Jeff Kagan: Investors, Users Don’t Like Tech Innovation Slump

Jeff Kagan  |

Image: iStock.com/phive2015

Investors and users have noticed only some kinds of innovation help a company grow and become a leader. Only the right kind is rewarded by the marketplace. Non-important, non-valuable and less exciting innovation not only misses the mark but can also cast a shadow on the company. Let’s take a closer look at this important divide.

While innovation is important, so much is not exciting or even necessary. There are quite a few areas where we find a need for new thinking in our daily lives. Here are a few examples to consider.

Smartphones. During the first several years, the Apple iPhone, Google Android and Samsung Galaxy were always changing. Every year they introduced important, attractive and even sexy new features. Enough so their customers upgraded every year and lined up around the block to get their hands on these new devices.

iPhone, Android, Galaxy in innovation slump with higher prices

However, over the last several years, the smartphone innovation wave was limp at best. That’s why their customers have not upgraded as quickly. It’s not the customer who has changed. In this case, it’s the lack of innovation and the higher price that is just not exciting the customer enough to act.

Next, companies like Apple, Google and Samsung have made a big mistake. Instead of focusing on innovation, they raised prices. Have you noticed how the prices of iPhone, Android and Galaxy have skyrocketed in recent years? To make matters worse, real and exciting innovation is just not there.

So, even big and successful companies can act irrationally and screw this simple recipe up. I think if they dropped prices to their previous, lower levels, sales would be stronger. Lack of innovation would still slow sales, but not as slow as they are today with high prices.

The automotive industry is another great example. There are plenty of areas where car makers can offer what their customers want. They can juice things up and gain a competitive advantage. So why haven’t they done so? Here are a few off the top of my head.

Automotive industry should innovate with sunglasses for cars

Sunglasses for cars. Ever notice how when your car sits in the sun it gets too hot to handle inside? There is an easy solution to counter this heat. Why has no car maker solved this problem? Or for that matter, no after-market company either.

There are several answers. One is self-tinting windows. Like what “Transitions” does for eyeglasses. Think Transitions lenses for the car. This is an opportunity both for the auto industry and for the glass industry.

The windows can either automatically darken in sunlight the way eyeglasses do, or you can flip a switch and they can darken, giving you privacy. Makes perfect sense. Something every customer would want.

In addition to sunglasses and privacy, car shades will also keep cars cool in summer. Who wouldn’t want that?

What about the horn? We still have only one, single, loud horn. What about a dual horn? You know, one for quietly asking someone to get out of the way and the other for the real, loud sound we sometimes suddenly need. That way we don’t have to give walkers a heart attack.

There are plenty of new and innovative ideas in the automobile industry. Why have we not seen them?

Google, Amazon Search Engines need an update

What about search engines and smartphones? We have not seen real innovation in that area since Google popped on the scene knocking Yahoo! out of the leadership position.

What if we could search using AI? As an example, it could allow us to take a photo of something and it will find it online. Google has an image search, but it's rudimentary and klugey. Or hear a sound and search. This is perfect for search engines, whether they be Google Search or Amazon Search.

We all know there are items we don’t have a name for or just can’t remember. But we may have a picture or a sound. This only makes sense, yet we have not seen it from Google or any other search engine.

Apple has a technology that works this way helping you find the name of a song you are listening to. If they can do that, why not with everything else?

And what about alert systems on our smartphones? Imagine getting notified when your car is going to be towed, or when you are going to get a parking ticket. Or when someone bumps you in a parking lot. Or better yet, when someone is breaking in or stealing your car?

New technology like Ring doorbell and SimpliSafe security are reinventing the home security industry. If that’s the case, we aren’t we also reinventing the driving and automotive experience as well?

We can be notified on an app on our smartphone. Doesn’t that make sense?

There is plenty of need for this protection. Yet there is nothing in the marketplace yet.

Investors are looking for innovative companies

Are you getting the point? There are so many great, exciting and innovative ideas in every industry that users would love.

Ideas that would guarantee media attention and competitive advantage. Ideas that can change industries. Ideas that would fuel rapid growth like we saw in the smartphone market a decade ago.

These are the ideas and the companies that investors are looking for. They are the symbols of the next generation of leaders. Yet, we have seen very little in recent years.

Why are we stuck in this world with a lack-of-innovation? We saw incredible innovation over the last decade or two with Google, Apple, Samsung, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so much more.

Yet, what innovation have we seen in recent years? Precious little. And that’s my point. Some ideas can create or reinvent entire industries. And there are plenty of ideas and plenty of need.

So, let’s get to it! Time is wasting away. The question investors and users are asking is simple. What company and what people will be the next leaders with exciting and transformative ideas to transform a company or an industry?

That’s what investors are always on the lookout for.


Jeff Kagan is an Equities.com columnist. Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst, Influencer, speaker and consultant. He follows wireless, wire line, telecom, Internet, pay TV, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, Mobile Pay and communications technology. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. His web site is www.jeffKAGAN.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan.

Equities Contributor: Jeff Kagan

Source: Equities News

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not represent the views of equities.com.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer. The author of this article, or a firm that employs the author, is a holder of the following securities mentioned in this article : none

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