IoT is defined as a network of internet connected devices and sensors that communicate and interact with their environments. This simple definition belies the incredibly powerful ways IoT will change how companies operate.
For companies, IoT means plugging into massively interconnected systems where the screen is no longer the driver of the experience and individual companies no longer have ownership. These systems will bring together disparate customers, data, devices and services in a fluid environment where devices and data sources become transitory and are dynamically added and removed based on the customers needs at a particular moment.
Success in the IoT world requires a new type of business that excels at developing products and services based on experience first design, extreme collaboration and openness.
IoT presents a true paradigm shift in how we experience the world. As more of our technology interacts intelligently on our behalf we no longer need a screen to interact with our world. When the screen is no longer the window to the world, what does experience look like? The companies that succeed are those who can design for rapid movement between digital and non-digital interactions and extend the concept of UX into the physical world.
Differentiation and market share will be dependent on a company’s ability to serve a niche audience with a tailored experience. The experience will often be independent of the products and services used to deliver the experience.
Designing with an experience first mindset requires a deep understanding of your customers journey extending beyond your company’s products and services. The travel industry is already grappling with this concept as they struggle to deliver experiences to customers interacting with the company entirely through third party booking and review sites. A hotel must understand the context of a guests journey, the guests modes of transportation and how they were booked and must be able to tap into data from services like Expedia and Yelp to provide the most effective, enjoyable and differentiated experience possible.
Companies must get better at bringing customers, partners and competitors into the fold. Customers will want their devices and services to integrate seamlessly so they can access their data when, where and how they want. For example, consumers expect their fitness tracking devices to integrate with their insurance company systems and grocery shopping applications to have a single view of their health. The companies that work with partners and competitors to develop integration points will succeed over those that try to rebuild the entire ecosystem. Fitness tracking company EveryMove and connected sprinkler company Rachio are examples of companies that creating cohesive customer experiences across multiple device and data ecosystems.
The power of intellectual property (IP) is waning. In the past patents were a way for companies to guarantee a competitive advantage. Soon IP will be powerful only when shared with others to develop new products and services. Releasing IP to the world creates new markets for products and services that spring up on that new technology. Successful companies see beyond the value of the IP itself and build ecosystems to support these new markets. A perfect example of this is Tesla releasing their technology to the world.
The IoT age is going to be complex. It is going to be messy. It will challenge how you think about business and serving your customers. The sooner you start thinking about experience, collaboration outside of your company and openness the better prepared you will be for the coming transition.
How is your company preparing for success in the IoT age?