By Bill Zujewski
The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is real, delivering value, transforming industries and here to stay… and connected products from product manufacturers are at the heart of it. So what’s driving the interest and momentum? Clearly, the coolness of “Connected Homes” and the fitness benefits of “Wearables” are sparking some of the interest. But what other macro trends and changes in consumer and customer behaviors are accelerating the demand for Connected Products? Here are some key trends that I see that are driving the need for Connected Products:
- Mobile Apps – There’s an app for everything. Need a cab? Grab a taxi with Uber on your smart phone. Want to play some tunes in the kitchen? Bring up your Sonos app. We are becoming accustomed to interacting with things via our phones. So I expect we’ll hear this from consumers from now on: “What do you mean … this product doesn’t come with an app?”
- Early “Connected Products” – We’ve tasted connected products. My TV is connected. My Nest thermostat is connected. My fitness band is connected. My Music player is in the cloud. So I expect we will hear this a lot: “What do mean … this product is not connected? Ughh.”
- “Use” vs. “Ownership” model – Who needs to buy anything? Need a ride? Just use Zip Car today. Music? Just sign up for a streaming music service. Need an alarm system? The camera, sensors and system are free… just pay the monthly subscription. So I expect to hear this more often in the future: “What do mean… I have to purchase this product? I just want it use it for a while.”
My point is this… people are going to expect what they buy to be connected. They‘ve tasted connected products. They’ve tasted products-as-a-service. They love their mobile apps. Companies who can deliver a connected product experience have a chance to differentiate and capture buyers who are hungry for connected products.
And guess what… there will be IoT consumerization of commercial and industrial products. Tractors, windmills, trucks, buildings, projectors, generators, engines… you name it…. they’ll be connected, come with a mobile app, and be available as a service. The expectations from the consumer B2C world will spill over into the Industrial B2B world. It’s already happening. Just ask our customers… GE, Philips, EMC, Diebold, NCR, Medtronic, Tyco, Hitachi, Agilent and Stryker.