The term refers to the increasing number of smart, connected products (hardware, software, sensors, data storage and microprocessors), which improve reliability, increase capabilities and help us use products and knowledge much more effectively.
In a nutshell, the big deal about the IoT is the increased capabilities of smart, connected products and the data they generate that can help you establish a competitive advantage. The data is gathered, analysed and brought to you in a meaningful way that you can use to your company’s advantage. For example MAN Truck & Bus is able to collect their truck’s raw data in real time and then translates this into simple and meaningful reports that are offered as a paid service to customers. The IoT is changing how companies compete and it’s evolving very fast, therefore smart companies need to stay ahead of the trends. Based on our ‘crystal’ ball and of course our research, we highlight 6 future trends that you need to bear in mind:
1. Changes brought by new and better products
The use of the IoT is enabling the production of new and better products and services (Daniel Burrus) and that, based on Michael E. Porter and James E. Heppelmann, brings further changes to the value chain through changes in product design, manufacturing, after sales service and so on. These changes require data analytics and other new activities, which will in turn bring even bigger improvements and evolutions to the field. These new evolutions are expected to bring even more profitable growth to the companies, which will grab the bull by the horns.
2. Improved ability to meet customer needs
The further evolutions to the field mentioned above will, according to Michael E. Porter and James E. Heppelmann, give companies the knowledge and abilities to get much closer to satisfying the needs of customers. Now doesn’t that sound like having a magic wand?
With products that can be used to the maximum of their capabilities with greater reliability, safety and in the most economical and ecological way, the constantly increasing customer needs will be easier to meet.
3. Plan the experience
Through our access to Big Data and the IoT we are now able to know so much more information about our clients and their interaction with us. We can know all the touch points a client has with our organisation, for example we know when a customer made a call to the support desk, what their problem was, whether they were provided with a solution or redirected to a specialist. We also know how long it took to provide the client with a solution and whether they were happy with that solution or not.
This access to information about clients allows us to map their experience down and redesign it as we see fit, having in mind that the better the experience the more satisfied the customer is. This automatically means that you have better chances of repeat purchase, or of renewing a service contract and of course better chances of benefiting from positive word-of-mouth.
Ric Merrifield predicts that as clients see the increasing benefits of the IoT they will be more willing to give you access to more information. This will lead to greater expectations on their behalf and as a result to even more Big Data.
4. Predict and prevent
The IoT is not making any discriminations and according to Daniel Burrus it will affect every single industry, including manufacturing, healthcare, energy, financial services, consumer goods and of course the ICT.
Now this might sound intimidating, but it’s actually a very good thing if you can anticipate it and prepare your organisation accordingly, so that you can maximise the benefits. One of the biggest opportunities is the ability you will have to predict and prevent problems. Going back to the example of MAN Truck & Bus mentioned earlier, this company already provides predictive car maintenance, which allows its clients to know when they will have an engine fault, specifying what the fault will be, when it will occur and where the nearest repair shop can be found. This service provided by MAN Truck & Bus reduces down time and saves the client time and money.
5. Play on a different league
The IoT is bringing new ways of automation and Bill Chamberlin explains how this automatically means new business processes and skills are required.
Companies that hop on the IoT fast track early on will benefit from improved productivity, operating efficiencies, customer experience and will lead the way to service innovation, leaving the rest way behind.
6. New best practices
As new processes come about, new best practices will make the ‘game’ even harder to compete. According to Michael E. Porter and James E. Heppelmann, smart connected products will need to be incorporated into products and services, therefore affecting the whole value chain and setting new, higher standards for operational effectiveness.
Your industry will sooner or later be influenced by the IoT and the opportunities that arise on the horizon are countless. So the question is: Do you want to be the innovator or the follower? Get to know more about this new revolution, prepare your people and take the leap to transformation!
A good way to start is by taking part in the upcoming Service Innovation Project, titled “From a Reactive to a Proactive Service Business”. Held in Amsterdam on 23rd and 24th September, this Service Innovation Project will give you the opportunity to learn what steps to take and which pitfalls to avoid from industry experts, like Stephen Hodson (Abbott Diagnostics) and academic thought leaders, like Tim Baines (Aston Business School). Follow the link to request more information.