Humans have a natural tendency to draw on the past to explain and interpret the present – and predict the future.
To predict where the IoT is headed, it’s helpful to look to past trends, to see how other markets “crossed the chasm”—in Geoffrey Moore’s terms—from early adoption to more mainstream acceptance.
The trend usually happens like this:
A new market is born because technology exists to support it.
Geeks, technology enthusiasts, and visionaries adopt it. Usability and quality generally suck, but these early adopters suffer through.
A few market participants make the technology easier to use and more accessible, which enables adoption to grow.
Early-to-market companies that can’t solve usability and quality issues falter and die.
Quality and usability take center stage among the primary characteristics that determine broad adoption.
Is there any reason to believe the chasm-crossing trajectory will be different as the Internet encompasses "things"?
In fact, the Internet of Things begs for better quality and usability than previous markets because there is so much fragmentation among the "things." Plus, the level of coordination required among the disparate things — end to end, from the connected product through the cloud to the mobile apps controlling the product — puts even more onus on manufacturers to make sure their products’ quality and usability are as high as possible.
We learn from past outcomes, and we aim higher.
David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of IoT platform company Ayla Networks, applies his Colgate University history degree to solve business problems every day.