Moving from the Internet of Things to the Internet of Meaningful Things
This past May, Alex Tee, our Engineering Senior Manager, had a chance to speak at Liveworx about the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT). He concluded his presentation with his perspective of how senior managers are going to transform their business units with the promise of IoT. This blog picks up where Tee left off, discussing how IoT is just the first step on the path to a much more powerful space: the Internet of Meaningful Things (IoMT).
We know that for most middle-senior managers, IoT is the latest initiative that their company is working towards. For many, there is this deep feeling that they are simply “too late” or that they are past the innovation cycle and perhaps playing catch up. And the truth is, there are a lot of connected products out there. But, we’ll let you in on a little secret.
The time is now.
Taking a look at Gartner’s Hype Cycle for the Internet of Things we see that we are solidly in the peak of inflated expectations. Both the expectations of consumers, managers, and even those making these products is highly inflated because we simply still do not fully understand what the consumer needs.
Without understanding your consumer, you face several challenges. The likelihood your product will fail is high and that failure can make or break your bottom line. More importantly, it can hurt your credibility and your ability to retain your customers in this tough marketplace.
And that, in our opinion, is why fully understanding your customers is vital to making anything meaningful in the IoT space. Companies need to understand their consumers in order to create meaningful products that consumers love, need, and want to use. In fact, fully understanding your customer’s needs is central to becoming not just a success in in the Internet of Things, but to becoming a leader in the Internet of Meaningful Things.
As you consider your place in the IoMT revolution, consider the following three things when assessing your company’s viability.
First, what are your company’s technical capabilities? Can you pull off this technology you’re looking to create? If the answer is no, stop forging ahead. Consumers are discerning in this era and if you can’t technologically deliver what you promise, then wait, as you don’t want to be the next Samsung Note 7.
Next, you want to make sure you have a viable business model set up. For those seasoned businesses, this may seem like a worthwhile step to “skip,” but we caution you not to. Launched to fanfare, we here at Altitude were excited about Kuveé. This smart, connected wine bottle helps entertainers, busy moms, and wine enthusiasts drink more wine and save bottles. Their value proposition is exciting, their device is sleek and connected, but to-date, they’ve only distributed 1,000 bottles. It seems like there could be a variety of challenges limiting their market penetration, but the biggest challenge may simply lie in their business model and pricing strategy.
For new products that require a change in behavior, pricing can be vital to a products rapid adoption. Priced at a minimum of $199, a big challenge for Kuveé may be that its pricing model does not allow for early adopters to buy the product at a rapid rate.
Finally, and this is the most important there must be a desirability within your customer segment. If your customer does not want this product, if they do not need this product, then frankly your product will not survive. This last blind spot check is the most crucial, and the one often missed by companies. This can be the difference between being part of IoT or IoMT, the internet of meaningful things.
Still not sure about the difference between those products that fall into the Internet of Things versus those that fall into the Internet of Meaningful Things? Look at a couple of these classic examples.
Current key products in the IoT space include items like Keratasé’s Connected Brush, GE’s the Egg minder and the Nest. Each of these companies has created products, but only one has successfully disrupted the industry and become a leader in its category. Can you guess which one of the IoT solutions that is?
Chances are, you probably don’t have a connected hairbrush sitting on your bathroom counter, but you do have the Nest carefully placed on your living room wall. For many, the Nest is not just a thermostat, it is in fact in the business of selling piece of mind. In fact, Nest did not just create a new product, they created a new product category in which they are the industry leader.
And that is a powerful place to be. You CAN Create Your Future with IoT Innovations. Because Nest has captured the brand loyalty of consumers, they now have an opportunity to expand their product offerings beyond the thermostat space. They now offer more than home comfort; they offer security and peace of mind. Beyond that, they’ve created a new market segment that has revolutionized the home industry. In fact, a recent Internet of Things Consortium poll showed that smart technologies in the home, show the most promise in the thermostat area. Prior to Nest, the idea of a smart connected home barely existed.
And as discussed in a recent webinar with UnitedHealth Group, Nest “took ‘dial on a wall’ to evolve it to ‘home comfort and security’ which demonstrates they care more about customers, so now people care more about it”.
The difference between the success of Nest and its rapid adoption in the marketplace is simple. They did not simply add technology to their product without considering their core customer’s needs. They first focused on the jobs-to-be-done and made a fundamental shift in their thinking. They shifted from what we sell to “…discovering what users genuinely value” as Dan Ostrower of Altitude | Accenture said in the company’s recent webinar Designing Experiences for Smart Connected IoT.
IoT is much more than just connected products. It is, as David Balcom at Stanley Black & Decker says in Designing Experiences for Smart Connected (IoT) “…connecting people, places, and things in a meaningful way; and understanding what those interactions look like and how to best offer great experiences to our consumers to our customers.” Meaningful products that create engaging experiences for consumers are the key to not simply joining the IoMT revolution, but to becoming the leader in this innovation game.
And truly, the IoMT space is where your company wants to be. Beyond simply creating products that people use, you want to create products that are effortless for human beings. Whether this is in the B2B space or with consumer goods, you want your products to be meaningful and powerful, create engaging experiences, and capture your customer’s loyalty.
As difficult as loyalty is to capture, it makes all the difference in this revolution. Those companies that can understand consumers’ needs and create meaningful experiences can cut through the noise of IoT misfit toys and become true leaders of the IoT revolution.
For more on IoMT, check out Dan Ostrower’s paper, SMART CONNECTED PRODUCTS: How to Create Meaningful Experiences in the IoT Age. And I welcome hearing your thoughts on the best IoMT products in the comments below.