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IoTC Welcomes Chris Rezendes and David Horowitz to Advisory Board

The IoTC is privileged to announce that we are joined by two new and prestigious members on our Advisory Board, Chris Rezendes of INEX IoT Impact Labs and David Horowitz of Touchdown Ventures.

Chris Rezendes is the Founder of INEX Advisors, INEX IoT Impact LABS and IoT Capital Partners. INEX Advisors serves Fortune 5000 enterprise, industrial and technology companies seeking to enhance existing businesses and develop new business models through the deployment of Internet-of-Things (IoT) solutions. Impact LABS is an IoT commercialization accelerator that live-pilots early-stage IoT solutions in the field with small and mid-sized businesses. Current Sponsors include: Analog Devices, Dell , Foley and Lardner, GE, INEX, Intel and PTC/ ThingWORX. IoT Capital Partners is an IoT-dedicated early stage investment vehicle under construction with experienced early-stage tech investor Roger Krakoff. Currently, our team holds positions in 15 early stage IoT companies.

Chris is also the Co-Organizer of the IoT Meetup Boston/ New England (>2,300 members) that meets monthly. Chris speaks often at local, regional, national and global events focused on IoT, innovation, impact investing and a number of industry events where IoT has significant potential. He grew up Fall River, MA and graduated from Harvard University.

David is the co-founder and CEO of Touchdown Ventures, a firm that partners with leading corporations to manage their corporate venture capital investments. Prior to starting Touchdown Ventures, David was a founding partner and Managing Director at Comcast Ventures for 14 years. David joined Comcast Ventures in 2000 as one of the first employees of the venture capital group. At Comcast Ventures, David focused on investments in digital media, advertising technology, digital home, education and financial technology. David managed investments in Entropic (NASDAQ: ENTR), Intellon (NASDAQ: ITLN), Invite Media (acquired by Google), LinkShare (acquired by Rakuten), Nuera Communications (acquired by Audicodes), Rubicon Project (NYSE: RUBI), and XOS Digital (acquired by JumpTV/Neulion.) David also led investments in several prominent privately-held companies including BlackArrow, Ninth Decimal, SnagFilms, UberMedia, Videology, Visible World, and Zero Fox. 

Prior to Comcast Ventures, David worked in investment banking at Bear Stearns. David also started and runs the South Jersey Technology Networking Group. David graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration with highest honors from the University of Michigan.

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Should the “I” in IoT stand for Insights?

By Greg Kahn

Stacey Higginbotham, a reporter for Fortune, went on a rant last year about the smart home industry. In Stacey’s words,

the companies building products for the smart home show a shocking lack of respect for the consumer they hope to buy into the idea.

Stacey offers that smart products are expensive, complicated to install, and don’t work together.

That got me thinking: how can companies better understand consumers? Focus groups, ethnographies, social media, syndicated research, and personal observation are all ways to tap into the customer’s psyche. Each method has its benefits and drawbacks. What is clear to me is that the IoT industry needs more consumer insights.

Yes, we’ve all seen the lofty projections by many firms estimating that IoT will become a multi-trillion dollar market by 2020. But what will it take for consumers to buy in? What will it take for connected devices to move from frustrating gadgets to – as Ohad Zeira of Verizon says – “automagical experiences“?

As a starting point, the IoT industry needs to better understand the individuals who will potentially buy into this ecosystem. Urban/rural, black/white/yellow, male/female, Christian/Jewish/Muslim/Hindu, European/American/Asian/African, sports fanatic/book worm, foodie or health-nut. How can we humanize technology? What devices and services will make their lives easier, and which will make their experiences better?

A year ago, the Internet of Things Consortium commissioned a study to better understand consumers’ expectations of IoT providers. Among the top things consumers wanted to see in a connected home ecosystem was voice activation on connected devices (see chart).

It’s no wonder that Amazon’s Echo has had such rapid adoption in the United States – it fulfills that promise. Yet, I still can’t turn on my television, shower, or oven using voice control.

So here’s a call to action for the IoT industry: before we develop another smart watch, thermostat, connected dashboard, or parking meter, let’s invest some money to better understand the people that will interact with these devices. With the right insights, we just might deliver automagical experiences after all.

This post was originally published on GamingTechLaw.com. Click here to view the original post.

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Inc. names IoTC "Top Influencer" in IoT

We're honored that 3 members of the IoTC have been named on Inc.'s list of the "best experts and influencers in the Internet of Things that you need to follow to stay ahead of the curve." Congratulations to our CEO & President Greg Kahn, our Advisor Jenny Fielding of Techstars, and our member Michael Wolf of NextMarket Insights on joining a special and very exclusive club!

Read the feature on Inc.com here

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Smart Kitchen Summit CONVENES TOP LEADERS IN FOOD TECH

We're proud to feature the Smart Kitchen Summit this month, created by IoTC member, NextMarket Insights. The Summit will be held in Seattle on October 5 and 6. IoTC members qualify for a discount on attendance (email us for the code).

We checked in with NextMarket Insights CEO Michael Wolf on the smart kitchen space and how it is impacting the IoT-at-large. 

What significant changes have you seen in the smart kitchen space since the first year of the event last year?
There’s been a slow but growing awareness of how significant the resulting change from technology will be on food and cooking across the technology, media and investor landscape.  People have realized that the 'war dividend' of technology investment and advancement in IT and mobility from the past two decades - whether it’s cloud, mobile, AI, data - will be just as impactful on this segment as elsewhere.

Have there been any standout smart kitchen success stories? (e.g. Products/services)
It’s more nascent than other areas of smart home, but I would say a few areas:

  • ...in new cooking products, I would point to sous vide. Anova is doing volume of around 400k units and expects to ship one million units next year, which is a fast-ramp in line with what we saw for early days in smart home as with the Nest Thermostat.
  • In more traditional appliances, there’s been a dramatic shift in understanding over the past year among manufacturers in the need to not only add connectivity through Wi-Fi, but the bigger opportunity lies in software around analytics and automation. 
  • Lastly, Amazon has been hugely successful in both its connected commerce (Dash Replenishment) in raising awareness around how IoT and smart home can be the foundation for a service platform. 

What are some of the main challenges you're observing in consumer adoption of smart kitchen appliances?
Consumers are very fixed in their behavior around cooking and the kitchen, as these are behaviors that are shaped since they were born. Product manufacturers have to create products that delivery enough value to endure any switching cost away from what is tried and true. At the same time, the kitchen is the home’s primary makerspace, so there’s also the unique challenge of making products that are more than just cool gadgets, but become important tools that get used every day and not pushed to the back of the drawer. 

What's your favorite smart kitchen device?
I just received my PicoBrew Pico home beer brewing appliance (which I backed on Kickstarter), so I am having fun making beer using IoT technology.

What can other IoT sectors learn from the smart kitchen corner of the IoT ecosystem?
It seems that, more than other segments of IoT, kitchen seems to recognize earlier in its transformation life cycle that long term this will be an orchestra of various parts of the ecosystem. There’s a recognition that this silos probably won’t work well since no one can control the entire value chain (as is the case with, say, digital music distribution). Appliances companies are becoming content companies, food brands are working with hardware and retailers, and everyone is becoming a service provider. The opportunity around food and technology is massive, and the kitchen is where it all comes together.

How are product manufacturers and retailers working together?
In some cases, they are working on building experiential retail to show consumers the value and vision.  It’s early and consumers don’t necessarily know why they’d want a smart kitchen, so companies like Innit are working with Pirch in influencer markets like Manhattan to create showcases of what a fully realized smart kitchen can look like. Other retailers that are more mass-market and high-volume, such as Target, are doubling down on new categories like sous vide and rolling it out to more consumers as see adoption of the category, particularly among Millennials. 

How will smart pantries and fridges fuel potential for the grocery sector, both online, and brick-and-mortar?
It’s early, but we are seeing how sensors and awareness around food inventory, particularly when it’s connected to a commerce system, will move the point of sale from retail, mobile or browser to the point of storage and consumption.  We think that’s what Amazon is aiming for with Dash and its happening. We also think meal planning becomes more connected over time, meaning consumers can plan meals around what they have in inventory in real time as well as instantly order and have food delivered based on what they want to cook that week or that evening. 

What kinds of partnerships will be critical to the success of the smart kitchen sector, both IoT and beyond?
For core technology, appliance and device makers will need to work with cloud, software, silicon and service technology providers to enable new and interesting products that help reinvent cooking in new and useful ways. Appliance and food brands will need to work together to make sure food information is properly communicated and understood. Everyone will need to work with content providers and become content providers themselves. Lastly, companies will need to work with commerce, logistics and security providers to make sure food and cooking built on new technology and service layers work well and works safely, since eating is about the most important thing we do to ensure we are happy and healthy.

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July IoTC Insiders: Executive Roundtable on the Success of Amazon Echo

This month we held a roundtable of execs from our member companies to gather inputs on Amazon’s Alexa, asking them specifically, What did Amazon do particularly well relating to the creation, marketing and distribution of Amazon Echo? ...and, Can other companies easily replicate this success, or is there something unique about Amazon's position that has brought them this success?

Goran Kukic, VP Digital Services, North America, Nestle
What did Amazon do well? Instead of going for the niche market, Amazon was the first to do it ‘just-right’ in packaging a number of different value propositions to make this purchase compelling for the consumer. Always listening device with an amazing speaker that delivers news, traffic, music, etc. but also facilitating shopping lists, cooking timers found a way in living rooms and kitchens.
Can other companies easily replicate this success? There’s no doubt that many companies will try to follow (opening of Siri SDK, Google Home) and will probably ‘technically’ be the same and better, but will be difficult to replicate paring with Amazon Prime service and compete with Amazon e-Commerce model.

Jenny Fielding, Managing Director, Techstars
What did Amazon do well? This is the first time we’ve seen voice technology working to make consumers’ lives better (voice assistants have not broken into the home automation space before and voice recognition phone prompts have left many of us scarred!).  For the consumer, it's a small price to pay for a glimpse of the future bridging the gap between what consumer technology does today and what science fiction and movies have depicted of the future. And leave it to Amazon to make it affordable, simple and human using sophisticated speech recognition and natural language processing in the backend that makes Alexa feel like a family member. 
Can other companies easily replicate this success? Other companies can easily replicate the technology (and we are seeing loads of start-ups entering this space), however, distribution is where Amazon is miles ahead. Marketing and distributing is the hardest part of IoT so the fact that they are grabbing market share now will keep them ahead for a while.

Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist, Greenwave Systems
What did Amazon do well? There’s no doubt that Amazon created a magical product with Echo/Alexa.  They did a wonderful job identifying what the industry needed, and what it did not need. It did not need another hub, another standard, another cost, or another new complicated technology to learn. What it did need, was a voice.  While it is the best selling smart home device of all time, it is not a smart home device -- it does not control lights, thermostats, or any other smart device.  It does however, enable a simple way for makers of these things to consistently put their products within the range of their owner's voice. The team did a wonderful job positioning the Alexa in the developer community.  As a creator of an Alexa skill, I respect the ease of implementation of their developer kit.  Within just a few weeks, we built a fully interactive Alexa interaction, YouTube videos of which can be found here. They marketed the product very well, and the upsell to Dot was brilliant.  Limiting the product's availability by requiring users to use their Echo to order a Dot was inspired.
Can other companies easily replicate this success? When Google announced their Speech API, I wrote this article on VentureBeat to share my views.  As it stands today, Alexa has risks of relevance based on it's relatively limited knowledge base, as opposed to a company in possession of tomes of information like a search engine.  It also has been built around a voice app model, which could be challenging to scale into a person’s life if they have to know keywords to "launch the app" and start a given conversation topic. Google, Baidu, Yahoo and Bing are extremely well informed (in that order), especially when compared to Amazon. Amazon does have other things going for it with AWS ties to vendors, the massive marketplace through which to sell many of the things in our lives, and provision them into our lives at point of purchase, but they have yet to fully take advantage of either of these.

Steve Svajian, CEO / Co-Founder, Anova Culinary
What did Amazon do well? Amazon Echo is interesting because our interaction with technology changes as it begins to drop into background, while still being a device we engage with regularly. By using speech, Echo is moving us away from the screen, and creating a more natural user experience. In creating Echo, Amazon saw the need for a device that wouldn’t require its users to have their phone on them at all times. Amazon did particularly well marketing Amazon as a companion in the kitchen, because when we're busy preparing food and our hands aren't free, it enables us to have access to information much more easily.
Can other companies easily replicate this success? Aside from Amazon, Google and Apple can easily replicate the success of Echo. Amazon, Google, and Apple all have the unique ability to create an ecosystem of products that connect to a hub that operates like Echo.

Jean-Pierre (JP) Abello, Director, Global Engineering R&D for IoT, Nielsen
What did Amazon do well? Amazon did a particularly good job with the quality of voice recognition in noisy environments, and the simplicity of use of the device.  With Alexa, voice has finally become good enough to become the primary user interface instead of touch screens, buttons, etc.
Can other companies easily replicate this success? I think this success could be easily replicated and even exceeded by the likes of Google and Apple. These companies have the advantage of potentially achieving much deeper integrations with search and other products they fully control. Amazon initially believed that the Echo would lead customers to more impulse buying on their web store, but what happened instead is the Echo became a better and more convenient way for people to interface with a host of other services, from music to weather forecasts, home automation control, etc.  Amazon had the courage to innovate in this category and got the first mover advantage, however others have the potential to do even better via deeper integrations into their core consumer products.

Linda Bernardi, Founder / CEO, StraTerra Partners
What did Amazon do well? In the creation of Alexa and Echo, Amazon focused on ease of use and integration. That enabled rapid and seamless integration by any level of user and removal of complexity from the process. It was a gradual release, spread by word of mouth vs. releasing it all at once with a huge bang, so we started seeing Echo and Alexa gradually which created market excitement. I actually think it was too quiet of an introduction in that if you weren’t following Amazon-specific news, going to conferences or related events, there seemed to not be a high level of marketing effort the way Apple or Microsoft would do. The key was user experience which was much more organic from my lens. This is in line with how Amazon develops products and services: Develop it to perfection, enhance the user experience and people will come. Not market it first and develop later! It worked.
Can other companies easily replicate this success? Amazon’s key to success is to hype less, develop more and build things perfectly and flawlessly. While there have been a few products pulled off the market, almost 99% are perfect. Prime is revolutionizing the consumer experience and spreading to grocery shopping, food delivery, care services, etc. and the key to its success has been to make sure it works perfectly. Other companies can replicate this but with high degrees of difficulty as it means a higher investment -- Amazon is lean and highly efficient and its agility and speed is extremely difficult to replicate, while other organizations are generally fat and inefficient. What is difficult to replicate is the company’s culture: A relentless pursuit of doing complex things and expecting a lot from themselves, from from leadership to all levels and they have to perform constantly. Many are trying to emulate Amazon, but it would be somewhat difficult unless their organizations also changed massively.

Ram Malasani, Founder, CEO, Securifi
What did Amazon do well? The general consensus in 2014 was that Echo is an interesting but ultimately goofy product. But it’s now being labeled as the next revolutionary interface. There are a few reasons - initial low expectations, far-field voice recognition that actually works, and aggressively building the growing Alexa skills ecosystem through third parties.
Can other companies easily replicate this success? It’s not going to be easy but I would bet on Google. The contender has to have mastery of several technologies including voice recognition, search and not to mention generating developer interest. All of this is right up Google's alley. Google Home might also have a hardware cost advantage as its built off their low cost Chromecast platform. And lastly Home also comes with wireless multi-room audio, like Sonos speakers, which gives it an edge over Echo speakers.

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Recent News From Our Members

Kudos to IoTC members for the awesome IoT headlines they've been generating this last month…

▶ Liberty Mutual announced a strategic investment in smart-lock maker August with the launch of the insurance giant’s first Venture Capital Group.   ▶ Indiegogo announced a collaboration with Arrow Electronics to further empower entrepreneurs to bring their IoT ideas to market as quickly as possible through engineering assistance and go-to-market support.   ▶ Indiegogo also teamed up with fellow IoTC member, Whirlpool, and its product design division W Labs, to help launch a beer maker / fermentor and dispenser system for aspiring home brewers called Vessi.   ▶ Smart-battery maker Roost announced the development of a Wi-Fi water and freeze detector to combat the property-loss claim most commonly filed with insurance companies.   ▶ Semiconductor manufacturer, NXP, will supply Columbus, Ohio, with real-time vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication systems and secure public transportation smart cards for the city’s winning submission to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge.   ▶ Securifi announced integration of Amazon’s Echo into all of its touchscreen routers, including the Almond 3 router/smart home hub announced earlier this year at CES.   ▶ Smart kitchen appliance maker, Anova, announced a nationwide roll-out into Target stores of the Anova Precision Cooker, marking the largest ever distribution of a smart sous vide cooking device.   ▶ Smart video doorbell maker, SkyBell, was selected as one of five products to be sold directly by Alphabet-owned Nest in the Nest Store as part of its “Works with Nest” program.

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Linda Bernardi, author and ex-CIO of IBM, joins IoTC Advisory Board

Linda_Bernardi-IoTC

As Founder and CEO of StraTerra Partners LLC, Linda’s passion to disrupt in order to innovate globally across large enterprises and startups makes her an excellent addition to an already strong advisory board. She’s an avid entrepreneur and startup investor, and in 2001 she founded a startup which enabled the mass adoption of RFID technology and IoT. Her book ProVoke discusses the Culture of Innovation and Disruption and she is a columnist with The Washington Post.

Welcome to the IoTC, Linda!

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Inaugural IoTC Member Meeting in San Francisco

Today marked another great day for the IoTC. Over 20 of our members gathered together for the first time in-person at the beautiful offices of DLA Piper in San Francisco for an afternoon of planning, discussion, debate and working sessions intended to move the IoT ecosystem forward.

There was a swath of industries represented at the meeting including connected home products and services, entrepreneurship, research/analytics, consumer goods, connected retail, device and software manufacturers, smart kitchen, and data, internet and privacy/security services.

A VIP party at Minna Gallery followed the meeting, bringing together an influential exec crowd of IoT’s heavy hitters for some excellent networking, a few quick words from myself and IoTC Founder, Jason Johnson, and of course, delectable cocktails, artisanal tacos and choc-dipped churros. Here are some pictures from the event.

Members of the IoTC Advisory Board (L to R): Philip Lewer (NXP), Nate Williams (August), Greg Kahn (IoTC, President/CEO), Jason Johnson (August; IoTC Founding President), Ohad Zeira (Verizon), Mark Spates (Google).

Members of the IoTC Advisory Board (L to R): Philip Lewer (NXP), Nate Williams (August), Greg Kahn (IoTC, President/CEO), Jason Johnson (August; IoTC Founding President), Ohad Zeira (Verizon), Mark Spates (Google).

The IoTC are proud partners of leading IoT market research firm, Parks Associates, and the member meeting and VIP party aligned with Parks Associates’ 20th Connections: The Premier Connected Home Conference in San Francisco May 24-26. IoTC members Belkin/WeMo, Honeywell, August, Verizon, NXP and Greenwave Systems represented at the conference, speaking on topics ranging from “Service Providers and Device Makers” to “Security Innovations.”

Our next member meeting will be in New York City in September. To participate, join the Third Wave.

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IoTC welcomes Techstars’ Jenny Fielding to Advisory Board

As Managing Director of mentorship-driven startup accelerator Techstars, Jenny spends every day with entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs focused on where the puck is heading. The company is in the midst of accepting submissions to be part of its first IoT Accelerator and to date interest has been high, further signaling the focus of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs on the exciting IoT space and its huge potential.

Prior to joining Techstars, Jenny headed up corporate venture and digital innovation at BBC Worldwide where she made strategic investments and led business development deals. She has also founded several companies, most notably Switch-Mobile, a mobile VoIP company that was acquired. She began her career as a lawyer. You can find Jenny somewhere between NYC, London and San Francisco.

Welcome, Jenny!

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Internet of Things Consortium adds Sunny Choi as Advisor

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Internet of Things Consortium adds Sunny Choi as Advisor

We are excited to announce the the addition of Sunny Choi to the IoTC advisory board. The IoTC has been focused on driving adoption of IoT products & services through consumer research and market education and our advisory board will help accelerate that vision. 

Sunny is VP of Corporate Development at Belkin International, home to the Belkin, Linksys and WeMo consumer brands. He leads the company’s global strategic planning, business development, mergers & acquisitions and consumer research functions.

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The Intelligence Age

We are currently experiencing a shift from the Information Age to the Intelligence Age which will be characterized by the autonomous communication between intelligent devices that are sensitive to the presence of a person and responds by performing a specific task that enhances that person’s lifestyle.  The shift is driven by the consumer’s desire for efficiency, particularly in connection with everyday tasks that can be easily automated. And the costs associated with connected devices are no longer prohibitive, so companies of all sizes are able to bring products to market.

Consumer Desire

Consumers are infatuated with technology that helps with everyday tasks by using connectivity and machine learning to track and analyze behavior.  They are willing to have products track their location, conversations, steps, eating, spending, and other habits because the product creates a seamless experience that couldn’t otherwise be achieved. Google Now for example incorporates data from a user’s calendar, web searches and location to present you with relevant information and suggestions throughout the day. Google Now alerts the consumer of weather, traffic and restaurants nearby and delivers location based reminders to the consumer's phone. Google is leveraging habits to provide a personal assistant that leverages data to make a consumer's life more efficient.

Cost of Innovation

Five years ago, it was extremely expensive to manufacture the necessary parts for the connected devices that exist today.  However, the rise of smartphones and tablets that use similar components caused an increase in the production of components, which led to a rise in the number of manufacturers and an array of price points for varying specifications or quality of product.  This made it feasible for companies to purchase radios, sensors, cameras and other materials at a reasonable price.  Once cost was no longer prohibitive, innovation began, and today, even the smallest startups can afford, with the help of online crowdfunding in many cases, to build an idea. Planet Labs is leveraging access to these components to create the next generation of earth-imaging satellites at a fraction of the cost and time it takes to build traditional satellites. By using basic smartphone components, Planet Labs has launched 71 satellites into orbit in the last 16 months. These satellites produce affordable, real-time images that can be used by the government and agricultural industry to evaluate geological occurrences.

Ambient Intelligence

Ambient intelligent devices sense the presence, movement and behavior of a consumer, analyze that data in order to learn about the consumer, and then make an intelligent decision to perform a task based on the data. For example, Nest Thermostat learns about a consumer’s schedule and uses that information to automate climate control.  It tracks a consumer’s presence and heating and cooling usage to determine the best temperature for a person’s home at different times of day which ultimately lowers energy bills. Several new companies like ZuliIotas and Spire will be entering the market over the next 6 months that focus on leverage data to enable their products to make intelligent decisions based on your habits. Zuli is developing a recommendation engine based on an individual's presence in a specific room which will allow them to adjust the rooms temperature, lighting and music for each person in the home.  

Market Opportunity

As you move forward through your everyday life, be conscious of moments in which your repetitive actions have limited or no tangible effect on your environment. These moments are examples of where, at some point in the near future, the Intelligence Age will deliver enhanced experiences that turn the mundane into remarkable.  These moments are opportunities to develop new products and services that will create the next economic boom in America and worldwide. The companies that capitalize on these opportunities will be the first publicly traded companies to be valued at a trillion dollars by the market.

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Keep Calm and Automate

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Keep Calm and Automate

By Ohad Zeira, Greg Kahn and Nate Williams

A few stories broke last week fueling speculation about the future of home automation. With the rumored Quirky sale, the Leeo staff layoffs, and the apathetic media responses to Nest’s latest press announcements, it certainly was not a banner week for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Given the nature of these events, skepticism may seem warranted. Even more important, it is natural. Boom and bust cycles have always been part of the adoption of mobile, social media, SaaS, and arguably all technology megatrends. The smart home and broader IoT category is no exception. The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show marked the peak of inflated expectations, but of course, there will be consolidations, failed products, and unsuccessful business models as we make our way to mainstream. 

Although there are certainly hiccups on the road to widespread consumer adoption, we have not seen a drop-off in smart home activity. What we are witnessing is the brutal Darwinism of product/market fit playing out at retail stores, online, and in the consumer's home. The only possible outcomes may seem to be WIN BIG or LOSE BIG. But breathe deeply; in the last 10 years, we have made great progress and there’s only more to come:

  1. Reliability: Compare X10, early Lonworks, and other early home automation protocols to modern connectivity protocols and you will find many improvements. We have the same large players around the table (Qualcomm, Intel, NXP) that made mobile, Wi-Fi, and PayTV real, and we will only continue to see progress in the reliability of these underlying protocols and ultimately the products.
  2. Affordability: 10 years ago home automation systems from AMX, Crestron, and others routinely cost $25K+ and took a small army of technicians days to install. Today, connectivity module costs are 25% of what they were when the first modern era home automation devices rolled out in 2011-2012 and setup experiences are much smoother. 
  3. Talent: The talent focused on the smart home in 2015 compared to 2005 is unbelievably impressive. Some of the best engineers, product people, business development folks, etc. that spent time in social, SaaS, CE, and mobile have started to focus on the smart home. The flow of talent into IoT is a strong indicator that we are heading in the right direction and will ultimately be able to deliver on the promise of a simple, smart, connected home.
  4. Consumer interest: In a recent Internet of Things Consortium (IoTC) consumer study conducted via IDC, 65% of consumers stated they were moderately or extremely interested in adopting smart home solutions. Among younger consumers (18-24), that number jumps to 84%. Projected to the US adult population, that equates to a potential market size of 150 million+ Americans. These numbers speak for themselves – interest is alive and well and it’s now up to us to perfect this technology for the mainstream audience and get the word out via marketing. 
  5. New players in the ecosystem: Liberty Mutual and American Family Insurance recently struck deals with Nest to subsidize the cost of smart home products. Retailers such as Target, Walmart, Pirch and Amazon have all made moves to push smart home products and services. As the ecosystem welcomes new players, consumers will benefit from a wider selection of products. New business models, increased interest and mainstream adoption will undoubtedly follow.

The fact is that the IoT is as much a macro trend as it is a category. As connectivity and computing costs continue to decline, our appliances and electronics will be connected to the cloud and to one another. The benefits from proactive maintenance, usage analytics and marketing intelligence are far too great for most brands to ignore. There is, however, a lot of work to be done for the consumer value proposition. 

At the Internet of Things Consortium we believe the industry should focus on the following in order to build a sustainable Smart Home category:

  1. Story Telling: As an industry we focus too much on negativity and scare tactics (privacy/security) and not enough on use cases. Interoperability is important, but cannot be the primary focal point of our stories. Let’s show how these smart devices can solve real life problems. 
  2. Partnerships: When it comes to marketing smart devices, the sooner we get the ball rolling between Madison Avenue, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, the better. Co-marketing will enable broader and more effective storytelling to a mainstream audience. 
  3. Business models: Linear transactional business models are necessary but not sufficient. The inevitable connectivity will open up every home product and service category for disruption, and the winners will be innovating around value capture, not just value creation.
  4. An integrated approach: We have not even begun to connect the dots between wearables and home automation, home automation and cars, cars and smart cities, and beyond. There is unimaginable value at the intersection of these emerging markets. If this broader scope is what Google is planning with Sidewalk Labs, that is significantly more impactful than what Nest did or did not announce last week. 

So while expectations (hype) are returning to normal levels and skepticism is setting in, you can count on one thing: the industry will continue to create the future. We invite you to join the conversation at the IoTC.

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The Trust Feature: Apple is Setting the Standard for Consumer IoT Data

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The Trust Feature: Apple is Setting the Standard for Consumer IoT Data

The most interesting thing that I took away from the last two Apple product announcements had nothing to do with the iPhone 6 or Apple Watch. Rather, it was the clear and concise messaging that consumers own the data they input into Apple Pay and Health products, and that the data is secure. Apple is marketing “trust” as a feature for its products which, in order to function, require that consumers provide personal data. The “trust feature” has been seamlessly weaved into the fabric of Apple Pay and Health product messaging. The function of Apple Pay and Health are described on Apple.com:

“With Apple Pay, instead of using your actual credit and debit card numbers when you add your card, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted, and securely stored in the Secure Element, a dedicated chip in iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. These numbers are never stored on Apple servers. And when you make a purchase, the Device Account Number, along with a transaction-specific dynamic security code, is used to process your payment. So your actual credit or debit card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants or transmitted with payment.

The Health app lets you keep all your health and fitness information in one place on your device and under your control. The information you generate about yourself is yours to use and share. You decide what information is placed in Health and which apps can access your data through the Health app. When your phone is locked with a passcode or Touch ID, all of your health and fitness data in the Health app is encrypted. You can back up data stored in the Health app to iCloud, where it is encrypted while in transit and at rest. Apps that access HealthKit are required to have a privacy policy, so be sure to review these policies before providing apps with access to your health and fitness data.”

 

For decades Apple has been supplying consumers with hardware and marketing its devices as the best in design, technology and craftsmanship. They help the consumer understand their commitment to delivering exceptional products by detailing the effort it took for them to make the smartphone camera resolution better, the processor faster and display brighter.  But now Apple is focusing its marketing on the “trust feature” and emphasizing that:

  • You own your data

  • You select who has access to your data

  • Your data is stored and secured in isolation  

  • Unnecessary access to your data is not permitted

  • When your data is moved, stored or used, it is encrypted at all times  

Apple understands that in order to continue its dominance as we move into the Intelligence Age, they have to deliver more than hardware.  But the hardware is still a key piece to the puzzle. If consumers allow Apple to use their data and Apple enables its hardware to communicate with other Apple and non-Apple hardware, it can deliver an overall personalized experience by using the data consumers supply to provide a service that is specific to each consumer’s need.  For example, your Apple devices are connected to your car, and you are driving on a long road trip on the highway. Your Apple devices receive a notification from your car that you are low on gas, and your Apple devices  ask you whether you would like directions to the nearest gas station which is 2 miles away. They also notify you that the next gas station after that one is 25 miles away. You tap ‘yes’ -- you would like directions to the nearest gas station.  The map app then provides detailed directions to the closest gas station.

By establishing the ‘trust feature’ with consumers Apple can deliver superior experiences like the gas station example that combine Apple hardware and consumer data to predict that the consumer will need next. 


If Apple is successful with making consumers comfortable with providing financial and health-related data leveraging the “trust feature” in Apple Pay and Health, consumers will have no problem with providing access to their home (Homekit) and car (CarPlay) data.

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Internet of Things Consortium adds advisory board

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Internet of Things Consortium adds advisory board

We are excited to announce the IoTC advisory board. The IoTC has been focused on driving adoption of IoT products & services through consumer research and market education and our advisory board will help accelerate that vision. 

2015 will be a big year for IoT and our team will continue to be a trusted resource for consumer perspective and market awareness.

Please join me in welcoming the IoTC advisory board.

 


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Home decor over home automation

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Home decor over home automation

Question: Are consumers buying NEST because they want to automate their home climate control or because it is a very nice home accessory that is more affordable than an Eames chair?   

Over the last year, I have spent a significant amount of time thinking about how IoT will move from the early adopter stage to mainstream consumption.  While widespread market adoption may take 2-5 years, there are early trends in consumer adoption.

Let's look at home automation and Nest, for example.  Does it make sense for mainstream consumers to pay $250 for a thermostat when they can get a basic version of that device for $30?  Probably not.  But what if you looked at it from a different perspective - what if a consumer's purchase of NEST products was not based on a desire for heating/cooling devices, but rather an attraction to high end or contemporary home decor accessories similar to an antique oriental rug, crystal wine glasses or a leather lounge chair?  What if the next addition to their home was either a NEST ($250) or an Eames Lounge and Ottoman ($5,789)?  Now spending $250 for a home decor upgrade sounds like a pretty good deal. 

This shift in the mental model of how consumers think about IoT products is linked to creating desirable brands that align with consumer passions.

What is the coolest brand that provides the best products for the things I love to do the most?

Like home decor, there are other consumer passion points where IoT products can transcend beyond gadget status to become a part of a consumer's lifestyle, including:

  • Cooking
  • Parenting 
  • Fitness 
  • Home decor
  • Art
  • Music

 It seems like IoT will be less about tech/specs and more about brands, design and lifestyles. 

Just a thought.   

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Unprecedented consumer experiences via IoT

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Unprecedented consumer experiences via IoT

Internet of Things should deliver consumer experiences that were not possible 2-3 years ago. These new experiences not only deliver consumer value but awe and delight as well. Products that tap into these human emotions will become the corner stones of tomorrows connected reality.

IoTC works with some of the most innovative companies in the IoT space across different markets and consumer segments. Based on the data the we have collected and analyzed there are three interesting questions to ask when approaching consumer based IoT products:      

  1. Does the product leverage ambient intelligence as the consumer interface?
  2. What is the unprecedented consumer experiences created from the product? 
  3. How does the product connect with other products to deliver unique consumer services? 

We find the data produced from these questions become extremely valuable inputs for product development, marketing and consumer acquisition.

     

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Will Android become the AWS of IoT?

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Will Android become the AWS of IoT?

With the release of Android Wear SDK it is clear that the Android Operating System will be a player in the IoT ecosystem. Android OS has been leveraged in array of connected products during its history. From smartphones, tablets, TVs, game consoles, watches, cars and more.

This is the first time we have seen an OS have this type of diversity in the devices and experiences it can deliver to the consumer market. 

Ouya an IoTC member was one of the first to showcase the flexibility of the Android OS by creating the next generation console. It is awesome that a team of passionate innovators could leverage Android to create and ship a gaming console to the market in such a short amount of time.  

Having the foundation for a OS helps expedite the product development process and allows the team to focus on designing the hardware and creating the experience they want to deliver to consumers.

Google is clearly developing and leveraging Android internally to drive innovation in the IoT consumer market with GLASS and now Moto 360. This is very similar to how the concept of AWS was created to meet internal needs in order to support consumers services at Amazon. Once Amazon released AWS to the public it became the starting engine for Web 2.0 revolution.  

As IoT continues to grow the ecosystem will need the equivalent of AWS, Rails, Heroku and Bootstrap to help propel the development of IoT products and services.

Will Android become AWS for IoT?       


A few demonstrations of products that have been built with Android.  

 

 

 

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