Best Buy pulls the plug on its own smart home
Best Buy’s house brand, Insignia, announced on its website, that the company has discontinued its Insignia Connect products, which consist of smart plugs, IP camera, light switch and a refrigerator/freezer. Except for the IP camera, the other devices will continue to work, but will not connect to an app. The article does not suggest that Best Buy will discontinue selling the plethora of smart home products from other manufacturers that now make up a large part of its shelf space. Wired
dis-rup-shun: What’s the problem with smart home products? The industry analysts continue to forecast strong growth (IDC – 23.5%, Forrester – 26.2%, Security Sales & Integration – 31%, McKinsey – 31%), yet Best Buy joins Lowe’s as two big retailers who have pulled the plug on their own branded systems. Best Buy, by the way, is the same company that paid $800 million to acquire another form of smart home products — Great Call, makers of devices to connect seniors to family, friends and care givers. One of the clearer answers to the smart home riddle is that consumers buy solutions to problems, and home automation is not a mass market problem. Home security, remote monitoring and safety of seniors, and utilities needing to save energy are large scale problems that smart home products and systems solve. A number of companies, including Alarm.com, have forged relationships with new home builders such as Toll Brothers who have found that home automation increases home value and who will lead a gradual transformation to making automation a new home standard. Much of the success of smart home is the result of single products such as door bell cameras, smart speakers, and smart thermostats, that are both cool and helpful in solving point solutions. These hot products, however, are DIY install products. When people want a whole home system integrating multiple devices, they are more inclined to call a home systems integrator than to put a system together themselves, as big retailers have discovered.
Facebook creates Venmo-like payment system
In an effort to link Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, the company will equip all of those applications with a common pay system. This pay method is separate from Calibra, which is part of the doomed Libra cryptocurrency consortium. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Facebook serves a majority of social media users, so it makes sense that a common pay platform will be convenient, but what about the Facebook trust factor? As reported Monday, Facebook’s tarnished image is hurting its success in new product areas. If the Facebook brand has some rot, isn’t tying the company’s brands together a bad move?
Tesla will open fourth Gigafactory in Berlin
Musk stated that he intends to sell more Teslas in Europe, and appears to be following through with his intentions. The factory will be located near Berlin’s new airport, and will be in addition to factories in Reno, Buffalo and Shanghai. While sales of Teslas were down in the U.S. for Q3, sales in Europe have been trending upward for the last three quarters. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Musk is out to change the world, and despite some bumps in the road, he is well on the way to making Tesla a global brand. With manufacturing in three continents with high interest in electric vehicles, the company will continue to disrupt traditional automakers and, very likely, will be acquired by another global brand, as developing new car models, especially with a completely different engine, is a huge undertaking for traditional players. Many existing car companies already have electric cars at the dealer or in the pipeline. Perhaps a Tesla company buyer will come from another industry. Virgin Auto or Amazon Auto, anyone?
Disney + Streaming Service is live and ready for your credit card
Disney’s new streaming service is up and running, and has the advantage of content from the Mouse House, from Pixar, National Geographic, Fox, Marvel and Star Wars. Not only does the company have a content advantage over new and incumbent streamers, it also has a technology advantage, having purchased BAMTech in 2017 — an expert in streaming content infrastructure and encryption. Wired
dis-rup-shun: As stated many times on this site, Netflix has a serious battle on its hands as its future relies on the difficult task of creating a long string of big hits. Disney + must also keep the hits coming, but it has the advantage of leveraging many beloved franchises for an infinite number of sequels and prequels. Netflix is a beloved brand which will likely not be displaced, but subscriber growth will likely be more difficult and the costs of operations, thanks to expensive original content, will continue to rise.