Paddy Srinivasan, VP and general manager of IoT at LogMeIn, looks at the common mistakes companies make when thinking about the Internet of Things (IoT).
The Internet of Things (IoT) is everywhere. While it’s easy to get lost in all the hype, the reality of brining a connected product to market is very different than what most product companies imagine. In working with companies from all industries over the years, we have pinpointed of few of the most common misconceptions and lessons that nearly every company needs to learn as they embark on their journey to IoT greatness.
Think beyond the “Things”
So often companies come to us with the ultimate goal of connecting a product to the Internet. While connectivity is a great first step, it really is only the first step.
Companies need to think much more broadly than that. It’s not just about the things, but more about the information connected devices can provide to your business and being prepared for both the benefits and obligations offering a connected product provides and requires. IoT gives products a voice and, if the data is mined intelligently, will give companies information about their customers so they can better understand who is using their products and how. But this valuable information doesn’t come without a price. The flip side to that is that customers will begin to expect a much richer customer experience. Developing and putting a connected product out to market will quite literally change every aspect of the business. It will change how they design, build and manufacture products, how they engage with customers, services they will be able to provide, and much more.
Worth reading: What’s stopping you from deploying IoT?
Don’t be an inventor – Be a re-inventor
Entering the world of the IoT can be daunting to many companies. One of the main reasons is that there is a belief that the way to win the IoT is to invent a brand new product. That’s not necessarily the case. There will, of course, be those that bring to market something never seen before, but companies that will take the greatest advantage of the IoT are those that share up the status quo of existing markets by offering a connected version of products they already had. Ever think that something like a doggie door or shower valve can be an IoT product? Well it can and is.
Product companies will become technology companies
Or more specifically, SaaS companies. As mentioned earlier, offering connected products will fundamentally change every aspect of a business. Customer service and support will turn into 24×7 business. Security, customer experience, and uptime will become core tenants. Focus will shift beyond the physical device towards the services those devices deliver.
In short, adopting the Internet of Things requires a change in thinking, and a willingness to embrace different business models.
As a SaaS company, a manufacturer will also become a service provider with all the built-in business upside like recurring revenue, new revenue streams, and deeper customer relationships, and demands that entails. Knowing their devices are connected, customers will expect continued engagement and support long after their purchase.
Worth reading: IoT is at tipping point – it needs partnerships to survive
Just say no to DIY IoT
Product companies have spent years mastering the design and engineering of their non-connected products. The world of IoT is much different. There are a bevy of unknowns and when you start getting into the technical aspects, it can feel like ancient Greek to most. Finding the right partner ecosystem for the journey is key. Often product companies try a DIY model and either fail and get discouraged or succeed but find that they can’t scale or secure the product to the levels they would like. Partnering with companies that have the expertise in the areas that seem a bit foreign helps get over those IoT design and engineering hurdles much quicker, with less wasted resources.
Ultimately, success in the IoT means first understanding the benefits and the challenges. Think beyond the just the connected device to the myriad of other benefits the IoT offers, understand and be prepared for the obligations it will require, and most importantly find the right partners to help make the journey as easy as possible.
Paddy Srinivasan is vice president and general manager of IoT at LogMeIn, one of the world’s leading SaaS companies and developer of the Xively IoT connected product management platform.