While Internet of Things is very much in its infancy, 2015 is looking to be a breakout year for this emerging and disruptive technology. The development and inflection of SMAC (social, mobile, analytic, cloud) technologies over the past 5 years; the release of Apple Watch this spring; and the pace and development of the future internet, the Physical Web, and machine-to-machine interactions are all signals pointing to huge growth in the IoT market this year.
If you haven’t done so yet, now would be a great time to fit Internet of Things into your business strategy portfolio for 2015. You’ll definitely want to start implementing clear and deliberate guidelines to leverage the latest trends in this fast-moving and exciting market. Internet of Things will set digital businesses today apart from the pack and make them thrive while others are merely trying to survive.
Here are a quick checklist of 5 ways to get started on implementing your Internet of Things strategy and to stay ahead of the curve now while you have a chance.
1. Get a hold of your data
Big Data has been huge in recent years but it’s only going to get bigger when IoT ramps up. As one source describes, “It is taking internet to another level: connecting things and making sense of the data coming in, while sending actions back out to optimize things.” With more devices connected to the Internet, companies will truly have a flood of data to access and try to use to maximize their bottom line. Companies of all shapes and sizes really need to gain mastery of how to collect, prepare, analyze, and visualize various types of data (structured, semi-structured, and unstructured).
2. Get ready for a new paradigm in MDM and device management
Businesses need to get comfortable with a new framework for device management that focuses on support for wearables and IoT connected devices. The new keyword in this arena is ‘endpoint’. The paradigm, in fact, is shifting away from mobile device management (MDM) to one called Unified Endpoint Management (UEM). Start to recognize the integration of wearables, IoT, smartphones & tablets into one holistic management framework involving data, cloud, and mobile interactivity.
3. Become familiar with Apple Watch and WatchKit
The release of Apple Watch is still up in the air but it will likely happen sometime this spring, and is expected to be a huge conduit for the Internet of Things market. In November Apple released WatchKit, which is the development toolkit for the Apple Watch. With this developers are able to start writing apps for the Watch, such as alerts and notifications for their favorite services and brands. Apple Watch will dramatically influence Internet of Things so now is the time to start facing this new reality by prototyping some concepts and designs. Perhaps it’s time to think about how to sync your Apple Watch app to send and receive data from your Nest thermostat.
4. Look for ways to delight your customers
The Internet of Things really represents the third wave of the Internet in which people are connecting to objects and tracking the feedback those objects and devices can provide. This kind of real-time communications is already redefining the expectations around customer experience and that trend is only going to continue in force. Consider the ways today that customers expect to be able to track the delivery of their packages, detect your mobile devices and offer new customized product recommendations, or interact with QR codes to sign up for new services. These are just a few of the unlimited possibilities for optimizing the customer experience through real time sensor and object tracking.
5. Think about how to leverage your service offerings
Some experts suggest that the new IoT era will introduce a fundamental new business model away from the traditional focus on hardware to services on top of that hardware. One insider puts it this way: “In the IoT era, new models such as subscriptions, freemiums and bundles are rapidly becoming the preferred choice over traditional hardware options. Services are easily upgradeable, much more amenable to ecosystems that are constructed around hardware, and provide multiple revenue opportunities rather than a one-time sale.” Data will become the critical element in this new business model, and this will mean gaining a 360 degree view of the customer in ways that will keep them happy and engaged.
Based on all the market signs, 2015 looks to be an important time to start evaluating your IoT strategy. Start by asking yourself what’s needed to prepare for the IoT-connected economy? What will be your approach to Apple Watch and the onset of wearables and other new ‘endpoints’? The Internet of Things represents a goldmine of new opportunities for businesses to grow and scale. But this also means that startups and small business owners need to act with urgency and develop strategies to leverage and get onboard with the latest advances in IoT. Now is the time to get started on this path before your competition does.