Over the past few months, it's become clear to me that the battle for the interface is becoming the defining story when it comes to consumer IoT in 2016. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the smart home itself, where many in the industry have realized that if you own the point of interaction with consumers, you will not only own their data, but you will also have significant influence over the bulk of their connected commerce and associated services dollar spend (to read more about smart home monetization, download our complimentary report here).
Exhibit number one in this trend is Amazon, who has dominated the conversation in smart home this year as every company in the space rushes to either integrate or emulate Echo and Alexa. We've written a lot about Echo and Alexa for the past year and a half, so I won't revisit that in this post other than to say Amazon's moves have no doubt accelerated the interest in next-generation interfaces for consumer IoT by at least a year.
But here's where it gets interesting. While everyone is focused on what Echo and Alexa and what they mean for their connected home business, in just the last week Amazon also made it clear their intention to also own the physical interface for consumer IoT with the Dash IoT button.
As I detail in this post yesterday, while many focused on the fact that the Amazon IoT button is for developers, what they missed is that the release of a developer do-anything button signals that Amazon is likely laying the groundwork for a more consumer-friendly version down the road, and with it a resulting push to make the Dash button the connected physical interface for most anything and everything in our lives, well beyond the very focused brand-centric purchase engines that most of us have come to associate with Dash so far. This is huge, and could mean that Dash becomes as big, if not bigger, in impact than Alexa itself.
How so? Because as much as we in technology like to think about the what's next, it's just as important to think about what now with consumers and recognize the long-term ingrained behavior derived from a lifetime of reinforcement. Sure, millennials like touch screens, but even this generation has been pushing buttons for their entire lives. We all have. It's ingrained in our behavior and most of us get some form of physical satisfaction from the simplicity and realness of real buttons (and knobs and other physical interfaces). Button pushing is not going away.
I imagine then if you're Amazon, creating a platform that gives consumers the ability to push buttons to set in motion nearly any action conceivable in their connected world would be pretty powerful wouldn't it?
So that's what their doing if the IoT button is any indication.
Of course, Amazon wasn't first with a do-anything button; Flic and Bttn have been at this longer, but neither have gained any sort of mass market traction that Amazon and Dash can likely create as they move down this path.
Bottom line: 2016 is the year of the IoT interface battle, and it's not all about voice.
Check out this story and others below.
In other news, we release a new report looking at the smart irrigation market, a market we forecast to reach $634 million by 2021. Check out the press release, the report and download a free copy of the executive summary here.
We also announced our first speakers for the Smart Kitchen Summit and we're pretty excited. Check them out here. Early-early bird tickets are available through May 31st, so you better hurry. You can also listen to the Smart Kitchen Show podcast and read our takes on news in the space at the Smart Kitchen Notes blog.
Lastly, you may have noticed a change in the title of our newsletter. We thought since we don't always publish weekly and because we write about more than just smart home, we'd simplify things by calling our newsletter the NextMarket report. Simple and straightforward but still the same great analysis.
On to the news:
Back when Google announced the OnHub router, some suggested it looks a lot like the Echo. As it turns out, it may do more than just look like Amazon's red-hot connected home device. Last week, Recode wrote that Google is hard at work on a Echo competitor code named Chirp. According to the piece, the Chirp will look like the OnHub, but will also have Google's voice virtual assistant embedded in the product. In other words, the company is creating a voice-interface device for the home to take on Alexa and Echo, finally filling what is a glaring hole in their connected home lineup, especially for a company that has been working on voice and virtual assistants on the mobile side for over half a decade. Read More
With Do-Anything IoT Button, Is Amazon Laying Groundwork For The Physical Interface of Consumer IoT?
I must admit, I was pretty excited reading the news of the Dash AWS-powered IoT button. After all, while I've written a lot about how the Dash button effectively demonstrates the power of a singular, simplistic physical interface for IoT, so far Dash buttons have been (purposefully) limited as single-brand purchase machines. But what if Amazon enabled the consumer to use the button to purchase anything or, even better, set into motion any action in their connected home or connected lives? Now that would be something. Read More.
While much of the focus of today's smart home is on increased convenience and safety, the promise of resource conservation and cost savings are equally important long-term benefits of the connected home. Nowhere is this dual-benefit of conservation and cost savings achieved more directly than in a new class of smart irrigation controllers, a market NextMarket Insights forecasts to reach $634 million in end-user revenues by 2021. Read More
A couple weeks ago, everyone woke up to the fact that Google/Nest had ended support for the Revolv hubs (I say woke up because the news had actually been out there for a few months, and it was something I mentioned in February). Nest had acquired Revolv as an acqui-hire move and had kept support going for some time, but eventually decided to end support for the product, the associated cloud and app, effectively bricking the hub. This "bricking" sparked a whole lot of momentary outrage, and the fallout of the Revolv bricking was enough for Google/Nest to relent and offer to make good for consumers who had shelled out hundreds of dollars for their new doorstops. Now when you visit the Revolv website, you'll see that the company is offering refunds of the purchase price for the Revolv. Read More
It’s hard to believe we are five months away from the 2016 Summit - we are still hearing conversations about last year’s event and the partnerships and exciting things that happened as a result. But we’re heading into the summer with a singular focus in mind: create a completely unforgettable smart kitchen event. With that in mind, we’ve started to preview some of the amazing speakers we have lined up the event - folks from diverse backgrounds in culinary, commerce, design and tech who hope to bring their insights to the stage. Read More
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