Try searching for terms like ‘key challenges for IoT’ or ‘how to implement IoT’ on the Internet. The results will discuss how power, security, privacy, and scale will be important for billions of connected devices. However, I have discovered that the narrative used by CXOs to manage IoT initiatives is rather different than what we learn from search results.
In this article, I will list four ideas each for transforming your business models and your technology stack, not all of these ideas will apply to you, but I would challenge you to consider the viability of many of these criteria.
Business Model Transformations
Play in the Now Economy
In the , now economy customers are making more enterprise-buying decisions based on the criteria they use in selecting technology and services as consumers. So how does this apply for the Industrial Internet of Things? Here are some initiatives you should consider:
• Get real-time insights into product usage and customer behavior
• Identify new channels the customer will use to interact with your services
• Provide a more customized service experience to address the long tail of the market (i.e.: print-on-demand service)
• Gain better visibility into customer needs by correlating device data and back-end systems
Make the Supply Chain Smart
With IoT, manufacturers can now provide new insights into and guarantees about their products, making their supply chains autonomous, agile, and resulting in additional revenue generation. In one of our deployments, we measure the percentage of fat from the milk at the time of harvesting at the diary, routing that milk in real time for processing of yoghurt or butter, to improved yield and quality of the processed products.
Here are some examples of making your supply chain smarter:
• Guarantee cargo is maintained in its optimal state and ensure there are no route deviations throughout the trip
• Identify defective production jobs and their causes in real-time
• Track production progress of each customer order in real-time
• Make real-time demand predictions for raw materials
Provide Immersive Experiences
Consumer technology advances in the broader IoT ecosystem such as chatbots, sensing tools, and virtual reality devices should make us ask why our enterprise technology isn’t equally engaging. Instead, we should do the following:
Most likely, big data, IoT will enable you to transform your existing business processes around customer experience, supply chain, manufacturing, servicing amongst other areas
• Predict how (e.g., social, mobile and/or a device) customers will make future purchase decisions
• Use augmented reality to show ‘the art of the possible’ to customers
• Provide predictive alerts on mobile channels to create a new engagement with the customer. For example, in one implementation, a car dealership uses OBDII dongles to get real-time insights into their customer’s vehicles to improve revenue and experience
• Create new experiences with voice recognition
Create Collaboration around Sensors
Sharing new sensor information between partners in the supply chain process can become a competitive differentiator. In one of our implementations, a factory manufacturing parts shares its quality information specific to the particular order in real time with its customers, becoming a thought leader to help them defend their prices from competitors who are seeking to commoditize their services. In another case, a customer shared environmental data inside their buildings to create collaboration between vendors for facilities management.
Digital transformations are cumulative – IoT creates a force multiplication when combined with big data analytics, mobile, and service-based integrations amongst other technology transformations.. However, to enable IoT in your enterprise, you may have to consider additional technology stacks.
Robots are autonomous machines performing complex tasks. As your IoT ecosystem becomes rich with different types of sensors, your next challenge will be to create systems and processes to react to events in real-time by deploying robotic platforms to improve the agility of your business.
This is not a vision for the distant future! Already, we have implemented a solution where we track the quality and yield for a manufacturing plant in real-time, and take corrective actions with robots manufacturing the products.
In informal surveys audiences consistently rank vision as their most valuable sense. There are multiple benefits to learning about the technical advances being done to make machines ‘see.’ Machine-with-sight reduces the need to have specialized devices to sense events.
As the most abundant of any class of IoT data mining and interacting with digital photographs will become as important for your social media and mobile platforms.
Most of the current mining techniques were developed to recommend offers, and cannot be applied for device data, which is time-series. For this, we need to invest in providing traditional data analysis capabilities on time series data. For example, we have developed solutions to detect an abnormal noise in a machine, and then recommend tasks for resolution.
As enterprises start to rely more on devices and autonomous machines to run their businesses, you should implement protocols with your cloud partners now to address protocols for audit, SLAs, and controls. For example, what is the definition of failure, and the protocols to remediate it? Implementing these protocols now should start now with your cloud partners.
We do not know if IoT will create a new class of killer applications. Most likely, big data, IoT will enable you to transform your existing business processes around customer experience, supply chain, manufacturing, servicing amongst other areas.. This will involve collaborative transformations led both by the line of business owners as well as the technology leaders in your organization.