Like a car with an engine too powerful for its frame, much of today’s Internet of Things technology seems to be outstripping our capacity to use it effectively. Even at this early stage, predictions of continuing double-digit expansion in adoption of new connected devices are showing signs of being wildly optimistic: The enthusiasm shown by adventurous and technically savvy early adopters isn’t easily spilling over into the mainstream consumer market.
Why is this happening, why does it matter, and what can we do about it?
These are the questions we attempted to answer at the second edition of our CX Executive Breakfast Club, an exclusive, invitation-only gathering of Bay area technology executives. I had the privilege of moderating a panel of two of the industry’s most respected and articulate thought leaders. John Feland, CEO of Argus Insights, has broken new ground in taking the pulse of the industry using innovative techniques that avoid the kinds of misleading conclusions inherent in traditional surveying. Greg Roberts, Vice President of Marketing for Icontrol Networks, receives firsthand knowledge on a daily basis of what works and doesn’t work when trying to implement connected home technology for mainstream consumers.
We tackled the issue of whether the Smart Home industry was providing real or imaginary value to consumers, and whether it was doing a good enough job communicating the benefits of connecting everything in sight.
Among the highlights of the lively and highly interactive conversation:
- Privacy and security were major concerns to the executives attending.
- John drew a sharp distinction between the ability to “simply see your stuff” vs. “do something with it.”
- Greg spoke about the special obligations providers must embrace in keeping data private and assets secure, starting with building security into the very DNA of a product or service rather than tacking it on later.
- All agreed that support was critical to the success of products in a connected world, but that support as traditionally practiced was not likely to make the grade, and that device proliferation coupled with decreasing consumer tolerance for substandard performance is placing special demands on the customer service function.
- Interoperability was another topic that provoked some rich discussion. Greg described why he didn’t think that standards were going to merge over time – their use cases are simply too different for one protocol to accommodate – and predicted that successful providers would be the ones who could present a breadth of options within their own ecosystems.
Attendees surveyed after the event were nearly universal in their acclaim for the Breakfast Club as one of the “best and most useful events” they’ve attended in the past year.