As consumers, we are increasingly bombarded with IoT Smart Home solutions and assistants, to put our Homes on the Internet-of-Things and make them Smarter. Every manufacturer in the home arena are pulling their hair trying to figure out, how to put their products on the Internet-of-Things.
Some are just plain opportunistic, ‘because we can’ or perhaps ‘because we think we have to’ appliances, like the IoT dish washer or the bluetooth hair brush.
The amount of home-related apps on my smart phone is rising to a level, where it makes the classic TV remote blush with simplicity, and it is as if, we are facing a rerun of ‘The WiFi syndrome’ with different interfaces for each system and an ocean of settings and opportunities to cover all possible (and impossible) needs.
The proprietary ‘everyone for himself’ mindset, or in some cases groups of two or three manufacturers - ‘still-for-themselves’ is wide-spread - everyone with their own symbols and settings, as if they are the only consumer interface in the world.
When it works, as with e.g. lawn mower or vacuuming robots, sensor-based ventilation, user- or scenario-defined lighting and heating settings the manufacturers succeed in taking routines away or adding value to our lives, with a minimum of interruption and without taking control away from us.
What is the path to success in a Smart Home then? if nothing else it is my experience that it starts with a few generic rules of thumb:
start with the user and find an attractive proposition on her/his user journey. Make life better, healthier or more comfortable, solve a real problem or discomfort or an existing process.
think holistically and stick closely to fulfilling the identified need as part of the flow. You are not the destination, if you succeed the user will invite you along for a part of their journey.
develop open solutions and build partnerships when it makes sense to ensure speed. MVP and ‘fail fast’ are more than catch phrases.
Who will ‘conquer’ the control pad for the Smart Home is still an open question. Perhaps inter-operability and communication between piers will substitute or obliveate the need for a residential control tower? What ever you do, make technology work for people - not the other way round - and your smart solution may find a Home after all.
purpose@heart is an independent strategy consultancy with the ambition to help businesses improve their customer relationships in digital world.