I am subtitling this post, ‘products become services, services become transparent’.
Econsultancy researcher Andrew Warren-Payne sent me a list of internet of things developments, products that have emerged over the past year and are now available.
I’ve tried to keep the discussion rooted to what marketers need to know about IoT. It’s easy to get carried away talking about fridges that know when you’ve run out of milk but realistically there’s no demand for that. It won’t be happening any time soon.
But what will be happening is the gradual transition from one-off purchases where the customer is never to be seen again. This will transition to services, where a customer’s purchase ‘talks’ to the store or manufacturer and a relationship is established throughout the product lifecycle.
Whether it be refills, repairs or upgrades, the seller can keep in touch to potentially make you a more loyal and valuable customer.
Additionally, customers will be able to demand accuracy and transparency from many service providers, as internet enabled devices afford greater data analysis, or life-logging. Cost-saving could be a major benefit, for consumers and suppliers.
So what are these emerging products Andrew has spotted?
ADT Pulse for home automation
The connected home is a big part of the IoT we’re all eagerly anticipating (for good or bad).
ADT Pulse is home automation that focuses mainly on security such as locking and unlocking doors, arming alarm systems and receiving security alerts.
It also allows for lighting and thermostat control if fully installed and starts at around $60-$80 per month.
Products include motion sensors, door and window sensors and a central panel that runs off a tablet.
Hive Active Heating
I’ve started seeing posters advertising Hive on the Underground. It’s here and it helps customers reduce costs by allowing heating control via smartphone.
British Gas is advertising projected savings of £150 a year for customers who install Hive. This page provides a handy list of everything the customer will need for installation, including broadband and a mobile and up to date web browser.
It costs £199 and British Gas has also launched a sub-brand called Mobile Energy.
The ME app allows you to check your bill and split it with housemates, among other things.
DrivePlus from Direct Line
DrivePlus is one example of a telematics service, offered by Direct Line.
Telematics is used to gauge how a customer drives and allows the insurer to tailor its prices depending on how safe you are.
One in five new Direct Line motor policies with drivers aged under 25 now includes telematics according to the Direct Line website.
Direct Line’s DrivePlus app measures GPS detail such as acceleration, speed and cornering. After 200 miles, drivers receive an average score.
Philips Hue for lighting
Philips Hue allows you to link up to 50 light bulbs to your smartphone app, via the Hue bridge which connects to your property's wireless router.
You can use GPS to programme bulbs to turn on or off depending on your proximity to a building.
Even cooler, you can set ‘scenes’ with different colour hues and save these for different moods, turning them on from your smartphone. Amazing stuff and available now.
CarePass by Aetna
CarePass links with fitness services (e.g. FitBit, Jawbone UP) to help people achieve fitness goals.
As it’s developed by Aetna, a health insurer for businesses, the service could be used to reduce premiums, in much the same way as telematics.