Security, efficiency and sustainability are the three key promises of M2M to businesses. And most applications of M2M address one or several of these straight forward issues in an organization: minimize use of service cars, avoid production stops, save valuable time with accidents, make processes more efficient, automate to avoid expensive labour work, etc. These are straight forward in the sense that we address concrete problems quite easy to put numbers on and investments can be verified using business cases and ROI. But the ultimate value of M2M comes from innovative business models, increased brand value and other less tangible things. And these are much more complicated to identify and dress in numbers. Innovation and creativity is clearly an important part of such efforts and I would suggest companies to look at the M2M consumer market to get ideas and cases to bring home.
There is actually a fourth promise of M2M which I normally don’t talk about to businesses – convenience. But in the consumer market this is a key driver and differentiator. Other reasons to look carefully at the consumer market are the typically limited budgets forcing innovative and cost efficient solutions and the absolute requirement for easy to install and use solutions. In addition consumers are generally more open to cloud services and many of them are early adopters with smartphones, pads and other gadgets. Examples of things and tricks to bring from the consumer space to business could be the use of smartphones to connect devices cheaply to the Internet and the host of innovative cloud services using sensors and gadgets in the growing personal health and fitness market. Imagine how much the home care providers can steal with pride from here! Take also a closer look at how well many consumer services enable their users to use any and all of their devices for the service. A lot to learn there.
And by the way, isn’t the Internet-of-Things a misleading name? There is only one Internet of People and Things.