What important problem are you trying to solve with the Internet of Things?

Gigaom how will the internet of things make money

Connected devices are nothing without a service, so where is the service? There are plenty of connected devices out in the market today, from Fitbits (see disclosure) to garden sensors that use a home’s Wi-Fi network to tell you when to water your plants. But the key to building out a true internet of things experience isn’t in being able to connect devices to the web, but building a service based around that connectivity

This GigaOm article discusses the importance of services before connected devices create value but I get the feeling it’s taken the wrong starting point: defining an important problem that people are prepared to pay for.

Where’s the need for a dedicated motion sensor when we all have mobile phones that have already cannibalised the camera, personal music player, calculator, etc, and millions of senior citizens in markets like Japan already have pedometer apps running on their easy to use mobiles?

Doesn’t anyone who has plants that need watering know they have watering needs? What’s wrong with the calendar/alarm feature on their mobile phones?

Instead of talking about sensors that don’t make much sense to most people I think it’s interesting to look at how the value proposition changes when we look at more important sensors eg. a mobile connected smoke alarm that can wake a patient (via a connected vibrating wristband), text a carer when the battery needs changing (helpful if you live independently and can’t reach the ceiling or climb a ladder), send a timely text to the local fire service with helpful information (for example in addition to your smoke alarm being triggered you’re an independently living COPD patient with mobility needs and you store gas cylinders in your lounge).

Samsung Galaxy Tab Mobile Connected Smoke Alarm Demo

About David Doherty

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