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Four critical steps for implementing an IoT strategy

Connected devices are everywhere, and the data being generated by these devices continues to transform healthcare, manufacturing, consumer products and many other industries. But this is just the beginning. By 2020, it is expected that 20.8 billion connected things will be in use worldwide. And with a large percentage of IoT decision makers already experimenting with internet of things solutions — or planning to do so within the next 12 months — finding a strategy that works for your business will be crucial to future success. Finding the right IoT strategy can result in increased revenue streams, product optimization, better customer relationships and more. In my experience, the following steps are crucial to IoT success:

1. Think big, but start small

When a company first starts thinking about IoT, it can be overwhelming. There are so many ways that IoT can be leveraged that finding the right place to start can be like finding a needle in a haystack. So I suggest that businesses first take a look through its existing offerings to identify a natural use case, then start working towards it. For example, Under Armour’s CEO Kevin Plank was quoted saying that the future of IoT will not be mobile wearable devices, but instead, apparel that can read biometrics. Plank recognized a huge opportunity for the company to use its existing infrastructure — that of a well-known fitness apparel manufacturer — to create new products that also offer a new service to its customers, one that can help them reach their fitness goals. Leveraging this use case, the company has begun taking steps toward making connected fitness a reality across the globe. The company now controls the world’s largest digital health and fitness community and has the infrastructure in place to help consumers succeed in meeting their fitness goals.

2. Always have a revenue goal in mind

Companies must also remember to think about where the revenue will come from once an IoT strategy is in place. IoT does take some investment, and executives will want to think about what they want to achieve in terms of product development and revenue goals prior to getting started. Thinking ahead will ensure that the time and effort that is spent developing an IoT implementation will pay off over the long term.

3. Keep customers in mind

IoT implementations have the potential to transform a business, but it’s the customer experience that will be the most impacted. Make sure to keep customers in mind when developing an IoT strategy. It will be crucial to have a clear value proposition that resonates with customers and also aligns with the company’s existing offerings, whether products, services, or both. Circling back to the Under Armour example, it is clear that the company ultimately kept its customers in mind when building a new service that put their fitness goals first. Executives made sure that a main focus of its IoT innovation was to build rich and rewarding fitness communities — sales growth and customer engagement were the benefits, rather than the driver, of the initiative.

4. Don’t wait for other businesses to capture revenue that could be yours

IoT implementations are happening, so it is time to jump on board. Like the internet before it, businesses cannot ignore IoT innovation without the risk of being left behind. This year alone, a large percentage of businesses have started to implement their own IoT strategies. Companies are recognizing that IoT has the potential to redefine their existing business models and open up new forms of revenue and customer growth. In order for businesses to keep up, they must recognize that IoT is here to stay.

How are you driving IoT innovation at your company?

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.