'Connected Technology Will Be Built Into An Accelerating Set Of Products In The Home'

Interview with Peter Taylor, VP Product, WeMo, Belkin


Peter Taylor is the Vice President of Products for WeMo, the Internet of Things brand from Belkin International. As the head of the WeMo product group, he oversees the overall strategic brand direction and product development for the WeMo connected home brand.

A veteran of the connected home space, Taylor brings more than 10 years of experience in marketing, product development, sociology and strategy to his role developing Belkin’s connected home products. He leads the global sales team, marketing, product development, and design teams. His teams are responsible for the growth of WeMo products across all channels including online and retail, as well launching strategic partnerships with companies including Jarden Consumer Solutions, Amazon Echo, OSRAM SYLVANIA, Cree, and Direct Energy.

We sat down with him ahead of his presentation at the Internet of Things Summit, taking place this September 8-9 in Boston.

How did you get started in your career?

I grew up on a farm in the UK inventing and building farm machinery and have always been fascinated about how great products can elegantly solve problems. Since 2003 I’ve been working on connected things, and quickly found deep fascination in the sociology and psychology of how families interact with shared technologies in the home.

Do you think companies are doing enough to ensure the security of connected devices?

For connected devices and smart home products especially, there will always be a trade-off between user experience and security, so finding the right balance for users is crucial. Too much and it becomes cumbersome to use, but too little and you scare people off. We’re still in the relatively early days of connected devices, so security procedures will continue to develop and mature along with the market, but overall I think most companies are doing a good job keeping pace and responding fast when security issues are found. There is an understanding that security is a crucial element of brand trust, which is directly tied to sales and growth, so companies are definitely wired to ensure their products are as secure as possible.

How do you see homes integrating IoT?

Connected technology will be built into an accelerating set of products in the home. As we have seen sometimes this will add indispensable value, and sometimes less. Families will make choices about which connected products to buy first, based on their interests or needs. This will be heavily influenced by when experience designers find indispensable value from connected technology for each category of device. Sometimes the value will be from the standalone product features – a connected camera fits in this category – and sometimes from the way the product integrates with others – Amazon Echo as an IoT controller fits in this category.

Do you foresee any potential problems regarding the explosion of IoT - when it comes to dealing with the amount of energy required and so forth?

Generally speaking, radio chips are not high power consumption devices compared to heaters or motors and so connected products are unlikely to stress the electricity network. Low power radio technologies like Zigbee, ZWave, Low power wifi are all emerging as solutions for power-sensitive products.

Where do you think are the most exciting applications for IoT likely to arise?

Home security has been a long time beneficiary of connected technology. I believe the next wave of applications that significantly remove frustrations, worries, and chores, and solve real problems in family home life, allowing people to get back to connecting with each other are the most exciting.

What advice would you give companies looking to prepare for IoT to best adopt the technologies?

Consider IoT as a way to learn how your product is used, and the start of a journey of learning about how to better satisfy users of your products. Patterns of usage and contextual information will emerge of the like you’ve never seen before as a business that will allow you to evolve consumer proposition and business models.

What will you be discussing in your presentation?

I will largely be focusing on what next wave of growth will be for the smart home and what we believe will be the keys to success in this industry, both from a technological and marketing perspective.

For years the “smart home industry” has focused on trying to breaking through the niche market to mass. We believe the connected home is here, in the critical verticals that have traction but that the smart home is still a little way off. This talk will discuss the next wave of growth for the connected home and how it brides into smart home, including how segmenting the market will drive new use cases, new features and new marketing, and the increasing importance of managing the life cycle of connected products. 

You can hear more from Peter, along with other industry-leading executives, at the Internet of Things Summit in Boston. To register your interest, click here.

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