Commentary

Think Beyond The 'Things' For IoT Success

As the IoT continues to grow and flourish, companies across the globe are working to get their piece of this huge new market opportunity. We are already starting to see some great successes in the IoT, such as Amazon Echo, which is on everyone’s wish list this year. We’ve also seen some companies that have faltered a bit trying to make their mark.

As companies big and small embark on their IoT journeys, taking note of the hard lessons learned to date will be critical for ongoing success. One of the main missteps is that companies focus too much on creating a connected product and little or no time on how to create a sustainable connected product business.

A key factor in any great success is proper planning, including knowing where you want to go, how you are going to get there and how to circumvent any perceived roadblocks along the way. However, in many cases, the race to get a connected product to market overshadows proper planning. Companies spend too much of their efforts and resources designing a connected product prototype and very little on what they are actually trying to achieve with it.  

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A recent study we conducted with Forrester Research adds weight to this statement. The report revealed that while connectivity was a top priority for product companies, fewer than a third (29%) were actually using the data gathered to create actionable insights to benefit customers and expand business opportunities. That’s a huge miss.

It is easy to think the Internet of Things is just about connecting devices to the Internet, but that is really just the beginning. On the IoT journey, connectivity serves as a gateway to new experiences, functionality and business opportunities, but is not the final destination by any means.

A truly successful connected product adds value across an entire business. This is what that value should do:

  • Lead to the creation of better, more desirable products
  • Lead to a better understanding of how customers use a product
  • Help organizations cross-sell and upsell other services based on usage patterns
  • Personalize and create the type of delightful customer experiences that can be a game changer for a company.

Value doesn’t come from the connection alone, it comes from the data that is collected from the connected products.  

When managed properly, the data from connected products can quite literally change a business.  Imagine:

  • Knowing there is an issue with a product and being able to fix it before the customer is even aware
  • Knowing when and how a customer uses a product and being able to optimize it for their specific use
  • A customer calling the support line to have the technician already know who the customer is, what product they have and what issue they may be calling about
  • A world where every engagement a customer has with a company or a product being a clear map to their happiness and loyalty.

That’s what the IoT data opens up.  At the end of the day, the Internet of Things is not about the things. It is about the new experiences they deliver and how well they can bridge the gap between product companies and customers.

While seemingly incredible now, connectivity will not be a differentiator. It’s the user experience and additional value that connected products provide the customer that will make all the difference.  

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