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Humans and Synths (Channel 4 TV): Rent or Buy – Parallels for Manufacturers and Vendors of High Value Equipment

You may be an avid watcher of the Chanel 4 TV series called Humans which debuted in June 2015.  Synths, although very useful around the home and office, are just a little bit scary. There are times when I think I could do with a Snyth to do the ironing, mow the lawn etc;  but that kind of technology, if available, would not come cheap.

What is really disconcerting is that Humans is set in contemporary UK, not in the future.  The drama depicts a vision of how society and personal relationships might change as a result of Synths being around the home and workplace.  One part of the storyline which particularly interests me is the reference to very old Synths being only 6 years old. The latest Synths are shown as being nearly indistinguishable from real humans and by comparison old synths appear wooden and robot like. 

One really unsettling feature of the storyline is Synths'  “sharing of data”. New Synths do and old Synths don’t. What happens to that data? It’s all a bit Orwellian but there are a few aspects of the storyline which from an equipment manufacturer’s or vendor’s point of view are interesting, namely:

  • No doubt the development costs of Synths would be massive and on-going improvements and software updates would continue to come online.
  • The up-front cost of a Synth if purchased outright would probably be huge when compared to average family income.
  • As with most forms of new technology, the first synths to arrive on the market would probably be manufactured in small volumes attracting a very high purchase price.
  • Only a very small number of early adopters would be willing to pay a high price for a first generation Synth. 
  • Once the family has got used to benefits the Synth could bring to the home and business the Synth could become indispensable. Would you ever want to do the ironing or wash the car again?
  • Would the manufacturer or vendor want to make sure old Synths do not fall into the hands of a competitor?  No, the manufacturer would want to control the second user market, hence Synths are recycled – humanely of course.
  • Where is the real income earning potential for the vendor or manufacturer of the Synths? Probably in the sharing of data between the Synths and HQ and sale of the data to third parties. It would make sense for the manufacturer or vendor to ensure all or most Synths in operation were the current models with the latest data collection and sharing capabilities.
  • In Humans all Synths are “Rented”. There have been no references to “owning” a Synth so far. Payment of a periodic rental removes the barrier to acquisition associated with a very high purchase price. 
  • Rental enables the manufacturer or vendor to continually remove old Synths from the market and replace them with the latest “sharing” models. 

There are many parallels here with today’s high value equipment and although Arkle does not necessarily advocate the arrival of Synths, even though I would love someone else to do the ironing and wash the car, rental as a concept is here already.

For those manufacturers and vendors of high value equipment who wish to break into the mass market and control their second user market - rental might be the way forward.

For further information about how Arkle might help fund your Rental programme contact Arkle on 01933 304789 or email mringrose@arklefinance.co.uk.

Humans and Synths (Channel 4 TV): Rent or Buy – Parallels for Manufacturers and Vendors of High Value Equipment

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