Say hello to Teal

“The days of corporate hierarchy are running out.”

Teal co-founder and Miovision CEO, Kurtis McBride.

Disruption.

It’s at the core of everything Miovision stands for. It’s led us to success in traffic improvements for cities all over the world, and it’s helping us lay the foundation for the future of smart cities. But, success inevitably leads to change.

In our case, change began when we crossed the 70 employee mark. We found ourselves struggling to maintain the scrappy, startup culture that helped us get to where we are today. We took a hard look at our organizational structure to better understand what motivates people to do their best work. Once we began to examine it further we quickly came to the realization that a structure based on a chain of command wasn’t working for us. We searched for an organizational tool that would suit our ever-evolving structure, but nothing quite fit. So we did what felt natural in a company filled with engineers: we created our own.

Introducing Teal

Today, we’re pleased to announce the official launch of Teal. The first software of its kind, Teal is designed for companies like Miovision, who are ready to let go of outdated hierarchies and embrace the future of organizational structure. The days of corporate hierarchy are running out. Those structures don’t empower employees. Teal gives employees flexibility to work on things they are passionate about while ensuring the company’s priorities are met. Essentially it makes the organization healthier and happier across the board.

Teal was initially developed for internal use by co-founders Bryan Peters, Victor Leipnik, and myself. But, we quickly saw that it could be valuable to other companies in similar stages of growth. So today, Bryan and Victor are shifting to leadership positions with Teal as they spin it off into its own company. As for me, I’ll remain focused on helping improve traffic and creating smart cities with Miovision.

How does it work?

As the first organization to use Teal, the entire team at Miovision has experienced its value first-hand. It provides rapid goal alignment and company-wide transparency to help keep our talented employees engaged. Teal makes it easy for Miovision to maintain its constantly evolving organizational structure as we continue to expand.

MappedIn is just one of several startups that can speak to the effectiveness of Teal, having implemented it as part of the beta program. MappedIn CEO and co-founder, Hongwei Liu said it best: “Teal replaces outdated hierarchies. Finally, we can see how everything ties back to our goals for a visualization of how our organization is structured.”

The journey to today’s launch along with Bryan and Victor has been a great experience for me. I wish them the best of luck as they officially launch Teal and look forward to celebrating their successes along the way.


To learn more about Teal and how it can help your growing organization visit www.tealsoftware.io

Halloween

Halloween Costumes for Transportation Professionals

Transportation professionals, with Halloween approaching, you’re probably asking yourself:

How can I find a hip costume that also encapsulates my love for all things transportation?

Fear not ghouls and gals, Miovision has you covered. With our expertly curated and stylish Halloween costumes, you can let your inner transportation nerd fly free.

Use one of these five transportation-themed costumes, and you’ll be the life of any Halloween party.

The Pylon

Pylon Halloween Costume

Now you can channel your inner rage for all the road closures, by becoming the essence of roadwork delays. Plant yourself in inconvenient places at parties and enjoy watching your friends try to get past.

Can’t find a party to attend? No problem. Find some pylon friends and gather on a street. The bright reflective strip means people are sure to see you. You’ll literally stop traffic.

 


The Traffic Light

Halloween Traffic Light Costume

Let everyone know that you are in control, by wearing a classy traffic signal  costume with built in controller. With a simple click of a button, you can make groups of people go, stop or slow down.

Even better, use it to send signals to other people. Is there a person who won’t stop hitting on you? Slam on that red light and let them know you are not interested. Worried about your bad breath? Turn on your yellow light to let people know to proceed with caution before approaching the danger zone. See someone with a tray of appetizers, hit that green light and send them over. It really is the perfect costume.


The Road

Road Halloween Costume

 

The perfect unisex costume for the person who connects friends and groups. It’s simple, yet sophisticated. All you need is a black shirt and some white tape, and you are good to go.

It also provides a path and direction for party goers at your Halloween party. Just lie flat on the ground and allowing party-goers to walk over you.

 

 

 


The Crosswalk

Crosswalk Halloween Costume

This costume is all about establishing new connections. Get in between groups of people and help them cross from section to section. Someone need to go from the snack table to the bathroom? You are there to make sure they cross safely.

If people are slow to notice, make loud beeping noises, or repeat the phrase: “please cross now.” Remember, you’re all about safety, so if you’re successful no one gets hurt. If you’re really in the mood, partner up with a crossing guard to make it extra fun.


The Roundabout

Roundabout Halloween CostumeWho said going in circles was a bad thing? This costume will give you a European, yet efficient appeal to your persona. Speak in a French accent and say things like “I am better for traffic flow” or “stay to the right to exit.”

Also make sure to challenge any traffic light you see to a fight, establishing your dominance as a better roadway solution.

 

 


Don’t forget to get out and dress-up this year!

Happy Halloween from Miovision!

Smart Traffic, Smart City

How Smart Are Your City’s Traffic Signals?

Miovision has been conducting an annual peer survey on the state of traffic signals across North America for several years. Most recently, traffic signal connectivity was the #1 five-year goal of respondents – a critical foundation for ITS and ‘smart’ traffic signals. While 48% of intersections were reported to be connected, respondents had a desired connectivity level of 81%.

Connectivity is just the start of ‘smart’ traffic management. Once signals are connected and traffic signal data is easily attained, cities need a solution to monitor the state of the traffic network. A system that alerts traffic managers of issues before they escalate would further elevate traffic smarts. And finally, a suite of data-driven insights will help agencies optimize traffic management to reduce congestion, improve mobility, save fuel costs, reduced air pollution and ensure safer roads.

 

But where to start?
Miovision has developed a simple self-evaluation tool, the MyCitySmarts survey. Upon completion you’ll receive a customized infographic that includes your UNIQUE Smart Traffic Signal Score. This short survey will assess your city’s traffic signal smarts in four key areas: planning, technology, measurement, and data.

infographic

And whether you find your city at the start of the Smart Traffic Signal journey in the red, or performing quite well with all signals green, your infographic will provide tangible next steps to accelerate your progress on the road to improving your City Smarts.

Looking for more information about how to connect and understand your traffic signals? Visit https://miovision.com/spectrum where you can sign up for our traffic signals webinar, download product information or talk to one of our Solution Experts.

 

3 Easy Steps to Building Authentic Core Values

People always ask me about Miovision’s culture. It’s something I love to talk about, so I always welcome their questions.

This year, Miovision launched an unlimited vacation program that allows our employees to take as much vacation time as they need.  People find this program intriguing. It’s an amazing perk to working here; take as much vacation as you need, just ensure you get your job done. Simple.

Yet, after we established this program, people were very curious around the logistics. How did you set this program up? Is there a lot of administrative overhead? How do you trust that your employees won’t abuse the program?

That’s my personal favourite: How do you trust your employees?

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My question to them is, why don’t you trust your employees? It may seem like an odd question, but I guess a lot of organizations don’t believe they can. As a result, employees in return don’t trust their organizations.  Trust between employees and employers is achievable. I’ve seen it!  And I have been fortunate enough to experience it as it’s happening, and as it continues to be built.

 

I believe that building trust begins with the organization’s drive to be authentic. To develop core values that represent that authenticity that everyone is passionate about and can connect to.  

From my experience, there are three things you need to create this:image00

  1. Dedication from the leaders of the organization that an authentic culture is paramount and they will work to build core values that represent that. And not just something that sounds or looks good on the wall. Values that truly represent the company
  2. Alignment throughout the organization to those core values
  3. Communication, communication, communication – until every employee knows and believes in the core values and they become common language and part of the belief ecosystem  

Dedication

I speak to many well intentioned professionals who want to change their cultures for the better.  Yet, if they don’t have the full dedication from their leaders to build an authentic culture, their efforts will either fall short, or won’t be sustained.

By authentic, I mean they are honest and true to who they are.  Behaviors and actions that are demonstrated by the leader’s daily will organically grow throughout the organization. From the employees that kurtisare hired, to the frameworks and internal processes that are created.  Even to how they interact with one another.  Those behaviours and actions will be recognized for what they are, and the authenticity will deeply resonate. Believe me, employees will see through the lack of dedication from the leaders if it’s not there and illustrated on a daily basis, and all trust will be out the window.

At Miovision, our core values originate with our CEO.  He unapologetically embodies each one of them, whether he is speaking to an employee 1:1, is at the leadership table, a town hall, or at an event. Our core values shine through him naturally, therefore building that level of trust with our employees, who respect and resonate with it. What you see is what you get.

Alignment

Once core values are established, the next step is to align those values into every level of the organization. From the employees that are hired, the behaviors that are established and awarded, the frameworks that are developed, the perks and benefits your company endorses, even the investors and advisors you bring to the table. Leaders build a level of trust with employees by walking the talk. This was, and admittedly at times still is, the hardest step for Miovision.  It takes courage and requires some tough decisions to be made as all frameworks, programs, people and behaviors are evaluated. Do they align? How do you build that alignment? And what do you do with the frameworks, people and behaviors that don’t fit? If you can successfully build alignment to the core values through all facets of the organization, then you can build trust, because you are actually illustrating what you say you are.  It takes dedication to see it through consistently, and courage to make the tough decisions to stay true to who you are. Not easy, but required and so worth it.

image02At Miovision, after the values were established, we took a hard look at the people we had on our teams. We evaluated if we had the right team of employees that authentically aligned to them. And to be honest, we didn’t.  Therefore, we had to make some tough decisions to either actively coach employees or transition them out of the organization. This helped us remain authentic to what we established in our values. It was a tough transition for Miovision, but when we came out the other side, we had a team of people that truly aligned with the values. It makes it easy to build trust, as we have at team now that just gets it!

Communication

Communication is also imperative in this process. Employees have different forms of communication coming at them all day long. You need to think about how to make the core values stand out, relatable, and ones they can remember. At Miovision, we communicate them every chance we get, not just by posting them on our walls, or printing  them on our coffee mugs.  We talk about them at our meetings, we tell stories about each one at our town halls, we hire employees who embody them, we transition employees out who don’t, we share them within the community, and we build our frameworks and internal process’ around them.  You will be hard pressed to find an employee at Miovision who doesn’t know the core values, understand them, and base their decisions around them. In turn, we trust employees to do the right things, and they trust us to be who we say we are.

When we first implemented them, we communicated them at every town hall meeting we had for the next eight to twelve months. We consistently opened with our CEO talking about them personally to drive home the importance of what they meant.  We asked our employees for personal stories of how they saw them within the organization. This helped to solidify that the values weren’t just words on the wall; they were actually happening daily throughout every level of the organization, showcasing  how they were authentic and natural for us and that we were really walking the talk.

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So when people ask me about Miovision’s culture, or how we trust our employees to be able to offer great programs like unlimited vacation, I tell them that it needs to start with building trust by being authentic to who they truly are. Get true dedication from the leadership team to uncover and build out their authentic core values. Have the courage to consistently align to the core values and communicate them like your life depends on it. From there, you will build a culture of two-way trust that is untouchable. It is that simple. ☺

GM Innovation lab a welcome entity to #kwawesome

GM-engineering-announcement-June-2016-small-620x413

When you think of car manufacturers, your natural instinct is to probably think of … well, cars. Valid. But does the word “innovation” ever pop into your mind? If not, it probably should, because if future predictions are any indication, many companies in this industry are thinking more outside the box then ever before. Electric cars, autonomous cars, heck even flying cars are most certainly the things we can expect from the top car manufacturers in the coming years. General Motors is certainly no exception. In fact, one of the oldest car manufacturers on Earth, they opened a brand new innovation lab in Kitchener-Waterloo’s Communitech Hub earlier this year,  the first automotive company leading their innovation platform out of this space.

Recently, Lindsay Farlow, the Innovation hub’s only permanent employee, visited us at Miovision to share what’s been happening since they opened back in February. “(GM) had a whole list of objections and reasons for opening this hub. (Among other things), a lot of companies that have interesting opportunities for collaboration and partnership are here, so they wanted to plant us right in the middle of it to engage with those opportunities,” said Farlow on GM’s reasoning for picking Kitchener-Waterloo to launch the hub. When asked about why they launched an Innovation hub with more of a focus on an agile approach (vs. a waterfall approach on a broader scale), Lindsay shared how important it was to continue to focus on the waterfall approach when it came to manufacturing the vehicles themselves, but that the agile approach would be important in gathering intel and coming up with the strategy. “This is kind of a way for us to hedge our bets and it’s definitely something that they want to introduce to the rest of the company.”

lindsay

She also talked about some of GM’s recent investments and acquisitions with Lyft, Cruise Automation and Sidecar. And of course, their most recent announcement that they’re hiring 700 new engineers in Canada to focus on autonomous vehicle research – always a hot topic of interest here at Miovision! Some of the things that Furlow and team may look at doing, specifically around autonomous cars, is exploring the HMI for these vehicles. “(We would do the research around) what people would want to see while they’re driving autonomous vehicles, what the display should show and, given that you don’t need the steering wheel or the same controls, what the right mix of controls (is while still) making people feel in control, comfortable.”

GM hasn’t specifically made any promises around autonomous, but they’re making exploration investments into all the buzzwords that you frequently hear around the topic, such as electric, connected and shared. In fact, they are hoping to launch a new car share program called Maven at Communitech in the Fall, which will give GM an edge as a manufacturer, being able to access the data directly. “Data is only as good as the context that you have it in, so (although) we have a lot of data from the vehicle itself, it’s so much more powerful when it’s in conjunction with the other things that are going on around it. Especially with autonomous driving,” Furlow stated. We tend to agree! Who knows, maybe one day in the near future, GM’s autonomous cars will be working seamlessly with Miovision’s smart traffic intersections.

gmcar

Although they’ve only been operating since February and there haven’t been that many projects as of yet, things that they have worked on have moved to the next level. Like one of their inaugural projects around wearable technology and how they will be able to leverage devices that people are wearing to make the driving experience better. Or helping their customer service team solve the problem of their customer’s going to a third party vendor when their warranty expires. They were able to come up with many innovative ideas on how they can help retrain these customers.

If Lindsay’s insights were any indication, we’re very excited to see what the future holds for GM Innovation labs. They are a natural and welcome fit to our flourishing tech community and we look forward to all of the great things that will emerge from them!

Catalyst137: A Space for World-Class IoT

In 2015, Miovision began the search for a new home. We had grown substantially and needed a space that could grow with us. Our checklist was simple, or so we thought. Find a location in the core of the city, ensure that it was accessible by foot, bike and public transportation, provide some basic amenities like coffee shops and food, have ample free parking, a manufacturing space and loading docks for transport trucks. Not so hard, right? It turns out we were looking for a unicorn.

We searched for months, and finally resorted to scouring a Google Earth view of the city to look for potential properties. That was when we spotted 137 Glasgow Street, a 475,000 sq. ft. former tire plant in the heart of Kitchener, situated near a future Light Rail Transit (LRT) stop with tons of amenities and ample parking. It was also a flexible location, with the potential to provide extra space as we grew. Unicorns DO exist.

But 475,000 sq.ft.is a lot of space for one company.

We realized that if we were having difficulties securing appropriate space, than other manufacturers might be having the same challenges.The Waterloo region is teeming with hardware talent due in-part to the right-sizing of BlackBerry. The IoT ecosystem (or as I like to call it, the device-driven software space) has been relegated to the burbs because of our distinct needs in manufacturing. Plentiful space for software companies in the core, not so much for hardware.

Along with Frank Voisin from Voisin Capital – who is quickly gaining a reputation for developing spaces for high-tech companies in town – we set out on a path to redevelop Glasgow 137 into a vibrant space that will be home to more than 35 businesses. And because our vision was to create a space that would catalyze IoT businesses, we called it Catalyst137.

The project is being co-developed by Toronto-based real estate firm Osmington Inc., which is leading the retail re-development of Toronto’s Union Station, Canada’s busiest building.

When complete, Catalyst137 will be the largest IoT innovation center in the world. But it will be more than just a building. It will be a community of makers; the services needed to make these makers successful on a global scale; a showcase for smart building and smart city technology; a sandbox for hardware ingenuity; and the programming to help IoT start-ups become scale-ups.

Miovision is proud to be Catalyst137’s first tenant. Join us and be part of a movement to make KW the world’s epicenter for IoT.

Swift Labs + Miovision = Smart Cities

Today, we’re excited to announce a partnership with Swift Labs, a local start up focused on hardware design and development. As we continue to realize our smart city vision, we’re fortunate to have formed a close partnership with such highly talented professionals in their field.

Kurtis headshot

Miovision Milestones since $30M

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If you can believe it, it’s been a year since Miovision raised $30M in funding to be used to help support the company accelerate its vision of smart cities and cloud-based traffic management technology
Read more

Miovision Team

Work Hard = Play Hard

Unlimited vacation- Yes please!

What does it take in today’s day and age to be a sought after place to work? To attract some of the top talent to adhere to the standards your company is trying to uphold? For Miovision, we are always seeking out the most talented and intelligent individuals, but here in Kitchener-Waterloo, commonly dubbed “the Silicon Valley of Canada”, the acquisition doesn’t come without a fight against many other popular and cutting edge organizations looking for the same type of people. Read more

Miovision Support

A Whole New Knowledge Base Experience

‘Customer first’ has been and continues to be, one of our core values here at Miovision. It is important to us to continuously adhere to the levels of support and resources we provide our end users and sometimes, that means reaching out to our customer base directly for input.