There is a better way to market the smart home and consumer Internet of Things: Part 2
Sell services – Not connected things
Imagine the concept of a butler. The reason rich people hire someone like a butler is that service professionals are trained to recognise what is happening in the home and to provide the appropriate services. They don’t need to be programmed to open the door or turn on the lights.
In a similar way, the industry should market the IoT as an Internet of Services instead of an Internet of Things. Instead of focusing on a smart door lock, a smart windows sensor, an IoT hub or gateway – we should shift our marketing focus to the bigger picture. What can the Smart Home butler do for us to make our lives safer, easier and more efficient?
Aside from early innovators who will buy and install anything new despite the expense and difficulty of making it all work, most consumers don’t want to buy and install a so-called smart device that requires the user to program and troubleshoot it to get it started. Consumers don’t want a product that requires them to constantly monitor and manage it. Instead, the consumer wants smart services that do all of that, automatically and autonomously.
These smart services can include home security, personalised home lighting and environmental control, automated ordering and purchasing of supplies and groceries for the home. Imagine a smart medical service that not only tracks when and how the people in their home take their medicines, but also tracks the volumes and automatically orders refills when the inventory drops. Even better, the smart medical prescription service analyses the combination of drugs the person takes, comparing it against a database of adverse drug combinations. The medical service could also monitor their vital signs in case any negative or dangerous conditions occur.
Another service, already on the market, is called Senior Lifestyle solutions. It learns how a senior citizen lives in their home and then sends an alert to their family or caregivers if something in the home changes, i.e., the senior is not getting out of bed or is not making their breakfast at the usual time.
There are many minor and tedious tasks that we do to maintain our homes and improve our lifestyle that could be outsourced to our “personal Smart Home butler”.
Smart Home Butler and Service Providers
By marketing services, instead of connected things, we now open the door to organisations that specialise in delivering services – with technical, environmental and connectivity expertise – to come in and manage these services. Instead of trying to install and maintain it themselves, many consumers would prefer to pay a small fee to a service provider that would install the devices and network, and then manage it for the resident.
The Smart Home butler – a collection of smart services – uses a network of Sentrollers and cloud intelligence to make our lives safer, easier and more efficient.
Right now, the emerging Smart Home industry expects the resident to research the various technologies, select the right option, negotiate the best price, take them home, and install the system. Once installed the system has to be programmed, managed and monitored. Most people would prefer paying a small monthly fee so that they would not have to handle that level of complexity.
How to reduce service costs for the consumer? Service providers could install and manage the system for free or inexpensively. To cover the cost of the devices, the cloud intelligence and the entire service, the service provider could collect lifestyle data of the end user – i.e., how the residents live their lives, what is their schedule, what products do they buy, when do they consume the most energy – and then, sell that data. This business concept works well for many web-based businesses – why not enable it for Smart Home services as well?
It is time to take a new look at how our technology industry approaches and markets the potential of the Smart Home – the Smart IoT. By giving consumers, as well as businesses, governments and corporations what they want – effective service applications as well as complete managed solutions instead of DIY things – our tech industry can further accelerate the growth of “smart” into the world, thereby making our lives safer, more efficient and more comfortable; all for less cost.
The author of this blog is Cees Links – founder & CEO GreenPeak Technologies.
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