Why bother with the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Great question! Maybe to understand your product, make a deeper connection with customers, create a new business model, increase revenue or even build a new revenue stream. Perhaps you’d like to find out what your products are doing after you sell them and figure out which features to include or remove from your next iteration. There are piles of ideas and ways to make the IoT work for you. In short, however, it depends on your initiatives — and the IoT could be just the thing you need to move your initiatives from “How are we gonna do that?” to “This is gonna be awesome!”
When considering your corporate initiatives and the IoT, I’d encourage you to integrate them rather than looking at them as separate things. At EAC, our Connect Services (the way we help customers achieve their IoT objectives) starts with strategy. You’ve got to make a connection between the motivation to have smart and connected products and your initiatives. In other words, your approach to the IoT could be the central catalyst of your initiatives. Otherwise, it’s just a fun and techy science project without clear direction.
Let’s say you’re a forward thinking company and you call yourself innovative while having a goal of improving dealer service capabilities and increasing end-customer engagement. Perhaps you could build a whole new business unit that collects data from your product in the field and distributes use and service information back to your dealers as they provide service. It could increase revenue (data/subscription sales to dealers), increase your ‘innovative edge’ as perceived by your end customers (through apps and product information) and feeds feature and performance data back into your design cycle. You could aggregate the data from your products in the field to your ERP and MRP systems and have truly integrated (connected) PLM into your business. Just for the sake of argument, this could include role-specific mobile device apps for dealers, DIY repair, data junkies and regional usage maps. We could even weave this into production and procurement roles and have data actually ‘flowing’ in several directions. Who knows where it could lead.
Ok, now back to avoiding the ‘science project.’ The key is to have a strategy — figure out why you want to be part of the IoT and then go do it. Our goal at EAC is to help companies transform the way they design, manufacture, connect to and service their products. As a part of that, we’d like to help you build your strategy, devise ‘connected things,’ and implement a facilitating platform easing the access, sharing and use of the information. This 3-legged stool is what we place our IoT strategy on — next time I’ll talk more about the ‘things’ or the ‘platform.’ For now, how can we help you build your IoT strategy? Let us know…