May, 2017


The Director Speaks : "Shedding Light on IoT"

JerryOver the last couple of months, I have noticed that several of the more ambitious consulting houses have been lowering their forecast for the IoT market. I know there are those that would argue such changes are an inevitable part of the ‘hype’ cycle. I don’t see it that way at all, I see such reality checks as a reflection of the fact that market evolution is not an undeniable cycle but something that is driven by the environment or ecosystem that supports product demand. In the case of IoT, I think the needs are still there; people will always want simpler, easier, better.  What many pundits failed to do was to understand that the needs will only manifest themselves as demand if certain price points can be hit and adoption inhibitors can be eliminated.  The fact that so many experts have missed the market tells us that there is much that is not understood about the market dynamics associated with the IoT market. It also implies there is a huge opportunity for those that understand the disconnects that shape our market view. As the CTM team continues our efforts to create an IoT market simulator, we hope to shed new light on these dark corners of the IoT market in order to empower the CTM community to move forward in this space.


LarsLars Perner's research interests focus in non-profit marketing, sponsored fundraising, consumer behavior, consumer price response, branding, and bargain hunting. His work has been published in the Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Marketing Education, Journal of Consumer Affairs, and Journal of Consumer Psychology. He currently serves as a faculty coordinator for the Department of Marketing's undergraduate introductory marketing course sections, which serve approximately 1,600 students every academic year.

1. What is your research topic about? Why do you think it's an important issue for businesses today?

My current research focuses on chicken-and-egg problems—the fact that, for many new innovations to succeed, you need two thngs, each of which is unlikely to happen before the other does.  For example, before Uber could succesfully operate, they needed both to have drivers and poential riders carrying the app.  Before there were drivers, riders would have little incentive to download the app.  In turn, to interest drivers, there had to be potential riders.  Uber was able “jump start” the process in San Francisco due to large under-supply of conventional taxi cabs, and tourists who left with the app on their phones could now use it elsewhere once drivers became available.  Many businesses—especially smaller, entrepreneurial ones—often do not anticipate the full extent chicken-and-egg problems they will face, and as a result, many promising innovations failed when they were first introduced.

2. What excites you the most about your research?

 For many years, I have told my students that “No, the text doesn’t talk about chicken-and-egg problems, but textbooks will very soon!”  Economists have done some work on so-called “multi-sided sided platforms”—which require that two or more parties join in before a platform can function—but the issue seems to have been given little thought in marketing.  I believe it is important to develop systematic ways to anticipate chicken-and-egg problems and effective strategies for jump-starting affected innovations.   

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