It is a matter of fact that the Internet of Things is a hot trending topic in all the IT ecosystem, involving all the range of companies from the sensors to the service provided. I will speak as one of the many providers that are working currently on one of those layers, but what comes next can be applied to any of the companies implied.
Where the value is…
A product or a service will be made of bits and pieces of different nature, all combined to perform some function. As a manufacturer, either software or hardware, my role is to create the better product that fits specific needs of the potential customers.
The way I design, manufacture, verify and deliver the product, will allow me to have more or less penetration into the market. I will be compared to the rest considering the features and quality of the product.
In the Internet of Things there are products of nearly every kind. Each of them have been designed and manufactured with the same goal: being the top and the unique value among its competitors. This is true for sensors, meters, gateways, verticals, platforms, cloud services… So finaly the is a strong competition of every kind, where everyone has to, must, create the best product in the category. The more functions, features, performance, APIs, robustness, the better the product will resist the comparisons.
And where the Added value is…
The adaption to the customer and the understanding of his needs. It may sound obvious, but it is often then we are so dedicated to improve our product that we forget to look at the customer, understand what he needs, and deliver something that will help solve his problems.
Each sector, each company will have a different need. Beyond the features of our product, there is the need of using it in a special way that is suitable to the business where it will be used. Whether its some minor tweak, a special configuration, or simply a note to the customer on how to use it.
In the Internet of Things, specially in the Industrial Intenet of Things (IoT), once we have that best product in the category, we have to be experts in the market where we are delivering it, and together with it, we have to show and give the best fit to this customer’s need.
Basically is a matter of business processes. Not to be seen as an overall end to end workflow, but to understand the design of it, its implications, and to give shape to the perfect fit between our product and that flow.
Where and how is my product fitting in the business workflow?
The steps to create this added value in his application with our product are:
1. Have the customer understand your product
2. Understand how he is working and what he wants to connect and improve
3. Identify what part of the flow can be adapted to the Internet of Things
4. Adapt or configure your product
5. Integrate the product in the IoT Application
6. Followup and enhance
These steps, though obvious, are very different from having a product delivered, a technical training, recurrent post sales support and… off you go. In my humble opinion, there is no added value in this approach. There may be value, probably a lot of value, but not added value.