Connected Home Revisted...

Wow, it really it going to see the light of day! Very cool to see something I championed and played a big part of make it out the door finally. Sheesh, did it really take two years to get it out the door? Ouch.

I did a little Googling on LaundryTime tonight, and ran across a number of naysayers. Unfortunately, the public articles somewhat miss the point of the value proposition and the pilot (although goals might have changed since I was there).

LaundryTime is a perfect example of a way to test out new concepts in search of great ideas to bring to market. It began with extensive consumer research - that's when I first became aware of Communispace - that identified a problem (actually the research reinforced a known problem - buzzer solutions for end of cycle are not good solutions). Then, ideate concepts that solve the problem, and find out ways to test those concepts. LaundryTime is one such test. Whether LaundryTime is the right consumer solution is not the point; that it is being tested with real customers in a cost-effective manner is the point.

My favorite part of, and my biggest role in, LaundryTime was getting the right IHA companies together to work on this project. Just like in Mealtime (a test of solutions in the connected kitchen), the final group of companies collaborting was not the same as the initial group conceived. Several iterations occured fleshing out uninterested parties and finding companies whose goals aligned with the project. Finding companies willing to invest sweat equity into a non-revenue project is quite a challenge, and very rewarding when it happens.

As it turns out, that's where I built my skillset to work with external parties (eight years of independent consulting certainly helped). Inside Amazon, I'm often asked in amazement "how did you get them to do THAT?" when I announce a deal with a third party. It's simple! If I can get companies to work with me and invest their effort when no profit is to be had, imagine what they'll do when actual money is involved! :)

Now, if Eaton can ever get HomeHeartbeat to the market, I might actually start BUYING some connected home technology I spent so much time in...

1 comment:

Brian Erst said...

How about a washing machine that used refillable laundry cartridges (detergent, fabric softener, bleach) so you could just walk up, dump in the laundry and press one button (wash) or possibly two (wash with bleach, wash w/o bleach). A little sensor that detected some non-white or -grey color could prompt you about whether you really wanted that bleach.

Your home automation equipment could then send a message when some of the supplies are low - if you've got additional supplies on hand, just hit "OK" and refill it, otherwise click "Buy from Amazon grocery" and your supplies are on your doorstep tomorrow morning via Prime.

OK, a button that added it to your smart grocery shopping list on your cellphone PDA would be nice too, but I'm trying to synergize your Whirlpool and Amazon backgrounds here!

Speaking of which, I wonder if Amazon has looked into partnering with Peapod or other regional web grocers for perishables or same-day delivery. Makes for a much stronger value proposition - well, that along with a much-expanded offering list.

I think one killer app for Amazon grocery is nationwide delivery of regional foodstuffs. With such a highly mobile population, lots of people no longer live in a place where they can easily purchase cherished regional items (Moxie, Sundrop or Cheerwine sodas, Tastykakes from the east coast or King Cake from Nawlins, etc.). You pay thru the nose to get those delivered from "back home", but with a half-dozen distribution sites scattered throughout the US, Amazon could kill...