Should Your Product Be Connected?

 
 June Intelligent Oven - http://juneoven.com

June Intelligent Oven - http://juneoven.com

 

As we all know there has been plenty of buzz around IoT products over the past few years and for good reason, it is often referred to as the next ‘Industrial Revolution’.  But what does that mean for those that are not yet on board?  Should we get connected?  We get asked these questions all the time at our office here in Melbourne, so we are going to delve into some of the considerations that should be made before plugging in.

Who is actually using IoT devices?

With all this excitement around IoT devices one could be forgiven for assuming that it’s something that everyone wants, and for that matter, needs.  The term IoT itself has been around for over a decade and commercially available smart devices since the 90’s.  Why then is it still in the early adoption phase, as identified in a recent Gartner survey?  This answer comes down to who are using the devices the early adopters, those people that embrace new trends and technology.  In this case, some of the early adopters are actually the people the devices are designed by and targeted to which I believe is skewing the data.  For this reason early adoption rates for the technology are high and have created unrealistic projections for future adoption.

 
 Amazon Dash Button - https://www.amazon.com/Dash-Buttons/b?ie=UTF8&node=10667898011

Amazon Dash Button - https://www.amazon.com/Dash-Buttons/b?ie=UTF8&node=10667898011

 

Solving a real-world problem

The question of whether to connect comes down to two primary questions. Do your customers really want or need this new technology? And does it solve a real world problem?   If the answer is no or maybe to either one of the questions there is a good chance the time and money invested in the venture wouldn’t produce the desired results. If the answer is yes on the other hand, then getting connected would most likely greatly benefit your product line and business as a whole.
 

 August Smart Lock - http://august.com

August Smart Lock - http://august.com

Will customers be willing to pay?

At the end of the day, connecting a device is a huge investment to any company.  This needs to be weighed up with the benefits both to the consumer and business on whether it is then deemed a viable venture.  Developing an app and connecting a product to the net will increase its cost at retail and ongoing support costs to the business.  The question then is, will it offer consumers real benefits that they are willing to pay for?

 Amazon Echo - http://amazon.com/Amazon-Echo-And-Alexa-Devices/b?ie=UTF8&node=9818047011

Amazon Echo - http://amazon.com/Amazon-Echo-And-Alexa-Devices/b?ie=UTF8&node=9818047011

Apps vs Voice?

Home automation and IoT devices have traditionally been accessed via an app within a smartphone but it appears that this is now changing.  With the introduction of voice controlled devices within the home there is an increasing desire for consumers not to have to interface their phone but access and control devices simply by talking.  A recent study by Parks Associates revealed that over 50% of broadband users in the US wanted to be able to control their smart devices via voice. Which way is best will be different for every business but each poses a unique set of challenges. 
There may be a lot of hype around IoT devices but that’s not to say it’s for everyone.  With careful consideration of the end user, the problem the product is solving, the return on investment and increase in cost, businesses can easily identify whether it’s for them & their products.  If you are interested in exploring IoT solutions for your products or just have a question please contact our design department in Melbourne on +61 3 9939 8880 or email us at hello@honepd.com.
 

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