Amazon. Apple. Cisco. Facebook. Ford. GE. Google. Samsung. When big enterprise companies start adopting a strategy as standard business practice, other companies would be wise to find out why. And such is the case with these leaders in the Internet of Things (IoT): Each of these companies is staking much of their future on the importance of IoT.
The business case is clear: A study from Verizon Enterprise found that businesses that are IoT-ready will be 10 percent more profitable than those that are not by 2025.
Let’s take a look at how these companies are paving the way by incorporating IoT into their playbooks.
Don’t want to pull up the Amazon website? Dash is an “electronic sticky note,” a small Wi-Fi enabled button that lets users add products to their Amazon shopping cart with one click. Consumers can hang brand-specific product buttons around the house, so when you use the last of your laundry detergent, you can push the Tide button now attached to your washer, for example. Amazon appears to have many more plans in mind, considering its recent acquisition of 2lemetry, an IoT platform and technology company that ties people, processes, data and devices together, to help them transform big data collection into actionable intelligence.
While many smart home products already exist, all eyes are on Apple, which will soon release products compatible with “HomeKit,” Apple’s version of the connected home platform. According to a new report from NextMarket Insights, HomeKit compatible shipments will grow significantly in the coming years, reaching 180 million devices shipped by 2020.
By focusing on industrial and enterprise IoT, rather than the consumer space, Cisco says that its vision is to be a business partner, rather than just a technical partner. “We want to bring customers solutions that impact their business, whether it’s being more efficient, providing more opportunities from a revenue perspective or making things safer, such as video analytics in a factory,” said Kip Compton, Cisco’s VP, Internet of Things, Systems & Software. While it doesn’t disclose what portion of its business is IoT related, it has publicly estimated that the IoT will create $19 trillion in economic benefit and value over the next decade. We can assume that means that Cisco sees IoT as a huge future revenue generator.
Facebook-owned Parse joined the IoT revolution with Parse for IoT, a new line of software developer kits for connected devices. Developers can now use Parse software to build apps for in-home smart appliances, wearable smart devices and a host of other categories.
Just one of the car companies with a robust “smart” platform, Ford’s SYNC allows you to use voice control for many of its navigation and audio functions. It also lets you use your voice to control compatible mobile apps; for example tweeting using OpenBeak or skipping songs on Pandora. You can choose the apps from your smartphone, using voice commands and radio buttons on your steering wheel. But Ford has designs on even more in the future, currently looking into how to incorporate Internet-connected devices such as fitness bands and smartwatches in its vehicles, saying these new devices could lead to efforts to increase safety and promote good health behind the wheel. “Now the car is becoming the ultimate technology product, and we are becoming more of an information company,” Ford CEO Mark Fields told the Wall Street Journal.
With major resources devoted to the industrial Internet, GE now has 10 million sensors analyzing data from the wind turbines, medical-imaging devices and other equipment it has sold. The company estimates it could see sales of up to $5 billion from helping businesses collect industrial equipment data by 2017. GE has espoused IoT’s “power of one percent”: it says that using sensors and software to make current industrial procedures and equipment just 1% more efficient will result in billions of saving for its customers.
When it spent $3 billion to acquire Nest, the groundbreaking consumer product company that has given the connected home most of its buzz, it became clear that Google intended to dominate the IoT category. Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett said, “Google’s acquisition of Nest affirms the growing strategic importance of the idea of the connected home. It also shows that Google increasingly believes in hardware/software solutions, such as Nest has built, rather than just building operating systems for other manufacturers to implement in smartphones, Chromebooks, and TVs.” And it has brought a whole new meaning to the term “wearable,” with its announcement of “Project Jacquard,” which will allow designers and developers to build connected, touch-sensitive textiles into their own products. Captured touch and gesture data will be wirelessly transmitted to mobile phones or other devices to control a wide range of functions, connecting the user to online services, apps or phone features. Levi’s has announced it will be the first design partner.
The company has said it plans to equip 90% of all its devices with IoT capabilities by 2017, while making its entire product line IoT-capable within five years. In May Samsung announced new chip platforms to power Internet-connected devices, ranging from wearables to smart washing machines.
As these examples illustrate, from business to consumer strategy, leading-edge companies are preparing for the IoT revolution by adopting IoT tech into their strategies going forward. It’s clear that IoT is not just another “buzzword,” but the way of the future.