Creative Commons (BY NC SA) licence granted by the authors. First published on June 22, 2011
Last Modified on September, 2016. Please keep us updated if you adopt this model and make improvements.
By Tiberius Brastaviceanu, add your name here
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SENSORICA service systems
under heavy construction...
This document explains the service systems operating within SENSORICA, an OVN.
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Table of contents
In January 2015 Tibi decided to take service offerings to a new level, in order to bring some revenue for SENSORICA affiliates. The idea to offer services is not new, but it was always kept as a secondary add on to sensorica's offerings. The main focus since the summer of 2014 has been the development of new hardware products.
A new push for offering services started in the summer of 2014, with the initiative to offer consultancy services around p2p by creating a local center of excellence on p2p around SENSORICA. Tibi contacted Jon Husband to kickstart it and we organized our first p2p event. But this initiative did not take off. Towards the end of the same summer of 2014, under Tibi’s initiative, SENSORICA successfully offered a Digital fabrication and 3D printing course, which generated revenue for 5 affiliates who took part in the initiative. This was also the first time a value equation was used to redistribute revenue. The push became more concrete under the influence of Hernando, after one meeting with Tibi at District 3, in Montreal, in the fall of 2014. In January 2015, Tibi created a cluster of services, posted them on the website, and announced the initiative to the entire SENSORICA community. In April 2015 SENSORICA successfully delivered its first crowdsourced R&D on demand service to Ateliers Barda, the Periscope project, which generated revenue for three SENSORICA affiliates.
In the meantime, Daniel intensified his 3D services through the BDan Concepts, an exchange firm for 3D modeling and 3D printing, expanding it to 3D renders and 3D videos in September 2015. The difference is that these services were offered by Daniel in solo.
See more service cases on Interfaces between open organizations and classical institutions - the SENSORICA experience.
Scenarex project. Sensoricans involved: Jim, Valentin, King, Tibi
Sometimes sensoricans are called to provide services to clients, individuals or organizations, that imposes non-disclosure conditions and want to create IP. We need to avoid this kind of services as much as possible, because they are not in synergy with other SENSORICA projects, since the outputs cannot be remixed. These service projects don’t add much to the commons, don’t increase the remix capacity of the network, which is what increases the speed of innovation within our OVN, and makes SENSORICA a more powerful economic attractor, which in turn makes it relevant on the market and produces its network effects. Having said that, some closed service projects are very lucrative and, in some circumstances, they can also allow sensoricans to acquire new skills and to develop new relations. Therefore we need to acknowledge their relevance and treat them with care.
How can sensoricans deal with closed service projects while continuing to add potential to OVN?
We can think about this by invoking 2 principles
In order to respect the first principle, we need a root space where all current or future closed service projects are listed and described (a register). Links to repositories of information must also be provided, even if these links may lead to closed documents, protected web pages, or to encrypted information, in which case their existence is revealed, but the content is not. This allows network affiliates to ask questions, and they can ask access to participate/contribute, which is about the second principle. Participation MUST be granted to any network affiliate, under conditions of non-publication or non-disclosure. This is an open but non transparent project case, for which we already have precedents (see reference).
What MUST be avoided at all cost, is allowing affiliates to do things in complete secrecy, while using the resources of the network. That is because these affiliates could do anything, can compromise the network by their unseen actions, while using the network's resources, and they can escape paying back to the network (our 5%) for infrastructure maintenance and development. This could be a loophole that could drain the network of its resources and jeopardise its image. People would join and run their own private businesses from our labs, generate revenue, benefit from the flows within the network, perhaps even stealing business from other sensoricans, ... This can become a network killer! SENSORICA has been there once in its past, see document.
SENSORICA product: is a product designed and produced by the SENSORICA community, which is labeled with the SENSORICA logo (copyrighted), and which respects ALL the norms and is compatible with ALL the principles defined within the SENSORICA community.
SENSORICA brand: A genuine SENSORICA product is one which is brought into existence through SENSORICA’s processes, AND one that respects all SENSORICA’s norms. The product must be tolerated by the SENSORICA community, taking into consideration quality, environmental issues, price, ethics, etc. Moreover, the product must be exchanged through an Exchange firm, which can have an exclusive right to label a product as genuine, if there is a consensus reached within SENSORICA. The exclusivity can be granted to avoid the go-it-alone behavior. See source of this definition (Business model 0.1).
Customer: an individual or organization who purchases a SENSORICA product, who is not an affiliate of SENSORICA, and who doesn't participate in R&D, design or production of the SENSORICA product.
Apart from purchasing a SENSORICA product the customer may ask for installation, help and tutoring, repair, replacement, or other type of consultancy services. The customer who has a need is directed to the Service request system.
Is an interface between the customer and the SENSORICA community specially designed to efficiently address customer needs.
The customer describes the need and uses the Communication tools to address the SENSORICA community. The customer can choose to send an email, to fill a service request form, or to contact the community by telephone through a VOIP service, which can automatically dispatch the call to different affiliates who assume the role of servicing customers. These affiliates are differentiated within the system by their reputation and by the value they have provided to the SENSORICA community.
The Description of the need is transferred to the Service request system through the different channels of communication and a ticket is issued.
The customer can also use the roles and the reputation systems to choose a service provider contact, an active affiliate of the SENSORICA community. The roles system shows the function of SENSORICA affiliates within the value system (engineer of some sort, technician, scientist, etc.). The reputation system compiles the service history of affiliates, and gives the customer an idea about the quality of the service provided by a particular affiliate. Other criteria can be used by the affiliate to decide, like the geographical location for example, in case he/she needs on-site assistance.
If the customer decides not to choose the service provider contact, the first SENSORICA affiliate who answers the service request starts to process the request. The history of value provided as well as the reputation can also be taken into consideration.
The role system provides on demand a list of SENSORICA affiliates who are apt to provide a specific service. This information is automatically extracted from our project/task management system, from our activity recording system and from our value accounting system.
The customer is encouraged to provide feedback on the service, which will affect the role and reputation systems. The customer is also encouraged to participate to improve SENSORICA products and services in a broader sense.
Our intention is to build smart products, capable of reporting problems automatically, through the Internet, to the SENSORICA community.
The Remote monitoring system will be always in communication with products. It is able to anticipate malfunctions and to automatically issue service tickets, before the customer is even aware of coming problems. The customer has the choice to connect his product to the Remote monitoring system.
Because SENSORICA is open and transparent there can not be abuse of this power of having real-time access to the state of products in the hands of customers.
These are online tools like interactive manuals and forums.
The service system is transparent, in the sense that the customer can follow a ticket as it moves through the system. This allows the customer to intervene at critical moments during the process and thus to avoid costly errors.
Transparency also helps to improve the service, since SENSORICA affiliates are exposed while they are working to solve a customer problem.
The service system must allow for complaints.
Reasons for complaints:
Anyone can take initiative to create a new offering and push it. This initiative must be presented to the entire community before taking any concrete public action. The initiative must be aligned with the mission and the image of the SENSORICA OVN.
If there is a positive answer from the client and from the community a group is formed to deliver. In order to form a team, an outreach campaign for resources is needed. This campaign can be deployed within the SENSORICA OVN, to other affiliated networks, and even widely through social media. The incentive system must be well described. A project Governance doc and VE must be created.
A client's request is brought in. The request is put into a short document that will be used to form the working team, within a virtual space for collaboration, accessible to all the participants. Defining the requirements: make sure everyone understands the customer needs. Note that usually customers express what they want, which is not the same as what they need. You need to work with a technical team in order to translate wants into needs.
Our past experience tells us that there must be some degree of separation between those who maintain a relation with the client and the technical team.
An outreach campaign for resources is put in place and deployed. The propagation can be incentivised, by allowing someone to take a % of the reward for having sent someone with the proper skills.
This working team evaluates the project, formulates a list of roles, milestones and deliverables, and formulates invoices for every milestone. These invoices are presented to the client. If the client agrees to pay the project starts. The client can have the option to stop the relationship after each milestone. Every milestone must be delivered with enough information to enable the project to be continued in a different way, by another group.
Create a project in SENSORICA’s NRP-VAS, a project governance, a value equation and a value equation agreement, as well as a custodian agreement.
In order to add accountability and to be able to get paid the group might need to create or use an existing Exchange firm.
The project must be planned in SENSORICA’s NRP-VAS.
Make sure there is enough redundancy to complete the project, i.e. enough people per important role, in order to increase the probability to close to 100% to have tasks done.
Responsibilize participants from the start.
Use the planning tools in SENSORICA’s NRP-VAS. These tools are linked with the value equation and will make your life a lot easier for redistribution of revenue.
Generate a conceptual design and verifying that all requirements are met.
During our experience with Barda, PV characterization, and Sensor Network projects we have identified a few very important roles.
Project responsible - main interface with the client.
Facilitation - guides newcomers to the project, makes sure everyone knows what to do.
Coordination - makes sure that everyone is where he/she is supposed to be, takes care of temporal dependencies and deadlines.
Content management - captures, surfaces and attributes content. This is the work of curation. Documentation is very important in for the client (passing the burden of ultimate decision making to the client), but also the the working team (ensures better coordination, continuity, ).
Communication - this is used in outreach campaign and in the relation with the client (send short reports, manage expectations, get feedback and inject it in the process, etc.).
Other roles depend
Outreach - get enough participation in the project in order to make sure that it will deliver in time.
This is still early draft…
Case: someone calls a SENSORICA lab and asks for technical help.
Nos solutions sont open source.
Selon la valeur perçue par les affiliés du réseau SENSORICA nous pouvons avoir plusieurs arrangements.
We had a 1000$ small contract to demonstrate a 3D video for HEC Montreal, that lead to a 10K contract. Tibi played the role of interface, with Daniel in the technical role. After the first contacts and the list of requirements Daniel took over the relationship with the customer. From a small proof of concept video the customer added more and more requirements. Daniel didn’t know how to manage expectations and put limits. He ended up doing a lot of work and got frustrated. Tibi intervened and put some limits, making the customer understand that our work for the price of the proof of concept was limited. In the end the customer was not happy, we got paid for the first part but we didn’t get the rest of the contract.
Lesson: managing customer relations is not an easy thing, and most technical people don’t have the skills for it. The service probably needs to be managed in tandem, between individuals who play the role of interface and individuals taking technical roles. Some projects are complex and require back and forth with the client. In these cases, technical people need proximity to the client. But the interface individual needs to stay on top of these interactions as a mediator.