Many things will become Internet-connected, but the verdict is still out on whether consumers want them or not.
One of the latest home device connections is the Brita water filter that links to Wi-Fi.
The idea is that the pitcher will order water filters from Amazon once a certain amount of water goes through the filter being used.
This is the same concept being used in printers from HP and Brother, where the printer is network-connected and automatically orders ink when it soon will be needed.
And the latest coffee maker from Keurig coffee maker reads QR codes to determine if the K-cup is an officially licensed cup, which is now required in the new device. The next logical step for Keurig is to add Wi-Fi capability so those official cups can be ordered directly from Keurig.
This is another case of brands opening a direct communication door with the ultimate buyers of their products.
I caught up with Jonathan Newman, International CIO and VP ecommerce at Office Depot earlier this week and asked him about the new trend.
In the case of office supply stores like Staples and Office Depot, a printer is sold but then the ink-self monitoring built into the printers turns the customer relationship over the printer company, whether they are skilled at directly communicating with end customers or not.
Newman suggested that printing companies like HP have traditionally not had a one-to-many relationship, since they sell through channels, like retailers.
“HP can’t sell well directly to consumers,” Newman said.
Companies like Office Depot are being challenged by new dynamics caused by the explosion in the number of sensors coming inside all kinds of devices.
“We’re trying to get our head around it,” said Newman.
He’s not alone.