February 12, 2014

5 Tests You Need To Apply To Your Internet of Things Strategy

Chris Rezendes, Founder and President, INEX Advisors

Chris Rezendes, Founder and President, INEX Advisors

We are burning too many cycles asking how to define the Internet of Things; compare Internet of Things with M2M; sort the nuances between Internet of Things versus Industrial Internet versus Internet of Everything versus Smarter Planet. We need to stop.

It is all the instrumentation of the physical world achieved through embedded, attached or proximate sensors and controllers; connecting those devices to networks; delivering value within the context of a number of decision support tools, as dedicated services through smartphones, or as automated inputs to other intelligent machines.

Debate any or all parts of that if you like, but, you are wasting time. A lot of people have already moved on from defining to developing – and deploying.

Now to be clear, the best developments and deployments did not simply race from definition to development. They went through a number of other discoveries.

This is where you need to be: Beyond the semantics of the labels, and into intense discovery mode.

Now to be clearer, the best discoveries are resulting in new rules. New models. New opportunities.

And clearer still, discovery does NOT mean deployment. We are not arguing for a race to deploy before you have thought through so many implications.

And here is another model from INEX, rooted in our experience with Fortune 500, SMB and startups from a broad range of industries, business profiles, asset classes and use cases:

5-Part ‘AND TEST’ for IoT Impact

1. Customer experience is the trump card. In retail, in industrial, in national security. The customer is the person that is operating the product and service that you are conceiving of.

Does your IoT approach create value for your customers AND your business?

2. Sustainability and persistence – on a number of dimensions, not only environmental – are critical strategic goal of many deployments. TAB (throw-away-box) hardware is at odds with both, even in an era when services trump software and software ‘eats the world’.

Does your IoT approach support sustainability and persistence in hardware AND promote services?

3. Defining, delivering, pricing value is wholly dependent on context. The definition of context is dynamic – the most successful approaches begin with time and place, but go far beyond on a number of dimensions that incorporate a wide range of information sources.

Does your IoT approach balance the need for the right content AND the right context?

4. Context will often include – indeed come from — other people, organizations. Lest we forget, the context that we submit as so critical is not simply a set of ones and zeroes. The potential impacts of IoT are as strong as any other tools we have deployed, or considered, across a diverse group of stakeholders, each with different interests in the physical assets being instrumented.

Does your IoT approach consider the impact on people and organizations with dependencies – direct or indirect – on your business, your customers, your partners?

5. Stewardship is your missing strategy element. Winner take all; zero-sum-game and their kin will not maximize value, profit or most other potential in IoT. All the interconnectedness that we have been participating in – consciously or not – results in our requirement to look out for our partners, customers, suppliers, with nearly the same diligence that we care for our own businesses.

Does your IoT approach account for, measure, pursue benefits in social terms AND financial terms?

An IoT-enabled world is all about ‘AND’.

Synthesizing the physical and the virtual; the carbon and the silicon; the analog and the digital.

Why not disruption AND stability? Innovation AND sustainability? Productivity and employment?

Why not money AND meaning?

Me AND you?

February 12, 2014