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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.

He knows I’m interested in internet enabled things as I’ve written a few posts before about what to expect and about why everyone is so fascinated by the IoT.

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. 

Ben Davis

Published 29 January, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Deputy Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (10)

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Maryrose Lyons, Founder at Brightspark Consulting

Have you seen this? http://getgoldee.com/ Apart from a sensational looking website, it's also incredibly smart.

over 3 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Deputy Editor at EconsultancyStaff


Just scrolling through is as relaxing as mood lighting. Looks like it works with Hue, too.

The only problem with these, as Andrew pointed out, is that the lightbulbs will be prohibitively expensive for many (if the extra router isn't).

I can see it being used by the rich gadget fans first but eventually catching on with a wider audience.

Philips is pioneering energy saving for businesses by 'leasing' lighting and taking care of the energy bill, leaving the incentive with Philips to reduce the bill and save energy, whilst collective your monthly payment.

I'd love to see this combine with something like Hue in the home, though it may be only sensible for big properties.

over 3 years ago


Maryrose Lyons, Founder at Brightspark Consulting

@ben I like the sound of that... Philips is so ahead of the curve.
Good article - even if it does make me weep a little (dealing with Irish utility co's).

over 3 years ago


John Pugh

These are great, but what is more interesting is the things that actually DO something.

Most of the talked about IoT endeavors today are just fancy monitoring devices that feed your personal data back to a central repository for targeted advertising.

What is coming that isn't being talked about is your heater is turned on to a comfortable setting, the outside lights are turned on (if it's dark), and if there is anyone home, they are alerted when you are xx km from your home.

Percepscion has a device that is the beginnings of personal power management at the grid. Imagine turning on your washing machine and it notifying you that the rates for this load will be less if you wait for 1.5 hours - shall I program that for you? Or if you set your thermostat at 26C you will save x and I'll put it at 25C in 1 hour when the rates are lower.

Your house can be smart, but the current scenario of "things" are not automating anything today but the removal of $ from your bank account.

over 3 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Deputy Editor at EconsultancyStaff


Yep, this is indeed interesting.

Certainly IoT through smart meters is already in use to help budget for power usage in places like California where rates vary as you describe.


Lots to look forward to.

over 3 years ago


Matt Lovell, Head of Customer Insight at Jack Wills

Really nice. It feels almost Wallace and Gromit like in an attempt to remove any mundane activities so that you can otherwise relax.

Here's to hoping they're reliable though or you could find yourself being woken up by blinding lights and 45 degrees heat at 4 in the morning!

over 3 years ago


Neil Campbell, SEM Specialist at Personal

Whilst I can see the value of Hue for business premises I fail to see the point domestically. I really don't have a problem turning lights on and off. If I want to watch a film in the dark would I then have to undo it?!

over 3 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Deputy Editor at EconsultancyStaff


Think you can still knock them off. You're right, in my pokey studio flat there'd be no point.

over 3 years ago

Malcolm Duckett

Malcolm Duckett, CEO at Magiq

Nice Ben,

However, being a geek I could not help noticing that the penultimate journey in the Direct Line screenshot appeared to have been completed at an average speed of 114.33MPH (101 miles in 53 minutes).... does the app also print your speeding tickets? (or maybe it was a demo!)


over 3 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Deputy Editor at EconsultancyStaff


Love to say I was using the app, perhaps on holiday between German cities, wearing driving gloves, but it's straight from the app store.

over 3 years ago

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