iRobot CEO Colin Angle Says The “Consumer Internet of Things Is A Failed Promise.” Really?!

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We recently ran across a video in which iRobot’s CEO and co-founder, Colin Angle, opines, “At this moment in time, the consumer Internet of Things—which is very different from the commercial Internet of Things—is somewhat of a failed promise.” Mr. Colin is not alone in his thinking. We’ve spoken to many consumer product company business leaders who believe the same thing.

But the problem with these type of generalizations is that they overlook the companies that are doing it right and focus on the ones that are doing it wrong. The brands that are doing it right use connectivity to make a better product.

Chamberlain WiFi Garage Door Opener

For example, CHAMBERLAIN redefined home entry forever with a garage door opener that eliminated those nagging U-turns many homeowners experienced ten minutes after leaving to see if they forgot to close the garage door. Not only did their mobile app let them see if the door was left open, it also let them close it remotely. Chamberlain also made home entry forever easier for the 70% of people who enter their homes through the garage.

WHIRLPOOL vastly improved home food storage with a refrigerator that alerted users’ smartphones if the freezer door stayed open more than five minutes— eliminating frosted-over shelves, unsafe meat, and melted ice cream on the kitchen floor in the morning.

PENTAIR improved forgotten basement sump pumps by alerting homeowners if the battery backup was not holding a charge, preventing flooding during a storm-induced power outage.

These are only a few of over 60 ‘better products’ in stores on four continents that have one thing in common: ARRAYENT is the IoT platform behind these brands, enabling them to connect closer to consumers. And when Arrayent engages with consumer product companies, we guide them towards three core design concepts:

  1. Solve a problem consumers care about. Target basic user functionality to make a better product, not merely a connected product.
  2. Make the out-of-box experience a fantastic one. Work hard to ensure the product is easy to unpack, install and use.
  3. Ensure the product is simple to use and works well. There is no 24/7 technician onsite for setup or to make sure all works as expected.

We do agree with iRobot’s Colin Angle that the ultimate goal of connected products should be to “Just live your life and the house does the right thing.” We humbly suggest that focusing on the companies that are already achieving this will let them shine like a beacon to the rest of the consumer IoT world.