Life as a Service: What the Apple Watch can teach Solution Providers about their go-to-market strategy.

posted by Nick Nielsen on Monday, June 08, 2015 in Unified Communications and IT Blog

Technology giant Apple recently unveiled the highly-anticipated Apple Watch. This wearable technology provides plenty of style options and loads of usable apps with entry-level models starting at $400.00 and ranging to the Apple Watch Edition retailing for more than $17,000.00. Of course the watches themselves rely on the technology of your paired iPhone, furthering Apple’s penetration into your mind and wallet share.

Nervous about the price tag? Not to fret. CNN Money announced that Apple users can actually rent the watch for as little as $50.00/month.  And why not rent? The first generation of the technology is sure to become obsolete according to www.applewatchlease.com; citing that the learning curve for new technologies is steep and that keeping up with robust technological ecosystems quickly renders the devices obsolete. The idea of “buyability” is also addressed in the graphic below provided by applewatchlease.

So, in the age of bleeding technology expansion, it begs the question: Is acquiring technology a technological or sociological decision? The answer could be both.

As Unified Communication providers work feverishly to build modifications to their products that embrace 4G and LTE technology, it also perpetuates the utility and disposability that technology is today. So how did we get here?

First, let’s take a look back.

There is an obvious dichotomy between yesterday’s phones being bought and sold under the solemn oath that it had a decade-long usable life, and junk drawer collections of early generation cell phones. It goes to show that what businesses say they want, and what consumers do are two different things.

Now look at today.

With the advent of easy-come, easy-go disposability of cloud technologies, and the burgeoning stress on the traditional communications VAR, UC buyers and seller are overwhelmed with the options in front of them. It’s enough to shake loose the mental rivets.

We can see in the near future.

Look at the Millennials, who have survived by texting their way through the past decade. They are also the bright, young, contingent that will be your future employees, customers and certainly tech consumers. How do Millennials acquire technology? They “rent” from their parents until released from the nest; then promptly continue to consume on a monthly spend for voice, data, apps, music, videos, books and all things multi-media.

According to Goldman Sachs, Millennials have been even dubbed the “rental generation”, and are a larger group by population than Baby Boomers. They are encumbered with more debt and have less money to spend than even Gen Xers. In fact, Author and Economist, Jeremy Rifkin of Goldman states that “25 years from now, car sharing will be the norm, and car ownership will be an anomaly.”

The narrative of generational gaps reminds me of a funny story of my friend’s grandfather, a baby boomer himself, who recently spent $600.00 cash to “acquire” an iPhone, bringing it home to connect to the network to only realize he didn’t sign up for the monthly data plan. How strange he must think the Millennials are for car sharing?

Times are changing and maybe, just maybe, the concept for consideration should be “Life as a Service”.

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About The Author

Nick Nielsen began his work in the telecommunications industry in 2001. Prior to that, Nick attended Coe College, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communication, was a student-athlete, served as a coach post-graduation, and also met his wife, Wendy. He then went on to earn his Master’s from the University of Iowa’s Tippie MBA program. Today, Nick serves as Vice President of Sales for GreatAmerica Financial.  Prior to joining GreatAmerica in 2008, he served in various leadership positions with U.S. Cellular.

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