Cheaper computing power and the ubiquity of technology are making home technology previously considered mundane surprisingly fresh. Consider the following and how they can make life easier for consumers and open a door for retailers to adapt and use them for selling tools.
Smart Doorbell - Everyone has had to make the drive to the sketchy warehouse to pick up the package they missed after 3 missed drop-offs. Doorbot is a doorbell that rings your mobile device when the doorbell button is pushed. The mobile device uses the camera to show a live video feed of the bell ringer at your home. Used in coordination with a compatible wifi enabled door lock, users can actually allow entry to the delivery man in to drop off a package inside the home. Useful for both avoiding that trip and finding a 3 x 4 foot box carefully hidden under your doormat.
Auto Delivery - Volvo is testing a program in Europe to help with the missed delivery problem as well. While you sit in your office, your vehicle lies unused in a parking lot. With the roam delivery service, the shipping location is the location for your Volvo vehicle during certain hours. On request, a single use digital key is provided to the delivery service by Volvo. The delivery service visits the vehicle, uses the one time code to unlock the door and place the item in the car. After delivery the car is relocked, and the code is disabled.
Car Wallet – Automatic provides an adapter that interfaces into a car’s service port (almost any car back to 1996!) and connects to a smartphone app via bluetooth. That connection to the vehicle allows users to leverage automotive data to improve gas mileage, obtain details on trouble lights, and even find a car in a parking lot. A recent update to the platform leverages Apples new Bluetooth 4.0 location based platform. With your vehicle part of that ecosystem, and with partners that develop on it, it’s possible to leverage a car with the automatic platform as a wallet. Your car could be identified and you could pay for car washes, parking or other car oriented transactions. Add in the recent availability of the Automatic channel on IFTTT, and vehicles are becoming a great deal more than transportation.
Appliance Ordering – I mentioned in an earlier post that it’s now theoretically possible to have our washing machines order detergent for us. A designer in the UK has developed the Cloudwash – a washing machine that can order detergent through a smartphone, or even directly from Amazon. Anticipate some single technological clearinghouse for all of our appliance ordering to rule the day. If we don’t have some central tool to keep track of what all these things are doing, there will be a tremendous surplus of laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent on hand in most households – and that’s without the refrigerator getting into the game.
These are only a very few examples of the Internet of Things that are coming into play. It’s still early days for these sorts of technologies, but it is important for retailers to be aware of all of these ideas. There may be a jewel that particularly suits your retail segment, customer base or some other element that could push your business over the top, and it would be a shame to miss a unique differentiator.