The emergence of something more
R2-D2 is no longer science fiction. Talking devices, sensors, thinking systems, self-driving cars and drones have entered real life. Entire consumer categories including fitness, health care, automobiles and the home itself are now creating the consumer Internet of Things. We find ourselves in the midst of widespread, global deployment of universal connectedness. Smart devices will lead to innumerable changes in the ways that consumers experience everyday objects. Products that have had a clear historical identity will become “something more” than they have always been. The door lock, which served to prevent strangers from entering our home when we are away, now also serves to allow trusted people to enter our home and put away our groceries when we are not there! This change in the lock’s identity will necessarily lead to a parallel change in consumer experience. While a consumer’s experience of the lock was previously one of having a dependable guard that provided a sense of security, consumer experience of a smart lock could, instead, shift to a feeling of working with a trusted partner that enables rather than prevents access.
We believe that such scenarios will be replicated again and again in countless contexts in the smart home. Common household objects, such as a toaster or a refrigerator, can become active partners in interaction. Previously unrelated devices, such as a door lock, a security camera and household light bulbs, will work together as an assemblage. In the process they will be able to create experiences that none of these devices could do on their own. The scope of these changes challenges marketers and consumers alike.