At the end of 2017, there are very few aspects of our daily lives that have not become instant – instant meals (that actually taste nice), instant TV, instant transport, and even instant(ish) delivery of online shopping. Even fewer of us have stopped to ask where this might be headed – everyone who is not informed about the IoT that is – or have taken stock of the few remaining time-intensive activities that still exist, like customer service, the dreaded doctor/dentist visit, and the joy of being stuck in traffic.
Right Here, Right Now
Thankfully, Big (and Small) Business has caught up with the pace of progress, and realized that we, the people, are now driving the market more than ever before. This shift in market perception and control, from ‘any color, as long as it’s black’ to ‘30 minutes or less’, has put a cat amongst the pigeons of progress, and even the most traditional sectors have started to change their business models to get a deeper insight into what exactly it is we want from them.
This change has already begun – name the first hotel, taxi company, telecoms provider, and restaurant you can think of and tell me they were not Airbnb, Uber, WhatsApp and Just Eat. Driven by the boom in smartphone use to almost 97% ownership in 18-45 year olds, the surge of content and communications on social media, and, of course, the proliferation of more and more IoT devices into our homes, our minds, and our hearts – this move to instant satisfaction of every possible desire is coming to a head.
Slow and Steady Wins… Nothing
But until recently, businesses have been slow to react, or tone-deaf to customer demands – you only have to look at the global disruption caused by the aforementioned businesses to hotel chains, local taxi firms, text and call packages and street eateries to see the slow rate of adaptation in the majority of businesses. This is because enterprises have been set up in a strict hierarchy, with the C-suite at the top and buying statistics on the bottom, for generations, and as such have formed a hard crust to keep out nosey competitors, nosey standards commissions, and nosey customers – to the extent that consumers now base their decision on the supposed ethics of a company, the sustainability of their product, and the way they treat their workers (which has also shown to be harmful to this new breed of business).
Mind the Gap
This change in attitudes, brought on by the free flow of information and mistrust of secrecy that the worldwide web has provided, means that companies must look carefully at how they conduct themselves, how they gain their market research, and how they develop their products in order to remain relevant. Connecting ‘things’ to the internet has brought businesses closer than ever before to the customer, offering a direct line into the use and appreciation of the product, but this is not the only step to making sure you don’t go the way of the Zune.
The Whi(o)te Knight
For an enterprise moving into the world of IoT connectivity, the most important thing is to understand what the swathes of data that will pass through your fingers actually means, and to ensure this knowledge exists right from the C-suite down to the (now living, breathing) statistics at the bottom. Using an IoT management platform offers a business a simple way to get to grips with this new and rapidly changing sector-within-sectors, and can provide everything a business needs to measure the processes that go towards getting a product to market – connectivity can feed market insight directly into development, can streamline production, and change a basic product into an interactive service that will generate revenue well after the original expected life of the product.
The power of the IoT to cast a discerning light on every stage of business has to be embraced by enterprises if they are to remain relevant in the instant world of IoT communications. Business models in the coming years will be dynamic, customer-centric, and most importantly will be open to cross-sector collaboration – and they will have to be in order to keep customers engaged and satisfied before a Kickstarter project beats them to it.