In which I’m Interviewed on Enterprise Forces Driving Consumer Adoption of IoT

With the adoption of consumer IoT and smart home devices lagging, analyst Jess Groopman explains to Jeremy Coward why industrial uptake could be the savior of consumer IoT.

What follows is an excerpt form a recent interview by Jeremy Coward. You can access the full article where it was originally posted here 

Why are smart home products failing to pique the interest of the majority of consumers?

A) The benefits are poorly explained and marketed
B) They’re too complicated to understand or use
C) They’re overly expensive, impractical and only appeal to the wealthy
D) The benefits are there for the taking, but intended end-users are too technophobic to try them

You may agree with one or all of the above, or have your own array of answers altogether. Whatever the reason, there appears to be no obvious solution.

“There’s really very few people buying smart products for their homes at the moment,” IoT analyst Jess Groopman tells me. “We’re talking about 10 per cent or less of adoption among consumers.”

Hence why so many marketers, salesmen and product developers in IoT are obsessing over how to break down the proverbial wall that prevents them from seeing eye-to-eye with their customers.

But what if this is an issue that’s on the verge of being solved for them?

Smart home adoption via the backdoor

“What will drive smart home adoption?” Groopman speculates. “Not necessarily the consumers buying directly. From where we’re standing, a supplier-driven adoption model seems the most feasible one.”

She’s already pointed out to me that, as consumer IoT becomes more advanced, it isn’t the consumers themselves that are paying the most interest – it’s enterprises. Be it the use of wearables to reduce insurance premiums for employees, AR assisting warehouse workers or VR being used to train sales reps, it’s businesses that see the most potential in recent IoT advances that were originally aimed at ‘average Joes’.

Salesforce is a textbook example, optimising their platform for the Apple Watch with future plans to roll it out across other devices – a project likely to blur the lines between consumer and industrial IoT. But enterprises adopting consumer-centric applications as their own is no new occurrence.

“We’ve seen it with social media and with apps like Dropbox and Evernote,” says Groopman. “Employees are people too. This software provides convenience meaning they can work more productively, also increasing employee-to-employee interactions and professional development. As the costs go down and products become more accessible, it’s enterprises that benefit as well as consumers.”

JessGroopmanToo many industrial IoT companies are creating tech for tech’s sake, which is entirely the wrong approach
Jess Groopman, Independent Analyst


Be it progress via cloud, social, mobile or gamification, new features mean new benefits for companies and consumers alike.

Beyond adopting new tech for their own purposes, Jess also believes it’s enterprises that will take responsibility for opening the floodgates of mass smart technology use in everyday households – Emily Tanczyn of Haiku Home suggested the same in her interview with IoT World News.

“Whether it’s a telecoms company giving me a smart router, or an insurance company providing me with a wearable monitoring my health or a device for my car,” Groopman says, “many industries are vying for market share, and looking to capitalise on the smart home market. Telecoms, insurance, energy, retail, existing manufacturers, home contractors – all can make money off the value of these devices.”

Enterprises have consistently demonstrated that they’re quicker to pick up on the potential uses for technological breakthroughs – and why wouldn’t they be, when they’re the ones incentivised to get ahead of competition and achieve cost savings on a day-to-day basis? No wonder they’re also set to be the ones to introduce the same tech to the intended end-user.

Keep it simple, stupid

Just a few months ago, Jess Groopman was heading up research strategy at Harbor Research. She’s since decided to go it alone as an independent industry analyst, with a keen focus on the consumer side of IoT. Customer experience, user interface and data privacy are all fields in which she feels IoT vendors may be falling short.

At best, the majority of IoT end-users feel a slight unease when they think about what’s being done with their data and who might have access to it. But Jess’s own research has demonstrated that the more devices an individual has, the more concerned they become with their own data privacy.

“We’re waking up to the digital world, and realising the fact that we generate data does not mean we own it,” she states.

The new generation of end-users will be less inclined to buy smart products without assurances that their data is in safe hands. The same goes when they will consider providers of services like utilities or broadband, if they learn these companies plan on installing smart products on their behalf.

“Keep it simple, stupid” is another mantra she thinks IoT providers should acknowledge.

“Making a product simple to use is a more effective strategy than good marketing. The design, user experience and interface must all be simple to understand and use.

Access the rest of this article where it was originally posted here.

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