Using IoT for fun and profit

How to turn the IoT into a good business strategy

Rick Delgado
© Shutterstock / Aslysun

The Internet of Things is no longer science fiction – it’s how we live. Companies that adapt fast and capitalize on the growing amount of data and information made available through IoT will thrive. In this article, Rick Delgado explains how you can leverage IoT for better business results.

With the Internet of Things becoming a reality, many companies are trying to figure out how best to capitalize on it. The data it provides and the boost to consumer experience has unlimited potential in turning a good business strategy into a great one with IoT.

Here’s how you can leverage IoT for better results in your business – and even more, what lessons you can take away from it to improve your strategy as a whole.

Always be improving, but take small steps

The first venture of IoT was not the self-driving car; it was Steve Mann’s WearCam back in 1994 – the first attempt at a GoPro. It didn’t go that well, but it was a jump-off point for the IoT devices that would follow. Since then, from the highs of GoogleGlass to the less impressive internet-connected trashcans, the IoT has been taking constant but steady steps.

SEE MORE: Why IoT should have an artificial intelligence layer

If Big Data is business’ greatest tool, then the IoT is its hands and eyes. The more you invest in the IoT, the more data you’ll find, and the more improvements you can make to your marketing plans, business practices, and product creation. However, this vast amount of data can swamp and confuse any business. The key is to take it slow and scale up as your business is capable of sustaining, beginning with little integrations of IoT that eventually build up to become large ones.

The more connections you have, the more stable you are

The data an IoT device gathers is never in danger. Should the device happen to get broken or otherwise damaged, its constant feed to the internet guarantees the information is still secure. It can also receive information from multiple sources, so should its main resource fail, it still has other options and can continue its main task.

Allowing other businesses to leverage the data gathered from your IoT devices accomplishes two goals. It makes you into a platform business, where others’ success is ensured by your success. That gives them an invested interest in seeing your business perform well. Should one department fail or one business strategy crumble, you will have backups and connections reaching far and wide. The second goal this achieves is giving you a constant and diverse resource to draw from – that is, their data as well. This improves your insights and your future plans for leveraging the IoT. The business world is, metaphorically, the internet. Make connections.

Make it your purpose in life to please the customer

At its core, the IoT is all about making life easier. It accomplishes a great deal of tasks, but in the end, the focus is always on improving consumer experience. Your business should be the same. An IoT coffee maker may brew the caffeine, feed data back on your routine and coffee preferences, and set off a small alarm to wake you up in the morning, which are all accomplishments – but it’s really about ensuring you awake refreshed, at a healthy time, and without the stress of little tasks as you start your day.

SEE MORE: IoT and its role in transforming the business model

If you’re constantly thinking of how to make the consumer experience more thrilling and helpful, then you can develop innovative ways to see it happen that don’t require an all out IT transformation. What is an insignificant but present problem you could help your customers out with? How could you be more available and assist in pain points others don’t? That is the key to thriving on a IoT business strategy – making the life of your consumers easier in the forgettable ways, which stack up to become memorable.

Find a balance between privacy and efficiency

The IoT works off of mass information, but there are limitations put in place to rein in this reach and ensure user privacy. As useful as it would be to have a pair of smart glasses that recorded and uploaded your every move for later scrap-booking review, that would pose a great deal of risks.

In the same way, businesses need to find a balance between tapping into the black gold of data and all it can offer, and still ensuring the information doesn’t cross lines or fall into the wrong hands. Sharing it with other companies, transmitting it between departments, and even becoming more invasive in its gathering have advantages – until another security breach, such as Target experienced, brings it all crashing down. There will be losses to profits and productivity by reining back data gathering, but the long-term security and sustainability is worth it.

Rick Delgado
Rick Delgado is a freelance technology writer and commentator. Connect with him on Twitter @ricknotdelgaldo.

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