OEMs Need to Adopt IoT Platforms and Move Up the Value Chain

For industrial OEMs seeking to go to market quickly and sustain a competitive market advantage, using a multi-dimensional Internet of Things application development and deployment platform can help to jumpstart and shortcut the product-development cycle.
By Shahram Mehraban
Sep 22, 2017

During the past few years, technologies and trends such as cloud computing, mobile, the sharing economy and social media have resulted in disruptive new business models. Uber, Salesforce.com and Airbnb are the most talked-about examples, but the Internet of Things will bring disruption on a much larger scale.

The demand for IoT solutions is growing at a rapid pace. BI Intelligence's "Internet of Things Ecosystem Research Report 2017" estimates that by 2020, the number of connected machines will be more than 34 billion—more than four times the human population.

For industrial OEMs, delivering a smart connected IoT solution can deliver substantial benefits and create a virtuous cycle in which the data that an OEM gets back from devices helps it to develop new products or open up new revenue streams. When designing and developing a connected product, OEMs need to think of their new connected solution from an end-to-end perspective. They need to think of the user experience of their product holistically, and determine the various touch points for the end user, from the buying experience to installation to provisioning of the device to maintenance throughout its life cycle.

As OEMs develop end-to-end solutions, they need to rely on partners for the various elements—for example, cloud connectivity or analytics. This yields an opportunity for OEMs to move up the value chain and provide additional services beyond their traditional product portfolio. But there's a danger that the complexity of doing so distracts the OEM from its own core competencies and adds too much time and cost into product development, with knock-on effects to pricing, customer satisfaction and the ability to beat competitors to market.

For many OEMs, the motivation to create IoT solutions starts with reducing the costs of remote device support and maintenance, but for more progressive OEMs, that's just the start, and they often look at how a connected device can generate new value for their enterprise through new services and business models. Building a smart and connected IoT solution requires that industrial OEMs make significant investments in resources and time to address a multitude of issues that are typically more complex than those faced by traditional or consumer product manufacturers.

One area of complexity is software. Unlike traditional or consumer products that may only require one or two applications to support the management of a device throughout its lifecycle, an industrial IoT solution often requires multiple customized applications and services to address the needs of the various stakeholders with which it may interact. There can be many stakeholders, from the OEM and maintenance teams that provide post-deployment support and services, to system integrators and partners that need to make it work alongside multiple projects and deliver custom application, to the end customers themselves who use and often manage the IoT solution.

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