If your company plans to launch an app, read this first.

Most intelligent products have traditionally had their own controls and interface for the customer to use. We all know that buttons and small LED displays don’t necessarily create the best user experience – just try and change the clock on your stove without the manual. With the introduction of low-cost connectivity to the internet, it has been possible to remove most of the interface electronics from products and allow it to be controlled from the suppliers homepage instead. The rapid slide from desktop based internet to mobile has made most homepages too cumbersome, even when using responsive design, for device control. Many companies have realised this and are creating apps to control their devices instead. While apps works well on a mobile device, it is becoming quite obvious that users don’t really download many apps and use even fewer. Over the last 5 years, the top 10 apps have not really changed – dominated by the large US tech companies.

A future is now visible were an app is not the best approach to device control or service interface. It will be important to move developments from apps to bots that can operate inside the framework of the top app owners. Facebook and similar companies are releasing tools that will help companies to integrate their products and services into their infrastructure. At the same time, companies need to explore how they can operate using a digital assistant like M and Siri rather than their own app.

Sales insight: Your customers are experts in their own business and market but rarely do they scan the innovation horizon of other industries. They look at what their competitor is doing rather than what is going to happen in the customer’s world. They might even ask their customers what they want – the problem being that customer’s often don’t know what they want next. No customer asked Apple for an iPhone before it was launched. To be successful in consultative selling you need to know more than your customer. You will need to understand your customers business model and strategy but more importantly, you will need to understand what is developing in the world that can affect your customer and the customer’s business model. To sell, you need to be invited in before the buying decisions are made. The best way of being invited is to demonstrate that you have valuable insights about the future of the customers business. In this case, the customer might not think that their business model will depend on Facebook in the future – they might be wrong.

Read the full article in Wired: Facebook Believes Messenger Will Anchor a Post-App Internet

What if your IP is made worthless?

In the old world of competition, companies were trying to protect their intellectual product property through secrecy and patents. The IP made it possible for companies to charge their customer more for their product than their less innovative competitors. Although the competitive and product-centric business models still dominate the world there are new business models introduced that destroy the product logic of the past. Facebook does not have a product-centric business model and as such is threatening many companies. Facebook is interested in everything that creates content and that lower the cost of creating or sharing content. They have already released open source ethernet switch designs to stimulate more competition and lower costs for their server farms. Now the time has come for them to do the same with 360-degree cameras. In the process, they are destroying the business models companies trying to serve this market with their product-centric and IP base business models.

Sales Insight: Customers that have a product-centric business model can be attacked by companies with more innovative business models. How will your customer compete if there is no IP advantage? How will your customer compete with free? Move the sales conversation from features to business models and you will move your role from salesperson to consultant. You will still need to find a way to connect your offering to the potential new business model of the customer, but it starts with a different kind of conversation. A conversation that explores rather than manipulates.

Read the full article in Wired: How Will Zuckerberg Rule the World? By Giving Facebook’s Tech Away

The day after the smartphone

We have become so used to our beloved smartphone that we cannot imagine a life without it. Predicting its death might be premature, but a day will come when the smartphone will be obsolete. The large tech companies are very aware of this fact and are working hard on what is next. A few technologies are potential replacements. By far the biggest threat is the rise of the automated assistants from Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and a few others. The living room has already quietly been entered by Apple. Once the power of the AppleTV has been fully released, you will be able to talk to SIRI in your living room

Mature Insights: Companies that create products or services that are dependent on buttons, screens, terminals and similar will be outmaneuvered by companies that use the smartphone as their interface.

Developing Insights: Companies that already have migrated to the smartphone via internet connectivity and apps need to think about how their products can be operated by SIRI and similar assistants. They also need to consider if they can give feedback to the customer in other forms than displays or even make decisions without involving the customer.

Read more in this article from Business Insider
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