3 IoT Takeaways from the Juicero Fiasco
By Robert Woo
By now, you’ve probably read about the new laughing stock of Silicon Valley: Juicero. If you haven’t, you really should check out the hilarious video from Bloomberg.
Now, everyone likes a little schadenfreude once in a while, but Juicero’s embarrassing media storm gives us a little pause as well. After all, this was a high-profile Internet of Things (IoT) product and as fans of the coming IoT revolution, we would be loathe to see the young industry face a setback due to one overpriced device. Is there some lesson here to glean?
We think so. Here are the 3 IoT thoughts that businesses should takeaway from Juicero.
1. Not everything needs to be an IoT device.
Yes, you can’t have innovation without a few missteps. Yes, hindsight is 20/20. And yes, people seem to like WiFi-enabled coffee machines so why not a juicer? But the Juicero fiasco should be a wake-up call to businesses looking to dive into the IoT waters.
Let’s look at a pretty successful IoT device that everyone knows about: the Nest thermostat.
The Nest is the poster child of IoT devices. Once it’s installed, the smart and connected thermostat is easy to use, can be controlled and programmed with an app, and is designed to eventually pay for itself. The Nest makes sense and everyone can see how a thermostat connected to the internet can save them time, effort, and money.
But why is the Juicero a connected device? Let’s look at the reasons the company states on its own website:
We can quickly see that these reasons don’t hold water. Transparency of ingredients? Every food product has a USDA label with that information. Updated firmware? That’s necessary to being connected in the first place, and you wouldn’t need it otherwise. Tracks consumption? You can tell which packs you’ve consumed by either looking at the stack of used packs, or looking at the packs you have left. Ensures high quality juice in case of a recall? That shouldn’t happen in the first place, since they also make the packs.
And that’s it. Those are all the stated reasons for being a connected device. If your company is looking to create an IoT device, make sure that the connectivity actually solves a pain-point for the end user. After all, adding WiFi to established products adds complexity, so you better be sure that the benefits outweigh the engineering.
Speaking of which…
2. Don’t over-engineer the IoT device.
By all accounts, the Juicero is an exquisitely engineered device. As it should be, for $399 (initially $699) not including the juice packs. Bolt did a fantastic and detailed teardown of the juicer, and while the whole post is worth a read to get a sense of how crazy the device really is, it’s summed up well in this sentence:
It’s clear that cost savings was not anywhere near a top priority for Juicero when designing this product (or Go to the full article.