The Why of IoT
Over the past year, I have had the privilege of speaking with businesses around the world about their plans, hopes and fears for the Internet of Things (IoT). These conversations are always different, always interesting and always underscore the vastness and at times confusing nature of IoT.
As these businesses look to implement a smart IoT strategy, they become very focused on how they will do so, writes Dave Wagstaff, vice-president and chief architect, Bsquare Corporation. As an engineer, I admit, I too tend to get caught up in the ‘how’; how things work, that is. And in the world of IoT, there’s a lot of ‘how’ to sink my teeth into. But there’s also quite a bit of ‘why’. And the more powerful the argument for ‘why’, the more likely a new technology is to be adopted in the general population.
When we focus on the ‘why’ we first determine what the business objectives are and then apply IoT technology to help achieve those objectives. It is a more sensible, and more strategic starting point.
A study by Market Strategies International found Americans are attracted to IoT concepts that seek to make their lives easier, safer, or help them save money. Those are all ‘whys’ we can strategise around, and measure the results of down the road.
Less time, less money, less risk
I have arrived at the conclusion that the ‘how’ we do things (connecting machines) is simply a conduit for the reason WHY we do it: To make customers’ lives better. To help them do more with less time, less money, less risk. This has profound implications for how customers should approach their IoT strategy. We always encourage them NOT to start with the technology and then derive a strategy, but rather to start with the business objective and use IoT to enable it.
At Bsquare we took this ‘why’-centric approach into the field with the recent launch of DataV, our actionable data solution for the IoT. DataV is centered on a simple software gateway approach that removes the complexity from an IoT strategy to deliver desired business outcomes. DataV includes a software platform, tools and services that turn raw device data into useful, meaningful and actionable data. By helping to unlock data, customers can lower costs, improve and enhance operations, lower risks, and identify new revenue opportunities.
Put another way, DataV collects raw device data on the network edge, applies rules and logic to make the data meaningful and actionable and serves it up into the customer’s preferred cloud, application and user experiences. To date, customers in retail, automotive, manufacturing and other vertical sectors are seeing the benefits of this top-down, business outcome focused strategy.
While the acquisition of data at the edge is important, it’s a means to an end, something that aspires to make lives easier, safer, or to help save money.
I would challenge all of you to set your engineering thinking to the side for the moment and go back to the first principles; don’t develop an IoT strategy but develop a plan to grow your business and use IoT as an enabler to drive new opportunities and revenue streams.
The author is Dave Wagstaff, vice-president and chief architect of Bsquare Corporation.