This year’s CES was full of high-tech, useless gadgets. They make excellent use of connected technology, but serve very little purpose. Sure, we want them – a voice activated rubbish bin caught my eye – but we don’t need them. The sexy marketing campaigns tell us we’ll be left out if we don’t have the latest bit of technology – and until now, we’ve been convinced.
So, Fear of Missing out (FOMO, as much younger people say), is driving IoT – a pretty transient strategy for such an enormous industry. And when inevitable quality issues arise (software and apps are rushed to market to keep up with a competitive surge), won’t we all get fed up?
So, what about the hundreds of companies that operate in the space? All those firms with their shiny booths at CES and their slick new products? How will they survive? Well, I believe vendors that want to play in this domain need to start thinking seriously about quality assurance and assess the value of the technology they offer.
Let’s take a look at the trends and technologies which we believe will outlive this crisis in the industry – and how companies can deliver more value to survive and thrive.
It’s good to talk (as long as we know why we’re doing it)
Voice activated technology is here and here to stay, but we haven’t quite found its value yet. Many homes have a Google or Amazon device which understand us pretty well. The promise is a truly personalised experience. These connected devices will shop for us, time the preparation of our meals – and keep our homes secure, lit and warm. But interoperability issues mean that they’re not used to their full potential.
But we’re not far off. In 2017 we will see more and more enterprises and service providers such banks, insurance, retailers, and not OS vendors, integrating with those great devices to give their customers the value they really need. This is absolutely going to progress in 2017, but if we’re trying to utilise this technology in stores where customers can complain straight away, it needs to be perfect before coming to market.
No place like home
Connected home gadgets will continue to do well. They’re cool, innovative and fun. However there needs to be true value, which is actually quite easy to demonstrate and understand in the connected home. Unless we’re talking about connected hairbrushes for example, which I don’t think are integral to our future generations.
I expect security to be the key area we’ll see most growth in when it comes to both the connected home and car. Security and safety sensors such as flood detection and motion detection combined with connected security cameras are a great combination of excellent price-value. However, security isn’t something we can take chances with, and like with medicine as we’ll touch on shortly, everything released in this area needs to be pre-tested across a range of conditions.
We’re connecting new things all the time, even our bodies. The value for medical devices is extremely clear and, in many cases, is actually life changing. It might take a bit more time simply because the market is under lots of regulations, but connected glucose pumps, heartbeat monitors and alike have true value and the technology is increasingly mature.
The winning product at CES in January was a smart and connected breast pump. These are the kind of products we need to be seeing more of – products that meet an existing need and pain. My bet is that we will see connected medical devices taking over previous generation products in their domain, and this will be huge in 2017
These areas of technology look set to grow and thrive. They demonstrate value to consumers, and promise to make life simpler and better. But, even the products which offer life changing value proposition are destined to fail if quality isn’t assured. Vendors must make sure that products thoroughly tested and robust before they come to market. Disappointed users can make or break the success of products, so reliability is vital.
IoT might not be dead, but it’s re-evaluating its purpose. The whole industry needs to take a step back and think about how they can create products that are truly valuable and live up to quality promises.