Category Archives: SoapBox News

Confused Robots, Puppy Love, and Super Judgy Mirrors

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Highlights from CES 2018 and Why Researchers Should Care

Where can you play ping-pong with a robot, fall into love with a mechanical puppy and see inside a refrigerator without opening the door? At CES, the Consumer Electronics Show. Every January tech companies from around the globe convene on Las Vegas to showcase their products — gadgets and gizmos that consumers can look forward to one day owning — sort of.  They won’t be coming to a store near you anytime soon, and a lot of them leave you wondering – who would actually want that? In the aftermath of CES 2018, many critics pointed out that most of the products on display would only appeal to two types of people – people with money to burn and lazy people with money to burn. But we don’t have to rely on guessing who would buy these things, because we can actually ask people and find out. (Yay research!) SoapBoxSample conducted a mini poll* to gauge people’s awareness of CES and to find out if consumers would actually buy any of these high-tech gadgets. (You’ll find the results sprinkled throughout this article. I had to find some way to get you to read the whole thing.)

The research industry has been accused of being slow to adapt. While analysts are locked in rooms figuring out how to produce non-biased sampling frames, people are out making robots with Artificial Intelligence. The very same robots you can see at CES. The tech industry could benefit from paying attention to what consumers actually want (something research can supply), but researchers should be paying attention to the tech industry because big changes in the way people use tech in their everyday lives provides new opportunities for gathering data.

“Alexa, let’s do a survey”

At CES this year, Google came out looking like they were trying too hard. They built a three-story installation in the Las Vegas Convention Center parking lot. They also clearly shelled out big bucks for an advertising presence that plastered the entire town with the phrase Google wants you to remember – Hey Google. Amazon didn’t exhibit at all. They didn’t need to, because every other device at CES boasted about being “Alexa compatible.” All the free marketing garnered by Amazon, in contrast with Google’s flashy displays made Amazon look like the cool kid who doesn’t have to try to be cool.

People love the Amazon Echo. They consider Alexa to be a trusted part of their family. This is good news for researchers. When people are taking voice-activated surveys through Alexa (coming soon), the higher levels of trust will evoke more accurate, detailed, and honest responses from respondents.

Car tech – knowledge drives enthusiasm

You can’t talk about CES without bringing up the cars. They’re sleek, they’re stylish, they glistening under the showroom lights. I’m not a car person at all (my car has roll-up windows), but these vehicles were really beautiful. As a non-car-person, what I appreciated about the new smart dashboards and infotainment systems is that they were built to provide the driver with more insight into the inner workings of the car, something that I wouldn’t be able to assess by opening the hood.

As car manufacturers are scrambling to bring the first self-driving cars to market, they also have to convince people that self-driving cars are safe. Last quarter SoapBoxSample published the results of an internal study on the public’s perception of self-driving cars. Almost half of those surveyed believe that self-driving cars are dangerous and would not feel comfortable sharing the road with them. Only 28% said they looked forward to owning one. Developing smart dashboards that give drivers detailed information about how the car is operating is one way that car manufacturers can combat negative views of their product’s safety.

Related: Who’s in the Driver’s Seat? An Infographic About Self-driving Cars

Beauty tech – look better, feel worse

I tried out the HiMirror, one of CES’s #beautytech products. The HiMirror measures your pores, dark spots, wrinkles and dark circles. Just what women need, right? A super judgy mirror. Their marketing promised that the in-depth analysis would result in better “skin care goal-setting”. But what is the goal, to stop aging, or to sell products? The next generation of the HiMirror will probably show targeted ads for skin care products. I think I would rather skip the recommended products, and not know that my dark circles had increased by 3%. Turns out most people agree with me. Our poll showed that 68% of respondents would not want to use a high-tech mirror that measures skin imperfections.

It’s not so much consumer electronics, as it is competitive electronics

Is there really a consumer demand for a laundry-folding robot the size of a washing machine that requires you to manually tag each item of clothing you own, and can only fold adult-sized clothing? (And by the way, it takes longer than folding by hand.) Of the nearly 1,000 people who answered our poll, 79% said no thank you to the $980 laundry-folding robot.

Are the companies that produce these robots more focused on giving consumers what they want, or trying to out-do their competitors? What you might notice about this year’s line of robots is that their designs are very similar. White casing, black trim — almost without exception. Did the robot manufacturers forget to do their competitive analysis? (Shameless plug – did you know that SoapBoxSample’s passive metering application is great for understanding how people interact with your brand’s competition online?)

Can Americans fall in love with a robot dog?

I’m not a dog person, or even a pet person, so I didn’t expect to catch feelings for SONY’s robot dog Aibo. But it won me over instantly. Aibo is life-like, expressive, and responds to voice and touch. Knowing that his OLED eyes were mechanical did not make them any less puppy-like. Aibo is currently only available in Japan and costs $1700. SONY has said that they expect to sell at least 150,000 units. Could Aibo gain the same type of popularity in the United States?

Americans are waaaaaay into their pets. Here are some highlights from SoapBoxSample’s 2016 survey of U.S. pet owners to prove it – more than 60% of pet owners sleep with their animals, 40% of dog owners dress their pets up in costumes, and 73% of pet owners believe their pets are “smarter than average”. Could a robot dog one day occupy the same space in our hearts (and in our beds)? According to the results of our poll – heck no. When asked if they could see robot pets becoming more popular than live pets, 89% said no.

Related: Valentine’s Day Pet-fographic – We Know Americans Have a Close Relationship with Their Cats and Dogs But Just How Close Are They?

The future is full of glitches

If robots had emotions, the Aeolus would have experienced total confusion during its live demonstration. The booth presenter repeatedly ordered the bewildered bot to pick up a remote control off the floor, which it finally did after about a minute or so. (This scenario would be nothing new for the 8.4% of U.S. households with teenagers.) But the limitations of the robot’s responsiveness are no hurdle when compared to its price tag. The company wouldn’t name the actual cost, other than to say it was “less than a vacation for a family of four.” For the purposes of our poll, we guessed the price to be $10,000. Turns out most people don’t really see the value in it.  Over 83% said they would not be picking one up anytime soon.

I need a fridge with a camera in it

The ThinQ smart fridge unveiled by LG has a 29-inch touchscreen on the door. If you knock on the screen twice it becomes transparent so you can see the contents inside. But my favorite part was the wide-angle camera inside the fridge. How many times have you thought to yourself, “I wish I could look inside my fridge while I’m at the store so I can see what I need to buy”? Maybe never, but you know who else wants a look inside your fridge? Researchers. The smart kitchen of the future is a paradise for people who hate making lists, and for research ethnographers. With cameras inside every appliance, researchers can see inside the homes of their subjects without setting foot in the door, and more importantly, without disrupting the routines they are attempting to study.

Within the 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space occupied by CES, there were devices that could change our everyday lives, and some other ones that were pretty dumb. There were also plenty of opportunities for researchers. Tech companies seem to have bought into idea that they should be creating things that the public doesn’t know they want yet. Based on the public reaction to some of the products at the show, this might not be the best plan. Tech companies need consumer research more than ever to tell them if there’s a market for what they are attempting to create. Researchers should keep a close eye on developments in tech — there are lots of opportunities coming along for research to become less invasive, cheaper, more efficient and more accurate. The two industries should work together as we move into the next phase of consumer technology.

*P.S. By the way, this poll was a lot like the exhibits at CES, fun to look at, but lacking scientific validity (probably biased and non-representative).

SoapBoxSample Announces Two Promotions Following Year-Long Hiring Initiative

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Newly appointed Vice President and Senior Research Director Promoted from Within

After a year of strong growth resulting in major hiring initiatives throughout 2017, SoapBoxSample announced the promotion of two employees. Mike Chavarria has been promoted to Vice President of Business Development and Valerie Hanson has advanced to Senior Research Director. Both are effective immediately.

Mike has an extensive background in Market Research with over 10 years in the industry. In his role as Director of Business Development since 2014, he has distinguished himself as an expert in high touch research approaches, including Insight Communities, Mobile Research, and Digital Passive Metering.

Valerie was the first employee of SoapBoxSample’s Full Service department. She joined the company in 2014 following the acquisition of CickIQ. Valerie’s vast experience and in depth knowledge of client of key client’s business, has continued to result in year of year account growth.

Over the last year SoapBox has been on a hiring kick, and has increased the staff by 25% since January. Last month, SoapBox celebrated their 5-year anniversary.

Jacqueline Rosales, COO, commented, “SoapBoxSample’s staff expansion allows the company to focus on optimizing new products and services while continuing to provide high-quality, customized solutions for our clients. The addition of new talent, along with the incredible success rate of internal advancement and promotions has allowed us to build an amazing staff.”

Over the course of 2017, SoapBoxSample has been focused on adding enhancements to MySoapBox Meter, their Passive Metering technology. MySoapBox Meter tracks consumers’ step-by-step interactions as they move across the digital world. Clients can build a detailed roadmap of the path to purchase without disrupting the process.

In 2016, the SoapBoxSample and icanmakeitbetter (ICMIB) operations were integrated following the acquisition of ICMIB by SoapBox’s parent company ISA. With the addition of Insight Community platform capabilities, SoapBoxSample now offers an even more diverse portfolio of products.

SoapBox Celebrates Five Years of FRESH

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The whole ISA family came together on November 16, 2017 to celebrate the five-year anniversary of SoapBoxSample. Founded in 2012, as the online division of Interviewing Service of America, SoapBox has grown from a 3-person operation on a shoestring budget to a multi-million dollar company. The staff has grown to 44, spread across two divisions (including icanmakeitbetter) and two offices — one in Los Angeles, CA and one in Austin, TX.

The Five Years of FRESH party was held at the Q-insights headquarters in Sherman Oaks. Attendees sported mobster-themed attire, played Blackjack, Poker and Craps at the Casino and dined on Italian food. SoapBoxSample COO Jacqueline Rosales made an appearance in a poker suit. (Bottom left of photo.)

SoapBoxSample Adds Industry Specialist to Team

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Anthony Bean Joins the Sales Team as Senior Account Executive

March 14, 2017, Los Angeles, CA – SoapBoxSample, part of the ISA family of companies, announced today an expansion of their sales division. Anthony Bean will join the team as a Senior Account Executive. In this role, he will manage client accounts and build relationships with key industry players to achieve aggressive sales goals for 2017.

Bean says: “I’m thrilled to be able to join the SoapBoxSample team. The company is well-regarded within the market research industry making some bold moves over the past few years to lead the way in new methods to solve client problems. I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to work with SoapBoxSample’s expansive portfolio of products and services to deliver world-class solutions to our clients.”

Anthony is a result-oriented team player with 12 years of experience under his belt.  Most recently from Toluna, Bean’s background includes positions with Harris Interactive and J.D. Power and Associates. He has distinguished himself in the Market Research industry with his extensive expertise across automotive, financial, film industry sectors and his community solutions awareness.

Jacqueline Rosales, SoapBoxSample Chief of Operations, added “We require talent who can ask the tough questions of clients and really understand the core of their business to recommend the best approach and combination of methodologies. We are super excited for Anthony to join the team. With the changing landscape of research, our clients need forward-thinking thought partners and Anthony has had great success building relationships on this premise.”

SoapBoxSample’s continual staff expansion allows the company to focus on optimizing new products and services while continuing to provide high-quality, customized solutions for their clients. In 2016, the SoapBoxSample and icanmakeitbetter (ICMIB) operations were integrated following the acquisition of ICMIB by SoapBox’s parent company ISA. With the addition of insight community platform capabilities, SoapBoxSample now offers an even more diverse portfolio of products.

Last year SoapBoxSample added multiple new capabilities to its product lineup. MySoapBox Meter seamlessly collects behavioral data from PC, mobile and tablet devices, gathering a holistic view of a consumer’s path to purchase. SoapBoxSample also expanded their mobile missions’ features last year, by enhancing their mobile app MySoapBox Mobile. The app captures respondent’s digital journeys in real-time. Respondents can upload photos and videos securely through the app, to a cloud-based storage solution. MySoapBox TV stores respondent’s photos and videos, which clients can easily view, tag and edit.

SoapBoxSample Expands Product Line with New Physician Panel

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“Our Doctors Are Always On-Call”

July, 2016, Los Angeles, CA — SoapBoxSample, part of the ISA family of companies, officially announced the launch of a new physician panel, DocThought. Engineered to provide targeted access, DocThought is a vast network of medical professionals ready to provide expert opinions to answer clients’ medical research questions. Members will provide feedback about a variety of medical products and services and weigh in on all things related to the medical industry.

Jacqueline Rosales, SoapBoxSample’s Chief of Operations, stated “Access to high quality Physician sample continues to be a void in the space. SoapBox continues to focus on the “what’s missing” to meet the ever-growing needs of clients. Recognizing the market needs, and building our portfolio of services around those needs, continues to fuel our growth as an organization.”

Physicians are required to provide their medical ID number upon registration and are verified to be practicing physicians. The information collected upon registration allows clients to segment by specialty, type of practice, ailments treated, and medications prescribed.

SoapBoxSample’s rapidly expanding organization allows the company to focus on optimizing new products and services while providing high-quality, customized solutions for their clients. Recently SoapBoxSample expanded their mobile capabilities by adding MySoapBox Meter, a passive metering application. The app tracks web browsing and app usage behavior on respondent’s smartphones, tablets and desktops. This growth trend and portfolio expansion kicked off earlier this year when SoapBox and icanmakeitbetter (ICMIB),  an insight community platform company based in Austin, Texas, were integrated following the acquisition of icmib by SoapBox’s parent company ISA. With the expansion of mobile and community capabilities, SoapBoxSample now provides an even more diverse portfolio of products.

SoapBox Teams Up with Wakoopa, Leading Experts in Passive Metering

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Business Alliance Marks the Launch of Wakoopa Hub, a Marketplace for Behavioral Data

Los Angeles, CA, May 19, 2016 — SoapBoxSample announced today its strategic partnership with Wakoopa, an Amsterdam-based company specializing in behavioral data. Their business alliance marks the launch of Wakoopa Hub, a new behavioral data marketplace.

SoapBox can now provide digital behavior data from PC or mobile devices helping clients capture a holistic view of their specific target audience’s digital journeys. Clients can use this to build digital profiles of their consumer segments, or understand the path to purchase with richer insights than what can be provided from survey research alone.

Jacqueline Rosales, SoapBoxSample Chief of Operations said, “We are excited to team up with Wakoopa. We have been recruiting for Passive Metering studies since the inception of SoapBox and we now get to pair our recruitment expertise with best-in-class technology. As members of Wakoopa Hub, our clients also benefit from metered data offered by the other Hub partners.”

In partnership with a global network of renowned panel companies, Wakoopa Hub is a new way for researchers to access vast amounts of behavioral data from respondents worldwide. The delivery model simplifies the purchasing process, leading to broader industry access and increased economies of scale. By lowering the barriers to studies that rely on behavioral data, Wakoopa Hub will help researchers uncover key digital behavior insights that are only possible through passive metering approaches.

Simon van Duivenvoorde, Managing Director of Wakoopa said, “This is an exciting step for market research. By connecting supply and demand in the market for behavioral data, Wakoopa Hub lowers the barriers to conduct behavioral data fuelled studies. We look forward to continuing the journey of driving adoption of behavioral data as a standard element in market research.”

About Wakoopa
Founded in 2007 in Amsterdam, Wakoopa is the world’s leading supplier of passive metering technologies. Wakoopa unlocks high quality behavioral data from research participants on personal computers, smartphones and tablets. Together with online access panels and market research companies we establish user centric behavioral datasets. This data fuels innovative research designs such as consumer journey studies and audience profiling.

SoapBox Expands With Recent Acquisition

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SoapBoxSample and icanmakeitbetter to Operate in Partnership Following Acquisition

Community Platform Capabilities Added to ISA’s Portfolio of Offerings

March 2, 2016, Los Angeles, CAInterviewing Service of America (ISA) announced today their acquisition of Austin, Texas-based community platform company icanmakeitbetter (ICMIB) and its parent company Sentient Services. SoapBoxSample, ISA’s Online Research Division will integrate ICMIB, fueling the expansion of its portfolio of product offerings and rounding out the ICMIB Online Community capabilities.

SoapBoxSample COO Jacqueline Rosales said, “Our goal as we enter into our fourth year is to continue to offer our clients best-in-class approaches and methodologies to meet the changing needs of the research industry. As the focus of research continues to shift more towards a holistic view of the consumer, it is our job to facilitate the deep insights clients are looking for to drive their business decisions.”

While ICMIB will operate largely independently, it will be driven by SoapBoxSample leadership and will become part of the ISA family of companies. Founder Paul Janowitz and the ICMIB team will continue in their current roles, with some SoapBox staffing integration and infrastructure support from ISA.

Founded in 2003, ICMIB is an online community platform that offers a diverse line of community and customer feedback solutions, including focus groups, discussion forums, live chat, digital journals, ideation and panel management.

Paul Janowitz, Founder and CEO, said “We’re very excited about joining the ISA group of companies and working alongside SoapBoxSample to expand our respective capabilities. Today is truly an exciting day and a triumph for innovation and customer collaboration in the research and insights industry. The partnership will allow our leading platform to scale globally and further empower the voice of the customer to engage with businesses and create better outcomes for all parties.”

The acquisition of ICMIB will allow SoapBox to provide clients with a first-rate online community platform in addition to an already expansive suite of offerings. The ICMIB platform can augment and enhance existing SoapBox research products and will also be a stand-alone offering.

The LRW (Lieberman Research Worldwide) Group of companies includes sister company ISA and its two divisions SoapBoxSample and Q-Insights. This is the first in a planned series of acquisitions the group of companies will make related to its mid-2015 decision to partner with and take on growth capital from Tailwind Capital Partners.

About icanmakeitbetter

icanmakeitbetter is an all-in-one insight community and customer feedback solution that provides surveys, live chat, focus groups, discussion forums, digital journals, ideation, and panel management – in a simple, single platform that works across any device for true on-demand, in-context insights. For more information, visit