IoT and Brand Management

With the Internet of Things, the advantage of doing something first can't come at the cost of doing something foolish.
By Paul Hanson

This means that large corporations are being careful about adopting the IoT. It needs to add value to the user and create a better experience. It also has to preserve or increase market share and/or margins.

There is an inherent conflict between building on a brand legacy and riding the wave of a new concept. Large corporations can be forgiven for treading carefully. With the IoT, the advantage of doing something first can't come at the cost of doing something foolish.

The riskiest part of adding IoT capabilities to existing product lines is the impact it can have on the software and user experience, not on the hardware. The hardware side is relatively simple. The problem most manufacturers face is that they don't understand large-scale system design or user experience. Companies that should know better—Samsung, for example—have had major issues with this.

The worst is yet to come. Badly designed software that clutters our devices and adds noise to our lives will have the effect of distracting us and distancing us from our real environments. This will be the short-term reality of the IoT. Brand consideration means that companies need to think about how the addition of a radio and a microprocessor to a product enhances the user experience. We have a lot of history to show they shouldn't rush in just because it is trendy.

A bad product launch can show that a company is out of touch with its own brand, its customers, and technology. I am a huge fan of what the Internet of Things represents in terms of applied technology, and am convinced that it will be the addition of IoT features to existing products that will ultimately deliver on the early hype. I am also convinced that, as we have seen before, the reality will eventually be pervasive and subtle—we won't remember what all the hype was about, but it will be all around us.

Paul Hanson, CEO and co-founder of bbotx, a startup in the Internet of Things space, has extensive experience in software product development and business development for global businesses. He has led successful startups, including BIDS Trading, a New York-based technology-based financial market. BIDS was sold to a consortium of global banks in 2006, a highly successful exit.

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