Connecting things to the Internet opens up for a new wave of innovation to society, companies and consumers. That fact has been talked about and dressed in numbers for the last couple of years. Still we see quite little action beyond connecting “big phones” and electricity meters. Something is obviously missing and I think I know the answer.
We have good enough technology available and we have been blessed with a new category of smart mobile devices with apps perfect to visualize functionality and value for people. And we are in the beginning of the cloud and Big Data era which constitutes a perfect environment for M2M-applications and the data created. Still little action.
As often when powerful technology comes to market it is too abstract for most people to see how they and their organizations will benefit from it. What it will do to their life, business and society. Our industry needs to educate people and help them see the value and opportunities of M2M solutions. It is definitely not about technology – it is about business and should be discussed with business developers, product owners and management teams.
I believe a combination of meetings and a lot of relevant examples is what it takes to create understanding and feed a creative and rewarding thought process. The examples are most often not that your competitor did this, but rather someone in an adjacent industry did something and that was the result. Meetings with theoretical examples don’t work. We have seen some of that already and it sometimes feels like people from the M2M industry tell other people from the same industry how it works. And it is still too early to provide relevant ideas “stand alone”, without face to face meetings, since the context and overall education often is missing.
The method I am using with clients starts with an overview of the market (education) and continues with discussions about problems and challenges in their business relevant for M2M solutions. This normally becomes discussions about cost savings and efficiency which is great. Further down the road we look at business cases and ROI calculations. But the true power of the M2M concept comes to play when we start discuss potential new innovative ways of doing business enabled by M2M solutions. Collecting, cultivating and leveraging the data generated. Selling services or functions instead of products. Going from product life cycles to continuous R&D. Offering customers an unexpected service or feature. Effects to the brand and new weapons in recruiting employees or customers. This is what I believe is the real power of M2M solutions and the Internet of people and things.
This is what I call “M2M for real” and I will do my best to promote this approach beyond our company. A good acid test will be an “M2M For Real” event in Stockholm which the media company Mobil Business is organizing June 20, TeliaSonera is main sponsor and where we will provide a solid introduction and status update on M2M solutions followed by a “smörgåsbord” of examples from all kinds of industries and opportunities to discuss.