The light bulb revolutionized the American home life, bringing all-new levels of safety (no need for dangerous candles), security, and usability. While there have been advances over the years (energy-efficient bulbs, motion sensor lighting, timers), not much has significantly changed since home lighting became widespread. Now IoT promises to create another revolution in lighting, bringing previously impossible efficiencies and capabilities to every home, apartment, and commercial building.
While there has been an ongoing ‘battle for the living room’ among media companies (essentially who will dominate consumer content), there is an even greater competition to outfit the smart home. Advances in IoT technology have created a lucrative scenario where any appliance, even electric toothbrushes, is fair game for smart enablement. And the low barriers to entry and massive, untapped home/apartment marketplace mean tremendous opportunities for providers, large and small.
In this blog we’ll look at the most mundane of chores, getting clothes clean, and how IoT is redefining how people do laundry.
The moving industry (commercial and home delivery) has had a mixed reputation for delivering on promises, with both great companies and a lot of bad ones. Most complaints revolve around broken items, missed schedules, and unexpected charges. IoT can remedy a lot of these issues, and create a new level of trust between buyer and mover. In fact, movers who employ IoT solutions give themselves an immediate competitive edge over traditional solutions.
People don’t just like their pets, they love them. The American pet market reached $66.75 billion in 2016 and shows no sign of slowing down. Research consistently shows people consider their pets part of the family, and often will spend more on their pets than they do on themselves. Countless industry stories bear this out. For example, the late actor Dick Van Patten—a fixture in Hollywood for decades—said no acting gig paid as well as his dog food company did. Controversial dog trainer Cesar Milan has gained global celebrity recognition equivalent to an A-list actor. And recently one innovative company has introduced a red carpet ‘lounge’ for pets waiting for airline flights, even horses.
IoT-enabled devices gradually are becoming an integral part of home life, and nowhere is that more evident than in the kitchen.
The U.S. market for do-it-yourself yard and garden care is worth nearly $37 billion a year, and is growing at a steady pace. Led by millennials—soon to be the largest spending group in America—and a renewed interest in homegrown food, this burgeoning marketplace is ripe for IoT innovation. Modern green thumbs are more averse to using pesticides and other ‘non-natural’ garden aids than their predecessors, especially when it comes to growing their own food. And most casual gardeners, representing the bulk of consumers, often don’t have the time or energy needed to constantly maintain their investment. They either hire a gardener or tend to the garden when they can, risking loss. These market factors—green thinking and casual gardening—plus other industry drivers dovetail perfectly with what IoT can offer.
The American toy industry is worth more than $22 billion annually, and virtually every sub-segment is ripe for IoT innovation. The demand for smart toys is there, thanks to a combination of tech savvy households, Hollywood creations, youth consumer trends, and the prevalence of smart appliances and devices (Amazon Echo). The current generation of children is accustomed to—and expects—‘intelligent’ playthings. This shift in expectations has caused a steep decline in some traditional toys (such as model trains), and forced others (such as dolls) to adapt. The good news is this paradigm shift isn’t simply tech for tech’s sake—smart toys offer significant benefits beyond being, well, toys. And that can enhance your bottom line.
Operating a restaurant always has been a risky undertaking thanks to significant overhead costs, slim profit margins, unpredictable diner tastes, high staff turnover, and a variety of other factors. Sometimes entire sectors can enter an unforeseen downward spiral, such as the current decline of fast casual chains (Olive Garden, Chili’s, Applebee’s, etc.) that once were a safe revenue bet. Even trendy gourmet restaurants with glowing reviews and lines out the door are vulnerable. Research shows that once their ‘flavor of the month’ appeal wears off, diners look elsewhere to eat.
In the cutthroat restaurant business, the customer is king (or queen), a fact proving especially true in the age of social media where bad service can go viral instantly. But attracting and, ultimately, keeping loyal diners is harder than it has ever been. This is where IoT innovations can play a big part.
The internet did a lot to democratize marketplaces and extract substantial efficiencies from ongoing operations. Requiring only a minimal investment, anyone potentially could create a successful business, especially if they leveraged large distribution channels, such as Amazon or eBay. Yet for all the technological advances, many businesses still suffer from relatively high operating expenses due to the analog nature of existing infrastructure—a sensor can generate an alert that a pipe is leaking, but a maintenance worker has to do the rest. Entering such a traditional marketplace, with its high barriers to entry, would normally be fraught with risk.