Connected Devices – Every Move You Make …

smart devices photoWe have just walked into an age where things connect and communicate with each other.

Take for instance, Samsung’s new refrigerator – going by the name “Family Hub”, the fridge comes with a 21.5-inch display in the door where you can mirror what’s on your TV or stream music. But this is just the beginning. There are cameras inside the fridge that keep tabs on stuff, so it tells you when it’s time to buy milk or eggs!  It will also tell you if something has been in the fridge longer than it should have been. You can buy groceries from the touchscreen! You can search for recipes and the fridge will take you through the cooking process with voice instructions. It comes with software that schedules your day – meetings, weather etc. You can leave sticky notes through the mobile software and let everyone know that you won’t be home for dinner! This fridge doubles up as a control center for all the other connected gadgets in the house – including those from other companies.

There are smart watches. Smart thermostats. Home security systems that can be controlled with mobile phones. Running shoes that can tell when you need a medical once over. Taxi rides that can be tracked. Dolls that communicate with children. Wristbands that track your fitness levels. The list is endless. Add to this, every cell phone call. Every Facebook like. Every credit card swipe. Every page you browse on the internet.

Each one of these creates data. Data about you. Data that can tell anyone who you are, what you like, where you are, what you are doing, etc. While on the one hand, this can make a marketer ecstatic – he finally has the information he has been looking for all along – this is not something that makes many people happy.

Most people have heard of connected devices although some of them do not know what that means. But knowing about these devices does not translate into their adoption. One big constraint is the cost – since connected devices are the new kids on the block, they come with fancy premium price tags. Surveys find that people are not convinced that these devices add any value to the quality of their lives – either by making life easier or by helping them save money. But the biggest concern that most consumers have is the issue of privacy. Everyone is aware of the fact that all these devices generate a tremendous amount of data – private, personal data about them. About their homes and their habits. Data that most people are not comfortable sharing with brands or with companies. While brands are quick to assure consumers that the data will not be used for marketing or sold to other agencies, and will be stored in a secure location, they can be hacked into by unscrupulous hackers.

So while on the one hand, there is great excitement that inanimate objects are getting smarter, the price that one has to pay to enjoy them, is a huge hurdle that brands have to cross. And then, and only then can we see a rapid penetration and adoption of smart devices.

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