CTO Straight Talk - Issue 2 - 58

{The Final Word
Functional products are simple products like a light bulb
(on/off type). As products evolved, more features and
flexibility were added to them, which meant the user
had to know more about the product features in order to
use them. Then, came programmable products, which
allowed users to select certain features and turn them
on automatically, depending on a time or event trigger.
However, one needs to be aware of the fact that basic
usability of consumer products with embedded
electronics continues to be a major issue. Technology
remains far too hard for most folks to use and most
people end up utilizing only a tiny fraction of the
features at their disposal. Research shows that over

Product Intelligence:
Catalyzing Product Evolution
It's useful to step back and get a big-picture
view of the relationship between product
intelligence and intelligent products.

85% of consumer complaints related to new products
are due to usability rather than technical issues. Half
of all "malfunctioning products" returned to stores by
consumers are in full working order, but customers
could not figure out how to operate the device.
The real revolution and switch to smart products
happened when the focus shifted from features to
usability. It is a no-brainer to say that this was led
by Apple. And now, we are at the cusp of intelligent

Product intelligence and intelligent products are often
used synonymously to refer to the class of products
which are self-adaptive to user needs. We can start

products. The evolution of a simple rotary phone to
cordless phone and then to today's smart phone has all
the hallmarks of this multi-step product evolution.

by saying that product intelligence is about gathering

Rapid strides in technology have resulted in smart

product usage data and user preference while using any

consumer devices with powerful chips, advanced

product, be it a gadget or a software or even a mobile

sensors, wireless networks, advanced display

app. Product intelligence is a precursor to building

technologies, and natural user interfaces (NUI). The

intelligent products. The idea of collecting information

progression to intelligent products happens when

from the usage pattern of customers is not new and has

products become intuitive, when programmability is

been practiced for many years now. The term "product

replaced with intuition. Machine learning and NUI

intelligence" was actually coined way back in 2002.

are expected to play a significant role in creating

We can classify the evolution of products in five phases,

pathbreaking intelligent products.

namely 1) Functional 2) Feature rich 3) Programmable

Product intelligence ensures that the product aligns

4) Usability driven and 5) Intelligent. While these

with customer needs by providing access to customer

phases are not necessarily discrete and have some

usage patterns, exposing customer perceptions, and

overlap during evolution, we can certainly conclude

revealing the competitive positioning of the product

that products are evolving from functional to

in the market. Product intelligence provides insights

intelligent products.

that aid in correlation identification, failure prediction,

GH Rao
President, Engineering and R&D Services
CTO StraightHCL
Talk |Technologies


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CTO Straight Talk - Issue 2


CTO Straight Talk - Issue 2