The hidden patterns that emerge in sequences of behaviours

Most behaviour in home is entirely sub-conscious, consisting of a series of learnt habits that are strung together for a particular purpose — whether that is cooking a meal, cleaning or trying to get Alexa to listen to you. Getting people to recall everything they do in these moments and the order in which they happen is impossible so we rely on video observation to capture these sequences of behaviours.

Some challenges to overcome
Observing these sequences of steps is fine, and we can get great qualitative insight from simply watching how…


We’re constantly improving and continuing to grow, and those two things cannot be separated — excited for our three most recent hires to join our team!

In the last few weeks, we’ve welcomed three people to our client services team:


As the insights industry has evolved, many brands have embraced innovative tools that help their people empathise with their customers. Consumer empathy is recognised as an imperative at board level thanks to its relationship to business success. But this evolution has been felt more keenly in some corners of the industry than others. Key decisions throughout the innovation journey continue to rely on claimed data from questions that mean little to the average person and qualitative feedback gathered out of context and detached from the reality of product usage. …


It’s common for new tech businesses to describe the process of creating, testing and improving features as ‘building the plane while flying it’. Silicon Valley didn’t invent the phrase; it’s been used for years in relation to multiple kinds of real-time innovation and testing.

But when it comes to developing software, the description is very useful — and it continues to be so within a business that’s scaling, not just starting up. …


REST has become the default methodology for building APIs in recent years. You model your application domain as a collection of resources, expose endpoints for clients to query those resources and then perform POST, GET, PUT or DELETE operations to create, read, update or delete them. However, despite their simplicity and popularity, REST APIs are not without their limitations.

Overfetching

The structure of a response from a REST API endpoint is the same for every request, and often you will receive more data than you actually need. If you make a request for a book to a REST API but…


I write this as the chair of Big Sofa’s D&I Board — a board with three permanent members and three rotating members across all levels and disciplines in the company. -Tasneem Dalal

What is the first thing you think about when you hear the word diversity? For many, the answer is differences in race, ethnicity, or gender. At Big Sofa we interpret diversity in a broader way: it also encompasses work experience, age, educational background, and cognitive abilities.

Diversity cuts across various facets and plays an important role in our lives. Think of humanity as a whole; we are a…


The limitations of asking questions

The route to insight is familiar by now. Your business has a goal, and you need information to work out how to hit it. You ask questions to get that information, and those questions generate structured data that relates directly to your business need.

There are still issues. A big problem with questions is not what you ask, it’s what you don’t ask — if you didn’t design it in, you probably won’t get it out. And the very nature of asking questions can bias the answers; people are required to apply system 2 thinking…


When describing what’s coming up in your roadmap it’s tempting to focus on the headline features you’re building, to emphasize those shiny capabilities that the broadest possible commercial audience might recognize as ‘a thing’. It’s totally understandable that vendors and end-users want to focus on the attention-grabbing features — but of course, they’re only one part of the story.

Big Sofa’s technology helps brands use consumer video to drive empathy, ­­measure performance, and identify new opportunities. And as video comes to play a more central role in innovation, it’s essential that it’s enabled by specialist infrastructure that helps corporates to…


Migration path

One thing was clear from the outset; we couldn’t afford to take a “Big Bang” approach. That would require us to rebuild the entire front end before it could be released and it would be way too risky. What if the requirements changed? Or some undocumented piece of functionality was overlooked and not implemented in the new version? We could work for months or even years on something that didn’t meet our needs, or worse still, never got released at all.

We had to minimize risk and continue to deliver value to the business throughout the rebuilding process. …


In previous blog posts, we wrote about our decision to rebuild some key aspects of the Big Sofa platform. This post details how we are rebuilding the platform’s front end, the major benefits this brings, and how we are approaching some of the technical challenges that it presents.

Growing pains

Originally, our front end code was embedded in the monolithic Ruby on Rails application that powered the Big Sofa platform.

The demands of growth and the natural accumulation of technical debt meant that our front end was starting to require more maintenance, and it was taking more time to release all the…

Big Sofa Technologies

Our technology transforms video into behavioral data to illuminate authentic behaviors in the spaces and places they occur.

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