Companies Entering your Home through Hidden Data Hubs

iu-8A few days earlier, while writing this blog, people were full of excitement and anticipation for the new Apple event that was to be held on September 9th. The much anticipated release of the new iPhones (will it be smarter, faster and potentially bigger), the public release of iOS 9, and the revealing of the secrecy around Siri. Don’t know whether you tried to have Siri reveal her secret to you, I did…… but to no avail.

The most important release will probably be the new Apple TV. Rumours already gave us insights in a doubling of the price, as well as a large increase in the size of the Apple TV console.

First ideas went in the direction of a full Apple Store functionality on the TV and thereby probably a severe rival for the game consoles of Sony and Microsoft. I tested this idea with my sons who are 12 and 15 years of age. The youngest one was not convinced; he truly believes that you cannot play FIFA15 (soon to be replaced with FIFA 16) other than on a PlayStation. The older one has a more economical approach. “Dad, I would rather suffer a bit of user experience and be able to buy 10 games, rather than 1 game for the additional performance or graphics”.

Time will tell whether Apple can become a real competitor for the main play consoles, like they have become for the handheld consoles.

The real interesting topic behind the release will be the potential entry of Siri and the Internet of Things into the living room. With a bigger console, there is a big change that Siri will become part of our living room as well. Talking to the device rather then controlling it with your remote control (which was a real flaw in the current top-box). The good thing will be that we can ask much more stuff, we can control things with our voice and probably therefore will provide much more information to the machine then we did before.

This will be further strengthened by the homekit connectivity and the trend I foresee that we will connect more and more items in our daily life to the hub in our home.
Is this an issue? Not per se. But with the connectivity streamed through the hub, there is a potential for the one that controls all to get insights in our life, from which we do not yet realise the consequences.

Let’s consider: I will browse stuff through Siri, give confirmation of a purchase to Siri, pay through Siri (probably our voice will be considered a unique validation for us, therefore the way of keyless payments). Combining this with how often I switch off the light, change my temperature, etc. can give some very interesting insights.

Will this be a threat? Perhaps not with Apple, since they clearly stated that they want to have this kind of information on the device, not through their web services. A clear statement they probably made to differentiate against Google through which these kinds of services all go through their powerful services.

But Apple is not alone. Also Google’s OneHub must not be considered as a standalone product to improve our wireless capabilities in the home. This is also their hub of Internet of Things and Google Now will play a great role in it. The same goes for Amazon’s Echo. A very slick device which I even want just for the design, but a potential entry for Amazon to get insight in my daily life and connect this to their marketing machine.

This sounds a bit creepy and I am definitely not one who will predict the end of the world. It’s just that I want everybody to be aware of the potential behind it, both from the positive and the negative points.

There are some very positive lessons coming from these devices where other business can take advantage from:

  1. A great UI will overcome other hurdles. It is the design and ease of use from these devices for which we will forgive a lot!
  2. Provide a breadth of services. It is no longer a standalone, one function device, it has possibilities in a lot of different areas
  3. Combined services provide more ease to the consumer
  4. Ease of integration will do the rest.

Who the winner is in this race and who provides the best answer to the consumer, I really don’t know. That is a new field where business can learn from, but perhaps as a partner I also can tap in, I am sure of that!

Listen to my podcast recorded as Episode 3 in the ‘Data and the Hunch’ series, brought to you by Capgemini Expert Connect.

Interested in discussing more? Follow me on Twitter @fwammes

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