The Internet of Things is moving at breakneck speed towards the future and that future is a fully connected one. Nearly everything we bring into our homes and lives is tethered to the Internet at all times, and significant gains have been unlocked as a result that benefit our daily lives. For every Nest Protect or SleepNumber It Bed, though, there’s also a connected toothbrush finding a new home on the bathroom counter.
In the Industrial IoT space, where scale, scope, and potential may be much, much larger, creating valuable connected products can be a hundred-fold challenge. Just because you are able to connect a piece of equipment to the Internet and back to your enterprise systems, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. In many cases there is clear benefit for the end user, but not every piece of farm equipment or heavy machinery will suddenly become more effective once it’s connected. Many companies falter while simply deciding whether or not to make this shift. And once they do, they’ll often begin to transform their business without a full strategy or understanding of the impact that transformation will have.
One of the most important concerns at any stage of the IoT journey is determining how to derive a return on your investment. All along the way, you want to be engaging in activities that reward the changes you’re making to your systems, operations, and, ultimately, your products and services. Without a strategic vision that drives your initiative, you run the risk of a very high likelihood of failure.
Success hinges on building the most effective strategy possible and making the right choices along the way as you move through the phases of your IoT journey. While the possibilities for delivering value are broad and expansive, finding your way into IoT as an important component of your business can present an entirely new set of challenges, such as:
- Strategy: Needing to establish a business case and strategy that all stakeholders understand and support up front.
- Monitoring: Implementing monitoring and communication channels to handle and process the new returning data.
- Control: Instituting basic control and configurations for connected devices, to be able to make changes once they are out in the field, on the factory floor, or in consumers hands.
- Optimization: Leveraging data to streamline the end-user experience through control mechanisms for connected devices, delivering updates, optimizing performance, and more.
- Autonomy: Determining what level of automated activity is valuable for your customers to enhance their experience in the right ways and to the right degree.
Most importantly, granting a product the ability to communicate with you does not mean you’ve magically unlocked the secret to driving new revenue by adding features or functionality. What you choose to offer through that connection and how your customers respond is what matters.
It takes research, insight, and perseverance to make use of this new ability in ways that make the best sense for your organization and also offer functionality and features consumers want or need. Even then, you need to continue delivering value over time, long after the original purchase, to match the expectations of consumers in this connected world.
Remember, creating a product or machine that’s smart and adaptable is an exciting shift for your organization and how you do business, but it’s not the end of your journey.
It’s only the beginning.
→ Need help getting your organization ready for an IoT initiative? Get in touch.
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