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.

The internet of things (IoT) is a business and technology revolution. It not only enables the connection and communication with ‘things’ but allows us to manage them.

It allows our organizations to do preventative and predictive maintenance on ‘things’, do guided service on ‘things’, and create digital twins of ‘things’. It enables us to improve operational efficiency, significantly reduce downtime, and to develop new revenue streams.

What makes up the ‘Internet’ in IoT?

The internet is composed of two separate communities; the internet of people and the internet of things or IoT.

The Internet of People

First, let’s break down what we mean by ‘the internet of people.’

The internet of people has grown organically over the past 20 years and has evolved into becoming an interconnected network of billions of people. That’s right, billions. Its primary purpose is to connect people, collate information, and enable people-to-people interaction.

The internet of people allows people to connect by becoming a clearinghouse of information. People post information available to other people, generating a great deal of information that is being pumped into the cloud.

The Internet of Things – IoT

The internet of things has been growing organically for the past 10 years and has the potential to become much larger than the internet of people. Its primary purpose is to connect machines, people, and data.

The IoT also enables people-to-machine and machine-to-machine interactions. In the Internet of Things, things are pumping data into the cloud so products can be monitored, controlled, optimized, and automated. During this process, information and data are streaming into the cloud from both people and things.

Combining the internet of people and things

This leads us to the internet. As mentioned earlier, the internet is the combination of internets of people and things into one integrated network. (Of course, they never were really separate, but it helps to think of them that way to facilitate the study of IoT).

Why are businesses investing in IoT?

The market for IoT is huge! Today there are over 20 billion connected devices, and that number is growing at an incredible pace. With connected devices comes a tremendous upside opportunity for IoT investments.

Through 2020, estimates are as high as 1.6 Trillion dollars! In fact, McKinsy has determined that the economic impact of IoT will top 11 Trillion dollars by 2025! The reason companies are starting to make such big investments in IoT is because so much value can be created.

How the Internet of Things is impacting product value

The internet of things isn’t about the internet – it’s all about the things. The things are what’s changing. The trend of smart connected things is really accelerating now that there’s a computer of sorts inside just about everything! 

Today, according to the US government Census Bureau, there are about seven billion people on the planet Earth. About one-third of these people are connected to the internet with smartphones, tablets, and computers- yet in 2010 we hit an important milestone where there were more things connected to the internet than there were people on Earth This suggests these connected ‘things’ aren’t just smartphones, tablets, and computers anymore – they are fitness bands, thermostats, vehicles and more! This is where real innovation is happening.

Today, almost everything we have around us is capable of connecting. I’m talking about buildings, appliances, machinery, farms, hospitals, cities – all kinds of things. Now there’s a massive investment that is feeding this rapid expansion of the smart connected products – the internet of things solutions market. The IoT solutions market includes the smart connected things, the connectivity services, the software platforms and applications, the security, the analytics, and really everything related to smart connected products.

IoT Development Workshop

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.

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.