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M2M and Smart Homes: A Few Lessons

By Carl Ford July 14, 2010
I had a number of discussions yesterday about M2M as it related to smart homes. Many of the companies I spoke with had been doing some primary research and felt that they understood how to get critical mass.

One of the big issues is energy.The smart home is a harder sale than the price of gas would suggest. People are leary of believing that the monies will be saved by giving the Utilities a better billing system. 

Additionally, s
ecurity and alarm systems can add a lot of new features, but the primary value may be in the ability to have a web interface to managing your box.

Which brings us to those other boxes: TV sets. Entertainment is probably the easiest sale for the smart home.

Networking the windows may keep you warm and safe, but connect the TV to a media server and the family sees value. Make a smart phone home app and you will be cool.

Take that system to entertain and bundle it with energy and security. Now you have something people will bring home to hook up.
Once in, if you can use the entertainment system to surf the web and you can also make it the remote control system. You want to do that for three reasons.

1) People are use to controlling Televisions with remote controls;

 2) The web interface is better on a TV;

 3) It's where they have their attention usually (and definitely more that alarm system and the thermostat


But there is one thing that can catch a person's attention at home more than entertainment, and that is health.

Lots of ideas are floating around to enable smart medicine but most of the ideas are about monitoring and managing personal healthcare.

As Jonathan Swift pointed out "in all distresses of our friends, we first consult of private ends."

Add personal health management and you have a market for young and old. As a matter of fact you might find the bundle that increases broadband for the retired form 20 to 60 percent (the general average). 

In October, we are going to have our smart product ecosystem event. It runs in conjunction with M2M and a special first day event yet to be announced. 

Carl Ford is a partner at Crossfire Media.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri

Partner, Crossfire Media

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