Maybe the largest complaint against the Cloud isn’t that the term is amorphous. Maybe the largest complaint against Cloud Computing technologies are that they aren’t tangible. Sure, you can make use of a SaaS application or PaaS to develop the next great mobile app, but for the everyday consumer, outside of Spotify, Dropbox and social media networks, the Cloud doesn’t translate. You could make the argument that the tangible – the physical aspect of Cloud services – are smartphones, tablets and mobile devices. While this argument could be made, the Cloud only helps power those devices. Cloud Computing isn’t an iPhone or a Google Nexus 7. And so, with no true tangible physical device to harness Cloud Computing services to human touch, the service, although highly popular, greatly useful and extremely needed, will remain something of a mystery to the public market. For the vast majority of the market, it will remain a concept with limited application.
The Internet of Things (IoT), on the other hand, shouldn’t have this problem.
Cloud Price Tag vs. Internet of Things Price Tag
You might have heard about Google purchasing Nest for north of $3 billion. Let’s say that again. Nest, a company which makes Internet connected devices ranging from smoke and carbon dioxide detectors to full home thermostats, was recently purchased by the search giant Google for $3.2 billion. Feel free to check out the story here. While the price tags now seems small in comparison to the recent WhatsApp purchase by Facebook ($19 billion), the major difference between both purchases can be found in the nature of the products. WhatsApp, a Cloud based messaging solution, is a mobile app which allows people to connect with one another through MMS/SMS unshackled by the normal charges of a carrier. For international travelers, WhatsApp makes communication easy and cheap. Interestingly, one of the reasons why there was so much flabbergast when the news broke of the deal is due to the fact that most people simply didn’t understand the value of a Cloud based messaging app. Does it generate any revenue? No. Does WhatsApp create new jobs? No. Does WhatsApp make the world a safer place? No. $19 billion for a Cloud solution messaging application which, for most people, is untouchable. Precisely because WhatsApp lives in the Cloud, the physical repercussion of $19 billion elude most of the market.
Nest and a product called Canary is something wholly different.
Call me crazy but being able to hold something makes a difference when it comes to the marketplace falling in love with a certain product. As already mentioned, Cloud Computing services have the major problem of being purely virtual. Without the ability to hold a device in your hand or physically touch a Cloud based service, the market views the solutions as useful but not necessary.
While not new to the market, Canary is the perfect type of physical tool which, although rooted in Internet of Things/Cloud technologies, provides real world tangible solutions to everyday problems. Supplying consumers with in home security through a small connected device, Canary (as seen in this blog’s two photos) allows consumers to monitor home security through a working camera and receive to the minute smartphone/tablet notifications via a straight forward app. The idea behind Canary is simple: provide clients with as much data as possible concerning the status of their home security. Straight from the brands mouth:
“For decades home security has been measured by the number of sensors spread across a home — rather than by the information provided to the people that live there. The old approach leads to high costs, unneeded complexity, and constant false alarms. All of which is out of your control.”
Avoid the Cloud Trap
Canary is one product which gets it. For Internet of Things applications to work, real world devices supplying real world solutions must be manufactured. If Internet of Things companies falls into the same trap that the Cloud has – a lack of tangible use – the vast majority of consumers will look at IoT solutions as useful but not necessary. If this happens, the Internet of Things will take hold in limited capacity. On the other hand, if more products like Nest and Canary begin to penetrate the market, the Net of Things will enjoy a swift and laudable rise.
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— Brad Leibowitz (@bleibowi) February 27, 2014