What's the Most Important Feature for a Connected Product?

Published by Rob Conant March 17, 2017

 

Hint: It's not price, features, or design. 

It's Ease of Use.

That's right. In their seminal study on the Internet of Things, Accenture found that the #1 buying criteria for connected products is ease of use. Before people buy connected products they talk with their friends, read online reviews, and ultimately make their buying decision based on ease of use.

Ease of use is even more important that features & functionalities. People just do not want to buy products that are hard to manage. They don't want to be IT managers for their "smart" products. They want the products to work for them! accenture-ease-of-use.png

Connected Products Are Not Easy To Use

But that's not what they're getting. Today's connected products are anything but easy to use. Even those companies with an intense focus on user experience tell us that Wi-Fi is their biggest support and returns issue, and Accenture found that fully 83% of customers have trouble with their connected products. 

And the data backs this up. argus-reviews.png

Argus Insights did a study of more than a quarter million connected product reviews, and found that nearly 40% of the negative reviews were associated with connectivity and initial setup issues. The other issues tend to be very product specific ("who chose that color?") or not product related ("damaged in shipment"). The two biggest issues by far are issues that affect everyone in the industry, and ultimately have held back the entire market for connected products. 

And until recently, the issues just weren't fixable. 

Does It Matter? Yes!

Most product comapnies are driven by hard, measurable facts. The bottom line. Dollars and cents.  

And more and more, companies are focusing on ease of use. 

Why? Because ease of use hits the bottom line.amazon-stars.png

More than ever before, users can express their frustrations about products, and this can directly impact other customer's buying decisions. Online reviews are one of the best indicators of product success. Ease of use directly maps to customer satisfaction which is reflected in online reviews, and connects right to the bottom line: profit. 

With setup and connectivity being so problematic for connected products and causing so many negative customer reviews, it's not a surprise that most connected products have a bimodal distribution of customer ratings. Many people love the product, but a surprising number just hate it, giving one and two star reviews.  

These negative reviews have a disproportionate impact on customer buying behavior, and ultimately relegate many connected products to early adopters. 

Simplifying Wi-Fi Onboarding & Eliminating SoftAP

The challenge for product companies is that they cannot fix this by themselves -- there are fundamental challenges of Wi-Fi for browserless products that make them difficult to connect. By partnering with large internet service providers and router manufacturers, Cirrent has been able to change the landscape for Wi-Fi connected products to simplify the onboarding and management of these products.  By doing this Cirrent helps product companies make their products easy to use and free users from being IT managers for their products.  

Cirrent developed ZipKey to dramatically simplify the Wi-Fi onboarding process, to eliminate the complexities of Soft AP, and to simplify connectivity and management of connected products over their entire lifecycle. ZipKey is compatible with all modern Wi-Fi chips, can be easily added to existing products, and makes connected products easy enough to use for mainstream customers.  

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