The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to smart, connected products (hardware, software, sensors, etc.), which improve reliability, increase capabilities and help us use products much more effectively and efficiently. IoT allows these smart connected products to generate data that can help you deliver unprecedented value to your customers.

This data can be gathered, analysed and delivered in a way that can be used to your and your customers’ advantage. For example, MAN Truck & Bus is able to collect their trucks’ raw data in real time and then translate it into simple and meaningful reports that are offered as a paid service to customers.

IoT is changing how companies compete, and the field is evolving quickly. As a result, remaining competitive means companies need to stay ahead of the trends. Based on our strategic foresight and research, we highlight six future trends that will impact your business:

1. New and better products that impact the value chain

The use of IoT enables the creation of new and better products and services (Daniel Burrus). According to Michael E. Porter and James E. Heppelmann, IoT changes the value chain through modifications in product design, manufacturing, after sales service, etc. These changes require data analytics and other new activities which in turn will bring even bigger improvements and evolutions to the industry. These new evolutions will bring further profitable growth to companies that embrace this transformation.

2. Improved ability to meet customer needs

According to Michael E. Porter and James E. Heppelmann, continual progression of IoT gives companies the knowledge and abilities to get closer to satisfying the needs of customers, even if the customers have not identified their needs themselves. It’s like having a magic wand.

With products that can be used to their maximum capabilities with greater reliability, safety and in the most economical and ecological way, meeting increased customer needs will be possible.

3. Knowing your customer better

With digitalization, we are now able to gather more information about our customers and their interaction with us than ever before. We can identify all the touch points a client has with our organization, for example we can know when a customer has made a call to the support desk, what their problem was, whether they were provided with a solution, or redirected to a specialist.

This access to information allows us to map the customer experience and redesign it as required, bearing in mind that the better the experience, the more satisfied the customer is. This means you have a better chance of a repeat purchase, a renewal of a service contract, and better chances of benefiting from positive word-of-mouth.

Ric Merrifield predicts that as clients see the increasing benefits of IoT, they will be more willing to give you access to more information. This will lead to greater expectations on their behalf, and as a result, generate even more data.

4. Provide the ability to predict and prevent

Daniel Burrus suggests that IoT will affect every single industry, including manufacturing, healthcare, energy, financial services, consumer goods and the information technology landscape that supports all these industries.

While this sounds intimidating, there are benefits if you can anticipate the impact and prepare your organisation accordingly. One of the biggest opportunities is your increased ability to predict and prevent problems. MAN Truck & Bus, mentioned earlier, provides predictive vehicle maintenance, which allows its clients to know when an engine fault will occur, specifying what the fault will be, and where the nearest repair shop can be found reducing down time saving the customer time and money.

5. New business processes and skills will be required

IoT is bringing new ways of automation and Bill Chamberlin explains how this automatically means new business processes and skills will be required.

Companies that hop onto the IoT fast track earlier on will benefit from improved productivity, operating efficiencies and customer experience, leading the way to service innovation and leaving competitors way behind.

6. An innovative mindset required across the organization

As new processes come about, new best practices will make the ‘game’ even harder to compete in. According to Michael E. Porter and James E. Heppelmann, smart connected products will need to be incorporated into products and services, thereby affecting the whole value chain and setting new, higher standards for operational effectiveness.

Your industry will sooner or later be influenced by IoT and the opportunities that arise on the horizon are countless. So, the question is: do you want to be an innovator or a follower? Get to know more about this new revolution, prepare your people and take the leap to transformation.

René Boverhuis
Author

Senior Solutions Architect at Noventum Service Management