I always enjoy going to the Bay Area, and try to do so a few times a year. Sure, the weather (especially in the south part) is much better than where I live most of the year, but I also enjoy going there because of its "energy". No, I don't mean the over-priced electric bills, but rather its creativity/excitement towards new technology.
So, it was quite fitting that as part of the recent IoT World show, there was a section for startup companies who are looking to break into the exciting world that we live in.
One of the great inventions to come out of Silicon Valley was the great movement towards Social Media. It took the Internet to a whole new level and made many people quite wealthy in the process. The reason for the popularity in Social Media, at least in my humble opinion, is its ability to appeal to just about everyone. Ranging from Millennials to the elderly, there is a platform that appeals to you.
I think we need to change that mindset for the world of IoT. We need to find better direction, kind of like this picture...
Please, no more platforms and niche products
It seems to me that everyone is using a little too much "social media" thinking when it comes to IoT. An incredible amount of companies seem to think they have created the best "mouse trap", meaning that they have invented THE platform that will be the de facto standard in the emerging world of IoT. I'm sorry to break it to the vast majority, if not all, of you. You are not going to succeed. This is not social media.....no one is nearly as interested in paying you a monthly recurring fee to use their platform as you think they are.
As well, I don't think we are nearly at the stage where companies need to get as niche in scope as they are. Take Facebook...its success is namely because it quickly expanded beyond its initial scope to include the masses very early on. When your product can only appeal to a very small percentage of the market, you are basically relying on the overall market growing for your company to ever make its way to the desired size. How about starting off a little bigger by appealing to more people?
The Bottom Line
I see the appeal to develop a platform, I honestly do. You just need to focus on adding features while people grow your business at the same time they grow their own. However, I don't suspect that the vast majority of these businesses will be around this time next year. We need companies to find ways to better engage Millennials and Small Business Owners, two large markets that aren't being as well served as they need to be for us to see the growth we all know IoT can have.
*This blog was originally posted May 25th, 2016