Turning Physical Products Into Digital Information Services
Andy Hobsbawm, Founder & CMO of EVRYTHNG, views today’s digital innovation pace as an astonishing one. However, despite the Web, smartphones and social networks have rooted deeply in our everyday lives, most of the physical products around us are still “essentially dumb” and “unconnected”. Andy believes it is high time now to close the gap between the physical and digital worlds: physical products should catch up, go online and become “as clever as Google, as immediate as Twitter, as informative as Wikipedia, as social as Facebook, as personal as Amazon and as entertaining as YouTube”. And this is already starting to happen. For example, Nike+ (that has been created by AKQA) currently has 5 million users who connect their trainers to the Web to compare running performances.
According to Andy Hobsbawm, the physical products will be useful and desirable when they come supercharged with diverse dynamic digital features and services. This process will be even more intense now when technological “building blocks” such as Wi-Fi and 3G, Cloud infrastructure, NFC and RFID technologies have “passed the tipping points in terms of cost”.
But today’s real game-changer is a smartphone and the way it has already transformed consumer interaction.
“We don’t necessarily need our real world things to be directly connected, when the Web interface in our mobile devices provides the network access and intelligence. Smartphones can act as a hub, or microcosm of the web itself,” says Andy Hobsbawm.
Sharing his futuristic outlook, Andy says that physical products will ship with ultra-low-cost “smart tags” such as NFC or 2D bar-codes to be easily readable by smartphones. In June 2012, 5.3 million product bar-codes were scanned by a smartphone. Hundred twenty scans occur every minute, which marks a five-fold jump from 2011. By 2016 60% of all phones in Europe and North America are expected to be NFC compatible.
As such, all consumer products will be fully personalized in the near future. When purchasing a new product, buyers will first of all check in to it in order to identify themselves via APIs like Facebook and claim a physical possession and ownership of the product. Such a personalized approach will allow manufacturers and retailers “to trigger a new digital world of personalized content, services, and apps, to let you interact with your physical product and get more out of using it.”
And yes, the concept of fully personalized products may seem to be far-fetched now, but let’s not forget that so did the concept of smartphones and the digital world only six years ago, before the first iPhone went on sale.
Andy Hobsbawm will be speaking about the revolution we’re about to see in the interaction between the physical and digital worlds at Ciklum Mobile Partner Conference “What’s APPening Next – the Shifting Landscape of Mobile” to take place on 27th September 2012 at Thistle Marble Arch Hotel in London. We invite you to reserve your free seat now and hear more about smart products of the future and how things can start talking to us.
Source: Forbes, 2012
About Andy Hobsbawm
Andy Hobsbawm is the Founder and CMO of EVRYTHNG, a Web of Things software company that makes products smart by connecting them to the Web. The technology at the heart of making products smart is The EVRYTHNG Engine which makes it easy to turn any physical thing into a channel for personalized digital services, one-to-one communications and ongoing relationships. By making products smart, EVRYTHNG’s technology helps world-leading brands get closer to their customers and access real-time data analytics about how their products are being made, sold and used. EVRYTHNG is enabling the Web of Things today by powering the next revolution in customer interaction and product experiences.
To find out more about how EVRYTHNG is enabling the Web of Things today by powering the next revolution in customer interaction and product experiences, please visit evrythng.com and follow @ConnectEvrythng
Andy Hobsbawm and 9 other speakers from AKQA, SalesGossip, Polestar Digital Media, Netbiscuits, LoopMe, Steely Eye, Marmalade, Kaboodle and OpenText.
Entrance is free of charge but spaces are limited, sign up HERE