4 Rules to Succeed in IoT

By Special Guest
Steve Hershberger, Cofounder and CEO, SteadyServ Technologies
May 23, 2016

IoT, and the promise it offers, are edge devices that communicate with the cloud and gather big data. It isn’t a concept, rather it is a state of connectedness and system intelligence. The culmination of multiple emerging and mature technologies, IoT provides actionable intelligence to both systems and people.

We typically think of the device as the embodiment of IoT, because it is most visible. But the infrastructure, the system behind the device, is where the real value lies. Without the system, the edge device is pretty much useless. Without the entire system, you cannot effectively solve a problem or affect an outcome efficiently. Without every piece, the outcome can’t be achieved.

For this reason, many of the IoT firms emerging today will not be around in five years. They aren’t taking a holistic approach, or adhering to four rules that drive relevancy and success in this nascent space. IoT providers must:

  1. Solve business or personal challenges that have not been able to be solved due to technical or economic barriers.
  2. Be disruptive; IoT requires an interconnected and intelligent system to create a massive, positive change. An edge device that exists without such a system will compete with like products and struggle to be relevant.
  3. Have a clear idea of how they fit in a larger network. The usefulness of the IoT solution is the key to driving industry change.
  4. Create a deceptively simple solution.

Assembling an IoT solution requires a host of skills and disciplines, incrementally more than SaaS, big data, cloud computing, mobile computing and hardware solutions, because IoT amasses all of those things and more. 

It’s a complex undertaking, creating a world-class IoT solution. It requires the orchestration of high-performing teams in numerous disciplines and a scalable business model. It requires the ability to operate like a manufacturer, because the solutions involve hardware. With that come considerations like warranty, multi-tier service and support, device failures, remote system diagnosis, hardware misuse, inventory management and manufacturing lead times.

The company I co-founded, SteadyServ, puts draft beer kegs online; we are an IoT data and business service company—a connected system that functions on all levels. In the process of creating a solution to overturn the beer industry, we’ve observed that successful IoT companies master these principles as well:

  1. Consistent performance of the hardware and interconnected system, which provides measurable value to the user. This value is new, something they previously weren’t able to realize.
  2. Delivery of intelligence or actions that are trusted.
  3. Market acceptance of the new standard or paradigm you have introduced.

Many businesses that use IoT as their core purpose will encounter the same issues we have at SteadyServ, including challenging markets that are resistant to change, fear of releasing performance data and uncertainty of how to proceed with new intelligence.

But if the utility and value is there, the market will shift. Don’t believe me? Check out Derek Sivers’ Ted Talk, How to Start a Following. This is how change manifests; we are in the early days of IoT’s pervasiveness unfolding.

About the Author: Steve Hershberger is the cofounder and CEO of SteadyServ Technologies, a data-as-a-service company that delivers real-time performance intelligence on draft beer consumption and inventory.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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