Worldwide, thousands of technology companies are viewing the Internet of Things and the Smart Home as the Holy Grail for their products and profits. Most industry analysts and leaders are predicting that hundreds of millions of homes will want these new technologies.
However, before the device makers begin to design and develop new solutions, they need to understand that this market is rapidly changing and evolving, especially when looking at the Smart Home and the consumer electronics market. This is a moving target that manufacturers need to understand.
First off, the Internet of Things – especially for the Smart Home, is not about things, but instead, is about services that will make consumers’ lives more comfortable, more secure and more efficient. Energy control, security, improving the efficiency of daily life, etc.
Unfortunately, the label of the IoT with the word “things” puts many people on the wrong path of thinking.
Things are the necessary enablers, but the complete solution includes data analytics, smart phone apps and billing/support systems as well. There is an entire ecosystem at play, in which ‘things’ play a (minor) role.
Also, many people confuse IoT things with connected devices. It is not enough to just web connect a device – it needs to be able to speak to other devices and systems in the home, as well as to be able to become smart – to utilise web intelligence, so that is more than just a remotely operated sensor or actuator.
If a manufacturer wants to be successful in the new and highly competitive Internet of Things market, it needs to understand two important concepts:
1. The Internet of Things and the Smart Home is not about pushing products (“things”) out of the door, but it is about reinventing products into services. Internet of Things business models are about recurring services and recurring revenue streams, not (only) about paying for a product at the check-out register.
2. Customers are buying solutions for problems, real or perceived. They are looking very specifically for things like “security”, “energy control”, “assisted living”, etc. And they want to be able to monitor and control these different solutions from the same place – a single dashboard. They don’t want to have to use a variety of different apps with different user interfaces (UI) to manage their homes and their family’s life.