Over the last few years, the phrase Internet of Things has entered common discussion in many areas. Companies are working on the application of an Internet connection to many things around consumer and business properties. This has created a maelstrom of new technologies ranging from the ‘any old iron’ ideas of screens on refrigerators to including sensors all around your house telling you what your power usage is, what the temperature is etc. Much money is being sunk into these products by early adopters because of ‘wants’ – the want to fiddle and play around with cool technology. One thing though that seems to be missing is the fulfilling of ‘needs’ – things that the wider population actually need to have solved, rather than want to have solved. For this I go back to a definition of a product:
A good, idea, method, information, object or service created as a result of a process and serves a need or satisfies a want. It has a combination of tangible and intangible attributes (benefits, features, functions, uses) that a seller offers a buyer for purchase. For example a seller of a toothbrush not only offers the physical product but also the idea that the consumer will be improving the health of their teeth.
You can see the reference the ‘want’ and the ‘need’. After much discussion with many parties, I have come to the conclusion that not one IoT product actually satisfies a ‘need’, only ‘wants’ and until there are products that satisfy ‘needs’ the IoT world will never hit mainstream and the bubble will pop.
I use this post therefore as a request to anyone reading this – do you know of an IoT product that you believe satisfies an actual ‘need’? If you do then tell me about it here or on twitter at @iannock. Somehow I expect to be underwhelmed.