What is Appliance Fog, anyway?

What is Appliance Fog, anyway?

It was a Foggy morning. I was sitting down with a cup of green tea and thinking through how to frame a conversation with a client. With a sales background,  he is very focused on making his product successful but willing to invest in adding “smart technology” to his existing product lines. Although it is not a rocket science, a lot of my thought here was about “effective communication and “influencing” skills.

Back in 1999, at Intel Santa Clara campus, I was talking to a brilliant Architect. Unfortunately, I do not recall his name. But, what he told me, is still stuck with me – “If you are not able to explain any concept in few words to anyone (irrespective of background), you probably do not understand it well. When it comes to communicating, the “copy-paste” mechanism does not work, customization plays a key part in any effective communication.

During the past two weeks, I have been talking to people who have heard about “Cloud” and “IoT” but these are just buzzwords. Their reply often was “Yes, I have heard about those terms but what can it do for me? As an Appliance manufacturer, I am focussed on product innovation, user experience, customer satisfaction” or “I understand technology can bring more innovation, however, I don’t want to make my product super complex”

How do you break this barrier? How do you bring technical terms to a level where everyone can start resonating? In what wavelength do you communicate?

Agile methodology has brought in faster TTM to product cycles. However, communication is still a major barrier in requirements closing. however, requirements still get lost when we are passing through various channels, for example, customer to the internal team members. A miscommunication can be a killer in meeting expectations, not to mention it adds a major delay in delivery schedule.

As Marketers, we face a similar problem in getting a response from the “email campaigns”. I often break my head thinking what to write (a persuasive content) that will catch attention? Just as the intro and closing are two fundamental parts of a “successful” presentation, an engaging response needs quite a bit of prep work.

In the three-tier model of home appliance industry, big vendors are ahead in technology game and have brought out some “smart” appliances in the market. Although, the available “smart” features are quite trivial at this point. And then there are some small companies who are bringing in focused innovative products, Belkin’s WeMo switch, June Oven, Coffee makers and so on. The mid-tier vendors are squeezed as usual. Neither do they have the resources to invest in R&D to build their own smart technology, nor they are big enough to outsource. We see a clear opportunity for partnership in this realm.

Let’s talk a bit about “Fog” and “Cloud”. In a very simplistic way, “Fog” is more reachable than going all the way to cloud. Not having to send all data to cloud saves “latency”, “cost” as well as addresses the “security” concern. “Home” is a private environment and should be kept that way. Just as we do not want “family dialogues” to be recorded or shared with outsiders, we do not want the “smartphones” to be shared across family members either. Imagine passing your phone to others asking to control your light settings, or changing your thermostats, or even scheduling your washer-dryer cycle. It’s not only inconvenient but also uncomfortable in having to do so. In the IoT world (BTW the naming is non-intuitive), we are dealing with “things” and “things” can be literally be anything around us.

Here at Tantiv4, we are focused on bringing technology to your “home” in a “safe” and “protected” environment. Operating in the“Fog”, we add smartness to your appliances and save you the extra time in your day to day activities.

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