The Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to revolutionize homes everywhere. Smart home technology does everything from making a pot of coffee in the morning to identifying the most efficient time to do laundry. As smart technology integrates into more home systems, the potential for market expansion is tremendous. Information gathered through these devices has value, and must be protected. Service providers in this category have the opportunity to lead the pack and grab large chunks of market share in these early stages if they can create a successful IoT strategy with these fundamental principles.
Implement Open and Transparent Platforms
Proprietary software platforms limit usability for the consumer. Consumers do not want to be forced to buy a toaster produce by the same company as their washing machine. Using a standards-based platform allows consumers to buy the products they want without worrying about compatibility. With new IoT technology hitting the market all the time, interoperability is a must. IoT platform vendors that want to stay relevant need to offer an open platform that expands with the market.
Track the Analytics
Analytics allow manufacturers to see into the customer experience. Historically, after finalizing a sale, the manufacturer only heard about complaints and problems. With smart technologies, manufacturers can dig deeper. They can infer options that will improve the customer experience. For example, a smart TV that only shows relevant ads can significantly improve marketing effectiveness and make viewer boredom a thing of the past. A smart stove can download a recipe and prepare the food with only minimal human intervention. From a platform standpoint, the value added piece might be recipe recommendations based on the current contents of the fridge. By paying attention to when and how customers use the product, providers can make recommendations for next generation technologies and updates.
Scalability Is Crucial
Growing to scale is always important in business, but for IoT it is essential. The number of IoT devices is predicted to grow to approximately 38 billion by 2020. That is triple the number of devices in use today. With that sort of growth in the pipeline, being able to scale quickly is the only way to keep up. Platforms that can only handle a limited number of devices or that cannot integrate new devices quickly will be outpaced by platforms that meet the growing needs of consumers and business customers alike.
More Networks Means More Network Security
The data collected by smart devices is valuable for a number of reasons. Healthcare information, personal data, lifestyle choices and more can be exposed via smart home technology. Access to personally identifiable information makes IoT data security a priority at the user end. Data breaches cost businesses an average of $3.79 million per breach. With more devices come more points of vulnerability, making IoT data security a potentially expensive proposition. While some devices will have security at the hardware level, service providers will need to stay on the leading-edge of encryption and security technologies to minimize the risk of a data breach.
Understanding the IoT Equation
IoT service providers that successfully offer a scalable standards-based platform with value-added services like in-depth analytics will rise to the top of this expanding industry, provided they can also maintain air-tight security. A few well-publicized data breaches can negatively impact market share. Companies that want to target a growth market in IoT should focus on customer-centric practices that prioritize security.