Internet of Things. Smart Home. Smart Control. Home Automation. Smart Business. Business Automation.
What the heck are we calling this tsunami of a technology trend?
The confusion around “smart” technology starts with the name and extends all the way to vendors, technology capabilities, business applications and best practices.
Smart technology is pretty much the wild west of today. A whole bunch of companies acting fast and making claims to try capture a piece of the emerging market.
Paul Brody, VP of internet of things at IBM, goes as far as saying “[It’s] a classic bubble phase.” (More from Brody below.)
The great news is technology developments are moving at an amazing pace, and they will impact your business. But, how can you ensure you make the most of the opportunities, and who to trust?
The challenge is determining “fact vs. fiction.”
Let’s take a quick step back…
There are two levels to the discussion of smart technology:
- Do you see the value smart technology can bring to your business?
- How will you differentiate vendors and services? (Assuming you see the value)
Value of Smart Technology
I discuss the value of smart technology on a regular basis – pretty much the MO for this blog. Rather than diving too deeply on my analysis of value, I’ll include links below for you to review, and we’ll focus on the “experts” here.
To help us discern value from hype (from someone other than me), let’s look a few pertinent articles…
This is a great analysis of why we’re ALL in the technology business. I’ll let you jump to that link to read, but here’s the conclusion:
In conclusion, no matter what business you are in, it is very dangerous not to see technology as a competitive differentiator and a core driver of your business. Instead, you must constantly look at how you can become more of a technology company in order to enable deeper customer connections and more meaningful experiences.
Paul Brody, VP of internet of things at IBM, offers some skepticism about the much-hyped IOT (Internet of Things). As mentioned above, Brody believes it’s in a “bubble phase,” and goes on to mention the current “smart home is not a better home.”
I’ve discussed the shortcoming in this argument in previous posts (see below). The challenge I see is that Brody – like the vast majority of smart technology analysts – seem to be solely focused on single-family residences. This is a shortsighted focus.
As demonstrated by PointCentral clients every day, the true value of smart control (as it is today) can be found in managing multiple locations from one enterprise solution (Access Control, Energy Management, Site Monitoring).
There are a wide variety of industries leveraging smart technology to improve their daily operations – vacation rental management, quick serve restaurants, residential property management, retail, office space…and the list goes on.
The key is to leverage smart technology to make tactical business decisions. It’s not about cool technology, it’s about improved operations and real value.
I believe Brody recognizes this potential…
[T]he current problem with IoT mania is that people are presenting it as a visionary idea, rather than a series of tactical innovations.
“I’m a big believer that the internet of things will grow one very compelling use case at a time,” he said.
The Internet of Things Will Change Your Company, Not Just Your Product (Harvard Business Review)
The Harvard Business Review recently ran a series of articles discussing the IoT. This is the first installment, and it offers a good overview of how each department can be impacted by a move to smart technology.
Definitely worth the read, but from a “fact vs. fiction” perspective, there’s one statement that drives home the need to do your due diligence and select the right vendor/system…
Building an IoT offering requires design thinking from the get-go. Specifically, it requires reimagining the business you are in, empathizing with your target customers and their challenges, and creatively determining how to most effectively solve their problems.
That’s not easy. But it’s crucial to effectiveness and success.
The Sectors Where the Internet of Things Really Matters (HBR/Goldman Sachs)
This article refers to the IoT as the “third wave in the development of the internet,” and goes on to estimate 28 billion connected “things” by 2020!
As Paul Brody mentions above, the article states, the “long-term success depends on the use cases that help realize the economic potential of connecting billions of devices, either to improve quality of life or save money.”
The article points out five key verticals where the IoT will be tested first: Connected Wearable Devices, Connected Cars, Connected Homes, Connected Cities, and the Industrial Internet.
And goes on to stress, “[e]arly adopters in these verticals are using the IoT to pioneer new product areas and to find efficiencies that save money or reduce demand for resources.”
PointCentral clients have these use cases well underway – improving experiences and saving money.
Most obviously, the Internet of Things has the power to profoundly change operations — that’s where much of the coverage of this burgeoning network has focused. But companies should also be preparing for profound shifts in their competitive strategies as the IoT takes off. It will change the category you compete in, the products and services you sell, and how you market them, and even the talent you acquire.
In the end, the bottom line is what matters. Reducing costs is great. But reducing costs AND creating revenue is even better.
This article shares some great thoughts on how the IoT will help create wealth utilizing three helpful frameworks to explore: enterprise financial performance, enterprise process economics, and performance improvement approaches.
A few fantastic quotes to get you started…
Here’s an interesting thought: what about harnessing the potential of this technology to disrupt entire markets and industries?
The data and insight generated from IoT, if properly harnessed, has the potential to unseat incumbents if they’re not the first to realize this opportunity.
Bottom line: there’s a lot of money to be made from this promising technology for the companies that know where to look.
That is a lot to soak in. I’ll leave my “fact vs. fiction” discussion for the next post.
For your reading pleasure, some of my recent analysis on the current value of smart control…
- Is Smart Home Control Over-Hyped? No Way!
- A New Way to Do Business: Commercial Property Automation
- PointCentral is Uniquely Positioned to Provide Commercial Property Automation
- Home Automation Can Save Your BUSINESS Time & Money
- Use Technology Hacks to Improve Your Company’s Efficiency
- [Case Study] Smart Control = Smart Business: Reduce Costs, Increase Security & Improve Business Intelligence
- WiFi vs. Cellular = Home Automation vs. Property Automation
Vacation Rental Posts:
- Vacation Rental Insurance: Where Does Coverage End & Liability Begin?
- Your Guests & Homeowners Want it Too!
- Mechanical Keys: An Unnecessary Vacation Rental Liability [White Paper]
- Control ALL of Your Homes from ONE Dashboard
- Your Vacation Homes are Targets: The New Standard of Care & Security for Vacation Rental Management
- Milestones: Is Bluewater Vacation Rentals the Largest Smart Home Installation in the World?!
- [Case Study] Energy/Money Savings with Vacation Rental Smart Energy Management