I was talking to a customer the other day and while I was trying to keep the conversation as non-nerdy as possible, it just was impossible. The setup that he required was quite doable but there were a lot of moving parts and it got a little confusing. While he understood the solution (and the ROI it brought) at the end, he said to me, "It would be great it if was as easy as hitting a light switch, but I guess we are not there yet".
Actually, we kind of are...
I was doing some work around the house (setting up my gym in the extra garage spot) and started thinking how it would be great if there was a way to start my space heater in advance (as it can be a bit cold out there during a Calgary winter!). While there were a lot of heaters on the market that had smartphone apps, I already have a pretty good heater and did not want to buy a new one.
Enter Quirky's Pivot Power Genius and actually, it is kind of genius by allowing you to control up to two different ports using your smartphone. So, I can turn on my heater in advance to ensure that the first few minutes on the rowing machine aren't quite as cold. While there are many other "smart" devices (including some offered by Quirky, who have some cool devices I must say), they generally tend to come at a premium to "dumb" devices, a premium that most people are not willing to pay yet. As well, if you have a fully functional device, many people have no intention of upgrading to a new device for a while.
By giving you a basic control over these devices (not total control, mind you, but the ability to turn them on/off), this allows for a lot of compelling applications for the home and business owner. So, for me, I use it do things such as starting my slow cooker remotely, turning on lights and starting my block heater on my car (for those of you who live in warm places, these are the plugs that you see in parking lots in cold weather climates....no, those plugs were not to plug your iPhone in while you were waiting!)
To be clear, I am sure that there are other similar products out there (I know that Belkin has something as an example). As well, the delta between what a "smart" appliance costs and what a “traditional” appliance costs is starting to fall, so this product may not be needed by as many things in future.
IoT will succeed in the consumer space if it shows value and is easy to install/use. I think these products do both of those things. It solves some simple issues that we all have…in a simple manner…and at a relatively low price. It is also a flexible enough solution that it will find mass appeal to just about any household. Sometimes, it is the simplest solutions that make the most sense.
Disclosure - Novotech and I have no relationship with any company/product mentioned.