Debuting 46 years ago, the Jetsons’ world depicted a picture of what an Internet of Things (IoT) lifestyle could look like – minus the Internet. Author Jeffrey Tucker described the Jetsons in this way:
“The whole scene – which anticipated so much of the technology we have today but, strangely not email or texting – reflected the ethos of time: a love of progress and a vision of a future that stayed on course…”
Today’s Innovations, Tomorrow’s Table Stakes?
Look no further than Alexa integrations with third parties to realize that a Jetson-like household is rapidly becoming a reality. The list of what consumers can ask voice assistants to do grows daily as manufacturers and service companies integrate skills into a wide range of products: turn down the lights, turn on the garbage disposal, arm the security system, turn up the heat, run the robo-vac, check to make sure the garage door is down, pay my electric bill, have a large pepperoni pizza delivered to me and so forth.
Smart Home Hubs gained a lot of attention at this year’s CES show. Kudos went to Samsung for its Family Hub, which is expanding the line and adding “Bixby” as its voice assistant. Bixby will perform several tasks, such as adding virtual expiration dates to all items on a grocery list, finding the cheapest deals and recommending recipes based upon what’s expiring soon in your refrigerator.
The Samsung Family Hub will also integrate with other manufacturers’ connected products, such as Ring’s security videos in floodlights and doorbells. But the most interesting thing may not be that you can answer the door with your refrigerator; it’s the collaboration between two smart home device makers.
As smart refrigerators assume the task of maintaining fresh food stocked on their shelves, and smart ovens guide meal preparation, manufacturers must give consideration to all steps in the customer experience (CX) loop: from ordering to table, including payment and delivery.
Collaboration across Verticals
The success or failure of technologies that compose future family hubs will be defined by how well they address consumers’ spiraling demands for convenience and connectivity. In order for family hubs to satisfy diverse segments – from tech natives to aging baby boomers – and to satisfy a wide range of needs within segments, product makers must expand beyond their own verticals to collaborate with others.
Imperatives for the Industry
Whether one’s firm is a processor, such as FIS, or a product manufacturer, such as Samsung, companies must also think about delivering frictionless CX. This includes enabling transactions to flow seamlessly in the IoT and, thus, fade into the background.
Frictionless CX anticipates needs – when the smart light bulb is about to dim in the hub, when the milk in the smart refrigerator is about to sour or when the smart car is about to run out of gas, for example.
But, frictionless CX also requires building payment mechanisms into products and hubs where transactions take place. This is the touchpoint where prepaid products can provide a safe payment platform that caps spending based on preset limits. In essence, prepaid can act as “the adult in the room” to help consumers limit spending.