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How Identity Can Decrease Friction For Your Customers When They Encounter the Internet of Things

Black Friday was successful for our family. Buying last year’s television at this year price resulted in 75 percent off list price – score! So, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the Shah family spent part of the morning setting up our latest smart TV in the living room. My 4-year-old daughter was eager to stream a new holiday cartoon, meaning Dad had to be quick.  

Unboxing – Check. Plugged in the wall, super easy. Batteries in the remote, thank you for including them. Turning on and watching something, not so easy or fast.

Setting up a new television has gone from a few simple steps to a process that took over 12 minutes. Yes, I timed it. With a little girl’s continuous asking, you bet I looked at the clock.

This setup friction was a reminder to me that there must be a better way to get customers up and running easier on these Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Why did I choose to use the word friction when describing the extended setup of my television?  Friction is the force that acts in the opposite direction of a moving object.  Sometimes it is good (brakes on a car, and sandpaper on a board). But when friction occurs during the excitement of a little girl waiting to use the new TV or, as she puts it, “watch something,” then that momentum becomes a bad thing. A really bad thing.

Sorry for the science lesson. Back to the point. Why did it take us 12 minutes????  Let me tell you. Once I setup the wireless connection and verified the internet was flowing, I had to establish an account on the television. I had to go through the account creation process  by entering my email address and a password, two times. Glad I didn’t mistype anything. Now some might tell you this is easy – and it is – but it takes a lot of time with a keyboardless remote control.

So what’s left?  I need to set up the streaming service. Another username and password to enter with that remote control before the content that my daughter so longs to watch is ready for her viewing pleasure. The moment of relief for her comes, when she hears the music and sees the images powered by the internet to the thing that is the television. Now she’s happy. But the wait of 12 minutes is something that she continues to remind me of, “Daddy remember when I wanted to watch sometime, but it took so long. I didn’t like that.”

It is great that television makers have embraced the IoT paradigm and continue to design their platforms to capitalize on all of the benefits, such as content, personalization, and applications. But the path to get to this gold doesn’t need to be that long or hard. How do they solve it? The solution: Connect people, data, and things.

An Identity Platform would streamline the process and get their customers from conversion to advocacy faster without this friction. It enables the streamlining of the setup process of connecting people to their things. By leveraging QR codes or PIN codes to link the device with a mobile application to the user – this setup is a breeze. Along with the added benefit of linking multiple platforms together, they could help eliminate the nine extra minutes of setup time.

When you are able to remove registration of the device as a point of friction, and make a little girl so much happier, you start the relationship correctly. And that drives more consumers to become advocates, instead of one and done. The juice might be worth the squeeze. If you make the squeezing process hard we might forget you, but if you make it easy we will remember.

By Ratul Shah

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