. InCloud and XOEYE imagines a day when our packages will be scanned by the XOEYES —and a deliveryman will snap a photo of the package before he leaves it on your doorstep. We’ve got companies that are spending millions of dollars on liability every month because someone says a package was destroyed.  Well, was it? Now they’ve got a picture of the container when they left it at your house.
Safety first
Safety and ergonomic applications fill out InCloud’s bag of tricks. The smartglasses’ motion sensors can pick up whenever a factory worker bends down in a 90-degree angle. The back-end Vision platform can record this as a “biometric event” and save it to a database for further review by management. If Charlie is bending over 60 times a day, he may have a back problem in his future.  So a company may want to change the way it utilizes this person, or maybe transfer him to a different department.

The XOEYES’s movement sensors could track how many times a factory worker bends down during a shift—or send an alert when an employee is entering a danger zone.

Similarly, the XOEYES’s accelerometer could trigger an alert every time a factory worker exceeds an acceptable forklift speed. Or perhaps a dangerous machine shuts down anytime someone wearing the smartglasses gets too close to a saw blade or stomp point.  InCloud will provide customers with InCloud Control’s MX platform that comes with a slew of APIs so we can build and implement custom applications that interface with their own unique workflows, data, and Wearable use cases.
Likewise, the Vision platform is designed to integrate with legacy enterprise management systems (critical, say, for all that bar-code scanning), and can be used to push specific applications to the smartglasses via over-the-air updates. 

Google Glass? For this market?
We think Google Glass is ill-suited for the industries XOEYES is targeting. Specifically, Glass’ reliance on voice control and capacitive touch makes it a non-starter for noisy work environments where so many employees wear gloves.
The XOEYES, meanwhile, is designed for blue-collar factory workers, and is born from the collective wisdom of an InCloud Control – XOEYES product team – and Georgia Tech. 
 “We get these people who drive an F-150 to work and listen to Luke Bryant. That’s us – Hell that’s me.”
Like Glass, the XOEYES’s interface features voice control, but the glasses aren’t dependent upon it. The XOEYES don’t employ capacitive touch, and instead has two hardware control buttons for times when the din of machinery drowns out voice commands, and when heavy safety gloves make traditional touch control impossible.
You’ll also notice that the XOEYES lacks any type of display to provide visual feedback for the system’s applications. That’s a design feature, an acknowledgement that excessive visual feedback isn’t necessarily safe.  Instead the XOEYES has a strip of LEDs that run along the interior of the frames and send simple messages back to the worker—for example, a green LED could indicate a package has been properly scanned.
And of course, the clear lenses on the XOEYES are impact-resistant to ANSI Z87.1 standards. The glasses’ earbuds are safety-certified, too.
The only viable smartglass future?
The XOEYES smartglasses are destined for final release this summer. Not only will it cost a very reasonable $500 per unit, but the glasses will come with a $99 monthly subscription to the Vision enterprise suite. That recurring cost includes full access to the device-management platform, regular firmware updates, and unlimited minutes for the XOEYES’s telepresence function. (Notably, each pair has its own phone number for voice calls, but it depends on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth smartphone tethering, as the glasses have no SIM.)
Subscription fees will likely drop when a business buys XOEYES at scale. We hope the costs will be low enough to spark an “activity stream” revolution?  If any use cases have the potential to spur wearables adoption, it’s the kind that puts workplace productivity front-and-center.
“The average Joe consumer will probably look at Google Glass and say, ‘What is this going to help me solve?’” says Ramon Llamas, a wearables industry analyst at IDC. “Whereas within an enterprise opportunity, particularly the ones in industry, these are very specific situations and problems. And we all know that anything that’s going to make you more efficient is going to make you more profitable down the line.”


If you want to be a part of an upcoming research project that will measure how wearable smartglasses impact safety, quality and efficiency email or call us.


hello@myincloud.com  or (404) 316-0082

Communicating + Process = Improvement

Do you carry a white board or a smart phone in your pocket?

Businesses of every type must improve each and every day.  This has always been a platform that manufacturing companies have tried to adopt and execute for many years.  We have countless examples of companies that have successfully implemented Lean Six Sigma practices into their culture and just as many that have failed.

In enterprise-sized companies, failure to integrate a clear communication culture makes front-page news because the impact is usually losing a customer contract that devastates an entire community.

However, there is an entire segment of the manufacturing industry where the lack of communication keeps them from growing beyond their facility walls.  Let me expand.

InCloud has been interview small manufacturing companies under 99 employees for a few months now.  Our interest in this market segment comes from working for companies this size and personally experiencing the pain and problems caused when the business process is manual, not fully developed, and no unified data system was leveraged.

At the core of this issue is a lack of communication.



Let me provide a fairly common example.  I have spoken to over 30 companies that use QuickBooks for their accounting application and then plan, schedule, and execute production on a whiteboard.  For most of these companies – this has been the way the business has run for years and at a profitable level to boot.  However, there was a common thread of frustration from the production team that performs the manufacturing tasks.


“When our owners aren’t physically in front of the whiteboard, no decisions can be made, and we have to wait around until they return to approve an order, production run, change request, or supply order.  The lack of communication creates a lot of frustration for the team.”


This is where I truly believe InCloud is going to change the small manufacturing segment forever.  Starting with a single and unified data source, these companies can begin to build their business process on a platform that documents their success and failures.  This in-turn allows a company to learn something new at every phase of the process and throughout the business.  The users can participate in improvement suggestions, test the ideas, and get immediate feedback that maps to goals of growth and performance.

Because InCloud MX is a cloud-based and mobile solution, once your data is entered into the system – you now have access to that data where ever you are in the world.

It is a whole lot easier to carry a smart phone instead of taking a whiteboard with you where ever you go.  Mobile push messages, decisions, data, process, change requests – can all be easily managed and executed from your phone.



The net effect is rapid growth in production capacity, better customer relations, better communications with your entire team, and the ability to apply Lean Six Sigma in a manageable way.

Want to learn more about how InCloud Control can help you manage your communication process even better?  Give us click today at www.myincloud.com

ReliablePlant had an interesting article that talks about the importance of communication in succeeding at continuous improvement for you organization.  Click here to read the entire article. http://bit.ly/1lE4Z6c


QuickBooks and InCloud Control Deliver An Affordable Solution For Small Manufacturing

InCloud Control offers small manufacturing companies using QuickBooks an affordable easy solution.
Getting started with InCloud MX software delivers a simple interface with your QuickBooks accounting software that provides the automation and power need to run your manufacturing operations. The InCloud MX software provides the following capabilities:
  • Extensive tracking of manufacturing inventory and work in process (WIP)
  • Multi-level bills of material with full explosion down to 24 levels deep.
  • Net-change physical inventory with cycle counting.
  • Batch-oriented or direct entry of all stock transfer transactions.
  • Full back-flushing of all assembly transactions.
  • Choice of standard, average, LIFO, or FIFO costing methods.
  • Cost adjustment with roll-up through all BOM levels.
  • Work orders to document and track production activity.
  • Extensive reporting delivered as a clean a perfectly formatted PDF.
  • Record detailed stock status for all inventoried items.
  • Track inventory in multiple locations.
  • Maintain inventory levels with minimum, maximum, and reorder points.
  • Instantly display transaction history, where-used (BOM implosion), and outstanding order status.
  • Can optionally allow or prevent negative inventory levels
  • Associate a unique set of general ledger accounts with by specific item, job, or location
And that’s just the beginning. InCloud MX is designed to grow as you grow, when you need additional power, simply plug in a new module. InCloud offers additional functionality in the following modules:
  • InCloud Purchasing
  • InCloud Production
  • InCloud MRP – Material Requirements Planning
  • InCloud Floor Control
  • InCloud HR – Resource Tracking
  • InCloud Mobile
Quick and Easy to Learn The user experience is what drives InCloud.  There are never more than 4 tabs visible to you the user because we keep it simple.  Logical flow delivers logical results.  No software to load.  No system requirements.  No updates, backups, or patches to manage.  If you have a web browser or smart phone you have our software.
Critical Data At Your Fingertips You don’t sit at a computer all day, so why should your most critical software try and keep you there.  InCloud is mobile first and mobile fast.  Things that are easier on a PC can be done on a PC.  But messaging, alerts, quick and immediate decisions, and communication with your team and suppliers happens on that smart phone you have in your pocket 24 hours-a-day.
Low Total Cost of Ownership InCloud MX is a great value, offering functionality that is found in software systems that are often 10X the cost.  There are no hidden fees ever.  We only develop one version of the software giving you a predictable product roadmap and cost transparency over the lifecycle of your manufacturing system.

The Best Business Partner You Never Had

InCloud Control is hitting the streets this month to better develop our customer understanding.  As a product company, we believe we have created a solution to a common problem in the small manufacturing space.

We believe that small manufacturing needs and wants the intelligent data and power provided by Traditional ERP solutions but do not purchase these tools because of these two reasons:

TOO EXPENSIVE
TOO COMPLEX


We are seeking the brightest people in the industry to discover what problems they have and how they are solving them.  Our initial interview is not intended to sell our system, but to validate or debunk our beliefs of what the market is seeking.  We want to find out just how critical the problems are in small manufacturing if they are willing to pay for a product that would provide a solution.  Following are some of our beliefs that need validating.

We Believe that…

  • A cloud-based and mobile ready solution will be accepted by our customers.
  • Price must be affordable for everyone.
  • The product must be simple with limited features to quickly gain user adoption.
  • The product must be simple with limited features to quickly on board and scale to massive growth.
  • That providing cost transparency, production planning, execution progress, and material requirements will deliver immediate value to the customer.
  • That all customers are familiar with ERP systems.
  • That ERP is too expensive for small companies.
  • That even if the ERP was free, the technical resources and time needed to deploy, customize, train, and manage is too complex to make the commitment.
  • Company size under 99 employees will buy an affordable and easy to use system.
  • Companies will buy a minimum viable product with limited features if newly added features are valuable to the business process.
  • Our customers do not sit at a desk for 8 hours-a-day.
  • Our customers will want to tasks, alerts, and progress delivered to their smart device.
  • Our customers would rather advance production workflow via mobile device over paper.
  • The user experience must be simple yet valuable.
  • Users will want to see immediate impact on their jobs and the company.
  • We believe production planning and scheduling is done manually in most small companies.
  • Production costs are calculated through intuition and not intelligent data.
  • Production capacity gains are important to our customers.
  • Nearly all users will carry a smart phone on them nearly 24 hours a day.
  • Maintenance is a small concern but the added automation to the customer will quickly become valuable.
  • The app must be deployed and customized in less than an hour.
  • Customers have made multiple online purchase in the past.
  • Building a company framework during on boarding is preferred over a longer customization time with all detail built into first deployment.
  • A customer can follow a series of interview questions that will automate their on boarding process.
  • We will need to offer concierge services to on board first wave of customers.
  • The president or owner will make the buying decision.


InCloud has created two teams that have cross-referential responsibilities in the early stages of the company.  Our product development team and customer development team collaborate on product features and customer interview loopback.

We have created two surveys that address our hypothesis and capture interview participant data.  That data feeds into a data repository where additional notes and detail can be aggregated and analyzed.

50 customers have been identified through references from industry leaders, groups, and university staff that has expressed a desire to help InCloud succeed.  We will publish our survey results at the end of the cycle to share what this industry demographic reveals.

If you want to participate in our survey contact us at hello@myincloud.com 

The Manufacturing School of One

Small business manufacturing is where job creation and innovation is happening in the US.  So how can companies keep up on the latest manufacturing techniques, industry best practices, and regulatory changes?  Traditionally they could spend time away from the business at a technical college, or read mountains of technical books, but then who would be running the business?

Advanced professional educational programs where developed in an era of large batch production principles.  Iterations happen on an annual basis and sometimes biannually.  The time required to complete a course is nearly impossible for the owners and their small staff of mission critical employees.  And what happens when you finally complete the course and you find out that everything you learned wasn’t exactly what you thought you were going to learn?  Then there is the retention and application of what you learned to impact the business in a positive way.


“This large batch educational model just doesn’t work anymore.  Especially for the small manufacturing businesses. That’s where InCloud Control is focusing our attention on solving this problem each day.”


We take a different approach in educating our users.  We treat each student as One Unique Individual Learner.  We know every user’s learning style is different.  Some like reading scholarly documents, some like watching a person teach a principle subject, some like listening to a teacher on their headphones, some like an actual demonstration of the concept, and finally some like learning in groups with social interaction.

InCloud addresses each learning style in our MX platform.  We also test the impact the teaching has on the user, and ultimately their business.  Educational opportunities are delivered in real time exactly when a user actually needs answers.  Business owners love this because their key employees don’t spend time away learning broad subject matter.  Users love it because they know they have a choice in the learning style that suites their preference.  Both business owners and users love the fact that after they learn something new, they are able to articulate a best practice methodology and how applying that practice to the InCloud MX application process and ultimately the business, positive results are delivered each day.

The revolution of small manufacturing companies is being fueled by affordable business execution software.  We think we add a critical benefit to our customers by delivering education “Just In Time”.

Are you ready to start something revolutionary at your company?

The Pivot

InCloud initially architected our business structure to solve the interoperability problem plaguing the oil and gas industry.  Specifically, we were targeting the super major oil companies and their refineries.  We had gathered an impressive group of domain experts that helped form our vision and strategy around the product.

This type of product has an extremely high price tag and a sales cycle that averages over a year.  Because you are dealing with so many moving parts within the refinery itself, and then compounding those numbers during a planned shutdown of a plant, it soon became clear that this business structure could not be sustained during our early stages.

So we held a meeting that reviewed the results from our testing and interviews with customers, along with hearing from our product engineers about the improvements and advancements they had made.  What we discovered was that non of our product enhancements made a difference in shortening the sales cycle, converting our test customers into paying customers, and that the product had grown so massively, that training and support was becoming our biggest pain point and cost center.

We decided that we needed to pivot.

Sometimes the product you launch with is just to complex to fix the problem you intended to solve.  So we looked at individual modules and functions that could be launched as products of their own.  What we noticed was that one module in the entire platform was used more regularly than any other by the refineries machine shop.  We had developed a lightweight manufacturing module to help refinery teams track the repair progress of valves sent to the machine shop.  When we took a closer look at the module we noticed that, although the workflow and data model utilized the same complex platform, the functionality was very limited.

So we held interview sessions with the users of this module to see if we could understand the use case and what we discovered was the foundation of our new business architecture.  The users found the limited manufacturing module fast and easy to use.  There were fewer choices, features, and tabs than the complete system.  Users were required to enter in very small amounts of data, yet because the system was leveraging the entire data structure and services running in the background, there was tremendous value delivered to the production team as well as keeping the refinery manager updated on the progress of the repairs.


“We decided to shift from a business architecture based on big price tags, expensive and long sales cycles, and a few customers, to a company that would deliver an inexpensive product, with mass-appeal, and short sales cycles.”


We have made several small pivots on a weekly and sometimes daily basis since then, but none as difficult and critical as a complete business architecture transformation.

Pivots of this magnitude are rarely survived and moreover rarely attempted.  Our team was able to identify the opportunity early and have the confidence in a more focused product offering.  The team became motivated by the revelation instead of feeling dejected for riding the original business idea into the ground.

Constant testing and fast cycles of building, learn, adjust allowed to recognize our original idea was not going meet the growth objectives we had envisioned.  With that knowledge we were able to put aside our pride and egos to see a new direction and a new day for InCloud Control.

Minimum Viable Product

What is the most common failed start ups encounter after launching their product?


“No body wants what you made!”


So how then do we as innovators that have identified a market, a need, and a passion to solve the problem go about making sure your future customers want what you make?

It’s what Eric Ries calls in his book The Lean Startup, the MVP – Minimum Viable Product.  What this means is that you can not spend any significant amount of time and money developing your product in a vacuum.  You need to get out of the building, out from behind your computer, out in the world you are trying to impact and show your potential customers your idea as quickly as you can.

Ries goes on to discuss a scientific system to incorporate into every aspect of your business to ensure success.  And what is success to a startup?  A customer that is willing to pay you for your product.  A customer that falls in love with your product.  A customer that keeps using your product.  A customer that by using your product adds immediate value to their business – and ultimately adds value to their customers.

This is what we have experienced since following The Lean Startup system:

  1. Customers thought our already simple product was not simple enough
  2. Customers do not sit in front of their PC for 8 hours a day using our application
  3. Customers do use their smartphone 24 hours a day for business and personal reasons
  4. Customers do not want to go looking for important information about their business
  5. Customers do not want more features than they need, want, or use
  6. Customers will not tell you what they need, want, or use because they don’t really know themselves
  7. Customer behavior will tell you what they need, want, and use because you can see through analytic data mined from your platform


Getting the product in the customer’s hands is most important.  Only then will you know if your product – and more importantly your reason for existing – is inline with what your customer are willing to pay for.

Are you ready to find out if your great idea can be a viable product that drives revenue for your new company?  Then launch your product today and see if your customers agree.

Are you ready to compete?

Are you the kind of company that makes great products?  The same company that your customers keep coming back to time-and-time again?  You’ve posted profits for the past 3 years in a challenging economy.  You’re making a steady and slow climb each quarter yet you wonder why you haven’t been able to take that next “Big Step” in production performance and market penetration.

If you’re that company, InCloud MX can help you make that next jump in performance execution.


“InCloud Control exists because the small business manufacturer goes to work each day to kick the big guys ass.” 

However, the business execution software they need to compete has never been made accessible to them.  Enterprise Software – like ERP or MRP is both financially out of reach and much to complex to deploy and consume – and frankly that is exactly what the enterprise software giants in this space desire.

Our approach flips that model on its head.  InCloud MX is affordable for any and every small business manufacturing owner.  At $99 per month, you get 10 users to input production orders, get access to reports and alerts, get order cost feedback immediately, have visibility into production scheduling capacity, and watch real time progress of each order.

We also made it simple for anyone at any level.  Unlike the massively complex features embedded into traditional business execution software, InCloud MX only gives you what you want, and more importantly what you will actually use to add value to your company.

The user experience is our focus, because we know if your people don’t Absolutely Love using our system, we can’t add value to their company and they can’t add value to their customers.  So we made InCloud MX with basic functionality visible to the user, while maintain complex services running in the background.

Why would we do this?

Because you told us that you don’t use 90% of MicroSoft Word.  You only really wanted BoldItalic, and Underline

Our approach allows you to simply enter in 3 points of data that deliver answers to your most important questions.  We also made it really fast and easy to get started.

Swipe your credit card and less than an hour later you will be entering your first production order into InCloud MX.  Yep, it’s that easy.

Are you ready to compete?

Lean Learning – Bite Sized Brain Food When You’re Hungry

Imagine you are a typical user of InCloud MX software, just going through your normal everyday routine, when you come across a field in the software you’ve never used before.  You click on the box and notice the standard blue “?” mark.  You wave over the “?” and a the familiar text help box appears, giving you a short description of “what” the data you enter into the field will represent as a generic field.   



For this example the box just happens to be “Cycle Time” and the text box description leaves you wanting to learn more about the concept.  So, you notice a new Video icon at the bottom of the text box.  You click on the icon an a mini window pops up that says: “If you want to watch a 30 second video tutorial on what Cycle Time can mean for improving your company’s asset reliability performance “click here”.
So the user thinks, yeah, I can spare 30 seconds to learn a little more about making my company better, so he clicks the link.  And up pops a guys face on the screen.  “Hi, I’m James Dean, a graduate student at Georgia Tech in the Factory Information Systems Program, I see you are interested in understanding a little more about how using the Cycle Times feature in InCloud MX can help your company.  Let me explain it like this –  (And the view pans out so you see James at a whiteboard.  



Where he proceeds to draw a simple graph describing your production assets and how each cycle produces a set amount of product during and order.  And that by simply setting up the operation to register the Cycle Time you can have a valuable piece of data that moves your company closer to predicting maintenance events and planning them instead of reacting…) At the end of the video James quickly shows you in the InCloud App what fields are required and how those impact your business.  He then thanks the viewer and offers a link to learn more at the GT InCloud Manufacturing Execution Lean-Learning-University and the screen then shrinks back to the normal Mx view.
This is the key opportunity that GT can contribute to the small business manufacturing community to help educate an unreached people group.  The largest and most influential market segment for economic growth and jobs creation for the State of Georgia and the entire US.  Providing a bite sized customized education platform to teach manufacturing principles and best practices at the exact time a user’s needs arises, is exactly the platform a partnership between Georgia Tech and InCloud Control would deliver.
Literally giving small businesses the tools to compete each day more effectively with enterprise incumbent giants in ways they never imagined possible.  Now those same small businesses that may already have a better quality product, and are actually more responsive to customer needs, can learn ways to be more efficient.  More cost effective.  Manage inventory and suppliers in ways that reduce their overhead and improve deliver schedules.  The impact is virtually limitless and the audience is reached at the exact right time the user actually needs the training.  The impact on the user retaining that knowledge, and then applying it to the business, will be immediate and profound on the business.
As the library of “training bites” continues to grow, additional educational opportunities can be created by the GT curriculum team.  Those courses could ultimately be driven by intelligent data from the InCloud MX user behavior.  What areas of support are most popular?  What areas made the biggest impact on the business?  What about the user?  How was she impacted by the “Training Bites” video short?

The user could literally be directed to an online program offered by GT that would be delivered in 10 minute Training Bites that would lead them to specific certifications like LEAN, Six Sigma, Supply Chain Management, and Demand-Driven MRP… You get the idea.

Priced For The People By The People

InCloud Control is a Georgia-Based company that makes really good business execution software for small manufacturing companies.  Small business is what drives the US economy, so why doesn’t anybody make business execution software they can afford.  These 10-100 guy plants have to compete on a daily basis with incumbent enterprise giants.
A recent Gartner report on the cloud-based ERP market describes where we identified the problem –

“Small manufacturing companies with revenue between approximately $200 million and $1 billion, and up to 10,000 or more employees. Typically, companies of this size have limited IT resources and seek ERP systems with low total cost of ownership (TCO). Nevertheless, they look for solutions that offer broad and deep functionality.”

Really?? 

That’s what you call a small manufacturing company?  If companies with an annual revenue of $200 million to $1 billion have limited IT resources, what chance – do the over 19,000 actual small manufacturing companies in Georgia – with less than 100 employees – have to equip themselves with even the most “affordable” ERP systems in the market?
The entire technology budget for a 100 employee manufacturing company is around $50K per year.  That’s all their PCs, laptops, phone system, internet, software licenses to run the business, and that tech guy that comes around once in awhile to run network cables or give Mary in accounting some desktop support.  That’s for everything.  Do you really think it’s feasible with a budget of $50K that a business owner is going to pay even $100 per user when the minimum users he needs to bring on board to make the system work right is 10?  That’s $1,000 a month, $12,000 per year and you just ate up almost a quarter of this guys entire technology budget.
It just didn’t make sense to us.
So we asked our customers; 

“At what price point would they be crazy not to use InCloud MX?  And better yet, at what point to do you look at us and say that we are crazy for offering a solution this good for that price?”

We got back a bunch of reasonable price points and packages that all made really good sense to us and to the customer.  But then we asked ourselves, could we do it for less.  Could we make our product actually priced at a point that “EVERYONE and ANYONE” all the way down to a single one-man-shop could afford to get onboard as an InCloud Control customer?
I am the CEO and I thought if we could deliver our MX product for $99 per user, then what was stopping us from delivering it to the small business entrepreneur for $10 per user?  My CFO hates me!  But my CTO freakin loves me!

“Do you have any idea how crazy that is?” was what came out of my CFO’s mouth next.  And that soon followed with both my CTO and I saying in unison…”That’s exactly what I was hoping you would say…Jinx buy me a coke…Jinx buy me a coke…”

There we had it.  A simple system designed to be simple to deploy – simple to use – and priced for the masses.

$99 per month for a 10 user pack