Insight

The Internet of Things Has No Face

by Jason Ocker

It’s fun to talk about the Internet of Things (IoT). Mostly because of, you know, the word “things.” But also because it has the potential to change every object we interact with in life and therefore the very way we interact with life itself. That’s a big topic, so it’s interesting to see where the current discussion around IoT hits and misses. I did a quick Google News search and, in the media, there are four basic discussion threads:

  1. What the hell is IoT?

  2. IoT is hard to accomplish/impossible to secure/transformative.

  3. Every company wants a slice of IoT, even when they’ve no execution strategy.

  4. Consumers are still slow in accepting proto-IoT devices in their home (Echo, Nest, Dax and Kristen’s refrigerator).

However, what was never mentioned in the pages and pages of Google News that I swiped through, was the fact that IoT needs a face. And that’s not good. See, just as important as figuring out the practicals of adoption and security and monetization is prioritizing the user experience (UX).

Because, in the end, what IoT is really doing is creating a massive influx of new experiences, whether that new experience is with your waffle maker or across a fleet of trucks or embedded in the infrastructure of a city. That means the most common and most important interaction your customers will have with your company (and its brand) will be through an interface.

That interface will be your brand.

So the opportunity is huge for shifting and tightening the relationship with your customer, but the risk is also as great, since the dangers of a bad experience grow exponentially with every connected device and could wipe out all the success companies are looking for with IoT in the first place.

UX just can’t be ignored in IoT. It’s vital for adoption, for expanding your brand, for engaging customers, and for differentiating among competition. IoT doesn’t merely offer the promise of some new, better remote control. It offers the promise of a new, better experience. So you better have one.


Jason writes. Tells stories. Develops strategies. He oversees a wide range of creative and technical projects. He’s also an award-winning author of half a dozen books and has been featured on or in CNN, The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, The New York Times, and TIME.

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