EVRYTHING @ IFA 2015The EVRYTHNG team are just back from IFA, Europe’s consumer electronics and household appliances fair. After a super-busy 6 days in Berlin, speaking on the TecWatch stage and talking IoT on the exhibition floor, we’ve pulled together what we’ve learned into 4 key insights:

1. European consumers are excited about devices that will make their homes smart
While the early adopters are excited about the technology for its own sake, the new wave of consumer IoT adopters are motivated by the prospect of saving energy, reducing costs, and making their lives a little easier.

They’re looking for products that solve tangible problems, are simple to set up and operate, and that interact with each other. They may not know what IoT is, but they know they want their smart home devices to work together, and they don’t think much of closed commercial ecosystems that make this difficult.

2. The European smart home scene is fragmented
There were an overwhelming number of manufacturers offering smart products – most of which operated in closed, proprietary ecosystems. Manufacturers know that consumers don’t want to purchase a series of individual, standalone products; and that continuing to operate in this way will severely limit their market penetration. But they’re daunted by the challenge of tackling this.

And rightly so – smart home integration isn’t a task for the faint of heart, and major manufacturers will likely need to integrate with several of the smart home ecosystems to achieve the market share they seek. Success will bring further challenges – not the least of which is scale. While many of the manufacturers we spoke to were set up for smaller local markets, none felt confident that their infrastructure would support the scale that would come with real commercial success.

EVRYTHING @ IFA 20153. Manufacturers are getting smart about connecting products
The market is maturing: manufacturers are moving past small scale prototypes and product releases, and are starting to explore the critical issues like interoperability, cloud-to-cloud integrations, and meeting the demands of commercial scale.

We spoke to many manufacturers who realize that time is very much of the essence – and that accelerating their time-to-market by buying, rather than building an enterprise-grade IoT cloud software platform, offers significant advantages. Some had even embarked on the DIY approach, and were finding it significantly more complex than they had anticipated.

4. It’s not just a European thing
These challenges are just as pressing for consumer electronics and appliance manufacturers globally. And in an increasingly global marketplace, a smart device from any country has the opportunity to become the next household IoT must-have.

EVRYTHNG's next generation IoT platform

We’re delighted to share that we will be exhibiting at IFA 2015, in Berlin on September 4 – 9.

At the show, we’ll be talking about meeting the challenges of connecting consumer electronics and household appliances to the IoT, and demonstrating our IoT Smart Products Platform. It’s the perfect opportunity to swing by and see an IoT platform in real life – from embedded device or printed electronics tag, through to integration, operation, and the resulting analytics.

Our team will be on hand to talk about the burning issues facing CE and household appliance manufacturers as they embrace the Internet of Things, including:

  • Maximizing market share
  • Build or buy?
  • Criteria for evaluating an IoT platform
  • The importance of owning product interaction data
  • Performance and scale
  • How to tackle integrations in the ever-evolving smart home space


Want to book a demo; arrange time to speak with our Vice President and Managing Director of Connected Systems, Curt Schacker; or chat with another member of the team? Please get in touch and we’ll arrange it.

Otherwise, you’ll find us at booth 21a, in Hall 11.1. We look forward to seeing you there!


Wondering if you bought the right kind of parachute, as you leap from a plane at 12,000 feet on your first solo skydive, is what you might call ‘late in the day’. Similarly, for any self-respecting chef, the best moment to find out whether you selected good quality ingredients is not as you lower a plate of food in front of one of your expectant restaurant guests. It pays to do proper checks ahead of time.

There are parallels here with technology, specifically with the Internet of Things (IoT). When 100,000 customers switch on your new smart light bulb for the first time, you need to know there aren’t going to be any nasty surprises and it won’t be an experience – to continue the culinary analogy – that leaves a bad taste in your customers’ mouths. Being confident comes down to choosing wisely.

Getting started with IoT
If you’re a manufacturer of consumer electronics or home appliances, the IoT has probably been looming on your horizon for some time. Most likely the realisation has dawned on you, and many of your competitors, that it’s a case of when, rather than if, you need to make your products Internet-enabled and smart. And, making products smart and Internet-connected is what IoT platforms are for.

So where do you start? First there’s the ‘Build versus Buy’ dilemma. Do you take the DIY approach and develop an IoT solution from scratch? Any platform you build will need to manage thousands or millions of your product’s digital identities and the wealth of data generated by them. It’ll need to handle their web-based control as well as the connections with other systems, platforms, products and apps.

Sound daunting?

Choosing an IoT platform
Alternatively, you might conclude that your core business is in making great consumer products rather than building and running an IoT platform. And if so, this leads to the question: how do you choose the right IoT platform for your business?

The IoT is still maturing, after all. Before technology becomes mainstream, it is the early adopters or early majority (to quote Everett M. Rogers’ famous Bell Curve) who shape the market, along with forward-thinking technology providers who understand current and future needs.

Make the right platform choice now and you can leapfrog over your competitors. Take the wrong technology direction and you set off down a one-way road from which it is costly or time-consuming to turn back.

The buying decision is made more complicated since it can take manufacturers several development cycles to fully understand their smart product requirements and use cases. What features will really wow your customers? How will your operational teams need to work with your connected products? What kind of data do your engineering teams need to collect from the field to improve their offering?

While you may not have all the answers, you need to be confident that your platform provider does.

Our guide to selecting your IoT platform
That’s why we’ve collated our experience and the insights we’ve gained from working closely with the manufacturers who are leading the charge in building smart products. The result is our latest white paper, 9 Things to Check Before Choosing an IoT Platform. 10 would have sounded nicer of course, but we didn’t want to stretch it out unnecessarily: these are the real must-haves, the pitfalls to avoid and the questions to pose IoT solution providers.

I won’t ruin the surprise by revealing too much here, but our guide looks at some of the fundamental considerations:

  1. What are the scale and performance factors to consider when thinking about connecting hundreds of thousands or millions of products?
  2. What kind of platform architecture do you need now, when your products will change in the future?
  3. With new protocols and embedded technology emerging all the time, how do you make your products future-proofed?
  4. What does a good data security and privacy model look like in a complex IoT ecosystem?

We hope 9 Things to Check Before Choosing an IoT Platform proves a valuable resource for you in your research. If you’ve got any comments on the white paper, or want to talk about an upcoming project, please do get in touch.

Product Voice
(Image from Serious Wheels)

Once upon a time, Henry Ford famously summed up the golden age of brand and producer power by saying: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” In the second half of the 20th century he might have chosen his words more diplomatically: “in precisely which paisley trim would Madam like the dashboard re-upholstered?” We moved from the seller’s market economist J.K. Galbraith once described as “a world in which people increasingly served the convenience of organizations which were meant to serve them” to a period of unparalleled consumer control.

In media terms, this represented a shift from an era of what we might call Brand Voice, powered by industrial mass media, to one of Consumer Voice, characterized by higher disposable incomes, the Web and social media. The Internet of Things – physical objects becoming part of the Web – means that we’re entering a third age of Product Voice.

For the first time, products can talk directly to people and systems along the supply chain, while data talks back to the brand with real-time analytics, letting them know who their customers are, what they engage with and how interaction drives sales. A product can tell you what and where it is, how and how much it is being used and allows its authenticity to be verified. Consumers can ‘friend’ their stuff for personalized digital services and experiences, while businesses can ‘follow’ products in real-time from factory floor, to high street to living room. In other words, products are becoming dynamic, web-connected intelligent objects – and they get to have a say in how they are made, sold and used.

(Image from Serious Wheels)

Brand Voice

Brands came of age in an era of industrial information. At the end of 19th century, the same new technologies that had industrialized the economy, allowing the likes of the Henry Ford to mass produce and mass distribute for mass markets, also shaped the media industries like movie studios and publishing houses. These media corporations were also built with large capital investments in technology infrastructure to allow their cultural goods – newspapers, TV and radio shows, movies – to be mass manufactured, communicated and consumed like Model T Fords. These were factories of cultural content rather than cars, but the media products rolled off industrial production lines in an equivalent way.

Brands were the only ones who had a Voice and household names like Coca Cola and American Express or Singer sewing machines were built telling people what to think and buy using high reach industrial media like national print, radio and broadcast TV. Given the mass reach of media in 1971, Coca Cola really did “teach the world to sing” or at least a large part of it. Their advertising jingle became a top ten hit in the US and UK music charts and is still one of the best selling singles of all time with over 75 different cover versions around the world.

Amazon drone
(Image from Amazon)

Consumer Voice

Around the time Henry was expressing his views on the model T, future retail king Sam was born near Kingfisher, Oklahoma to Thomas and Nancy Lee Walton. The founder of Wal-Mart, the world’s second largest corporation by revenue, succinctly encapsulated this radically altered thinking about consumerism when he later said: “There’s only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everyone in the company from the Chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

Disposable incomes for UK and US households rose five fold in the last sixty years, which powered the creation of our modern consumer society. As individual buying power increased, consumers had much greater influence over the range, price and individuality of products on offer. When people have more cash, their needs move from necessities to luxuries – this creates more choices to cater for shoppers with wide ranging tastes and the money to indulge them. Then just when consumers had never had it so good, the Web handed them an unprecedented degree of information access and control, including price and product comparison, and social media let them form communities with the power to judge, reject, embrace and endorse the brands in their world.

EVRYTHNG connected

Product Voice

Today, powered by smart cloud software, products use data feedback to personalize and optimize performance over time. They can act as brand-owned digital media assets delivering direct transactions and individualized consumer experiences. Internet of Things technologies mean that physical goods can come with a digital layer of real-time, interactive services, using data to personalize and improve the consumer experience and supply chain operations over time. They are stickier, more differentiated and create new revenue opportunities from subscription or usage-based services.

For instance, Rolls Royce has turned its jet engine product into a service. Thousands of sensors in the engines feed data into proprietary algorithms, which then monitor, diagnose and make predictive recommendations to optimize aircraft maintenance and flight operations.  This lets their customers subscribe to jet engine capacity based on usage (think how Amazon sells cloud services).

EVRYTHNG and Gooee

Similarly, our customer Gooee is using the EVRYTHNG IoT platform to sell lighting as a service.

Gooee’s LED light engines not only manage energy usage and lower maintenance costs, they also contain motion and CO2 sensors. This means a connected lighting company can also sell energy management, retail traffic monitoring, security system and fire alarm services. Given the many kinds of data a sensor-packed ‘endpoint’ could gather and manage between business, environment, customer and product, emitting light will be just one of a smart bulb’s valuable qualities.

Another shift is that physical products, constructed in a particular size and shape, never change until you change the product itself, but once it’s connected the digital capability that comes with the product behaves very differently. A connected product uses networked data to keep improving features and performance regardless of physical limitations. In other words, a growing proportion of features, capabilities and value exist outside of the product.

As an example, new connected home products like Wireless Hi-Fi Sonos self-update with new functionality and performance so the product gets better after you’ve bought it with new features and music services. Consumer expectations will start changing fast: whereas traditional products degrade over time, you can expect a smart product to get better the more you use it. After all, my Gmail gives me increased storage and new features over time, so why does my PC gets slower and my TV become last year’s model? One question all product manufacturers should start asking is: how can connectivity and intelligence in my products allow me to compete on self-improving features.

(Image from Big Ass Fans)

In the 20th century we needed instruction manuals to understand how to use a product because the product lacked the ability to think of itself or access and process information to learn. In the 21st century rather than customer adapting to product, product will adapt to customer. We can expect the products we use to learn our needs, personalize to our preferences and adjust to our behaviors over time. For example, connected sensors in (the magnificently named) Big Ass ceiling fans know when you walk in the room and self-regulate based on temperature and humidity, and your programmed settings.

People’s lives are surrounded by connected interfaces that they use to consume, communicate, transact and experience. Consider the connected car collaboration between Visa, BMW and Pizza Hut. Using a voice-activated Visa Checkout app, drivers can order a pizza on the go for home delivery or Pizza Hut is notified via beacons when you drive into the parking lot so your pizza gets brought to your car. The auto payment system is planned to work for a range of drive-through retail products and service scenarios, from filling up the car at the gas station to parking or picking up the dry cleaning.

Smart product businesses see the greatest potential by plugging in to an ecosystem of apps and devices and sharing data with internal and partner enterprise systems (CRM, ERP, BI) and other clouds (e.g. Homekit, Nest, Smart Things, Wink). The more ecosystem connections your smart product makes, the more value it creates.

(Image from Harbor Research)

Smart, Connected Business

That every business will shift dramatically because of digital technology is certain, that it may be almost unrecognizable is a distinct possibility. Consider that a third of the firms listed in the 1970 Fortune 500 were acquired, merged, or broken up by 1983; managing how IoT Smart Products drive business value is the Critical Success Factor today. Every CEO looks at the market today and knows that the industry they exist in and the business landscape in which they operate will fundamentally change in the next decade.

Internet of Things connectivity, smart products and the real-time flow of data is at the heart of this digital transformation and business disruption. According to The Economist Intelligence Unit, 75% of C-suite business leaders are actively using or researching IoT opportunities – a third believe it will unlock new revenue opportunities and inspire new working practices. The EIU says that 96% of companies will be using some kind of IoT solutions within the next three years – 20% for business innovation, 26% on improved customer acquisition and experience and 19% on supply chain efficiencies.

We built the EVRYTHNG cloud platform to make products smart for brands by managing all this IoT data flow to, from and about physical things. We wanted to make it easy for brands to use real-time IoT data to build amazing and powerful new applications and experiences, and to connect products to anything else on the Web.

The fact that everything that can be connected will be is inevitable and impacts every industry, which is why the biggest and bravest global brands are embracing IoT technology at scale, creating systems that will transform business models and operations. Smart products, plus the data-driven business operations and processes that surround them, are at the core.

Consultants and designers see the possibilities to create amazing new consumer experiences using product as a personalized, real-time platform for applications, content and services. Renowned Harvard business strategist Michael Porter believes that smart, connected products represent a third wave of competitive advantage from technology that will make or break all businesses.

In other words, now products have a voice. It’s time to listen.


Earlier this month, we announced that major consumer electronics manufacturer SDI Technologies had selected our IoT Smart Products Platform to power their iHome smart products suite. (Here’s the full press release about iHome.)

With products in over 50 million US homes, and in retail stores in over 70 countries, iHome is already a well-loved consumer electronics brand. Their strategic investment in an the Internet of Things, with EVRYTHNG’s IoT platform behind it, says volumes about their innovative approach and commitment to staying at the cutting edge of the smart home market.

Selecting an IoT platform to turn a smart products vision into reality is no easy task. While there are a number of key considerations, two have particular resonance for iHome:

1. Scalability & reliability
With millions of units in homes around the world, the iHome team knew that scalability and reliability would be critical to their success. When a consumer interacts with a plug, they need an instant response, no matter how other consumers are using their products at the same time.

2. Interoperability
In a world where consumers already use a broad range of products and apps in their digital lives, iHome understood that it was important for their smart products to interact with as many of these as possible, now and in the future. They needed to find an IoT platform built on Web standards with REST APIs to deliver this interoperability out of the box.

SDI Technologies’ Gary Schultz demonstrates the iHome smart plug on Fox News

We’re excited about working with iHome to realise their innovative vision of smart consumer electronics products. With the iSP5 SmartPlug already available for pre-order on and the iHome app available on iTunes, we can’t wait to start using it in the office!