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Never Get Unplugged

If you’re a maker of a voice first device, or any particular IOT device that requires wall power, you must avoid users unplugging the device. Re-plugging the device seems to be such a barrier that it might be weeks or even months before someone plugs the device in again. To a lesser extent, muting also leads to less likelihood to be un-muted but it’s not as severe as an unplug. An unplug is kryptonite.

I’ve observed in my own behaviour. I’ve borrowed a microUSB from an Echo Dot and poof… a week went by before I plugged it in. We’ve seen it with the Ubi where if it went unplugged, it was as good as gone.

As soon as someone re-adjusts to not having an always on device nearby, they need to then re-learn the behaviour of triggering the device. It’s a pain.

So what can device makers do? A few ideas:

  • Use a non-standard adapter — like the Google Home. It’s less likely that users will borrow from it.
  • Have a little bit of battery… even to chirp like a Tomaguchi toy for power….
  • Nudge. Nudge on your app. Nudge on your email list. Nudge on your portal. Nudge through your other devices.
  • Don’t require a plug. Find a way to get power to your device.
  • Hire someone to plug your device back in.
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