Consumer IoT does’t make you money: that’s the problem…

Last week Google tried to quietly shut down Revolv, a free cloud service powering a smart home hub by the same name. Unfortunately it all ended up not-so-quietly, as a big fuss spread all over the internet following a very good rant-post from Arlo Gilbert on Medium.

Arlo is a bloke that some 2 years ago chose Revolv as a hub to automate his home; a hub that, following Google decision, starting May 15th won’t work anymore, turning into a useless piece of tech, or a “hummus container”, in Arlo’s own words.

The problem here is that Revolv, much like many other consumer IoT products, needs a cloud service in order to do what it is supposed to do. This service, again much like many other consumer’s IoT products, is complimentary. Being complimentary it comes with an EULA that gives very little warranty and basically no assurance about service continuity.

Do you see the loophole?

Why the service is complimentary? Mostly because at the present day very few consumers would be willing to spend money on a recurring fee. Google is shutting down Revolv simply because it is a business that can’t provide any ROI, again like may other consumer IoT products.

Revolv needs a cloud service, that needs to be complimentary, that makes all not sustainable economically

In a way this is quite similar to what was going on with ISP in the late ’90s — if you bought a modem you had a free dial-up service — with the big difference that that model was sustainable as the dial-up technology had become already a commodity, something that the cloud service simply isn’t.

So, until either vendors will come up with some new ways of making money out of this or cloud services will become so cheap to have a negligible impact on costs. But until then, consumer IoT won’t have a sustainable business case beneath it.

Sic et simpliciter.

Originally published at

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Marcello Majonchi’s story.