If you want a successfully connected product, the first priority should always be the consumer needs – second is the company’s.
No more surveillance, please
Many consumers avoid products involving any kind of surveillance, and this is one of the primary challenges that developers meet when integrating IoT functionality in a new product.
“The perceived value of the product has to counterbalance the dislike of being monitored. If the product is able to satisfy the needs of the consumers, they will be inclined to buy it, in spite of the inherent surveillance aspect of IoT devices and the fact that information about their activity is collected and used for a purpose,” explains Morten Georg Jensen, who is an Innovation and Test Engineer at Attention and who has project managed a variety of different IoT projects.
The cost-benefit analysis has to add up to a plus in favour of the customer, and this could be for instance:
- It fills a highly desirable function – we know for instance that Google collects user data, but we find the service good enough to put up with it
- A reduction of operating expenses – users of the Nest thermostat reduces the energy consumption for warming and cooling of houses – read how
- A price reduction. Allow a transmitter/ device installed on your car collecting data on your driving habits and get a discount on your insurance bill, if you are driving safely
Fulfilling one of these demands is an important step towards a sustainable IoT solution.
The developer’s dream
Normally, a product developer has little clue about how his product behaves once it’s out in the real world. But what if he could get continuous data on the health and use of the product? This is possible with IoT functionality.
The data can be used for various purposes:
- Monitoring performance for the use of improvement of future models. Maybe your products work fine the first year during the warranty period, but a week thereafter they all break down and the customer will prefer replacement with an alternative brand
- Monitoring pattern of use from the beginning to end of the product’s lifetime for input on the development of new product types or improvement of the existing one
- Collection of data to resell, for instance patterns-of-use, or data from the environment in which the product is situated
- Optimizing the performance of the product, for instance the washing machine connected to the Internet where it examines the power prices. When the price is low, the machine starts washing
“The possibilities are endless, and when advantages make up for cost and usefulness of the product, it is definitely the way to go,” says Morten Georg Jensen.
Do you want to read more about IoT? The these two articles might be interesting for you as well: How to distinguish worthless from valuable IoT solutions / The most worrying issues when considering IoT