No one buys connected objects

If connected objects are the next big revolution, it seems that – as often – there’s going to be a time gap between the announced invasion and the actual landing. Moreover, IT spending predictions show that if everyone thinks about time, the time has not come yet for businesses to largely open their wallet.

As a matter of fact there are many things to take into account and be ready to collect and store before opening the data tap.

Price and privacy matter when it comes to connected objects

On the customer side, except the logical enthusiasm from geeks of any kind – we should expect Mrs Anybody to be very careful. Of course she’s impressed by the potential of connected objects in here day to day live and is sure that it’s going to make her life easier. But she’s concerned about two things?

First, the price. Connected objects are ok provided they’re affordable. If Google Glasses were supposed to address only a couple of fortunate geeks and influencers in their early times, connected objects are supposed to reach large audiences, both from an use case and price perspective. So even if it’s sure that prices will decrease over time, the first step should not be too high when they launch.

Second is privacy. Even if the does not understand everything that’s said about that and how things works, Mrs Anybody knows one thing : here data are going to be collected and processed. Water consumption, day to day habits, eating, weight, blood pressure etc. Of course it’s in order to help her but she would loke to know who will access her data, why, and if the promised coach won’t become a pumpkin one of these days. In other words she does not want the service and advice machine to become a constraint, injunction and even punishment one. Not even speaking about monetization.

Connected services before connected objects

Simply put, either from the supplier or customer side : no one will buy connected objects but connected services.

The value of any object does not lie in its connectedness but in the value of the connection. Being able to remotely manage an object is nice, having it sending information to an application is better, getting added-value advice thanks to data cross-analysis is better and having the object making preventive or corrective decisions on its own is even better.

What will make Mrs Anybody pay a premium for her fridge or scales is the service and the experience. The only question is “is the experience worth the premium”.

Same on the vendor side and even for large businesses which are not concerned about connectedness but the business model for the first and the ROI for the second.

We’ll go nowhere by starting from the object (we all know that when technology is looking for a problem it never leads to success). We need a problem to solve first.

– What is the problem to solve

– What data do we need to solve it

– what objects can collect the data and, if needed, perform the the right actions

– how to build the ecosystem of services between the objects to deliver the service.

– how to monetize it (one can decide to monetize the object and not the service, the service and not the object or to make a mix).

What looks pretty much like experience design.

Of course it may sounds obvious to most of you. But I still see so many people thinking about the object first and, then only, try to find a service to provide with, that I thought it was worth writing it down.

Image Credit: Internet of Things by Scott Bedford via Shutterstock

Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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