We are surrounded by products that have minds of their own. Computing power, in the form of microcontrollers, microprocessors, sensors, and data storage chips, has become so cheap that manufacturers are building connectivity and embedded intelligence into all types of consumer goods. These 'smart products' are fundamentally changing both the competitive landscape for business and the daily lives of consumers. This book analyzes the evolution of smart products to help managers understand the impact of embedded product intelligence on corporate strategy, consumer value, and industry competition. It describes four different ecosystem strategies for designing and launching smart products: the control-focused Hegemon, the standards-focused Federator, the high growth and brand-focused Charismatic Leader, and the disruptive industry Transformer. This ecosystem model is then applied to smart products in the automotive, wireless, energy, residential, and health industries. The book concludes with recommendations for successfully managing smart products and services.
Mary J. Cronin is Professor of Management in the Information Systems Department at the Carroll School of Management, Boston College. Her research analyzes the intersection of business strategy and technology, with a focus on industry transformation from technology triggers such as the internet, wireless networking, and embedded product intelligence. She is the author of numerous books, including Doing Business on the Internet (1994) and Unchained Value (1999).