Michael Eisner, the former CEO of Disney, once made the case for interesting design by saying, “You have to build it anyway. Why not make it beautiful?” Something similar could be said about consumer devices, since they are being built, why not just make them connected? Of course that all sounds good, but building connected products is not always an either/or proposition. When the opportunity is right, however, there is no doubt that connectivity opens new channels and markets for existing product manufacturers.
Connectivity sets the expectation that products actually improve after initial purchase. This product improvement-in-place feature is enabled by IoT connectivity. Samsung’s CEO said that by 2020 all Samsung devices will come connected. Tesla EV cars and Panasonic cameras already are. So going out of 2016 we expect to see a growing number of companies to transition from connectivity is a premium feature, to become a must have to stay in the game. Why? Millennials will expect their products to improve in place. How? The price of Wi-Fi chips are coming down. Below $3 today, that’s a far cry from $20 just 5 years ago. We’re already seeing Wi-Fi SoCs below one dollar coming out of China. There is no economic or business excuse not to move forward, and 2020 is only four years away.