The Zukunft

Jonas Huckestein's blog about technology, entrepreneurship and stuff like that

First Business Idea of the Week: The Social Media Alarm Clock

with 3 comments

Starting today, I will publish one business idea a week for anyone to take. I am never going to get around to implementing all the ideas my friends and I came up with at some point and might just as well put them here :) Feel free to comment, discuss and implementthe stuff. Needless to say, I’d be more than happy to help.

Most people hate getting up in the morning and apparently (apparent from my fb feed) many people like sharing stuff they don’t like with their friends. Thus, I present the concept of the social media alarm clock.

The Pitch

According to numerous studies (like this one), sleep or a lack thereof is one of the most neglected factors in staying healthy. The SMAC clock keeps track of your sleeping habits and compares them with a database of registered users. The device keeps track of your sleep patterns and facilitates a healthy lifestyle by gradually shifting your sleeping schedule. To make sure you wake up SMAC comes equipped with light arrays, sound alarms and software challenges. The software challenges include mini-games and puzzles of different difficulties that are hooked up to social media sites such as facebook and twitter so you can share your wake-ups. Buy a SMAC for your friend and you will be able to challenge him to beat your highscore or puzzle when he is most vulnerable: immediately after waking up while the alarm is still ringing!

The Product

The product is basically a network-capable alarm clock with fancy pants software hooked up to twitter, facebook (or qik? ;)) and the likes. It comes bundled with some sort of online service which allows you to compare your “results” and patterns with other people (everybody loves to compare)!. As an added bonus, it has mini-games or challenges on board which might even be in some way connected to facebook friends.

In fact we built a prototype of an alarm clock that presented a mathematical question every morning in our micro-programming lab at the TU Munich and it was tons of fun (thanks to Jenny and Michi!). For a list of similar concepts (annoying alarm clocks), check out this great list.

The Business Model

The product is sold square and fair. Given the rapidly decreasing prices of microprocessors and wireless chips, I guess it is possible to build a WiFi enabled alarm clock with a full-color screen and a decent 32 bit ARM processor for around 25 to 30 USD (which is just an educated guess based on faint memories of a recent isuppli teardown). A reasonable market price might be 50$.

I guess the clock can be marketed as a welcome present for college student or a winking present for friends. Having it automatically tweet and post stuff to facebook will certainly also help it.

The Challenges

Selling the thing for 50 bucks is still pretty steep. The obvious challenge here is to cut costs wherever possible and to generate enough buzz to be able to live off a low profit margin. Other than that, this is a piece of cake.

Also, the thing could be extended to do stuff such as not waking you in an REM phase or recording your movements and noises in sleep :) Maybe it also has a camera that takes a picture of you every time it rings!


Written by Jonas Huckestein

2010/01/26 at 12:16 am

3 Responses

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  1. It’s called . I’m eager to read your second idea tomorrow.


    2010/01/26 at 12:42 am

    • True, but I don’t think the chumby is a good consumer product. It lacks the “ipod-dock”-ness and is too expensive to buy it for any single purpose. Good call, though

      Jonas Huckestein

      2010/01/26 at 12:54 am

  2. I think the REM feature is pretty important for this one, but I’m not sure whether this is possible without creepy wires applied to your head :) … After all, the sleeping cycle iPhone app doesn’t really work. The math alarm clock was awesome, though! ;)

    By the way, nice blog!



    2010/02/10 at 3:44 pm

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