Transforming Industries with Smart Devices & Connected Products
Internet of Things | 20 November 2019 | Jessica Magelssen
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.
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.
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.
A great example comes from 2004 when Walmart conducted a big data study on customer purchasing behaviors prior to hurricanes.
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.
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.
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.
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.