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About Avalon: Revamping Apple's Home Strategy




Last week, the news broke that Apple had hired Sam Jadallah, a former Microsoft leader and recently founder of a smart lock company, to lead his various home initiatives. The announcement raised a number of questions, including the most obvious: What is Apple's Home Strategy? Consensus in the press is that Apple is far behind Amazon and Google in the race to control the home. I'm not so sure about that. Instead, the whole smart home beater seems to be floundering. Jadallah's hiring points to Apple re-evaluate how best to get the idea of ​​an intelligent home off the ground.

Smart Home

Starting a few years ago, the technology industry became desperate to place the smart home like the next big thing. Much of this was due to a strong desire to find growth for smartphones and tablets. Other companies were focused on moving across Apple and Google's control over the smartphone and tablet paradigm. With wear, success has been retained to a selection of few companies. Meanwhile, the smart home umbrella ended up covering several times the number of companies, including a long list of hardware-focused startups.

In one word, the smart home has been disappointing. The prerequisite for smart home adoption was that a smart device purchase would lead to another and then another. In reality, that kind of behavior has not become the norm. Although there are many products available, smart home intake is still sporadic and disjointed.

Although a few product categories, such as stationary speakers, have gained traction in the home, such products are becoming tangential to the idea of ​​the smart home.

Amazon is considered to be the leader in the home, at least when one goes off the media's opinion. The company's acquisitions in space help create that the Amazon story is aggressive and forward-looking. Similarly, for Google, considered a distant second in the smart home, the Nest acquisition achieved a decent amount of positive coverage in terms of smart home entertainment. However, this positivity is beginning to disappear based on increasingly dubious decisions that do not disclose microphones in products. Anyway, Alexa and Google Assistant, Amazon and Google's voice assistants, have never been praised in the press.

Problems

A number of problems are the reason for mediocre smart home recording. The biggest problem is that the vast majority of smart home devices lack an attractive value proposition.

  • The smart door bells with cameras have become more about providing entertainment than anything else, which serves to see who stole packets off the porch.

  • Smart sockets end up being nothing more than a way to avoid switching timers sometimes during the year.

  • Smart kitchen appliances controlled by the voice still give more meaning to comics than in real surroundings.

While a handful of interesting product stories exist in the smart home, they are few and far between. Instead, the way smart home devices embraced voice assistants ended up being more of a distraction than anything else. In the rush to add microphones and speakers to everything and everything, the smart home's grand vision has become confused.

Amazon and Google have used voice to hijack the smart home to create alternative visions, one around e-commerce and the other around delivering information.

  • Amazon is focused on becoming a go-to-place to buy things in the home. For Amazon, the home is an e-commerce hub. Every one of Amazon's actions in the home has been done in the pursuit of this focus.

  • Google focuses on positioning its services as a home front and center. For Google, the home is an information hub. Every one of Google's actions in the home has been made to achieve this focus.

Although there are some value-creating proprietary statements that have been found to improve home business and delivery, and which have easy access to information rich services, both home strategies are gathering as much user data as possible. In addition, no strategy uses full utilization of the most powerful and valuable screens in our lives to push the smart home forward.

Amazon Echo and Google Home marketing are notorious for never showing other computer programs used in the home. There are zero smartphones, tablets or wear to watch. It's as if people are leaving their units at the door when they enter the home, just to pick them up on their way out. Amazon and Google both want people to think of stationary smart speakers controlled by voice are sufficient substitutes for the various screens in life. The reality is that the best units for consumption and transfer of information in the home have screens and either wearables or always near us (smartphones). It is far more useful and convenient to get today's weather at a glance and tap your wrist than by asking a digital assistant contained in a desktop speaker.

Apple and the home

Apple's approach to home is quite different from the approaches to Amazon and Google. Apple is a design company dedicated to providing tools that enrich people's lives. Consequently, the home is seen as a place to use the valuable tools.

When it comes to smart homes, Apple has followed a triangular strategy:

  1. Rely on HomeKit and third-party hardware to establish a smart home ecosystem. These devices can be controlled and configured using the most valuable tools in our lives, including iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches.

  2. Use selected third-party hardware, such as desktop speakers and televisions, as Trojan horses for Apple content distribution services.

  3. Stay selective when you decide to send first-party hardware solutions to smart homes. Apple TV and HomePod are the rare smart home exceptions for Apple. Both eventually become accessories for Apple users looking for the best content consumption experiences in the home. Other Apple devices for the home that the Beddit sleep monitor becomes a tangential to the smart home plane.

After a slow start, Apple has set a HomeKit adoption pickup among third-party smart home products. But the extended AirPlay 2 support has generated bigger buzz, says something. With AirPlay 2, Apple uses third-party hardware as a means of spreading content distribution services.

That Apple does not sell its own television means there will be many large, non-Apple slices of glass used to consume home video content. This explains Apple's decision to get AirPlay 2 support for most of the premium TVs available in the market. A similar story is found with cheap stationary speakers in the home. Apple knows people are tempted by $ 30 speakers in a box. A significant portion of stationary smart speaker sales can be attributed to two products during the holidays: Echo Dot and the Google Home Mini. The main use of such speakers is music consumption. At the same time, a good number of Echo Dot users are iPhone users. This explains Apple's decision to make Apple Music available on Echo devices. Apple stops exploiting its existing user relationships to push Apple Music.

Advantages and Disadvantages

An advantage found with Apple's strategy is that the company is still focused on offering a few good experiences in the home. When it comes to delivering home audio, HomePod offers intelligent audio at a fraction of the cost of a speaker system, especially when multiple HomePods are paired. Apple TV is the best way for iOS users to consume different video slots on a large glass.

However, it is also the disadvantages of Apple's home strategy. Apple is ultimately dependent on others for its smart home vision. This reality can lead to lack of device support as well as dubious experiences in the home. Furthermore, Apple has had an increasing amount of setbacks to say no to certain home products. Some people want Apple to deliver everything from the internet connected to home and Wi-Fi routers that connect the devices to smart light bulbs controlled by digital voice controllers. This is just not realistic given Apple's functional organizational structure and design-led culture.

New Hire

Recently, Apple hired Sam Jadallah, managing director / founder of Otto, a smart door lock company that went under before getting his $ 700 lock to market. According to CNBC, and apparently confirmed by Jadallah himself via Twitter, he will oversee Apple's various home initiatives.

It would be a mistake to look at Jadallah's rent as a sign that Apple will open floodgates and develop a wide range of smart home devices. Apple is simply not structured for such a scenario. Instead, Apple's culture positions the industrial design group as the ultimate gatekeeper of the experience found with Apple devices. The implication is that Apple will remain very selective when it comes to developing their own home products.

Instead, Jadallah will probably focus on coordinating Apple's various home games and, more importantly, revolutionizing Apple's broader home strategy. This task includes coming up with concrete ways Apple's team can make vision a reality. Based on Jadallah's previous public comments on smart home devices and given Apple's product philosophy, we have some clues on how such a vision can look. Here is Jadallah in 201

7 in a post titled "The End of the Connected Home:"

"Creating a product for the home is different from a laptop or device that can be easily replaced. Connected home products are often This installation dictates that they are reliable, durable and comply with many of the rules of the products they replace, in our case it requires a digital lock to be durable and to have design and design options that support the variety of homes. the adopters are not willing to sacrifice design, security or performance – they require everything.

I will look at Connected Home products that meet this line as "Digital Home" Products. much easier – basic gadgets, obvious products with a primary value focus on connectivity. The digital home is the next wave of the connected home. Clear products need not apply to the digital home; a they must be very focused on the digital experience (connected, open, upgradeable) but also fit well into the home (designed as home needs, not out of context design) and most importantly, be reliable, durable and classic as they are installed . "

Essentially, Jadallah's" digital home "concept describes a scenario where design plays a much greater role in the home than traditionally found in space. This is the lack of design that has played a role in smart Home products that have dubious valuations and resulted in mediocre smart home devices With Otto, a company that was eventually staffed by many former Apple employees, Jadallah was focused on developing a smart lock that would play in this new "digital home" time His experience as an entrepreneur and a product manager is certainly in line with the idea that he will end up working closely with Apple's designers for new home experiences.

Revamping

There are several ways for Apple to revolutionize its home strategy: [19659021] Utilize existing tools in our lives (smartphones, wearables) to create the idea of ​​a digital home in the future. dense devices less often? This question will be of importance when people start using smart glasses in their home. Since we will literally use the most valuable and powerful tools in our lives, why not take advantage of these tools to enhance your home experience?

  • Further incorporate design into the vision of the digital home. This step will involve addressing some obvious but incredibly important questions. How should people interact with home? How Can Digital Home Products Improve Our Life? Voice may not be the only interface choice. Just being able to unlock the front door with our voice or watch is not enough.

  • Determine where the most important experiences are found in the home and come up with ways to connect these experiences. There are various genres in the home (entertainment, tools, health monitoring, security, etc.). How should home health monitoring units communicate with devices that are responsible for keeping the home? As it stands today, there is little or no relationship or relationship between experiences. Instead, everything is either stepped into a voice assistant or a framework such as HomeKit.

  • Apple is not against the idea of ​​moving into first-party smart home gadget solutions. The company sells Apple TV and HomePod, after all. Instead, Apple will continue to ask the following questions: What smart home devices are capable of promoting experiences? What devices have a long runway when it comes to adding features and capabilities over time? The answers to the previous questions will be those that are most likely to be tackled by Apple designers and engineers.

    Bumpy Road

    In my opinion, the smart home road will be very bumpy ahead. We try to compensate for the lack of housing built from scratch with technology, in reality. Having homebuilders just add voice enabled gadgets to new homes falls short. Instead, the only real answer is that technology companies build homes themselves. However, it is not on the horizon at this point.

    As highlighted in the following exhibition, the home represents a crucial part of the new technological landscape. The home is a treasure trove of data, and companies are looking to take as much of the data as possible. This explains why monitoring at home has been all the rage. However, the home has not been the recipient of a large amount of design attention in terms of intelligence and personalization. Instead, we have many questionable voice-controlled devices and not much else. Hardware startup has been focused on adding voice control to smart home devices without a clear reason or purpose. Do consumers really want to talk to or control dozens of smart devices installed throughout the home? Are consumers happy to install microphones throughout the home? Based on the setback of Google's news and not telling customers about a microphone included in Nest Guard, there's a good chance we're moving to a big backlash against the smart home.


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