About the Internet of Things and smart products
Revolution, transformation, phenomenon or trend – the Internet of Things, IoT, has been called many things. One thing is certain: IoT is here to stay. But what does it actually involve? And how do we make connected products smart for real?
The Internet of Things, IoT, is a megatrend spanning way beyond the technical detail level. Opportunities are growing exponentially as connected things are numbered in their billions and the financial impact is worth billions of American dollars. There are undeniably some enormous business opportunities to be had, but the major difference involves contact with users and perception of connected products as smart. They can be controlled and communicate remotely. Devices are intuitive and learn from users. Anyone who understands the man-machine interface can also find the business opportunities of the future.
Internet of Things in your life
Connected things are everywhere in society nowadays. Many of them are so common now that we barely even think about it. For example, not many people nowadays would consider buying a phone that doesn’t have an Internet connection. Lawnmowers, clocks, fridges and heat pumps are other examples of life made easier by interconnectivity. The list goes on.
But there’s still a lot to be done. In many industries, digitisation of products and services on the basis of users’ needs could make people’s lives easier and add value. One clear example is the government’s digitisation initiatives in the public sector in Sweden, such as healthcare. The aim with this is to improve and streamline the service offered to citizens.
Why is there so much IoT hype?
Things communicating with one another is nothing new – sensors or transponders have been exchanging signals for years now. But apart from the obvious matter of the Internet becoming commonly used in society, why exactly is the Internet of Things such a big thing now?
There are opportunities nowadays to interconnect more products, process the data sent and evaluate it.
The computing power of our smartphones now is significantly greater than the computing power of the PCs we were using just a decade ago.
Technical development is driving opportunities to connect more and more types of product and above all a greater volume of products.
Digitisation is taking place in all parts of society at present – not just in classic technical industries, but in the service sector and public sector as well.
Has your product reached its full potential?
As we said, IoT offers many opportunities. As a company, you can achieve completely new positions on the market by creating connected products. Apart from the fact that connecting products increases their value, this can also give you access to data showing how the product is used, which in turn may lead to the development of new products and business models. When it comes to production, visions such as Industri 4.0 and smart factories mean that industrial companies will be able to work in completely new ways and gather data. This will show them what’s working well and what needs to be streamlined in the production line. The opportunities for constant improvements go on increasing for everything that can be connected.
Connected not necessarily smart
At Semcon, we create smart solutions and products. Not by starting with connected technology and what can be achieved with it, but by putting users, people, first. Finding out what users need is what enables us to create truly smart products. Observing and involving users in the product development process provides important insights that can then be analysed and visualised in order to create the right product for the market. Any company that knows its users best is the company that will enjoy the most success. Identifying users’ needs is also a way to ensure that connected products really are smart. A product isn’t necessarily smart just because it’s connected.
So how do I digitise a product?
At Semcon, our everyday work involves digitisation in a range of different industries, all over the world. The lessons we’ve learned about various challenges and different people’s needs, along with the fact that we handle the entire process from business models to a complete product concept, makes us a safe choice. Semcon’s Smart Partner Model is highly appreciated as a way of guiding customers through product digitisation.
We’ve put together a checklist containing the most important issues to resolve before starting a product development process for product digitisation.