Connected objects are everywhere. And the data they generate is transforming the health, manufacturing, consumer goods and many other sectors every day. And that’s only the beginning. Gartner talks about 20 billion devices connected to the network in 2020 . And more and more companies have already started the Internet of Things (IoT) – or are about to do so in the coming months – and are experimenting with strategies to gain competitive advantage or business benefits.
A good IoT strategy can increase revenue, increase product quality, or improve customer relationships. Still, this strategy must be good .
Here are four key steps that are common to all successful strategies.
Think big, but start small
When a company begins to take an interest in IoT, the task can seem huge. There are so many ways to use connected objects (and so many different objects) that finding the right project, ideal for getting started, in the middle of hundreds of possible projects can be like finding a needle in a boot of hay.
The first tip is to ask the trades to look at their existing offers to identify a user case that seems natural to them, then floor on it.
For example, the CEO of the Under Armor textile brand , Kevin Plank, explains that a reflection led his teams to imagine that an added value to his products would be to generate biometric information for athletes. Not necessarily by wearables, but by related devices. The advantage of this ground-based approach is that it allows the brand’s expertise in sporting device design to be reused to create new products. New products that offer new services to customers (feedback and analysis of data produced) to help them achieve their fitness goals.
From a single “user case”, the company has expanded its connected devices to all its stores in the world. Today, it manages one of the largest digital sports communities in the world.
Set a revenue goal generated
Connected objects generate data … but they must also generate money. Down to earth, but inevitable. An IoT strategy requires investment. It is therefore essential to think upstream of actions that will generate revenue.
It is therefore necessary to set targets in terms of product development and sales, before starting anything in the technical implementation.
Thinking about this dimension from the start – and targeting actions that can be profitable – is a way to ensure that the time and effort to implement an IoT strategy will pay off in the long run.
Do not forget the customer
IoT has the capacity to transform a business in depth; but it is the user experience that will be the most messed up. For the better (new service), and for the worse (changing the habits of its customers is always risky). So keep your customers in mind when thinking about IoT.
It is crucial to have a value proposition that best fits the needs of your customers, and at the same time stays true to your company’s offer, whether it is products or services (or both).
To resume the example of Under Armor, the main idea of the IoT project was to build a service whose purpose is to help people to play sports, to challenge themselves day by day and to achieve physical goals. A form of continuity of its traditional product offering (putting people in the best possible conditions to practice the physical exercise of their choice).
As a result, its IoT strategy has first and foremost consisted – in an operational way – in building a community of users, involving them and building loyalty. It was only in a second time that customer commitment and sales progressed.
Do not wait for others to take the markets that might be yours
Most companies are thinking about the Internet of Things. It is a fact. Not to think about it is to run the risk of not thinking about the possible repercussions of the Internet in 1999. And to be irremediably distanced by the competition, even by new entrants.