The internet did a lot to democratize marketplaces and extract substantial efficiencies from ongoing operations. Requiring only a minimal investment, anyone potentially could create a successful business, especially if they leveraged large distribution channels, such as Amazon or eBay. Yet for all the technological advances, many businesses still suffer from relatively high operating expenses due to the analog nature of existing infrastructure—a sensor can generate an alert that a pipe is leaking, but a maintenance worker has to do the rest. Entering such a traditional marketplace, with its high barriers to entry, would normally be fraught with risk.
IoT changes that reality, expanding (and often redefining) existing industries with even greater efficiencies, and creating new ones in virtually every sector. Even more significant, IoT offers remarkably low barriers to entry for any application, even in traditional markets.
Maximize the existing infrastructure . . . or create one
IoT enables you to bring efficiencies, cost savings, security, and other benefits to any marketplace, whether there is an existing infrastructure or not. In the above property management scenario, smart IoT-enabled devices would replace analog sensors. The devices could resolve a wide variety of issues without human intervention, and only request maintenance personnel if absolutely needed.
For an untapped market with little or no infrastructure, such as a rural community, IoT devices can create an instant, powerful ecosystem with minor investments. This is one reason IoT deployments, like smartphones ten years ago, are fast gaining traction in underdeveloped countries. Or to put it another way, you can provide a solution wherever you see an infrastructure challenge, something not possible in an analog world.
Customers want to work with you, and for good reason
Thanks to everything from the cloud to dollar stores, people have been conditioned to seek value from their vendors. It’s simply not enough to just have a superior offering. IoT offers the best of both worlds—superior solutions and tremendous value. But that’s not all. Since you can demonstrate a fast return on investment in every aspect of implementation (installation, maintenance, security, etc.) customers will want to engage you as a preferred vendor. In fact, because IoT is so new, many companies and organizations may be inclined to partner with you to develop new solutions, enabling you to further save on marketing and development costs. It’s the proverbial win-win situation.
Partnering accelerates your time to market, and time to profit
The cloud era has reoriented the way business views outsourcing operations, especially mission-critical ones. Witness the phenomenal rise of Amazon Web Services (AWS). You can cost effectively outsource many aspects of your operations that are not your core competence thanks to a growing ecosystem of IoT providers.
IoT marketplaces, which enable vendors to find turnkey solutions via trusted partners, can dramatically reduce your time to market. You instantly can incorporate all the necessary components at one time, without requiring additional IT expertise. In turn, you can offer your customers turnkey solutions, mixing and matching ‘behind the scenes’ partners as needed.
Change what doesn’t work—on the fly
Another interesting fact about IoT is that you can alter the infrastructure in real time without any adverse effects such as unplanned downtime. You need never make any large upfront investment only to find out it doesn’t work as anticipated. This flexibility opens a larger window for experimentation (and for customers who are willing to experiment with you) without risking the overall system operation. It also allows you to make changes on the fly when market conditions change and/or customer requirements suddenly are repurposed, even when the devices are embedded and irretrievable, as with roadways or buildings. You can meet the new needs seamlessly without having to reinvest in expensive infrastructure.
Devices do the job for you
Unlike analog solutions, IoT devices are smart and can do everything from policing themselves (preventing hacks) to ongoing maintenance and repairs—without human intervention. That translates to lower ongoing costs, including dramatically reducing your overall IT expenditures, and a great competitive advantage.
There are many other reasons why IoT makes it simple and easy for your company to enter any given marketplace, but the above represent a good starting place.
For more information of how IoT can lower entry barriers, visit us at Aeris / Neo.