Hardware isn’t sexy anymore. For a while, everyone was doing it. And now, major companies are exiting the hardware game. Why? Because major companies have realized that there isn’t any money in hardware. Hardware is simply a means to an end for consumers - a way to get to the internet, to get our jobs done, to schedule our lives. So if the next big thing in tech isn’t going to be a device, what is it going to be?
Here Comes the Door Knockers
Technology is becoming less about the device and more about the service attached to the device. And one company, Enjoy, figures that the best way to sell you services is by performing them in your home.
Enjoy is already a popular service in New York and San Francisco. They deliver technology to your home, help you set up the technology, and teach you how things work. And while you may not need the extra help, sending Enjoy to help your 80-year-old grandma with her iPhone Pro may add years back to your life. The techy delivery person will stay at your home for an hour, teaching you tips and tricks, and answering all of your questions. If you aren’t comfortable letting a stranger into your home, you can have the option of meeting your techy anywhere. Even at your grandmother’s beauty salon.
If you aren’t lucky enjoy to live in a city where you can have technology hand-delivered to your doorstep, renting a device may be the next best thing. After all, it’s someone else's device, you’re just borrowing it. Borrowing a device gives you plenty of time to play with it, make mistakes, decide if you like it, and if you don’t like it, return it without feeling guilty. Of course, you can always buy the device if you decide you can’t live without it.
While companies that rent hardware for trade shows or conferences are a dime-a-dozen, companies that rent technology for the sole purpose of helping consumers are rather rare. One such company, Lumoid, rents technology to consumers for about 5-10% of the purchase price. You can try out everything from smart speakers to Fitbits or even borrow camera gear for your next vacation.
For companies without the brain power to maintain a service offering of their own, partnerships are key. Surprisingly, friendships amongst competitors are no longer uncommon. For example, ADT Security now offers a contract-free security monitoring service that protects self-monitored home security devices such as SmartThings. Amazon Echo, a device that wants to be the master of your smart home, can now work with Nest, a Google owned company and obvious smart home competitor. Or, you can even connect your Nest Cam to your SimpliSafe Security system, a company that was slated to create their own security camera.
The idea of glueing internet connected devices together used to seem like an impossible task, but more and more companies are recognizing that unity backed by a cohesive service is the only way to go. In the future, storage space, processing power, and overall specs will be secondary to a device’s ability to make your life easier. Leaving us all to ask, “What has your device done for you lately”?
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