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James Dyson on why not every device needs to be connected

Brian Heater
James Dyson on why not every device needs to be connected

Dyson referred to today’s event in New York as the company’s “biggest launch, ever,” unveiling a new vacuum and air purifier that have all the sort of pricey premium components we’ve come to anticipate from the UK company.

Namesake James Dyson was on hand at the event, giving a bit of a history lesson on the company he founded 30 years ago, along with some insight into the electric motor that powers the new products. The inventor sat down with a handful of journalists following the unveiling for a Q&A, touching upon, among other things, his thoughts on the industry’s push toward connected everything.

“I think it’s necessary for some products,” Dyson explained, asked whether more of the company’s products would feature app control. “Talking to the web is easier, having an app is easier, but in my own view, I’m not quite sure that’s the future.”

The comment runs contrary to the consumer electronics industry’s rush to make every aspect of our lives part of the connected home. A walk through the halls of CES points to any number of industries using smart home buzzwords in a push to stay relevant, from hair brushes to toasters and mirrors.

But Dyson, who founded the company in 1987, argues that it’s often better to have the smarts inside the devices, rather than asking the consumer to do any of the heavy lifting. “I think it’s quite important that  some of the mundane products that we make do all of these things automatically,” he told the group, “without you having to get out an app or get ahold of your controller. So we’re into automation.”

Of course, connected functionality is meant to offer both more control and insight into what the product is doing. Certainly remote functionality makes sense on products like connected smoke detectors, for the kind of peace of mind it offers up. But, Dyson explains, perhaps it’s better to simply build that directly into the device itself.

“The purifier reacts and deals with it,” he said.” I think that’s what’s important. Not you having to get out a phone, open up the app and set the thing going. I want it to do it itself.”