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Choosing A Temperature Sensor: A Paradox Of Choice

Mar 26, 2013

Choosing a Temperature Sensor:

A Paradox of Choice

In his 'Paradox of Choice' series, Barry Schwartz makes a number of arguments relative to choice, how we choose between different options, and the anxieties that can arise with what we might call "too much choice". An abundance of choice can drive away a confident decision because the "choicee" is overwhelmed with potential options, and in turn a feeling of uncertainty and paralysis enters the buyer's realm. This can be seen in many places and industries, we'll use fast food as one particular example. The numbered menu system, or "Value Meals" dilute menu offerings into simple choices, allowing customers to make one decision to solve a multi-faceted food problem. By meshing together a side and a drink option, a majority of customers need make only one decision to solve the lunch quandary, and the resulting effect of a value meal is to discourage or downplay the number of choices, and to encourage (or promote) simplicity to eliminate the buyer's "paralysis".

The application of this idea expands far beyond Fast Food, and sure enough, many vendors and distributors of temperature sensors fall into the same hole. The paradox of choice, particularly with the sensor market, can be particularly overwhelming. A quick dive into a well-known vendor brings a temperature sensor lineup with 81 separate choices, each having specific applications, uses, and some overlapping features. When choosing a temperature sensor, this paradox of choice can arise quickly.

In truth, following Schwartz' words, we know that choices are a highlight and benefit of our consumerist world, but we also know that these choices, particularly when that diverse, can be paralyzing and intimidating to confront. The customer asks the expert for advice, and the expert provides the customer with options (and in turn, we reallocate the responsibility of a solution back to the customer), and a customer is then tasked with selecting the solution out of a range of choices. By this point, the customer is forced into making a decision based on expertise that they don't actually have. It sounds silly; how can an expert in any field, solution, or product line point a potential buyer into a drowning pool of choice, customization, and options? Shouldn't these 'experts' be simplifying the solution process to ease this paralysis?

The answer should be yes. Temperature sensors and other sensor types are not simple products or purchases (versus the fast food example), but customers need a simple landscape to explore. Temperature@lert has always been focused on ease of use and differentiation, and further, we've simplified the platter of choice for our customers.

Other vendors showcase their own abundance of choices for reasons of differentiation, as seen in a "Over 90 products and 32 sensor types" value proposition. This positioning sounds appealing, but it's not helpful in a customer's journey to a solution. Other vendors will also use branded names for their products, which only adds to the obscurity and confusion about functionality and practical use. A "MicroGoose" is hardly a self-explanatory product, and customers are forced into educating themselves on the product names for differentiation when buying. While this is not entirely difficult to understand, it represents a step that we seek to eliminate. These are again examples wherein choosing a temperature sensorbecomes a paradox of choice.

In addressing this issue, we've defined our USB, WIFI, and Cellular products to be self explanatory. Aside from our triumvirate of robust products, we seek provide a simple needs-based choice for our customers, rather than a catch-all warehouse of sensors and products that are overwhelming. By eliminating that uncertainty, or the supposed paralysis that results from too many sensor choices, we can give our customers a simple, digestible and focused monitoring solution. 

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