Coco Chanel’s famous take on the definition of luxury came from a world where the ultimate smart bed ($120,000 dollars with smartphone-controlled sleep scenarios, ambient lighting, fragrance control and private cinema) and bespoke Hermès Apple Watches did not exist. However, a clever designer and savvy brand builder, Coco was absolutely correct in that a little bit of luxury goes a long way. And, today, you certainly don’t have to be super-rich to feel super rich when the wealth of upscale products on the market can give your day that platinum-coated edge.
The hallmark of modern life is a lack of time, so it stands to reason that the most popular products have an element of productivity built in. This need for speed has conveniently coincided with the growth of embedded computing capability, opening up a world of functionality for product designers who are looking to have the upper hand in the market. You only have to take a look at the kind of ‘lifestyle solutions’ that brands have proudly taken to CES over the last five years to know that while everyone is super-excited by the autonomous cars, it’s the smart fridges, video doorbells and robot vacuum cleaners that have found their way into millions of homes.
What can you ‘smart’?
While we are used to great unveilings (‘the future of *insert amazing game-changing product here*’), not every smart product requires a miracle of engineering and can be afforded a multi-million-dollar launch campaign. Some simply require great thinking to take a product we already know and love and evolve it into a problem solving IoT device of the future. The smart fridge is a really excellent example of this. It’s certainly not a product you’d consider ‘luxe’ or ‘boujie’ (to use the TikTok parlance), but the Samsung Family Hub range of fridge freezers scale both in functionality and price. They feature everything you might expect from such a familiar household appliance, but with some high-end touches that make it worth the price tag. For example, one door is dedicated to a motion-activated touch screen that replaces both the family calendar and kitchen whiteboard. You can also use it to watch TV or YouTube as you cook or just stream your favourite music. As you might expect, it comes with an app that helpfully lets you see what’s inside without opening the door (energy saving!) and takes you directly to an online store to replenish out of stocks. You can even enter expiry dates and get reminders onscreen so that nothing goes to waste.
But it’s still a fridge. Only better.
Combining functionality in this way to create the contemporary experience that today’s consumers crave comes down to basic economics. As demand goes up, the cost (and size!) of components comes down. Theoretically, by taking your product ‘smart’ you are not only creating a something that addresses the needs of the modern consumer but building new profit into your ranges. We know from experience that making the physical investment in IoT-ready next-gen products has never been easier. Which is where we must offer a word of caution: just because you can, never assume that you automatically should. If your product simply cannot be bettered by smart connectivity, then at best your sales could suffer for the addition of it. At worst, it could impact your brand reputation long-term. We believe that considered, rational intellectual investment at the outset is the most important part of the product development process and it’s a conviction that has held us and our customers in good stead for decades.
So good, you’d never even notice
Over the years, we have helped some huge brand names take exceptional smart household appliances to market and have elevated everyday products to the status of desirable devices that no stylish home should be without. Ultimately, we treat these new products as we do with every solutions challenge that arrives at our door. Success always lies in quality – an exceptional approach to user experience, teamed with slick functionality and the unnoticeable responsiveness that comes from applying the very best components and integrating them with precision. As a result, our displays, software and interfaces grace the bodies of programmable barista-quality coffee machines, smart ovens, rich multi-room audio networks and home automation systems, such as security and climate control. These are not ‘luxe’ functionalities, per se, but they can be applied to a broad spectrum of branded products to suit an equally broad consumer base – from high-net-worth individuals to those who aspire to be. When a product operates so smoothly that it can mesh itself into users’ lives seamlessly, we know it’s a winner. Or as Coco Chanel also wisely said, “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”
Avnet Embedded designs, makes and delivers embedded technology for OEMs the make consumer appliances, smart devices, white goods and more. Learn more about our consumer appliance experience.
If you’d like to learn more about how to bring ‘smart’ to your products or want to discuss how Avnet Embedded can support your business, please contact us today.