The very definition of many industries is changing in no small part due to the of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its’ ability to disrupt and generate new business opportunities. Industry leaders across the board are starting to embrace IoT projects, use IoT devices, and build smart connected products using IoT platforms.

This article references real IoT case study stories and internet of things examples from John Deere and Nike to provide you with a better understanding of how the IoT is starting to shake up and disrupt industries.

 To paint you a picture of exactly how the IoT is creating business opportunities for organizations today, let’s start with a company you might already be familiar with – John Deere.

Before the rise of IoT

John Deere has been making tractors and agriculture equipment for over 175 years.

For many years, though, they made simple tractors that weren’t ‘smart’ or connected products, they were just mechanical.

Soon enough, over time, John Deere’s products started to become smart and connected– changing everything for the organization.

Creating smart products & connecting devices

John Deere began to equip their products with digital dashboards, engine control units, sensors to alert users if they are running out gas, if oil pressure is too high, if hydraulic pressure is too low, etc.

By doing so, John Deere began to realize the countless benefits that came along with connecting their agricultural equipment to the internet of things, which eventually would provide the ability to remotely monitor the equipment’s performance.

Now remember, at this point, John Deer was still a tractor company, but as the organization moved forward with their vision of smart connected products, they also created what is called a smart connected product system.

The evolution of a smart connected product system & Digital Transformation

At the heart of John Deer’s product system is what is called a combine harvester. Their combine harvester harvests grain from fields, separates the head or the ear from the stalk, and divides the hulls, cobs, and the husks from the kernels of grain.

Today these smart connected combines have the ability to smartly monitor how many kernels came from a single patch of land, and how many kernels came from another.

In fact, they even collect, store, and send data to the cloud for the following season – so the machine is able to perform what is called a smart planting scheme.

During the smart planting scheme, the tractor hooks up to a tiler, which is basically a plow. As the plow works the soil, the equipment frequently fertilizes it, particularly with nitrogen. The equipment then follows its smart planting scheme – if the yield was low, nitrogen application should be high in a particular spot. If the yield was high, nitrogen should decrease.

Next from the connected product system comes the tractor pulling the planter that puts kernels in the ground for next year’s crop. It’s doing the same thing.

With a wide variety of seeds, the planter makes smart decisions for specific spots as needed. The smart connected equipment even knows when to use different drought resistant seeds in particular dry patches of land.

Smart products and the internet of things

John Deere created their own unique smart connected product system with the equipment they manufacture.  By using smart connected devices, sensors, and building on top of an IoT platform, they slowly started to connect their entire product line.

This breakthrough in farming equipment enabled their products to work together and share data back and forth.

Farmers are now able to correlate their inputs and outputs, while reducing inputs and maximizing outputs. This means productivity and profits.

Taking it a step further, John Deere designed a smart farm system where, depending upon commodity prices, the equipment has the ability to plants different seeds.

Farms that irrigate now have the ability to place sensors in the soil to that read moisture levels. Using this knowledge, the smart equipment is able to determine whether it should apply more or less water to particular locations.

Agricultural equipment can now even assess upcoming weather forecasts and determine if irrigation is critical.

New business opportunities with IoT

John Deere went from selling tractors to selling sophisticated information systems that can run smart farms.

With the technological advancements around today, a company like John Deere now has to determine the actual business they are in.

IoT presents new industry opportunity

Somewhere along the way, while developing smart connected products, John Deere became a software company and a systems integrator.

The internet of things presented John Deere with an opportunity to compete within an entirely new industry. 

In fact, some say with this the new industry opportunity, John Deere even has the ability to compete with other well-known IT system integrators – such as Accenture.

The internet of things and smart connected products present a very interesting phenomenon, that’s happening right now.

Homes are beginning to transition to smart homes. Automobiles are starting to become smart. It’s happening everywhere you turn, even if in some cases it might be very subtly, or slow.

Products are evolving

Nike is another great example of how the IoT has started to accelerate and transform organizations.

Historically, Nike has made shoes, clothes and sunglasses – but today, their product line is now much more than that.

For Nike, it’s no longer just about clothes and shoes anymore. Their products have evolved from fitness equipment to fitness monitoring systems – driving personal health and wellness goals.

They too, started connecting their products by adding sensors into their shoes, clothes, and Fuel Bands.  This has enabled their smart connected products to help people maintain physical fitness and health.

Businesses possibilities of IoT

With the real-world examples from John Deere and Nike, it’s easy see how businesses are starting to expand their industry boundaries with the internet of things.

The world is changing, smart connected products are continually evolving. What is your organization doing to stay ahead?

Explore the business possibilities of IoT for your organization

Organizations today are adopting valuable IoT solutions to lower operating costs, increase productivity, and develop new products.

The Internet of Things can offer your organization an opportunity to be more efficient whether its connecting devices with automated systems that gather information, analyzing IoT data, creating an action to learn from a process, achieving the pinnacle – remote control, support and maintenance.

We want to help you achieve your IoT objectives

Not sure what the advantages of IoT are for your organization? We would love to help you define and push your boundaries!

Our technology specialists are experts at devising what IoT solutions, devices, projects, and business models are best suited for your organization. Let’s have a conversation.

The internet of things and the capability to connect to the internet suddenly brings all kinds of new implications for products and their value. The internet of things is fundamentally changing how products function and how customers derive value from them.

How the internet of things is changing products and impacting what customers perceive as product value

Products today are becoming a combination of physical components, smart components, and connectivity components. Each of the 5 layers of the IoT stack plays a role — core product infrastructure, sensor systems, connectivity, analytics, and smart applications on an IoT platform.

While all three elements — Strategy, Connected Things, and true IoT platforms — seem somewhat elemental, balancing these will be central to the success of any IoT enabled business initiative.

For instance, look at a simple product, such as the light bulb. What is the product? In this case it’s the light bulb itself. What is the value of the product? I’m not talking about the monetary value, but rather the reason, need, or problem that drives the product purchase in the first place.

You might say in this specific case, the value of the product is the light that it provides, the illumination it creates, or perhaps the extension of functional hours it delivers.

What if we were to add connectivity to the product? By using an app on a device that controls the bulb via Bluetooth connection, you could now change the color of the light remotely. You could control the function of the light bulb with the sound of your voice. You could use the products new functionality to simulate the sunrise and replace your alarm. You could even sync the bulb to reflect your fluctuating stock prices! There’s a host of applications now available – just for a single light bulb.

Revisiting the original question, evaluating your new connected light, what is the product? Is it still just the bulb? What about the app that controls it, or the device that supports the application? It’s really an interesting question to consider. It’s really an interesting question to consider. For this same connected product, let’s talk about its value.

Again, I’m not talking the connected product’s monetary value, but rather the reason the product would be purchased in the first place. Would it still be just for the light or illumination, or is it the array of colors, new features and functionality? The fact of the matter is – the value of the product has changed. The connected product now adds value in the form of light, remote control, entertainment, and even overall experience.

How and Where to Start Developing IoT Strategies

Products and their value are changing

As a consumer shopping for an original bulb, you were most likely looking for a certain wattage or color (such as yellow or white) – not an experience. The connected product now adds value in the form of light, remote control, entertainment, and even overall experience.

Now that products are changing and you have systems of products: an app, a bulb, connectivity; the product value changes as well. You now have the ability to look for a light that can be synced to music or sound. A light that simulates the sunrise. A light that you can control from your device. You now need to weigh product value against a slew of new price points, features, and the support the manufacturer will provide over the years.

There’s no question that the value of products is changing because products themselves are changing. We’d like to help you map out this new world. If you’d like to do anything from brainstorm potential impacts to your business, develop a full strategy for IoT at your organization, create proof-of-concepts, or implement underlying technology… you’ve come to the right place.

We’re your partner in the ever-changing world of the internet of things.

Smart devices and connected products, like the Apple Watch, raise an interesting question, what are the implications of transforming traditional products into smart connected products?

Now that we have sensors, connectivity, big data, and analytics, customers and businesses are leveraging this value to create new opportunities – here’s how.

Remote Operations

Connected products can share their data with their users, and likewise with the manufacturer, unlocking new service opportunities.

For example, I have the Nest thermostat in my house. I can adjust the temperature on my way home from work just but using a simple app control.

For a Minnesotan like me, this is pretty awesome when you experience winters like we have.

Remote Services

From a company perspective, remote access services are very valuable as well.

For example, just like a smart thermostat, manufacturers can automatically send updates to assets. Or if maintenance is required, technicians can often save time and money by remotely connecting to devices to ensure software and hardware are performing effectively. This can avoid unnecessary service calls.

Innovative Product Designs

Another great use case is how companies can change their product design strategies.

For example, IoT enables a new design strategy known as evergreen design. The premise is that when products are operating in the field, new software features can be built and delivered to a device to extend functionality and the usable life of a product. The Tesla car illustrates this concept well. Tesla actually used an evergreen design strategy to avoid a major recall.

A few years back, there were several instances in which the battery cell of the car actually rubbed against street curbs as the car turned corners, causing fires. Instead of sending all the Tesla cars back to the dealer, or a mechanic shop, the company sent a software update that automatically raised the clearance of the car chassis where the battery was located.

Tesla’s evergreen design saved the company money, as well as customer time, and money associated with a traditional recall.

Big Data Analytics

Another big game-changer in business is the value to be had from big data. Now that products can share information throughout their product development cycle and useful life, there is, in essence, a stream of data that we can collect, analyze, and use to inform all sorts of business decisions.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know when the average daily usage of your products or product segments is in decline or incline? It could drive new product innovation timelines, customer success strategies, and new revenue from cross-sell and up-sell.

Data Collection & Analysis of Consumer behavior

The practice of using big data is not new. For example, in the retail market, companies are using purchasing behavior data to inform their business decisions.

What they found was surprising. A few days prior to the forecasted hurricane, people bought a significant amount of pop-tarts. In particular, strawberry pop-tarts. On the day of the hurricane, they bought more beer. Based on this data, Walmart adjusted their stock supply in anticipation of the new demand. This use case is unique in that data was originating from people’s shopping behaviors. What is different now is that we can collect and analyze data from products as well.

Remote Monitoring

Take the case of smart sports equipment. A friend I play golf with had a sensor attachment that told her about her swing, ball placement, and field location. So, as we were playing throughout the day, she was pulling out her golf app, observing her golf swing, and adjusting performance based on that data. This is great for the user, and there are also added benefits for the manufacturing company!

For example, the tennis racket company Babolat has sensors attached to their play pure drive product, which collects data about a player’s swing, the speed of their ball, and impact location.

Product to service transformation

Babolat also provides a training service, where based on the player’s performance, Babolat will provide consulting, hitting tips, and other development programs. In this use case, big data is transforming a traditionally hardware-oriented company into a service company as well.

This brings me to my last example, which illustrates a radical change in how businesses perceive product value.

Product-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Namely, products are now carriers for potentially limitless services based on how you creatively leverage their smart and connected elements. This concept is not new.

Products-as-a-Service have been pioneered in the aerospace industry.

For example, Rolls Royce licenses out their engines to airline customers, and they charge airlines for the millage of the planes as well as services associated with repair, and maintenance.

This is generally known as power by the hour. This product as a service concept is gaining a lot of attention in the IoT market.

For example, there is a big software battle for ownership of the car segment. Google, Apple, Microsoft, and the original car makers are attempting to get a slice of the services associated with cars, such as navigation, entertainment, and safety systems. This new service focus is really interesting for product development and associated business operations.

Bottomline – products are carriers of tremendous value. Now that we have sensors, connectivity, big data, and analytics, customers and businesses can leverage this value, and create new opportunities.

IoT Intro Class

At EAC, we want to make sure you don’t miss out on any revolution with respect to potential capabilities that you can add to your products- while we also realize the importance of basing your IoT initiatives around your mission statement. That’s why we created what we call our IoT Development Workshop.

We have made it our mission to help guide organizations like yours to explore and embrace the uncertainty of the emerging IoT market.

The future of digital transformation is happening now, and it is driving the future of all industries. This article highlights just about everything you need to know about the impacts and trends involving digital transformation.

No matter where your company resides on its digital journey – or even if you have yet to start with digital transformation, this article is just for you.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation refers to the concept of applying innovative uses of digital technology to solve traditional business problems.

For example, in a narrower sense digital transformation might refer to a simple concept such as ‘going paperless’. Yet, on a larger scale, it might refer to ‘achieving digital business maturity’.

Digital solutions not only enable organizations to achieve new levels of efficiency through automation, but they also open doors for creativity and innovation (rather than simply enhancing and supporting traditional methods).

Although applying the use of digital technology to solve traditional problems can offer numerous business advantages, many organizations have yet to begin the journey with digital transformation.

Digital Innovation: Where to Start?

With numerous applications, methods, and strategies, it can be difficult to know where to even start with digital transformation!

If this is the case with your organization, – don’t worry, you’re not alone.

According to a research study performed by Accenture and the World Economic Forum, 80% of executives stated they were completely convinced ‘digital’ advancements would fundamentally change and transform their industry within the next 5 years!

That’s right. Eighty percent! … And they’re not wrong at all!

In fact, digital technology has not only already begun to transform industries, but it has also started to transform the way the world experiences products. Despite the ability to recognize the effects that digital processes will bring, only 17% of the studied executives stated they had a strategy in place to address the challenge of digital transformation.

This left a shocking 87% to admit they had no current digital strategy in place whatsoever! This is exactly why, if you have not yet started your digital transformation journey, it’s important to realize A) It’s not too late and B) You are not alone. There is no better time to start than now!

Organizations are realizing the significant impacts that the digital transformation era brings and how it’s going to drastically change just about everything when it comes to the way we do business.

The Impact of Digital Transformation

The process of digital transformation is creating entirely new ways of doing business. It has begun to create new experiences for customers while adding entirely redefined value propositions for mature product segments.

This era of digital transformation has started to impact and define what products are and what they mean to businesses and consumers.

Product perceptions are changing

Digital trends have also started to influence purchase decisions and sales processes. As the digital world has advanced, the average consumer is making purchase decisions with a Product as a Service (PaaS) mindset.

This means the rise of digital transformation has driven consumers to be sold by the outcome of the product – the recurring value. Manufacturers can address this shift in the market demand archetype by embracing three technology categories – Internet of Things (IoT), analytics, and mobile.

The future and advancement of technology is happening now

Established power plays and industry lines are beginning to blur. You cannot wait until some time in the near future to start your digital journey.

If your organization is going to succeed going forward, you won’t want to be left behind in this new industrial revolution, or you will fail.

Whether or not you’ve noticed if your industry has been affected yet, the key message is the effect of these disruptive technologies doesn’t discriminate one sector or industry. Every industry will see a major impact due to these digital technology advancements… And it is happening right now.

‘Business as usual’ is no longer an option. Organizations must adapt in order to survive.

The future of Digital Transformation: Smart, Connected Products

Digital transformation is reinventing products. Products from cars, to jet engines, to pumps, to heavy equipment, to medication, and more!

Machines, assets, and devices are starting to communicate, learn, and react to newly accessible context as they exchange and leverage data from sensors.

We are talking about the area of ‘living products’ – meaning transformative products that are responsive, collaborative, reactive, and responsible. Whether products are B2B or B2C, there will be a totally different process in the way we think about how our customers are using our products in the near future.

The future is now. Don’t let the opportunity slip away.

The first step in your digital transformation journey should be a strategic one. Understand where you are, where you want to be according to your current framework or understanding, and where you’d like to be as you embrace future technology and evolve with changing markets and new opportunities.

EAC Product Development Solutions would like to help you begin your transformation. We provide the people, technology, and services to make any transformation successful. The first step should be a Product Development System Assessment (PDSA). This will help you understand the opportunity that lies in front of you. Request more information on the PDSA today and start taking your digital transformation seriously.

Product Development System Assessment | EAC Product Development Solutions

Our Product Development System Assessment will help you start your digital transformation journey

It is not too bold to say the Internet of Things (IoT) is just about everywhere. Some even say that IoT will have a greater impact on business and productivity than the introduction of the Internet itself.

Whether you embrace it or attempt to look past it, the wave of IoT has already started disrupting many industries.

So what exactly is the Internet of Things? Well, if you haven’t read the HBR article by Michael Porter and Jim Heppelmann, I encourage you to do so.

I am referring to the concept that our physical and digital worlds, in which we have always compartmentalized into separate realities, have begun to converge into a single new reality.

This new reality with the IoT has started to change the way we do business.

Our strategies have begun to take our physical products, parts components and factories, and connect them to our digital systems.

This has allowed us to collect data, analytics, performance measures and much more.

Although there is so much that you can learn about IoT, Here are 10 things you need to know about the Internet of Things. 

1.  IoT Can Fuel Your Existing Business Initiatives

The Internet Things should not be thought about as something separate and distinct from your business strategy, but rather as an opportunity filled with unlimited capabilities.

This revelation could possibly be the exact catalyst needed to meet your existing business initiatives.

No matter what your business is specifically looking to achieve, IoT can be a real game-changer.

Some businesses have used smart connected operations to discover efficiencies while reducing risk.

Others have integrated smart connected products by modifying and creating new assets and services to increase revenue.

I have also seen companies incorporate smart connected solutions to quickly bring products and services to the market.

Despite your industry, an IoT strategy can be shaped to help fuel your existing initiatives.

2. Everyone Over Designs

Moving from IoT strategy to value is complex.

There are lots of distractions and rabbit holes to go down.

Achieving your IoT initiatives requires focus.

By this, I am referring to the importance of strategically mapping out the innovation that you are looking to drive.

Before deploying an IoT strategy, make sure to ask yourself if the concepts you are looking to implement match to the strategies you are pursuing.

3.  There Is No Time Like The Present

Don’t over think it, just get started.

Your company has a chance to take part in one of the greatest economic value adding opportunities of a lifetime.

This is your chance to embrace change and see all it has to offer.

Companies that are able to identify the opportunities and quickly bring to market solutions with IoT will be the leaders of decades to come.

4.  Think Wrap/Extend, Not Rip/Replace When it Comes to the Internet of Things

The idea behind integrating the IoT into your business strategy should evolve around bettering your processes, not replacing what you have done so far.

This is your time to pro-actively use the IoT to drive growth and optimize your current business operations.

5.  The IoT Stack is a Huge Help

The IoT stack is a handy way to break down any IoT project into manageable chunks. Think about it this way.

Before adopting innovative technologies your company must establish frameworks, protocols, and standards that are consistent with your business strategy.

Your framework should revolve around the problems your business is looking to solve.

By breaking down your IoT solution into 5 layers you can better understand the business technology tradeoffs that are needed at each level and the system as a whole.

6.  Zealots and Laggards Are Everywhere. Beware.

It’s easy to get distracted by the daily grind and to put off getting started.

Change is a scary thing for all of us, so it’s easy to procrastinate.

Doing nothing is one of the biggest threats when it comes to the Internet of Things.

The reality is, big change is what can define success.

Don’t let your company develop a reputation as a technical laggard in the IoT arena.

7.  Avoid The Simple Small Tool Sets

If you’ve ever heard the saying “go big or go home”, it defiantly applies to an IoT strategy.

So often I see companies who are hesitant to make a big change, resorting to small easy to adapt ideas.

If your company wants to see real results, you must avoid wasting your time on the small and simple projects.

Running test pilots to assess potential value is not how you will reach your real strategic initiatives.

To see change, you must make a change. This is when you need to roll up your sleeves and make a connection to your real business issues.

 8.  The Control Engineers Are The Key to Success

On IoT projects, get to the Controls engineer — this is who has the keys to unlock the room or path to data that might already exist.

Who is your control engineer? This is the person that brings together disparate systems within your network.

A good control engineer knows how to design, develop, and implement the systems that will control your specified applications, networks and machines.

9.  IoT is a Big Concept and Many Have Different Views

After introducing the concept of the Internet of Things to many different companies; it has become apparent there are many diverse views of IOT along with its purpose and benefit.

It’s important to remember that two people who seem to differ on the topic of IoT may simply be looking at opposite sides of the same spectrum.

IoT solutions offer limitless capabilities that can easily be tailored to your specific business needs.

This means what IoT can offer for your business, may be completely different than the purpose and benefit it can offer for another.

 10.   There Is Always a Way To Do Something with IOT

The Internet of Things can be applied to just about every business strategy that exists; it’s just a matter of working at it.

For example, IoT has been used for the complex systems of products like John Deer’s Farmsight to optimize the farm, to simple examples like the Babilat tennis racket that provides data about a player’s performance.

Device connectivity and data analytics enable a closed-loop, real-time digital thread that can connect your people, systems, and equipment across the entire supply chain.

With the rapid creation and developments of new IoT applications, any organization can connect, manage, and optimize complex sets of disparate systems.

See how IoT goes beyond connecting products and has expanded to enable manufacturing and service processes by reading these case studies from PTC.

When it comes to IoT, there is always a way to do something.