The relationship between products and customers is changing. These days, what consumers are buying is basically a service and they want more and more of it. In order to cope with this demand, company management need to move towards ever-greater connectivity.
Connected objects are gradually pervading and altering our daily lives. Whether we are talking about cars, our homes or our health, major changes are just around the corner. But exactly how are connected objects going to ‘disrupt’ our day-to-day lives? When L’Atelier caught up with Eric Carreel, founder and CEO of the Withings, Sculpteo and Invoxia companies, at the France Digital Day 2013, held in Paris on 2 July, he took the example of health to explain the new trend: “Major changes are going to happen because connected objects will enable us to make a number of small decisions to improve the way we do things – which in the end will add up to a real impact on our health.” Marc Chareyron and Olivier Mevel, founders of design and technology consultancy 23 de enero predict that in addition to changing our daily lives, connected objects will “create new relationships between products, brands and customers.”
How to adapt?
Of course such changes do not happen overnight. In the business world, top managers need first of all to change their attitude and to re-shape the DNA of their companies. Olivier Mevel and Marc Chareyron reckon that many firms will be trying things out. “Sports equipment specialist Decathlon for example has created a sensor which can analyse tennis shots – forehand, backhand, topspin, slice, etc. They’ve been working on this idea for three years and they have a lot of other ongoing projects as well,” point out Mevel and Chareyron. So, everyone will be trying this kind of approach, “which enables companies that previously had nothing to do with the electronics sector to get in there. There are huge opportunities for them.” And it is a fact that these kinds of products and services have a better chance of hitting the target because nowadays the designers can obtain ever more information on consumer needs and wants.
Why connected objects?
Autolib is one example of a connected object that is already up and running. This is the connected car which allows only a designated driver to open the door, and which tracks location on an ongoing basis in case a problem arises. Also on the market is a connected scales, which provides a progression curve of your weight. In addition there is the concept of the ‘smart’ home, on which L’Atelier reported recently. All these inventions do far more than simply giving information; they provide a real service, including potentially the ability to warn us more effectively of incipient health problems, underlines Eric Carreel, pointing out: “Once you’re able to show how people’s health parameters are progressing, you can help them before it’s too late. Which also helps to reduce healthcare costs. And if we’re talking about people who suffer from chronic illness, that’s definitely an extra motivation.”