I guess I wasn’t the only one sitting in front of my laptop watching the Apple keynote last week. And I wasn’t the only one drooling over the Apple Watch. I love gadgets – thankfully I live in the right decade. This is not just the decade of gadgets – this is the decade of the connected gadgets.
In the industry we are no strangers to terms like M2M, Internet of things and connected devices, but what happens when Apple enters the stage and takes a step right into everyone’s living room? I doubt it’s coincidence that Apple enters at a time when Fitbit and the likes have taken us early adopters and innovators, enabling Apple to take us across the chasm into the tornado.
However the gadgets alone are not enough. A big value comes from the ecosystem, an ecosystem that ties it all together and makes it useful. Services that integrate the gadgets with useful applications and the ability to share the experience with others will be in huge demand. We’re flock animals with a big urge to share and feel that we belong and we do it by connecting our devices everywhere, all the time, and at high speeds.
What will all these connected devices mean to services providers? How will it impact the network? Not much, I think. At least not compared to the business opportunity it represents. People adding an iPad to the smartphone and laptop bundle created an upsell opportunity. Now we see an explosion in number of connected devices per capita that either connect directly or through the phone. Even more of the entertainment budget will migrate over to connectivity and the App Store. Service providers must make sure they enter the ecosystem understanding the value they provide and how they will get compensated for it. It starts with understanding the user behavior and it ends with seamless charging and built-in security that minimizes the barrier for users to fulfill the purchase in a safe way.
In my predictions for 2014 I assumed that connected devices would take off faster than most expected. I didn’t explicitly say that Apple would enter the stage in a grand way and I didn’t really know what to expect. But of course they did and they’re not alone. That’s probably the most exciting aspect of connected devices, because new innovate products can get funded, hit the market and gain traction virtually overnight. Kickstarter has totally changed the game. It actually allows the best products to win and be available at a reasonable price through creating a demand from like-minded people. I feel the adrenaline pumping when I see products like Myo from Thalmic Labs (you have to check it out on YouTube) and Jet from Recon Instruments. Awesome, right?
So, will I buy the Apple Watch? Hell yeah! And what I’ll love about it is that I can also use it to shop with Apple Pay, track all my activity in the Apple Health App, and ping my friend in Madrid, because I’m online. Long live the gadgets. Long lives the ecosystem. Long live the network. Long live the connected society!
Topics: Expert Insights