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A Remote Control Versus a Truly Smart Product: Which One is Yours?

Zvi Frank
Nov 13, 2019
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Adding mobile, web and voice apps to a consumer electronics product can provide users with an effective digital interface if implemented correctly, but if it stops there, all you get is a digital remote control to your physical product. A truly connected product allows manufacturers to take ownership of their user base and strike a relationship that can improve customer experience as well as drive revenue. It enables manufacturers to move from a one-time transaction model to Lifetime Value and create new revenue streams.

There are many consumer electronics products in the market today that claim to be “smart” because their manufacturers simply added a digital remote control to their devices. But these companies failed to take the next step, because they aren’t taking advantage of the real value a truly connected product represents; there’s a huge opportunity for these manufacturers. The good news in this case is that the heavy lifting, i.e developing a digital interface (mobile, web or voice apps), including the hardware and firmware elements required, is already done. What is left to do in order to make the product a truly connected device is to add the cloud elements constituting the ability to gather and analyze data and communicate to the end users on an individual basis.

Gathering data from devices only, as we typically see in industrial IoT implementations, doesn’t really suffice. In Consumer Electronics, only the complete data set, including device data as well as user data, must be built and then acted upon in the form of individually customized communications. The data must flow from the device and the various digital interfaces employed. Only then can a complete picture be constructed with useful insights that can be translated to effective communications.

A very simple litmus test revealing the nature of a digital interface is email. If through the onboarding process an email address is not being requested, then the device has a remote control and is not truly connected. If the user is asked to open an account, most likely this data will be used to try and communicate with him effectively through the lifecycle of his experiences with this particular device.

For a manufacturer to fully realize the value of Consumer IoT, a connected device must have a digital interface of some sort as well as a complete backend cloud infrastructure designed to collect analyze and communicate. Full realization entails taking ownership of the user base to drive business growth while improving customer experience.

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