4 Profitable IoT Innovations – and Why CSP’s Should Be Excited
While we’re all aware of the objects that are commonly embedded with online capabilities – smartphones, computers, and so on – the sphere of digital connectivity is expanding ever-further; the border between “offline” and “online” is shrinking, and objects we’ve always thought of as static, unconnected, or unchanging are suddenly coming online. Everyday items are increasingly being digitized, linking them to the IoT (Internet of Things) – the vast network of people, objects, and devices that possess online connectivity.
But just how vast is it the IoT? A report by BI Intelligence indicates that there will be 34 billion devices connected to the internet by the year 2020, up from 10 billion in the year 2015. Of those 34 billion devices, 24 billion will be comprised of IoT devices. It’s a digital revolution – and it’s obvious that companies want to capitalize on it before they fall behind. Of course, “falling behind” can happen with deceptive pace when it comes to technology advancements.
There are huge profits to be made among the world’s digital upheavals, and those who predict, who anticipate, and who adapt most quickly stand to gain immensely from the IoT’s redefinition of the digital landscape. Of all the industries that are preparing for the seismic impact of IoT innovation, few will be more affected – or more empowered – than Communications Service Providers (CSPs). As communications providers around the world digitize and transform, the question of how the IoT will play into that transformation is being asked with increasing frequency.
Here are four innovations that illustrate just how the IoT will answer that question:
With the emergence of the smartwatch, anyone’s wrist can now act as a hub for data – enabling a range of activity including text messaging, phone calls, and internet access. What’s more, the emergence of fitness watches illustrate the IoT’s increasing ability to actually connect with the wearer’s body – a development that has huge implications in terms of providing live, real-time data that will optimize personal efficiency, wellness, self-awareness and more.
In an era of tech buzzwords, “driverless” is one you’re unlikely to avoid. But there’s a reason for this: the “driverless” car is going to fundamentally transform the face of daily travel, promising to make the world’s roads far safer and far more efficient. The likes of Mercedes, Audi and BMW have all announced the development of self-driving cars – a number of which will be controllable with smartphones and smartwatches.
App-controlled thermostats, connective lighting, smart outlets, Bluetooth-activated locks and a range of other “smart” home appliances have contributed to a shift in public perception of what exactly constitutes a smart home. These additions don’t demand tens of thousands of dollars or extensive home customization, and often entail relatively simple installations. The end result is that homes are rapidly adopting IoT equipment and, in so doing, becoming part of the IoT themselves.
LinkNYC is a unique and first-of-its-kind communications network that will replace 7,500 pay phones across New York City this year with structures known as “Links”. Each Link will offer “superfast, free public WiFi, phone calls, device charging and a tablet for internet browsing, access to city services, maps, and directions.” It’s a brilliant example of how the remnants of the soon-obsolete communications infrastructure can be reshaped, repurposed, and replaced by smarter and more efficient technologies.
Why should CSPs be excited about IOT innovations?
IoT innovations like the ones outlined above are, no doubt, impressive in and of themselves. Many of them – inconceivable ten, five, or even just a few years ago – are now redefining the digital ecosystem and disrupting the very core of how people conceive of and relate with the devices they use.
They Empower the Product
One commonly-cited best practice for the modern CSP vying to maintain relevance in the digital era is shifting to a product-centric – rather than an infrastructure-focused – approach to business. Why? Because the modern communications ecosystem is transitioning from an emphasis on the physical communications infrastructure towards an emphasis on the products used for communication themselves. In this way, the IoT – embedded in physical products – plays directly into the hands of any savvy CSP. Those who successfully embrace the conceptual shift to a product-centric viewpoint will, naturally, delight in the proliferation and ever-increasing significance of IoT innovations. It’s a fundamental, conceptual shift in the way modern communications should be understood: CSPs can now invest in creating and offering products that delight customers instead of focusing on communications infrastructure that burden them.
They Give Context
Likewise, the modern CSP’s success can be built on three pillars: create, sell, and deliver. Executing those three actions is simplified by consistency across multiple digital channels; knowing who your customer is, where they are, and what they have available means you can connect what you can sell with other ecosystems. Context is everything, and with the flood of information brought on by IoT devices, CSPs will have more context than ever. They will have more power to sell across channels than ever before, and perhaps, above all – a vastly greater ability to anticipate customers’ needs and provide a flawless delivery to meet those needs.
They Delight the Customer
If yours is a truly digital business, then no matter what the innovation or source of innovation,you can devise any type of operating model to serve customers more effectively. That’s why a true digital business isn’t threatened by IoT innovations, but excited by the new possibilities they open. With a catalog-driven approach, CSPs can harness the power of unifying their products and services so that every customer interaction is made more simple, more efficient, and more informative.
If harnessed properly, IoT innovations like these mean that CSPs can provide experiences, not just products or services. It means they can exceed a consumer’s expectations instead of just meeting them. It means they can make their services more understandable, relatable, and actionable, and it means they can integrate all digital channels so consumers can interact with them when, where, and how they want to.