The IoT has proven to much more than the latest technology buzzword. The market is growing at a rapid pace with more and more product companies looking to bring connected products to market. As we talk to these companies, the first question we ask them is “Why”. Why do you want to connect a product? What added value will it bring to your customer? To your company? How will it affect your revenue or business model?
We ask those questions to help avoid a disturbing trend within our industry – the ‘gadgetization’ of the IoT. Companies that spend valuable time and resources rushing to connect a product in order to get their seat on the bandwagon, but in the end don’t have any real business strategy behind it. While there might be an initial flash in the pan of launching a connected product, often these products are quickly forgotten and end up in the proverbial junk drawer.
We recently worked with Forrester Research on a study to better understand the goals, challenges, issues and trends product companies face in an IoT journey. What we found was an alarming disconnect between the vision these companies have for the IoT and how they are executing on the vision. Most organizations (61%) agreed that product monitoring was a key driver in creating connected products yet only 51% are collecting data at all and only one-third of those collecting data are using it for business insights. So that begs the question – if you aren’t collecting data or worse if you are and not using it – what value is an IoT product bringing your business at all?
You’ve probably heard me say this repeatedly, but here it is again. Just connecting a product to the Internet is the first step in a long IoT journey. Stopping there is like spending months planning an amazing cross country trip and only getting out of the driveway. Most of the value of the IoT is in what the products can tell you – about themselves and the end customer. Too many companies are spending a disproportionate amount of valuable time and resources on just connecting their products, leading to them missing the mark on ensuring the data they product is actionable. IoT connected products are about making better business decisions and adding value to the end customer.
The good news is that while the IoT market is growing, it is also maturing. Product companies and vendors alike are learning from the trials of the early adopters and are beginning to understand the full value the IoT can provide. Companies like ours are working to help simplify the complexity of not only connecting products but also managing data and putting that data to good use helping create new business opportunities and creating long-term value for your customer.