It’s 2014 and we all know that the internet is stronger than ever and here to stay. Moreover, as various technology reports have it, the internet is set to take over the home front. Trends in emerging technologies point to more than small consumer home products.
The IoT (Internet of Things) is a big trend being embraced in the realm of smart homes. Tech giants are all gearing up and taking extra effort in research and development of current technologies to improve smart home devices.
The question of who will win in the battle of IoT is one that many people in IT ponder. Nevertheless, for the most, consumers who are not really concerned about all the nerd talk, thinking about who wins the lengthy battle of tech giants is not really that much of an issue.
However, did you know that the winner of tech domination depends on the consumer? This is why research is geared towards knowing what various people need and want. We may be far from knowing who emerges victorious, but here is what we know so far. The one who can come up with smart technologies to cater to the following perfectly will have a higher chance of survival in today’s market:
- Can address the convergence of consumer, business, and industrial internet
The basic premise of internet of things is being connected and in tune to various environments – home, business, transportation, education, health care, etc. Being able to program your vacuum to make a home sweep while you are in the office, accessing files from cloud storage, monitoring your houses cameras from your mobile device and keeping track of your child’s field trip from your phone are just the tip of the iceberg. There is more to cloud computing, data storage, robotics, energy efficient EVs, autonomic systems than we know. But, what consumers basically understand is, the more a product presents convenience at our fingertips, the better. If we can multitask more because of the IoT and emerging technologies, then we perceive that we will have more time for other things. Really, who would prefer manually vacuuming the house over spending time with friends and family?
- Provide products and service that rise up to the growing challenge of security and privacy.
The internet exploded with the news of celebrity photos leaking. We may or may not want to talk about it, but we are all slightly freaked inside that our precious data (whether incriminating, identity-theft material or just memorable and sentimental) is vulnerable to hacking and could be exposed at any time and worse, used against us. In addition, it is not even just about cloud storage. As technologies become smarter, even our grocery lists and app purchases can hint at what kind of people we are and that can be both good and a bad.
When it comes to the smart home, privacy, and security become even more crucial, especially when there are children involved. The thought of having a security setup that can be easily bugged or a family app that can be hacked into is just unnerving. Imagine if your mobile device gets stolen and you have your family organizing app (you know the one that syncs everyone’s schedules, your purchases and events, etc.) that risk for robbery, kidnapping and related crime increases—your family can become a target and nobody wants that.
So any company that produces current technologies that can live up to the promise of security and privacy will be patronized more than others will.
- Can produce technology that is efficient in terms of energy and cost.
This premise is pretty simple. No one wants to own smart devices that cost them more, whether in terms of energy consumption or purchase price. Smart devices are obviously powered by electricity or by batteries. Now, consumers want to know how much it will cost up in electricity, internet use, and more. Even if a smart product offers great features, if it consumes too much energy too many in-app purchases and upgrades to be effective, people tend to veer away from it.
The purchase cost is a simpler thing to think about. If a gadget for the smart home does not fit the budget and does not offer enough reasons for people to need it, it is probably going to die out quickly. In addition, it is useful to note that home gadgets that can offer less damage on the environment get plus points from consumers too.
- Have really good post-purchase support.
Consumers these days demand great post-purchase support because obviously, anything internet or tech-based will encounter problems at one point or another. Being confident that there is a number to call and people to actually answer and give effective help is important for people to stick to a certain brand.
Post-purchase support is not just about installers and customer service providers. It is also about the smart home products being capable of upgrades or being future-proof. Since technology is constantly evolving, no one wants to go through the “I just bought this a few months ago and now you tell me it is a thing of the past” moment. Think about those chargers and plugs that do not work on your other devices, think about that smart television, you want that promises UHD and 3D capability and those game consoles that quickly go passé. People want what is latest but they also want something that they can hold on to for a longer period of time, especially if they will spend so much on it.
Smart homes are really part of the internet of things, but they are just one aspect of it. In the long run, the winner of the tech battle has to be able to be progressive and integrative in their approach. Moreover, most importantly, stay true to the real people in the real world despite things going increasingly virtual.