In our ever-evolving technological landscape, staying ahead of the curve is the only way young and old businesses alike stand a chance of making their mark. Today, this means tapping into an emerging concept tech-insiders are calling the “Internet of Things” (IoT), which is a new way for all kinds of devices, ranging from laptops and tablets, to a whole range of sensors and other intelligent devices to connect, measure, control and analyze our world.
By 2020 the IoT will encompass a full 50 billion devices around the world, and have trillions of dollars’ worth of impact on a variety of different industries. Today, most of the initiative lies in the hands of early adopters, far out of the mainstream, but this will not be the case for long. More and more companies are finding ways to incorporate this technology into their existing products, whether that means smart thermostats that can be operated from your mobile device, fitness monitors that track and save your personal data, or any number of other ideas coming to fruition.
If you’re looking to join the one-in-six businesses that are planning on rolling out their own IoT-based product in the near future, it might be wise to consider a few of the following tips.
1. Look around you
Depending on your type of business and industry, the IoT landscape can look drastically different. Medical and Automotive fields have seen the most action so far and thus ask strategists to think faster and make a move in the present. Many other areas have barely been touched by the new wave of technology, meaning they are in a perfect position to take advantage now and lead the way forward.
Regardless of your particular situation, taking stock of your competitors grasp on IoT will be a good way to understand exactly how you want to move forward.
2. Look forward
No one knows better than you just what kinds of industry changes will make the biggest impact on your field. Getting technical support on your IoT product development is one thing, but without the vision and foresight to let you leave a lasting impact, it won’t amount to much. As with any product, the key is understanding the specific problems you are facing, and finding the perfect solution to resolve them. What is different about incorporating IoT into your business strategy is that it takes a bit of out-of-the-box thinking to imagine what kinds of new possibilities this technology opens up.
Is there a way to streamline your operations? Augment an existing product? Store and manage data? Understanding the potential is up to you.
3. Stand out
What can your company do that others can’t? The importance of having a clear and compelling value proposition shouldn’t be news to any seasoned business insider, but it is becoming even more crucial during times of rapid growth like this. Developing a new product or offering in the world of IoT means finding a unique angle to approach the market, and finding an effective way of communicating it. Starting early is a good way to beat the competition and stand out from the crowd, but as time goes on, carving out a unique niche becomes ever-more important.
4. What’s your role?
Getting a grasp on your role in the IoT boom is about identifying a few of the major players already invested in the transition, and figuring out your place in the action. So far, early IoT adopters fall into three major categories:
Enablers, like the giant tech moguls Google and IBM, are those who have been working to develop the underlying technology that makes IoT possible. For all intents and purposes, they’re the experts, and the ones leading the movement.
Engagers consist of established companies like Apple, but also incorporate a new wave of startups offering a wide range of products and services that take advantage of IoT. Engagers are those who create and integrate new technologies into the marketplace, bringing them to customers around the world.
Enhancers are those, like OnFarm and Progressive, who produce value-added services that go hand-in-hand with those provided by engagers.
5. Follow the leader
Now that you have identified some of the bigger names in the IoT world, doing a bit of homework and learning what exactly makes them tick will be a great way to get a grasp on this new trend. Apple, IBM, and Microsoft are just a few examples, and finding ones that relate most closely to your business goals will be crucial. How do these major players define IoT? What is their strategy when it comes to incorporating it into their day-to-day operations?
6. Augmenting existing products
Perhaps the most accessible way to incorporate IoT technology into your business strategy is to think of how your current products and services can be boosted by a mobile app interface, or smart web link. For many businesses, this has meant adding the ability to track and monitor quantities of data, or to remotely control products via a handheld device. However the possibilities are virtually endless, and discovering how to best supplement your existing lineup is up to you.
7. Considering new developments
While finding new ways to spiff-up your current line of products and offerings is definitely appealing, the major potential of IoT technology comes in when imagining completely new products that can revolutionize the world. As one of the biggest tech developments since the PC, IoT promises a drastic change in the way the business world will look and feel in the years to come. Considering just what this might mean for your company will definitely take some foresight and ingenuity, but success can mean leaving a lasting impact.
8. Learn more
While your company decides exactly how and where to invest themselves in the world of IoT, the prudent strategist is learning as much as they can about this new technology. Currently, the internet is abuzz with information from a variety of different perspectives, and staying on top of the most recent ideas is a good idea. To go a step further, getting in touch with an experienced IoT consulting company will give a significant advantage.
9. Start now
There are those in the industry who claim IoT has been mainstream for a full decade now. And while accounts vary, the truth is that it is becoming more and more mainstream by the day. This is why so businesses are flocking to get on board the IoT train early, to avoid the competition that is sure to come in the next decade. Arming yourself with the right knowledge is important, but taking action is even better. It is time to start considering exactly how IoT can impact your business plan.
10. Stay ahead of the curve
Getting your business invested in the IoT wave is an excellent start, but staying on top of the market will mean keeping up with the new trends and exciting development that come out of this initial burst of activity. By becoming involved early on, you not only reap the benefits of an entirely new market, but you will get firm footing in a tech world that many still don’t understand.