Tip #6: 4 ways for SMEs to embrace IoT innovation
The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the business landscape, but some business owners are yet to discover its real potential.
If you have not already, it is time to embrace new technologies and realize that the Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing the world as we know it by strengthening the connection between the physical and the digital world. From cloud solutions that enable the integration of cheaper IT systems to smart sensors that allow SMEs to retrieve and analyze increasing amounts of data, IoT can truly drive the technological transformation to all aspects of your business.
Unfortunately, if you are a small or medium-sized company you might not be able to envision how far IoT can take you. I understand that not all companies possess the same capabilities as large and multinational corporations when it comes to innovating with IoT technology. Some of the barriers that arise could be that you do not have enough human, financial or technical resources to create these new digital and IoT-based solutions by yourself.
However, you do not need to worry about filling all the necessary skills required with in-house expertise. Here’s a list of recommendations that will help you squish IoT to its full potential.
4 tips for SMEs to face the challenge
IoT is an opportunity, take advantage of it!
Time to value is everything in business. McKinsey estimates the potential impact of IoT to be an aggregated $11 trillion business opportunity over the next ten years – equivalent to about 11% of the world economy. If you want to benefit from the value IoT brings to companies, you are almost late!
From my experience SME companies must focus on their own area of expertise, running the daily business. It will save you time and money to let an experienced partner take responsibility for the development that requires specific knowledge.
Move fast and win the race.
Change is the only thing in this world that is permanent. As Clayton Christensen stated in his famous book The Innovator’s Dilemma: “If you don’t innovate, your competitors will”. The costs of inaction will put the whole business at risk as competitors may capture market share very quickly (just as an example, IoT-based car-sharing services like Car2Go or DriveNow are disrupting urban mobility).
Don’t let your company size be an obstacle. Innovate with your IoT products and services, and don’t hesitate to take the risk. Giants like Nokia and BlackBerry were wiped out from the smartphone market because they did not innovate quickly enough. Being a new-comer on the market does not need to be something negative, new entrants are disrupting the marketplace. Although you should remember that your competitors are regularly innovating which means you should too, to avoid being left behind!
Find a formula for the perfect leader.
The ingredients are the following:
- Focus on the benefit for your customers and make sure you solve real problems.
- Make sure you are not just connecting things. You need to develop a business platform able to provide you and your clients with meaningful data.
- Focus on what makes you unique and find market-leading partners to drive value to your business quicker.
Standardize your IoT environment.
There are many devices which need to connect and exchange data outside their own walled gardens for IoT to reach their full potential. This requires a common infrastructure and agreed on communication standards, including strong security and privacy.
By standardizing your IoT systems you will ensure you are aligned with the technical requirements of your market and sector.
Now it’s time to explore how IoT can help your business be more efficient, effective and productive!
Raquel was raised in Palencia, Spain. She graduated from the Polytechnic University of Madrid with a degree in Telecommunication Engineering. Right out of the University she joined the large utility provider ACCIONA Construcción in 2012 as a researcher, specializing in electronics, automation and hardware development. Her research interests are mainly focused on monitoring systems, hardware, wireless sensor networks, and ICT applied to smart cities and urban systems.
Raquel has led a good number of R&D projects (Smart Grid, Future Internet, Smart Cities) and she’s done requirements engineering and customer analysis in Smart Metering Projects (Software and Hardware), Wireless Sensor Networks deployment in multiple scenarios (hospitals, energy plants, industry), new technologies analysis and participation in R&D Strategic Plan design. Raquel is currently working with Fen Technology as a Senior Hardware Engineer.