Wanna innovate your brand? Looking to start a new business? Thinking about building a product people will love? Want to make a fortune? Think no more. Connecting the digital world with the physical is the new black.
2012 was the year when we saw the first real outcomes of physical/digital products, either physical products that used digital assets to substantially create a better product experience or vice versa. Nike launched their Nike Fuel bracelet that kept track of every moment of your life but in order to fulfill your experience an account on Nike+ was needed. Activision had great success with Skylanders, a game you played on your game console but you had to buy physical characters to reach further into the game.
Philips innovates a business that hasn’t changed for ages.
Only weeks ago I installed the new HUE lightbulb from Philips. Controlled from my iPhone or iPad (or Android if you prefer) but experienced for real. And last week I noted the latest pair of headphones accessory from Urban Ears, Slussen is a headphone splitter accompanied by a DJ app for your smartphone.
Urban Ears Slussen. What the future brings.
These are just a few examples but we have seen the birth of many more, hell, iPhone is a great examples, without the digital applications inside I think we’d forgotten the iPhone by now.
Connecting digital and physical is the way forward.
The digitalisation of services and products is dramatically destroying established markets. Prices are cut to practically nothing and there’s always someone willing to challenge your market position with a freemium offer. The consumer is rapidly getting used to paying next to noting for digital services. Yet, digitalisation is of course the way to go for many brands. What can be build by code will cut costs and if you can solve the profit puzzle you’re in for years of high margins. Ask Microsoft! But even Microsofts prices are driven down by globalisation and democratization of technology. Sooner or later Microsoft will end up producing tons of products.
The challenge of course is to be the ONE when everyone gets access to cheap code and a world wide distribution through online channels. This is where Physical comes into play. The leading brands of the future will be the ones who knows how to create integration into the physical world and thereby dramatically increase the level of product experience.
Here’s a couple of things to think of in order to turn your company into a physical/digital company:
- Place the intelligence of your product online to save production costs of your physical product.
- Make your physical and digital product is equal in sense of design and functionality.
- Think of digital experiences that drives offline sales in order to secure stabile forecasting of your business and high margins.
- If you are a digital company hire people who understand the physical world and do the opposite if you’re an offline product developer.
- Whatever you do, make sure you have people who understand code onboard.
- Industrial designers is a good thing. Get a couple of those.
- Understand the process of rapid prototyping.
- Establish an offline sales organization of haven’t got one.
And get ready for the future, cause this is it. At least for brands looking to thrive in the long run.