Amazon Sidewalk is a new low-bandwidth networking solution that connects Amazon products via the use of Bluetooth technology. The aim is to offer a dependable, low-cost connection solution that covers vast regions outside of the range of most users’ WiFi networks while remaining within their budget.
A large number of publications are now available on how to disable this reasonably secure service, which will be detrimental to its long-term survival since it requires a critical mass of networks in order to operate well or at all.
While I was digesting the news about this, my old buddy Kathleen Hall, who used to work at Microsoft, was named Marketer of the Year at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. This announcement drew my attention to the actual issue with Sidewalk, which isn’t related to the technology. It is due to a lack of strategic marketing.
Let’s take a look at one of the long-standing problems in the technology market: a scarcity of essential marketing expertise. This week’s product of the week is an alternative to the top-rated Ring doorbell camera for people who need a battery-powered option but are concerned about the possibility of Ring being utilized by the authorities. Additionally, this gadget may be used to create a fast and simple Father’s Day gift.
Kathleen Hall, Corporate Vice President of Brand, Advertising, and Research at Microsoft
Kathleen Hall represents a rare species in the world of technology companies: a marketing officer who has been extensively trained and has extensive experience in a senior executive role.
Because it is the function that generates demand for a company’s goods, services, and securities in general, marketing is a vital component of every organization. However, in technology firms, it is much too common for individuals who lack fundamental marketing abilities to be elevated into marketing positions because those who promote them also lack marketing expertise.
The situation is exacerbated by the fact that engineers tend to believe that their experience in software or hardware creation equally qualifies them as experts in marketing in technology-based businesses. Briefly stated, very often, in this critical skill for ensuring that company revenues meet their potential, the top jobs are not only staffed by people who lack the necessary background to do the job, but those who do have the necessary background are too often overruled by more powerful people who also do not understand the job.
In many cases, this enforced lack of competence at the decision-making level results in careers for qualified senior marketing professionals being relatively brief, particularly at the highest levels of a company, because they become tired of banging their heads against the “stupid wall” and seek employment somewhere where their skills and experience are valued and they can make a difference.
The fact that Kathleen Hall has been with Microsoft for a long period of time and has been successful enough there to receive well-deserved recognition makes her an excellent source of advice on how any other qualified marketing executive can survive and thrive in the hostile environment that most technology companies have created makes her success relatively unique.
Sidewalks Are a Source of Confusion
In the case of Sidewalk, the problem isn’t its security (which is reported to be massively encrypted); it isn’t the amount of bandwidth it will consume from your computer (which you are unlikely to notice), and it isn’t the fact that Amazon is using Sidewalk to collect your personal information (which they aren’t).
However, Amazon marketing did not do any research prior to releasing the service, and Amazon did not ask you to opt-in; instead, they just switched on the service without asking for permission from the consumers. An experienced marketer would have emphasized the need of managing public impressions, gaining the public’s confidence, and then requiring individuals to officially opt into the service in order to prevent negative public reactions to the service.
For example, with this service, a pet or kid monitoring device might last much longer, be more dependable, and be significantly less expensive than what is presently available on the market. (Partially as a result of the increase in homelessness, thefts have increased, and it seems that pet theft is becoming more frequent.) With Tile-like devices that operate over much larger distances in populous regions, you’d be able to more confidently locate and retrieve your tagged and stolen goods, as well as your runaway or stolen pet, in the long term.
Water sensors for your ever-evolving irrigation system would be simpler to install and more dependable if they were available. Furthermore, temperature sensors to monitor your plants, pets, or even children would be much less complicated to install and would be far less costly. A reliable sensor in your remote mailbox that would last months and consistently notify you when your mail came — and a sensor in a package that contained a costly item you had purchased that would enable you to track down the porch pilot who had stolen it — are both possibilities.
In contrast to this, the only thing we hear about Sidewalk is the privacy and security concerns that have led to the recurrent recommendation to opt-out of the service. This is mostly because people are unfamiliar with the technology and its actual risks, which are insignificant when weighed against the service’s benefits.
Consequently, this potentially useful service (for the protection and safety of our children, pets, and property) will most likely fail since Amazon does not control how the service is perceived by its customers.
Conclusion: Perception Is Consistent With Reality
Despite the fact that I am not now employed in marketing, I have a marketing education background and have previously worked in marketing companies. Several businesses I’ve worked for have failed or come close to failing because they either do not employ competent marketing personnel or treat them as second-class citizens in recurrent instances of the Dunning-Kruger effect.
In the past, Apple, which was previously led by marketing genius Steve Jobs, demonstrated what was possible when a business was under the direction of someone who knew how marketing worked.
Louis Gerstner, a man who understood almost nothing about technology, was mainly successful in the IBM turnaround because he used his Nabisco experience to build one of the most competent marketing teams that have ever existed in the history of the company. His successor dissolved that organization and sold off the firm’s PC business, which was the most prominent application of the IBM name at the time. This helped establish Lenovo as a global brand while also stifling IBM’s expansion worldwide.
Apple’s inability to introduce a successful new product after Steve Jobs’ death is mainly attributable to the significantly decreased capacity and competency of the company’s marketing department as a result of Jobs’ death. However, the one repeating error that IT firms make is failing to hire and support marketing executives (both of which are critical), as well as failing to take marketing and market research into consideration when developing new products from the beginning.
Sidewalk, which is on the verge of being a failure, didn’t have to fail in the first place. In the meanwhile, unless internet firms realize that the most effective sales weapon at scale is smart marketing, mistakes like Amazon Sidewalk are going to be repeated. Lastly, just to be clear, excellent sales is like having a well-trained squad of snipers who are capable in certain ways; effective marketing is like having a nuclear weapon that can both win and lose a war, depending on how it is utilized.
Something to ponder this week, I suppose.
Eufy Security Video Doorbell in 2K resolution
Many people are wary of Amazon at the moment, but they still want a security doorbell with a video camera to defend themselves from the increasing number of porch pirates.
An affordable $199 (it’s currently on sale for $169.99 on the Eufy website), the Eufy Video Doorbell 2K kit does not need a subscription for picture recording and is compatible with Amazon Echo devices (shows the image of whoever is at your door to an Echo Show and send a toned alert to all Echos). Some of the doorbell noises (such as wolves howling) are unusual and entertaining, while others (such as wolves howling) are jarring and unsettling.
Because it is powered by a battery, there is no need to connect it to your current doorbell system. The battery life of the camera may last up to six months, depending on how often it is used.
Consider the possibility that you will opt to connect it into your current doorbell system with electricity. If your internet connection and receiver are both connected to a UPS battery backup system, you will have a huge battery backup system in place. However, you will need to use the metal pin that comes with the camera in order to remove it from the charger. It will usually recharge completely throughout the course of the night.
The smartphone app is simple to set up and allows you to communicate with anyone who arrives at your door while you are away. It also allows you to send off an alert if you suspect someone of stealing your delivery. The 2K resolution is more than sufficient for reading license plates and getting a good picture of who or what is knocking on your front door.
I’ve had mine installed for almost a year now, and it has surpassed the Arlo system that it was intended to replace by a wide margin. In my experience, the Arlo Video doorbell did not work properly with the rest of my Arlo cameras for some inexplicable reason.
For those who are seeking a battery-powered alternative to the Ring video doorbell — and especially for those who do not want to be bothered with running electricity to your doorbell — the Eufy Security Video Doorbell 2K is my product of the week selection.