How to build a successful smart home products?

19 Oct 2016 | 4 min read

According to Business Insider report, nearly $6 trillion will be spent on Internet of Things solutions and there will be 34 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020. That means 24 billion more than in 2015! The market growth requires smart decisions and smart home solutions too.

Concept, research, and needs

With Apple’s HomeKit launched two years ago and mobile application “Home” introduced during WWDC 2016, we can be sure that IoT market is wide open for innovative solutions and big shots are involved in some serious R&D projects. Craig Federighi from Apple announced that Home app will integrate with  an unlimited range of devices, including locks, fans, sensors, window shades, cameras and much more. Moreover, this solution works with interactive notifications in iOS (smartphones, wearable), so the user will receive a live feedback from home. But why Apple do this?

The answer is very simple – people are worried about their family safety, household and appliances so want to have control from anywhere they want. You might say that it’s nothing new – people always did that. But bear with me on this – IoT, mobile and the Internet put home safety & management to a completely different league – convenient, relatively inexpensive, easy and beautifully designed.

When we want to make the innovation useful for all John Smiths, user experience appeared as one of most challenging issues. It’s not enough to have an awesome idea for business and lot of money for ads. Your solution must be useful and must stand out from the rest. Think about a complex product based on real customer needs, quite cheap to manufacture and available also with free mobile apps, which you can get from Google Play or AppStore. Everything you need is: detailed research, idea and experienced technology partner.

From the user perspective, entering „smart home” to any search engine might be a bit annoying. It’s like finding a drop in the ocean. „Smart home” has almost 34 000 000 results in Google search engine! It is even worse when you want to buy only one device or solution which will provide you home automation and security. The user must choose between Samsung, Amazon, Philips, Apple, your solution and many others. That’s why your product must be perfect and your product strategy can’t finish on the product itself – remember about a well-prepared launch, marketing strategy and best practices in communications.

IoT means expanding to new markets

According to the same Business Insider report, B2B market will grab IoT solutions with both hands. It very likely that IoT will bring along new markets, more money and increase productivity.

After years of experiences, I’m gonna sound like most of the innovators, we recommend MVP (Minimum Viable Product) idea as the best way to create a new solution and test it on real users.

If you don’t want to lose your money just follow simple rules in MVP processing:

  • create a version of a new product which allows you to collect the maximum amount of validated information about customers with the least effort
  • prepare pre-launch
  • get feedback about your solution (what should be improved, talk about advantages, disadvantages technical issues).

When your team will receive viable information, just make re-think, re-design of your idea, implement new features and prepare the next pre-launch. Constant learning, completeness of the solutions on most important devices, testing, evaluation, regular estimation of time and cost – these are inevitable tools to your success story.

Moreover, MVP idea has one more enormous advantage: you can build a community around your product – your non-paid representatives, whisperers, solution evangelists before you’ll launch your product globally.

It is hard to imagine and introduce something unique nowadays, especially in smart industries. Quite possible that someone already thought about it earlier. But should it keep you from trying? Many mentors used to say, that your success starts in your head. Sounds lame? Well, think where we would be if all inventors have quit their ideas before even trying.

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