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What makes a connected device successful?

More companies are looking to connected devices as the future of the electronics marketplace. Appliances, wearable technology and other connected products are jumping onto the Internet of Things. But what does it take for a connected device to succeed? It's more than just a good idea. The product also has to be useable, forward-thinking and safe.

Works with the smartphone
Right now, smartphones are the device of choice for controlling other connected devices, like lighting, thermostats or fitness devices. That means any connected devices that hit the market should have a good app to go with them. However, as Strategy Analytics pointed out, developers will need to keep an eye out for future trends. One app for each thing makes sense right now, but in the future it may become more difficult for consumers to switch between multiple interfaces all day. In addition, the smartphone may not be the go-to device in the future. It could be smart watches or something else entirely. This usability issue also poses a challenge for larger devices like cars. Which touch point makes sense as a control center for the vehicle's smart attributes? A touch screen inside the car? The key itself? 

"Developers will need to keep an eye out for future trends."

Better experiences
New and successful devices will need to offer richer content and experiences for consumers, Strategy Analytics predicts. Companies will need to think hard about what customers want from their devices and create experiences that exceed expectations. Once customers get used to the idea of controlling the temperature of their fridge from their smartphone or having their fridge text them when they're low on eggs, what will the next disruptive feature be? Maybe it will be a fridge that contacts a shopping service for you when you're out of something and has it delivered to your doorstep. Successful connected device developers will have the creativity to think outside the box and come up with exciting new concepts that thrill consumers.

Monetization strategies
Another subset of user experience is payment for services and software. To increase revenue for connected devices, companies will start coming up with subscriptions, which means coming up with a good strategy to gain paid subscribers. For instance, the free version of your fridge's software may simply let you know you're out of eggs, while the paid version orders them for you.

Are companies making it easy for customers to pay for subscription-based services? Companies will need to make sure the subscription services they offer reduce churn and remove payment barriers for customers at the same time. In an increasingly connected world, customers are going to have little patience for payment processes that aren't user-friendly and intuitive.

"Companies will need to make sure the subscription services they offer reduce churn and remove payment barriers for customers at the same time."

Security
More connected devices means greater opportunities for hackers to access personal information. If consumers thought their data was unsafe this year with all of the retail breaches, the Internet of Things could be a whole new frontier for data security. Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently reported how security company Proofpoint discovered hundreds of thousands of malicious emails being logged by its security gateway, only they weren't coming from PCs. They originated from routers, TVs and refrigerators.

Information leaking from these devices could lead to all kinds of trouble for consumers. For instance, if a thermostat is programmed to turn on when you get home, hackers could use that information to learn of good opportunities to break in. Developers will need to make sure their devices are secure to prevent such information from getting into the wrong hands.

It's an exciting time to be making products, and smart companies can get ahead of the curve now by working on user-friendly interfaces, monetization strategies and security.

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