When the smartphone entered our homes. Learning experiences from collaborative projects in the field of the Internet of Things.
It has not been long since the smartphone has entered our homes. However, it seems that this happened more than a decade ago. If you observe what your housemates do (at your home or at your relatives’), you will see that they are using the smartphone in all the areas of the house, including the bathroom. Now, if you are asked about the use of smartphoneS at your home, you will probably be more cautious, especially under certain circumstances. That’s how human beings are.
Since the smartphone got into our habitat, our homes are potentially Smart. Some researchers have been working for a long time on the development of technological innovations to generate business opportunities in different fields related to the home and its inhabitants’ management, in areas such as energy, health, food, and security. In summary home connectivity potencial areas have increased exponentially in the last years.
Shortly after we began our journey in H-Enea Living Lab, we were asked to conduct an investigation in the field of health and home. In order to do this, we divided our team according to two focus points: people and home health on the one hand, and technologies and business opportunities on the other. At the end of the study, we converged our results.
Something we learned in this process, is that the research of business opportunities could be more alive, more participatory and multi-profile (richer in the variety of professional profiles).
The fact of having developed a service of Internet of Things focused on the user in a food environment ( with a previous study of users and food in their homes), gave us the opportunity to get involved on the speeding-up of a collaborative process to detect business opportunities that this service could offer.
The dynamic analysis of business opportunities consisted in the development of a business model (based on a service designed with the participation of the users) and its contrast in two startup acceleration processes.
Regarding the participants, most of them knew the B2C (Business to Consumer) sector very well and were experts in marketing, product development, innovation, and design. None of the participants had experience in the implementation of digital businesses (although they had theoretical knowledge) and the average age of the participants was about 43.
From this practical experience, we have generated shared learning assets applicable to any value proposal related to the Smart Home:
- Trust the group, the important thing is that everyone fails at something different.
- The Business Model Generation and Lean Canvas are a means, not an end. Size matters, be careful with generating many segments.
- The service might be designed from the most innovative perspective, but we must monitor the structural costs involved in that sophistication.
- The functional prototype of the application is a key element, as it happens with the “thing” connected and the application being connected. Without this, the user will not have a clear idea of what the Internet of Things means, which means that the experience of evaluation is fragmented and the results of the test will not show the intention of the value proposal.
- The development of Internet businesses is costly and complex, it requires much time and dedication. Regarding the keys to leverage growth, we identify with the main findings of the research conducted by Javier Creus: connecting to existing platforms, joining others to reduce efforts, empowering the users, implementing so that others can develop business proposals and share resources and knowledge.
- There is a long way to go, but it is better to open the project to the outside rather than saving the “treasure”. Participation in startup acceleration processes is a good assessment system to reorient the proposal.
- In order to achieve goals, focusing on the minimum viable service is as important as focusing on the minimum viable team. Depending on the stage of the project, some profiles of the participants are more necessary than others.
Finally, we invite you to take a look at the following links: