Marketing in the Age of the IoT

At its most basic, The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of anything with a power switch that connects to the internet. Not just phones, laptops, and tablets, but also headphones, lamps, dryers, espresso machines, and more. The number of things that can connect to the IoT is growing daily, which is creating opportunities for businesses with the culture and infrastructure to take advantage of them.

For many businesses, creating a marketing strategy that capitalizes on the IoT will be crucial to their future success. To help companies translate the enormous, and currently largely untapped, potential of the IoT into profits, Aricent, a pure-play product engineering service firm, has created a guide to Creating a Playbook to Exploiting the Long Tail of the IoT. They suggest four fundamentals that must be mastered in order to create success.

  1. A Profound Knowledge of the Competitive Landscape

IoT competitors will flood the marketplace from all sectors, bringing novel – often completely untested – approaches. Those who hope to compete will need to keep an eye on the competition, take all comers seriously unless proven otherwise, and be prepared for an ever-evolving market.

  1. Embrace Extreme Volatility

Nobody yet knows what technologies will rule the IoT market. In the years leading up to that discovery, all manner of technologies will need to be tested. Marketing strategies will need to be multi-pronged to allow for the highest chance of success in a volatile market.

  1. Accept Commercial Uncertainty

An evolving market in its infancy means that partnerships, profitability, and power will be unpredictable, and may shift unexpectedly.  This will affect new businesses entering the market as well as existing businesses which will have to find their way and place each time the market changes and evolves.

  1. Be Fast, Agile, and Flexible

Companies need to create a culture of experimentation – they need to run experiments quickly and gather all the data they can from each one, and iterate fast.  They need to control losses by choosing experiments where the potential upside is much higher than a potential downside.  In order to be successful at this, companies must create processes to manage experimentation and iteration systematically and efficiently.

Aricent offers three case studies of companies that are getting ahead of the game.

The first is an electronics company that created and marketed meters for water, gas, and electricity.  The meters are able to sense leaks and shut off services if needed.  In order to be ready for the opportunities that will come with evolving technologies the company is already asking critical questions including:

  • Where and when should we deploy NB-IoT modem modules?
  • If we add NB-IoT as a connection option, do we build out an NB-IoT network or will our utility customers?
  • What is the viability of low-power, wide-area (LPWA) technologies such as SIGFOX and LoRa?

The second case study involves a unique approach to breaking into the wearables market – a watch for very young children.  The technology would allow parents to track their child’s locations, as well as including interactive games that children could play. Though there is less competition in the market for wearables for very young children, there are some companies already in the space.  The devices that are currently available have significant flaws that this company seeks to eliminate in its models by co-developing, using strategic partnerships to create an agile platform. They are pairing that with rapid-cycle iterations to let them be guided by market feedback.

The final case study is a software company that sells over-the-air (OTA) software.  They have previously focused on industrial and consumer electronics, and are now working to break in to the automotive sector. Car makers and suppliers have long wanted to utilize the more the 5-terabytes-a-day of data that vehicles generate, but they’ve not been able to create a method to collect and analyze it.  This software vendor, in partnership with an OM as well as its customers has been able to adapt its OTA to provide this information efficiently, increase the speed of information delivery from weeks or months, to hours. The vendor adapted to have streams of income from both sales, and data analytics which allows for growth not just through customer acquisition, but also through recurring revenue.  Their development platform allows them to keep innovating so that they can stay ahead of changing markets.

Finally, Aricent reminds us that evolving markets and technologies mean that flexibility, adaptability, and speed will be crucial to companies that want to take advantage of the long tail of the IoT.

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