By Ryan Lester. Director of IoT Strategy at Xively
I’m the first to admit that the road to IoT nirvana hasn’t always been smooth. Those companies that have already taken the plunge are the pioneers of the era – helping us all separate hype from reality, dealing with technical learning curves, trying to define business models, and creating success stories. But while many of these pioneers have moved full steam ahead, others are still a little wary. Even those that have had success are worried about taking that next step.
When I talk about the importance of committing to the IoT, it’s those companies I’m talking to. The IoT is hitting the mainstream and it’s only going to gain speed. If you’re seeing early signs of success, the time for “wait and see” is over. And the cost of continuing to linger on the edge is significant.
Here are a handful of key reasons why companies are having a hard time jumping right in. All of which make perfect sense for most types of businesses, but as we know, connected product businesses play by their own rules.
1. Waiting to fully understand what the connected product business should be.
In general, it makes perfect sense to want to fully understand how a business will work before you fully commit to it. That’s just smart business right? This strategy, however, becomes a problem when you already have devices in the field. Supporting a half-baked connected product system will undoubtedly lead to failure in some way — turning happy customers into frustrated ones.
2. Waiting until you have more devices in the field.
Again, in most business cases it makes sense to have a good foundation before investing additional resources into a product … except when it comes to the IoT. The reason is similar to the one above. You don’t want to wait until your system is overloaded with devices and apps to invest in your infrastructure. By the time you know you need something more robust, customers are likely being disrupted and your support staff is being inundated.
3. Waiting until there is a clear support or service plan for the device.
If you have devices out in the field today, there is a huge cost and risk associated with manually supporting devices and/or replacing devices when an issue can’t be solved. If you wait until you have thousands of devices in the field, a sudden device outage or breakdown disrupts more people and becomes a much bigger threat to your business. Laying the groundwork early for smooth device support conversations will save your team many hours and many headaches. Make sure your connected product data is captured, organized, and displayed in a way that makes support or service easy.
Waiting until more customers are using it — yet another reason that makes a connected business different than most others. The beauty of the IoT is that the longer a device is in the field, the more companies can learn. Connected products tell a lot about customers — how they are using the products, features they like, features they don’t, etc. By pushing the pause button here, companies are losing significant mindshare and the opportunity to be regularly iterating on the next product or feature.
For those who haven’t jumped on the connected product bandwagon yet, it may still make sense to do some piloting, but for others who have dipped their toe in the waters and are having success, it’s time to canonball in. Whether you partner or bring the expertise in-house, having a best-in-class, secure, and reliable infrastructure is the key to long-term IoT success. Learn how to take your product from concept to launch here*.
*This post is sponsored by Xively, which helps companies simplify the creation, deployment, and management of connected products and solutions on the #IoT.
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