Amazon recently announced it’s latest product: the Echo Look. It’s essentially an Amazon Echo with a built-in camera. With the Echo Look, you can take photos of your outfit choices. The device uses machine learning to compare your different outfit choices and can advise you on which one to wear.
Despite the fact that I’m not ready to hear a connected product tell me that my outfit doesn’t look good on me (I have my mother for that), this is a novel idea. It’s also a sign of things to come in the connected product space.
Whether it’s rethinking products that we already use (washers, dryers, security systems, kettle) or coming up with products to solve problems we didn’t know we had like the Echo Look, we’ve just scratched the surface of the impact that Smart Home devices will have on our day-to-day lives. Not every connected device will succeed, but the space will keep innovating and will come up with products that will change lives. We poke fun at connected toasters, toothbrushes, and refrigerators, but if I can’t watch Netflix on my connected TV it’s no laughing matter!
Gartner predicts there will be 20-50 smart home products in each home by 2020. With this prediction in mind, network service providers are preparing to support and innovate as the wave comes. (We’ve got a great post on the changing Wi-Fi landscape here.)
On top of creating innovative features, product manufacturers are focusing on the #1 indicator of a product’s success: initial setup. As we’ve discussed in many posts, a large percentage of customers fail to connect their products to Wi-Fi. So, what’s the worst that happens? Product companies lose revenue on increased support calls, increase in product returns, and the opportunity cost of lost sales due to bad online reviews. Customers are unhappy with the setup challenges and consequently with their overall experience with the product.
As consumers purchase more Smart Home devices, this hurdle of the terrible initial setup is magnified. Failing to connect a device once is very inconvenient. But imagine having to jump that hurdle with 3, 4, 5 or more products (remember we’ll have 20-50 connected products in less than 3 years). It would put off any mainstream consumer from investing in additional connected products.
(By the way, if you’re interested in improving your product, Cirrent has a solution to solve the initial setup problem.)
If you’ve seen the 90’s classic, Clueless, you’ll know that a digital wardrobe assistant is a dream of many of the movie’s fans and I might be one of them. Amazon’s Echo Look could succeed or fail, but it is a sign of the quickly growing Smart Home space and the changes that product companies and network service providers will need to accommodate quickly.