When DJI, a drone-maker headquartered in Shenzhen, China, decided to make its drones easier and safer to fly, hoping to attract more novice users, it didn't design and release a new product; it issued a software update that added new flight modes to existing drones. It even transformed the built-in 1920 x 1080 pixel camera on one model into a 2704 x 1520 pixel camera via a software update alone.
Withings took a software update path, too, transforming its Pulse pedometer into a new product, Pulse Ox, which improves on the original product by capturing blood oxygen levels, providing automatic wake-up detection, and working not only in English but in five other languages as well. Likewise, home-automation company Nest (Palo Alto, California) used software-only updates in its third-generation Nest Learning thermostat to give customers the option to set the device to display either temperature or an analog or digital clock. Thanks to software integration, these updated Nest thermostats can now send alerts or shut off the heating system if a Nest Protect smoke alarm detects smoke or carbon monoxide.
Arguably, however, no company has mastered the art of product and experience transformation through software updates more than Tesla Motors. When Tesla (Palo Alto, California) decided to add a "crawl" feature, allowing drivers to ease into slow cruise control in heavy traffic, it issued an over-the-air software release that added the feature at once to the entire fleet of existing Tesla cars.
Previous enhancements delivered via software update include automatic emergency braking, forward- and side-collision warnings and avoidance, traffic-based navigation, commute advice, range assurance to reduce the risk of being out of range of a charging device, and a remote-start capability via smartphone.
With its next major software update, Tesla plans to add "Autosteer," essentially transforming the Model S sedan from a smart car into a self-driving car, including a valet "Autopark" feature that lets customers summon their cars from their parking spots via smartphone.
Tesla's approach demonstrates that, done well, the Internet of Experiences should make once-complex offerings and activities technologically simple, easy and convenient. Behind the scenes, however, blending products, services, software, content, technology, cloud and data into an experience within the multidirectional hyper-connected world of the Internet of Experiences remains a complex undertaking.
Consider, for example, Nest's smart thermostat. A Nest "learning" thermostat creates an experience by sensing and then automatically adapting to a homeowner's daily rhythms and personal preferences to make their home safe and comfortable - no programming required. Under the hood, the thermostat is a complex system of sensors, software, processors, circuit boards, communication devices, energy sources, frames, wiring and display monitors. Each of these elements is produced by engineers working in different disciplines, yet they all need to work in sync with one another and with quality technicians, sales and marketing professionals to produce the behavior - the experience - that will delight the customer.
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