Why making machines talk is good for the whole planet

CEO Blog | 20 Jul 2011

Whether it’s described as Domotics or Home Automation, the very notion of remote management of consumer & domestic appliances can send shivers down the spines of some people… whilst it is seen as a positive and logical – even evolutionary – step by others.

To some it conjures up notions of robots taking over and information being held by large faceless organisations.

It’s worth noting however that this technology is already here today! You’ll find it in aeroplanes, ATM’s, smartphones, cars, satnavs and many other sensor-rich machines. These are all benefits – right?

Genkiosk devices talk

Living in a Googled world raises issues of privacy that our generation has to try to come to terms with – deciding what is acceptable and what is not.

Add to this the fact that the World Wide Web as we know it could split into “AOL” style firewalled social communities in the near future, there is some mileage in exploring where all this is going. Goliaths like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple are pioneers in their fields. There are tactical advantages in creating sticky content that keeps eyeballs focused on their content (as opposed to a competitor’s).

Most machines aren’t seen to be as “sexy” in terms of how consumers interact with them because they are largely passive and silent. However this is likely to change within the current decade.

In the not so recent past, people would rent (not buy) a television, or washing machine and so on. Why? Because the cost was so high and an engineer was often needed to keep the thing working. Mass production, shared architecture and richer societies have since enabled many consumers, especially in the West, to own their own machines. However it’s all a bit of an illusion. And this is why-

If you buy a washing machine and use it a lot, it’s fair to say it will be defunct within 5 years – and anyhow it wouldn’t fit in with the new generation of even smarter, greater capacity, more powerful successors.

Google logo new year

Now imagine a world where an engineer comes out to your home and – under the rental plan – replaces consumables, reinvigorates its appearance & recycles all unusable parts responsibly. This is a utopia in Residential Responsibility which would be so compelling that it would likely change the face of machine ownership. Just like Google has changed the way we use the Internet. Sure it’s transitionary– everything in life is depending on where you are looking from. But the big win here is the stickiness mentioned earlier whereby the customer is loyal because their utility needs are taken care of.

This logic can be applied to many other machines such as computers, phones, media & entertainment and kitchen & utility devices. Rental makes so much sense in the real world because machines then can have a chance to be used as efficiently as possible for as long as possible whilst creating super-loyal consumers..

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