For years we have been hearing about the virtues of IoT and specifically how Industrial IoT (IIoT) is the cure for inefficient machine maintenance and unplanned downtime. While all that is true, if zero-downtime (“ZDT”) was such a pain, why aren’t we all rushing to get connected and drive maintenance costs down and uptime up? Granted, quite a few of us have been doing it. But really, is that all we can come up with when we connect industrial machines pervasively and do fabulous data processing from cloud to edge and everywhere in between? Plain-old maintenance?
If connectivity to improve existing business operations is the sole purpose of IIoT, aren’t we squarely suffocating inside the dilemma-filled innovator’s box? Can we reimagine the killer app or the killer product? Luckily, we can. All we need to do is take a consumption-centric view of product strategy.
IoT enables us to take a consumption-centric view to creating new offerings
Historically we built products with a technology-centric view. For example, in the IoT world it amounted to thinking about how to integrate sensors and computers in our largely electromechanical products; how to connect them with the plethora of communication mechanisms available to us (3G, LoRa…); how data was exchanged etc. All that is needed. But that is still thinking of the offer from a technology-centric lens, not a consumption-centric lens. Kindle did it.
Kindle didn’t subject us to worrying about connectivity, subscription to a wireless plan, or maintenance. Buy a digital book, read it, or buy a subscription and keep reading. Simple enough, but how shall we do it in our industrial world?
There are two ways to reimagine your connected products in a consumption-centric manner: 1) Change the consumption model of your existing product OR 2) Offer a new product or service via your connected product
The former is like offering a robot-as-a-service instead of selling a robot outright. The latter is like selling site-security for a warehouse and using robots to deliver it, or like delivering a book over a Kindle. Kindle isn’t the IoT product. It is a mere delivery mechanism.
To reimagine your offerings for a connected world, think about these dimensions of consumption for your offer, any offer. The following graphic illustrates this:
The dimensions convey the following:
The simple variations under M-O-O-P dimensions are shown below:
Let’s mix and match the above and see how existing offerings in the market use these dimensions:
…and so on and so forth for any product you analyze. This pattern of transformation is an easy key to re-vector your business model.
Last week I came across a robotics startup that offers a site-security solution based on robots (like a monthly subscription to ADT or Brinks for home security in the US). So it’s not killer apps that are coming, but killer business models and killer solutions.
Let’s at least march towards making our products more consumption-centric, if not start delivering new services on top of our existing products. Time to get beyond the predictive-analytics-for-maintenance cliché and reimagine our offerings before someone else beats us to it.
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