CEO perspective – connected appliances and the consumer experience

What new experiences and benefits will consumers get out of the Internet of Things, and how will smart homes affect our lives? Even though this development has been talked about for several years now, it’s in many ways still in its infancy. Jonas Samuelson, President and CEO, discusses what Electrolux is doing in this field.

At Electrolux, we’re trying out a number of features and approaches that leverage connectivity to create better consumer experiences and real value. The truth is no one knows for sure which the “killer apps” will be in this space, but listening to consumers and testing and learning will be key to our success.

A case in point is the idea for a potential business concept related to the sharing economy, which received widespread attention recently.  This type of test, which we are working on with a partner to evaluate the business model, highlights some interesting aspects of connectivity, such as reduced resource consumption, micro business opportunities and potential aftermarket revenues.

We don’t have any current plans to commercialize a service like this for consumer products, but we do look forward to learning more from this and from other projects that offer insight into consumer behavior.

At present, we believe our biggest opportunity in connectivity is creating a unique experience for the consumer. Connected appliances offer a possibility for a lifelong relationship between us, as a manufacturer, with the user of our products. Moving beyond the basics of remote control and predictive maintenance, connectivity makes it possible to offer personalized, value added services in a way the appliance industry has never seen before. Taking into account relevant user data, we’ll not just be able to help you cook a meal like a pro, we’ll suggest the ingredients you might like and order them for you as well.

Having access to this sort of personal information of course requires continuous dialogue with our customers and the highest respect for personal integrity. Data security is also a foundational requirement for connected products.

The potential opportunity of connectivity goes far beyond features in the products and in adjacent apps. Through third-party services, collaborative projects and big data analysis we can reinvent the experience of everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning and caring for your home.

Electrolux and our industry peers are all moving full steam ahead towards a future where we expect that most of our products will be connected to each other and to the internet. During this process, there will be false starts and attempts at products and services that for one reason or another don’t win consumers’ hearts and minds. We have to strike a good balance between a faster rate of development and being open to new ideas, while recognizing that our appliances are supposed to be part of people’s homes for at least 10-15 years, solving everyday needs. Success requires us to maintain a sharp focus on the consumer at all times.