For us technologists, it is easy to assume that a good technology will find market success based on its technical merits alone. Sadly, this is not the case – otherwise we would all be using Amiga computers (yeah, not Macs).
I was at Forrester Marketing event in Dallas a few weeks ago and was invited to a tweetup event. The 80 or so business cards I brought for the trip were gone that night before the event started. For the next two days I had to exchange information in a very primitive way. What happened to infrared (IrDA)? Back in 2001 I could beam by vCard to everyone at the Palm Developers Conference. IrDA is a well defined standard, the radio is super cheap (less than a buck, I am pretty sure) the vCards are well defined standard. What happened? lack of customer adoption combined with a need to save power?
Then this past weekend at home we changed the arangement in our living room and we got new furniture. The cable box is now slightly behind a sofa. My wireless remote (infrared, coincidentally) is no longer useful. What? this is 2008 – the 21st century! Where is Zigbee?
Zigbee is a super low-power and low-cost RF technology ideal for industrial and home control applications. It has been available for years. Now that most people are buying $1,000 40+ inch LCD TVS it would add a few cents to the cost of the TV and remote. Or maybe not because it would save the cost of infrared. Customers would enjoy longer-range remote controls and would not have to point the remote at the TV or would not even have to have line of sight. Your cable box and stereo could be in a closet and things would still work.
So I went to the ZIgbee alliance website and looked for a remote control – they have to have one. Sure enough, there are a few, like this Niles iRemote, but they are super-high end remotes costing $1,000.
As an entrepreneur/marketer, where I spot an unfulfilled need I see opporutnity. Hello, Logitech, Sony, anyone?