Leveraging IoT's promise for profit

By Julian Dennis*
Friday, 23 February, 2018

Leveraging IoT's promise for profit

Firms must be agile enough to forecast their customers’ needs before they even know it.

Across every boardroom globally, at least one executive has asked the question, “How can we capitalise on the emergence of the Internet of Things market within our organisation?”

The development of IoT technology — from smartphones and mobile wallets, to virtual assistants and smart household appliances — has created an incredible array of opportunities for companies to produce new services offerings.

Leveraged in the right way, IoT can propel businesses towards achieving some of their loftier goals.

Over the next four years in Australia, the IoT is expected to grow significantly, with an expected jump in market value from $634 million to $4.7 billion by 2021. IoT in the home and business will be an integral part of enterprise, vendor and retail success in 2018.

The question is, which companies will be savvy enough to capitalise on these opportunities, and in what capacity? The following four key messages will help crystallise your organisation’s strategy in 2018.

1. Customer propositions must include seamless usage across key devices, mobile, hubs and gateways as one service.

Core connected devices (smart hubs, hybrid gateways and smartphones) will facilitate a broader adaption of IoT-at-home applications. With a current market penetration of 2.1 per household, the smartphone will continue to be the entryway to IoT device adaptation.

However, smart hubs (or speakers) are the centre of the connected home. The smart hub connects ancillary devices such as sensors, power plugs and lightbulbs, making it easier to control from a central point.

Creating a market proposition that combines usage across all devices from a fixed and wireless network technology perspective will drive customer satisfaction, meaning a single customised service fee covers the entire home or business.

2. IoT benefits can be fully realised with advantageous partnerships.

Service industries are now using IoT to reduce risk and costs. With a connected home base such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa or Apple Home Kit adding security measures to a connected home, it’s easy to receive back-end discounts.

Consumers have shown they prefer low-price/high-value devices, with the most popular IoT-at-home devices being lightbulbs (69%), video cameras (58%) and locks (56%).

To drive a connected home strategy in 2018, enterprises should be forming as many partnerships as possible in the security, electricity and utilities spaces, creating the best ROI scenarios for their customers.

3. Driving hardware as a service (HaaS) to create an extremely sticky customer experience.

Consumers are moving away from the idea of ownership, as it no longer makes economic sense. Just as ownership models are being challenged by leasing in mobile hardware, connected devices that provide a function in the home (like security) are instead being offered as part of a service.

In a connected world, when a piece hardware becomes redundant a replacement can simply be dispatched and installed without interference for the customer. The HaaS concept takes a single transaction and converts it into a lasting contract, redefining the relationship between vendors and consumers.

Vendors should reduce ownership of legacy items like modems, and look instead to bundle them as part of the service offerings.

4. In an ever-connected world, consumers are hard pressed to find a simplified customer experience.

We live in an increasingly connected world where consumer electronics and telecommunications services are merging, and where more than two-thirds of consumers believe that Wi-Fi is crucial to successfully implementing IoT in the home.

The different standards and technologies for these services are used in a diverse array of applications. For example, homes and offices utilise Bluetooth and ZigBee to connect to smart lights and security cameras. Low-power wide-area (LPWA) technologies such as NB-IoT and Cat-M1 are used in smart meters and high-data-rate IoT services such as 4G and 5G.

As the market matures, customers are more likely to stick with a provider that delivers the simplest point of entry to the many IoT connectivity technologies, from Wi-Fi to the upcoming introduction of 5G.

By creating a truly seamless network experience that treats wireless as the standard and offloads to a fixed connection when required, vendors will empower a forever-connected experience.

It cannot be denied that IoT is making the future better, bigger and brighter. Though IoT is revolutionary in terms of what it stands for, to be able to make a sustainable impact vendors must be agile enough to forecast their customers’ needs, before they even know them themselves.

*Julian Dennis is Director of Advisory Services at Brightstar, a device service management firm.

Image credit: ©iStockphoto.com/ludovic Vangrootenbruel

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