Although this blog started from a typo I noticed during a presentation, once I realized what the typo implied I knew this was something big and worth sharing.
Before the rise of the internet offline meant we had to leave our homes to gather our groceries, clothes and shoes.
After we got connected all we needed to do is go online, navigate to a website on a webserver somewhere on the internet, browse through some sort of online catalog, ordered whatever we needed and have it delivered to our doorstep.
But a third wave is emerging and it is emerging fast.
I’m calling it inline.
And what do I mean by that?
When Google took over Nest and started to enter our homes with a connected thermostat, most were wondering what the hell Google was doing. Then Amazon followed their lead with Amazon Dash and the Amazon Echo and suddenly Google’s move started to make sense. So, with the Apple HomePod entering the arena, what is behind all this?
Let me put it this way: Why should anyone have to visit an offline or online store, if you can get the store straight into the home?
Google is all about intent. They know what we are searching for, enabling advertisers to hypertarget their audience. Nest enables Google to predict the best time to target you: when you are at home. But while the Nest Thermostat was a first step into our homes, the Nest Cam IQ security camera is the real deal: now Google can spy on you and learn much, much more about what you need, want and even dream of. Google should really be called a deep knowledge company, since they already overhauled search some time ago.
With the Echo, Amazon is smart to underpin Google Search by having you ask Alexa what you want. As it learns your intent, Alexa helps the company to understand how it can expand its already vast portfolio of products and services, while it keeps the ‘Amazon Store’ always in sight or rather ‘inside’.
We’ll start to see a multitude of AI-powered assistants, smart home devices, etc. to target our livingroom. Because each and every merchant knows: the only way to win the battle is to underpin Google, create triggers, capture intent and position the conversion-button straight under your fingernails.
Inline is the new online.
And the battle is on! (text follows after the image)
Sure, the smartphone gave news agencies, advertisers, merchants and suppliers a way in, but each app still has to compete with all the other apps on the device. I’m referring to this intermediate phase (between online and inline) as concurrent inline.
The main difference with autonomous devices like the Amazon Echo, Amazon Dash or Google Nest Cam IQ is that they form a one-on-one connection between the supplier and the client. Therefore making it nonconcurrent. With an Amazon Dash button next to your dishwasher you simply press a button to order your next shipment of detergent. Without any distraction or persuasion from other manufacturers and/or merchants. Without any price consideration. Without any doubt. Just a habit. In a split moment the intention to buy can be fulfilled. Whoever supplies the button, gets, and gets to keep the client.
This nonconcurrent inline direct ordering process is the new deal, the new holy grail. If you’re not inline, you’re out.