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Connected Holiday Gifts & Planning for a Good Connected Experience

Now that we are full swing into the holidays, and we have passed some of the big shopping days of the year.  What will this mean in terms of more connected devices coming online as gifts during the holiday season?  Many gifts being purchased include connected devices.  When these devices are opened up and connected, we typically see an increase in online activity because many of these devices need to get software updates and patches before they can be used.  

In addition, consumers are purchasing gift cards which can be redeemed through the devices for digital goods such as music, movies, games, books.  This type of shift is requiring many different businesses to further rethink their plans of how to support consumers each year, to ensure that new connected gift or digital goods offers a great experience.  Ensuring a good experience is important, since a poor experience can result in increased support calls and products returns.  It is also not as simple as it used to be. 
A movie or a video game was not too complicated before with physical media.  For example for a movie, a studio needed to just press DVDs and Blu Rays, and they would just work on the various DVD and Blu Ray players.  Today, devices have different platforms, hardware specs, and connectivity, so not only may the experience be inconsistent across devices, but may also be poor on some devices.  Also, if someone gets the gift of the virtual good, the business needs to plan for how they will grant access to that good.  Will it be on just one device such as a smart phone, or across multiple devices including tablets, game consoles, or smart TVs?

We are now in a world where everyone including the device businesses, the virtual goods businesses, and the retailers need to plan in advance to ensure a good connected experience, so the consumer has a great connected holiday.

Kris Alexander is Chief Strategist, Connected Devices and Gaming at Akamai