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The number one requirement for a connected device these days is that it work on a smartphone. No app? No deal. But also, no problem.

 

At Arrayent, we are always talking with company leaders involved with connected devices. Recently, one of them related an interesting story, one that tells you one of the most important things you need to know about today’s device marketplace.

The company is in the consumer audio business, and has a product that streams digital music around your house. They were talking with a big national retailer about getting stocked on their shelves.

The device maker was smart enough to know that these days, every device need to have a smartphone app. But that statement was truer than they ever imagined. In talking with the retailer, it became clear the product, if it was to be carried by the store at all, would be positioned not as a digital music device, but instead as a “smartphone accessory.”

In other words, having a smartphone app would no longer be a mere afterthought, but was instead the very first thing the retailer would look for.
This is not the sort of thing that any device maker likes to hear. Most companies think that they have a deep connection with their customers, and aren’t merely supporting players in some much bigger arena.

But that is the reality of today’s connected device market. In fact, the market probably needs a new name; something like “smartphone-enabled accessories” might be more accurate.

This observation has implications for the design process. Obviously, the features and benefits of the product, and the way it differentiates itself from the competition, remain important, and will likely be what drives a customer’s final decision, just like before. But all that will be in the context of the product first and foremost being accessible via a smartphone.

Fortunately, making that happen is easier than it ever has been.  Arrayent provide one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle: An easy way of getting your products online, one that by being home network agnostic, eliminates having to worry about what networking technology you choose. We also have partners who work on the other tasks involved with making a smartphone product, such as designing and then coding the actual app.

So that’s the picture: At the very moment that having smartphone connectivity becomes the most important job for manufacturers, help arrives, from Arrayent and others, to make it one of the easiest things for them to do.

By: Shane Dyer, President of Arrayent