The Internet of Things (IoT) has certainly gotten a fair amount of media attention as it relates to consumers. But what about businesses? Sean Bryant from CentraLite investigates.
Should your company have wireless, cloud-based products or services? Could your production line or your facilities benefit from IoT technologies? What can your company gain or lose by joining (or not joining) the IoT revolution?
When making your decision, you should closely examine the benefits of IoT from the business side of the aisle:
- The Internet of Things Gives Your Company a High-Tech Image and Market Differentiation. There are a lot of widgets out there. If your product has IoT connectivity and the convenience, control, and management that comes with it, it stands out from the pack. Suddenly you don’t just have a product but a “smart” product, and the big competitive edge that comes with that designation.
Consider a thermostat as an example. Smart thermostats are more desirable, as they offer convenience, connectivity, and features not offered through traditional devices. Or, think about a manufacturer of traditional window shades. Add components for IoT connectivity, and suddenly the traditional morphs into ‘cutting edge’. Smart shades can be programmed to automatically slide down when the summer sun is challenging the cooling system; be programmed with set commands; or be controlled by a smart phone from an armchair or a hotel in a remote location.
Putting your ‘things’ in the IoT gives your company a valuable edge in the market; not doing so may make your product just another outdated technology.
- The Internet of Things Allows You to Monetize Your Data to Increase Revenue and Reduce Cost. Connected devices generate massive amounts of useful data. Companies learn in real-time who is using their products, when, and how. This new information, paired with new customer linkages, creates a fertile environment for new product development and marketing. Gartner Research refers to this real-time data collection as information assets. According to Gartner, “Information has economic value that organisations can ‘turn into money’ in two ways:
- By selling, bartering, or licensing it.
- By using it to reduce costs or increase revenue.”
Using data to reduce costs and increase revenue is known as indirect monetisation. Indirect data monetisation can assist with improving your products or streamlining your processes in measurable ways. Consider a printer manufacturer. With IoT connectivity, the company has the ability to track ink usage and know when toner or ink cartridges need replacement. When needed, a message can be sent to the customer and the products shipped directly and automatically, avoiding the retail outlet. A new market is established, selling printing supplies directly to consumer.
Direct monetisation is the process of bartering or trading the information itself. If properly analysed, filtered, and managed, does the data have value to others? Of course, this monetisation must be in line with all legal and ethical constraints,
- The Internet of Things Allows You to Improve Customer Relations. In the world of IoT, you have an unprecedented, real-time connection to your customers. If a product needs a software upgrade, make the upgrade seamless. If a new product better meets customer needs, clearly and quick communicate this to customers.
IoT technology links businesses to customers like never before. This novel relationship creates opportunities to develop increased customer loyalty by better meeting customer needs and preferences. It also enables you to keep customers happy by enhancing support and services.
The bottom line: Companies can change their momentum, image, relationships with customers, and bottom line in significant and meaningful ways through the Internet of Things.