Can you keep up with the competition in your field? The IoT might be the key to keeping pace and even getting ahead of the pack.
Whether we realize it or not, the Internet of Things influences almost every aspect of our lives. From automated “smart homes” that allow us to control appliances, heating and cooling, and security using our mobile devices from virtually anywhere in the world, to daily traffic patterns dictating how city traffic lights operate, there is hardly any aspect of life that’s left unconnected.
While these connections undoubtedly make our lives easier and more efficient, IoT’s impact on business is often overlooked.
The IoT is changing traditional industries and how business is done in ways we could never imagine even just a decade ago. The overall perception among leaders is that businesses in all sectors need to innovate and adapt or risk falling behind and becoming obsolete.
The need to understand and embrace the IoT goes well beyond the design of connected devices. Even businesses that don’t manufacture durable equipment or products need to understand how connectivity affects their business and what it brings to the competitive landscape.
Harnessing the power of the IoT has become a key to remaining competitive.
Connected Devices and Big Data
In some ways, the IoT’s effect on competition is apparent. As IT becomes a more important part of actual products with embedded sensors, microcontrollers and applications, and connectivity, almost anything can now become a computer—a computer that transmits reams of data to a product cloud, which then stores and analyzes data that is used to drive product development.
In other words, data collected from the connected devices can tell manufacturers exactly how consumers are using products, what’s working and what isn’t, and what needs to change.
The result is better products built exactly how customers want. This information provides a competitive advantage while also allowing companies to streamline the product development process.
The leveraging of data is nothing new; most of the largest companies on the Internet like Amazon and Google have built their success on the ability to gather reams of data about human behavior and how they use their products, and analyze that data to make predictions and develop responsive products that give users what they want, when they want it.
These companies have become competitive juggernauts because of their use of data, and the IoT is giving other companies a similar opportunity.
Beyond Actual Products
The usefulness of data collected via the IoT is not limited merely to physical products, though. The concept of products as a service—creating an experience for the customer—is the foundation of many IoT projects.
This can create a competitive advantage in several areas, including service reliability, better cost projections and reduced expenditures, better revenue projections, and improved risk mitigation.
In short, regardless of what your customer needs, the companies that are most successful in the future will be the ones who can best use data to optimize their products and their performance.
The IoT is changing how products are manufactured and delivered to consumers. The updated service-driven model allows for new efficiencies in the manufacturing process, and has the potential to identify problems in a system before they become a bigger problem downstream.
Connected vehicles can provide data for developing more efficient routes, or sensor-equipped products can allow for a usage-based model where customers only pay for what they use.
The IoT can improve the supply chain, creating a way to track products from plants and beyond virtually, while also creating autonomic processes that help foresee potential issues before they happen. In short, the IoT is creating new business models, in which optimization is a primary goal that can provide quantifiable benefits to your customers, which in turn moves you ahead of the competition.
The IoT and the data and insights that it provides are poised to become major disruptors of the modern business landscape. Companies in all sectors need to develop a clear vision for how to incorporate the IoT into their strategic plans.
This will require introducing new skill sets and teams into the organization to allow for not only improvement of existing products and services, but also the ability to move into new markets and develop new offerings.
In short, even those businesses that don’t think that the IoT and connectivity matter to them are bound to be affected by this new paradigm, and those that do not innovate and keep up will soon be left behind by the competition.
Amy studied sociology and human development in Arizona. With her vast knowledge in these areas, she has been able to create a number of informational pieces focusing on technology and education.