How IoT Will Impact Product Design, Marketplace Expectations


How IoT Will Impact Product Design, Marketplace Expectations

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  April 14, 2015

The rise of the Internet of Things will require businesses to fundamentally rethink how they design, engineer, manage, and operate their products and organizations.

Whether you’re talking about a car, a microwave, or some other device, once it’s connected people will have different expectations as to its longevity and performance, says Tim Hahn, chief architect of connected car and IoT at IBM (News - Alert).

The good news is that connecting devices opens the door to remotely managing and updating them. But how, when, and under what circumstances updates will be done are important questions each device provider will have to figure out internally, he says, and that is likely to require the input and buy in from diverse interests and teams across an organization.

“Software change shall be the norm,” says Hahn, “and motion is not a bad thing. So maybe we should plan for that.”

A couple of best practices related to device application management, Hahn says, are to expect to add features and updates via software and firmware after the initial release of a device, but to make sure there’s a fail-safe mode in case an update doesn’t work as planned. Without the fail-safe mode, he adds, a once useful device could turn into “a brick.” Device companies also need to devise software update release schedules so they can make sure they have the adequate resources in place to support those efforts, he adds.

One positive aspect of the rise of connected devices to product designers and marketers is the ability to try different versions of a product and let the market decide which is best, says Hahn. He adds that this basic concept is referred to as AB testing.

In the IoT world, using different software in two or more versions of a device could allow for variation in functionality or the user interface. The company could release both versions of the device into the marketplace and whichever one generates more money or positive feedback, for example, could move forward. Or perhaps, Hahn says, an organization would decide to keep both versions to meet the needs of different regions or interest groups.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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