If you were at CES last month, no doubt you would have been immersed in IoT in general and the Smart Home in particular – specifically regarding interoperability, partnerships and innovative business models.
IP&TV News’ Chris Read decided to gather the thoughts of some leading solutions providers and research experts in the ecosystem, to sound them out on one of the key shifts to drive mass adoption of smart living services.He asked:
“What role will partnerships play in developing new business models for mass market adoption in the IoT era?”
Here’s what they told him…
Thorsten Müller, CEO, Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions:Partnerships are key to creating ecosystems and providing customers with the best possible experience in IoT business models. Bosch is already partnering with Philips Hue and others in its smart home system. Mass market adoption of new business models will be strongly supported by attracting application and service developers to an open ecosystem. Bosch is pursuing this approach through several activities e.g. the investment into mozaiq operations GmbH and the Eclipse Vorto project (an IoT Toolset for standardized device descriptions).
Kevin Taylor, EVP, Technology, GfK: From a technology perspective, the industry must standardize on a small number of technologies to connect IoT devices. This is not easy but still incredibly important, as right now the connective technology is all over the map and therefore a distraction. Product companies must either plan for all, thereby increasing complexity and BOM costs, or place bets that might relegate their products to the sidelines.
Also, from a consumer perspective, the industry must overcome knowledge gaps and cost concerns, and partnerships will help dramatically. When it comes to knowledge gaps, what consumers tell us is they are worried about setting up and maintaining Smart Home products. And this is appropriate because it is hard! Someone has to make this easy, and I expect product and service companies to partner to make Smart Home simple. Indeed I believe we will see service providers take a bigger role in setting up, monitoring, and fixing people’s Smart Homes as the space matures. Their product partnerships will create varied offerings that will win consumers over.
Which brings us to cost. Taking IoT to the level of being truly life-changing is not just complex, it is expensive, requiring an almost-simultaneous upgrade of items that typically are replaced once per decade or less. Mainstreaming may require the kind of hardware-with-service packages offered now with smartphones and tablets … but on a much bigger scale. So we look for product, service, and financial services companies to partner to create consumer friendly funding propositions.
Rafi Zauer, Head of Marketing, Essence: Partnerships can generally be divided into two categories: those that enrich the functionality and services of the smart home consumer experience and those that deal with go-to-market channels.
Alliances between whole home platforms and point devices enhance the eco-system and create the necessary value to meet customers’ various but individually specific needs – be they security, energy savings, convenience or prevention of water damage. Partnerships in this area can combine the capabilities of different vendors to create valuable propositions best suited for targeted customer groups Partnerships in go-to-market channels will be critical to IoT’s long-term success. While telcos, security, energy and insurance providers have the volume of subscribers necessary for mass market adoption, attempts thus far have largely come up short. This is where collaboration can add the necessary punch.
While telcos are acknowledged as trusted providers of consumer residential services, they are not a natural fit for home security. Similarly, insurance and utility companies share a profound interest in providing systems that reduce their claims and energy consumption respectively. They are keenly aware that these new services can increase their market share, but they do not possess the necessary technical support capabilities nor are they viewed as trusted providers. This is where collaboration with telcos would create a complementary proposition that would benefit all parties.
No vendor or service provider can provide the entire value proposition required to offer a complete solution or attain mass market smart home proliferation. Strategic partnerships between partners with complementary capabilities and interests are critical.
Smart Home World 2016 provides the premier platform driving the smart home forward from niche prospect to mass market reality. For details, have a look at http://smarthomeworld2016.com/ and hope to see you in London this June (21-22).