Both the Consumer Electronics Show and The National Retail Federation Show have come and gone these past few weeks and with Mobile World Congress fast approaching all indications point towards a real “force awakening” for the Internet of Things in 2016.
A step change has taken place where large brands and their senior executives have moved from curious wonder to action-orientated enthusiasm for deploying IoT projects either through controlled pilot programs or full-scale rollouts. This should be most welcomed by the entire IoT community as we are all too familiar that getting to this point has by no means been an overnight journey, far from it.
As exciting as this period is, the entire IoT ecosystem now finds itself at a point where it must start delivering on the tremendous benefits it has claimed are within reach if only corporates would roll out IoT projects at scale. From a Tapit lens this is no different when looking at the marketing & services vertical and using the IoT as a way to revolutionize consumer engagement.
Well, if the IoT ecosystem is going to thrive and succeed there’s some key aspects we should all look to embrace in 2016 as we now progress to a new chapter in the validity and commercialization of the IoT.
Hardware & Software: Brothers in arms
IoT projects will always have a combination of hardware and software involved however too often there seems to be a naivety to the value each side can make in delivering a holistic, valuable and scalable IoT solution to a brand.
This attitude must evolve whereby hardware suppliers (NFC tag makers, beacon manufacturers) and software suppliers (IoT cloud platforms) partner together to bring their core strengths to projects. Too often there’s only one side involved in a rollout which leads to an inferior solution being delivered to customers which is to the detriment of the entire IoT ecosystem.
Beware the IoUT
Have you heard of the Internet of Useless Things? It’s real and I’m sure you will see many at your next tradeshow (connected toothbrush anyone?!). Just because a “thing” can be connected doesn’t mean it should be. Too often there’s a mindless enthusiasm to try and connect everything with some type of sensor (NFC tag, beacon) however this usually leads to really poor or worse yet useless outcomes.
Pressure to realise short-term profits by selling lots of sensors to clients is a long term strategy for failure. All of us in the IoT ecosystem need to evaluate and recommend connecting “things” that make sense not only for brands but more importantly for the people who will use them.
Tell the vision, show the data
Every ecosystem needs visionaries to get things moving but there comes a point where vision needs to be backed up with factual data to ensure a continuity of success for the ecosystem.
The IoT in general has some great visionaries, present company included, who are accelerating the adoption of deployments with large brands however a growing importance must be placed on delivering tangible data aka proof these IoT deployments are delivering value to both brand and user. Every project being rolled out must have hard KPIs so there’s a clear understanding of what success looks like. This will ultimately have a positive effect on the entire IoT ecosystem.
4. More about the user, less about the technology.
This is similar to the 2nd point however it is broader in nature. Crafting any solution should always focus on the end user and this is no different for the IoT. The primary effort should be entirely on the user and how a solution is going to dramatically improve their experience in a very real way, compromising on this front will lead to subpar experiences that limit user usage, reduce valuable data opportunities and ultimately curtail broader adoption of the IoT by both users and companies. Companies must start and end with brilliant user experiences and avoid getting bogged down in technologic minutia.
We wish the entire IoT ecosystem a productive & successful 2016, we look forward to partnering with many of you to bring exciting, innovative and valuable services to people across the world that advances the validity of the Internet of Things as an industry.