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#SuperMobility 2015: Telling the Solution Story: How HSN Gets the Internet of Things into Homes

Neal Martinelli, HSN Vice President of Electronics and Home Solutions, will be a Super Mobility 2015 panelist. Martinelli will participate on a panel discussion about the “CONNECTED LIFE – Wearables: What are You Wearing?”

The rapidly expanding field of the Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hot topic at Super Mobility. The concept is not new, but the fervor shows no signs of cooling off. Neal Martinelli, a Super Mobility panelist and the Vice President of Electronics and Home Solutions at HSN, says his company is seeing explosive growth in this nebulous category and expects it to be a top seller this holiday season.

Martinelli says that content creation—HSN’s specialty—“allows us to get into emerging categories quickly, and then to put a voice to it for the consumer.” HSN debuted IoT products two years ago, and this emerging market has been an interesting challenge for Martinelli ever since. IoT goes beyond traditional entertainment devices like TVs, Blu-ray players, or even PCs, but also hasn’t yet reached the level of necessity like washers, dryers, dishwashers, and microwaves.

To take IoT through that threshold, Martinelli aims to break down the demarcation in traditional brick and mortar retail stores and include IoT products in cohesive and logical stories for consumers. HSN clearly conveys the value proposition to consumers while helping them visualize how these products will fit into their routines. “It's fine to sell a treadmill next to a smartwatch,” says Martinelli. “Or to have Wolfgang Puck on air focused on healthy cooking. We may incorporate a smart watch into that, or a device that can do calorie counting.”

Ultimately, Martinelli wants to identify problems that are relevant to a wide swath of his consumers. He prioritizes packaging solutions with clear value over low price points. An important requirement for him is a great out-of-box experience—straightforward instructions and quality technical support can be deciding factors in whether a customer adopts a product into their lifestyle. “I sell the product twice,” says Martinelli. “I sell it on air or online, and then it shows up on their doorstep. The moment a product crosses their door threshold and they open the box, that's the second time I sell that product. If there's any confusion or doubt, it just doesn't work.”

While the wireless industry presses ahead on 5G and pico cells, many consumers are still learning the basics. Martinelli’s advice is to never overestimate how much your customers know about technology. Explaining what this problem looks like for him, Martinelli says that “one of the number one questions, still trending, over my entire 10+ years at HSN, is ‘what is Wi-Fi and how do I get it’. The fact that it's 2015, this is probably not their first PC, and they're still confused or have challenges with what is Wi-Fi blows my mind. But we talk to it on every airing. We talk about where to connect, how to get it in your home, and what does it mean.”

To hear more of Neal’s insights, join him and other industry leaders at the Wearables: What are you Wearing? panel on September 9th at 1:45 pm in the Venetian Ballroom, part of the Connected Life programming of the Mobile Intelligence Conference.

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