Crowdfunding has become a major source of interest ever since the launch of Kickstarter in 2009. The concept is that businesses and individuals should be able to showcase their ideas in a social media-like fashion, and raise money through donations. Many of these campaigns offer rewards for donations, usually including sales, or early bird specials on the product they are hoping to release. Not only have these initiatives been able to offer the opportunity for products to touch markets which would have previously gone unnoticed, but they also offer a unique opportunity to show off products in a receptive community.
This platform has the possibility to be a huge stage for the development of Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives; this has been recognized recently in the partnership between Arrow Electronics and Indiegogo, an established crowdfunding website. Using the initial activity associated with starting and funding a campaign on Indiegogo, Arrow will rate these projects based on technical savvy. In addition, Arrow has pledged to work with tech campaigns that meet a certain standard of excellence, providing design, financial, production, and manufacturing support to the highest rated projects on the site. The partners are calling it a “crowdfund to production” platform.
Although this initiative is not directed specifically at IoT products, the move towards this form of marketing will definitely affect the way that new tech products are introduced. This trend towards encouraging outside developers has been on the rise, and has its notable example in Apple’s WWDC conference held every summer. Pushing outside creatives and developers to engage with crowdfunding platforms could allow for ideas to flourish in new ways as the IoT progresses. We may start seeing a variety of imaginative IoT solutions beginning to emerge as more businesses begin to encourage development.