Council: Today (19/12/2012) Arrayent announced that Whirlpool Corporation, Pentair, First Alert and SALUS Controls PLC have selected the Arrayent Connect Platform to power their forthcoming connected product initiatives. They join consumer product companies Monster, Mattel, Hunter Fan and Chamberlain/LiftMaster.
Council: Bob, what is Arrayent seeing out in the connected product marketplace?
Bob Dahlberg: "We are seeing a growing number of consumer product companies and retailers that want to gain competitive advantage by acquiring “connected customers”. These market leaders see the opportunity to sell more product directly to customer, app-enable products for incremental revenue, cross promote with partners, leverage their service channels to provide better support service, and feedback consumer use into R&D to design better new products. This trend represents a big shift in thinking that we see is going on with a number of leading consumer brands."
Council: About a year and a half ago I asked you: "Do you foresee entirely new kinds of objects that will be designed with the kind of connectivity that you offer?"
"What we are seeing now is that product managers are just starting to realize is that their product can live outside of its physical shell. Internet connected products can have "virtual features" that are accessed via a smartphone browser. An example is the smoke detector sends an sms to my cell phone, rather than just an audio blast.
A second example is that features can be added overtime, and made available for "up sell".
Council: What are you seeing now in that context?
Bob Dahlberg: "We are definitely starting to see product “appification”. Leading brand owners think that there is competitive advantage in offering apps to their customers that make their products more useful. Home energy management is one example. Cloud-based home energy management companies like EcoFactor and Earth Networks can turn a low cost connected thermostat from Hunter Fan, into everything the Nest Labs’s learning thermostat is, at half the cost. LED light bulb companies can create gift items such as LED lights that synch to Pandora, or learn a home’s weekly lighting patterns and replay them when the home owner is away on vacation."
Council: How do you see GE's attempt to coin 'Industrial Internet'?
Bob Dahlberg: "We believe that the ultimate value of Internet connectivity is to reduce complexity in the endpoints, and move that complexity to the cloud, a high leverage point. From that point of view, GE’s connected jet engine example makes a lot of sense from an ongoing safety and maintenance point of view. Arrayent focuses on the consumer side of the market, where there is little IT system administration expertise, and low cost adder is essential for product adoption. We help our customers push product complexity, like connected product installation process, to the cloud, in essence creating a virtual version of the product in the cloud. From there value can be created much more easily than can be achieved with a traditional unconnected product."