Amidst the current hype around the Internet of Things (IoT), it seems like everyone is marketing themselves as an IoT company, and even more, as an IoT platform company. Luckily, though, there are signs of sanity among some of the more serious IoT players.
As an example, take the Home Automation focus session at the IoT World show in May this year. The session was facilitated by Brian Bedrosian, Director of Marketing at Broadcom, with panelists Rob Martens, Futurist and Director of Connectivity Platforms at Allegion, and Chris Allen, CEO and founder of iDevices.
The theme of the session was that as companies enter the IoT market, they need to stay focused on their core expertise and brand promise to consumers, rather than being carried away as they chase after the latest whiz-bang IoT trend or feature.
Elsewhere, Rob Martens has stated: “Allegion has been among the first to understand that IoT is not a grab-bag of apps and smart devices; it is really about how a building responds to users, anticipates their life, and allows users and the environment to adjust to one another.” In other words, it’s crucial that companies approaching the IoT do so with a clear understanding of how these new technologies and levels of connectivity can be used to improve both users’ experiences and manufacturers’ businesses.
At the IoT World show, Rob noted that companies must not only know what their brand promise is, but also approach IoT adoption in ways that strengthen that promise. For instance, Allegion has a brand promise to be the best lock. Locks are for security and privacy—so collecting data on when people use their devices is seen as counter to their brand promise. The operational data that Allegion collects does not include when people use their locks. As a result, data leaks or malicious hackers cannot discern or expose user behavior patterns, so user privacy is maintained.
iDevices Chris Allen noted that consumers do not care if their home automation connection is handled by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Thread or some other protocol; they simply want delivery of the home automation product’s brand promise. This means that rather than put their energies into championing a particular wireless protocol, manufacturers should focus on delivering an out-of-the-box experience that makes their products simple and useful for consumers. The winning IoT product recipe now is more often about interoperability and ease of use than any particular features.
Being true to your brand promise affects all the IoT-related product decisions a company makes. As example, Schlage (an Allegion brand) takes great care to not allow its locks to “auto operate”—in other words, to activate “without intent.” Many IoT pundits spin visions of geolocating and monitoring so your front door opens automatically when you approach your house. But that level of automation does not take “intent” into account.
By getting carried away by visions of auto-operation, a lock company, for instance, might offer an IoT product that unintentionally creates a security problem or danger to users. Regardless of how tempting some of these IoT dreams might be, It’s important that companies make the often hard decisions that clearly and strongly reinforce their brand promises.
Chris Allen summed up his company’s commitment to its customers and its brand promise in an interview earlier this year: “The biggest thing on a CEO’s radar is how to keep their products relevant in the marketplace today, engage users in new ways, and drive analytics that will help them develop great products year after year through customer interactions with the application. iDevices will continue to stay ahead of the game in terms of IoT and the connected world, developing products that meet consumer expectations and needs. Our mission is, and always will be, to enhance the lives of consumers through technology and products that are intelligent at their core.”
All the speakers at IoT World commented on impending consolidation in the IoT market space, as well as the prospects of new big players entering the market in the next 24 months. IoT has a strong interest not as an isolated feature to add to a product, but in maintaining a brand leadership through visibility to actual user experience and product performance. Leading companies use IoT through carefully crafted offerings that enhance and reinforce each brand.
Sustained IoT market growth will not be achieved through partial solutions or by companies adding disconnected, single IoT features to a product. Instead, the IoT market will expand when manufacturing leaders adopt thoughtfully designed, comprehensive, end-to-end IoT platforms such as Ayla Networks provides, which deliver production-proven enterprise IoT capabilities that impart real value to end users while maintaining and extending manufacturers’ brand promises.