Recently a Dutch newspaper reported that the government is starting a study on enabling new technology companies (like AirBnB) in the Dutch market. After the initial uproar when housing companies hired Private Investigators to look for people who had illegally rented out their apartments (more on this in my other blog), the government is beginning to understand that rather than fight these new developments, a better approach would be to guide and enable them. They now consider it as a potential for growth of employment, rather than a destruction of existing businesses.
Perhaps now the government can also give a new boost to technical education which from my own experience is still of poor quality. One of my sons is now going to high school and in a school of 2000 students they have 2 computer rooms, and are doing a pilot with iPad education with only a few classes. After some questions, they were honest enough to tell me that it was not the equipment, but that the teachers were not able to deal with the new developments.

Therefore I decided that this summer holiday is going to be a programming holiday for the kids. Whether they want it or not, we are going to connect every doorknob, light-switch, toilet-flush and any other object to the internet. The Arduino starter kit is in the house and additional equipment in order. If you want to get some more inspiration on what to connect to the internet, please have a look at the brilliant TED speech of one of the Arduino founders, Massimo Banzi.
A great talk, which in my opinion is a tribute to the DIY community that is drastically changing the society we live in. The best remark from Massimo is somewhere in the middle of the presentation, where very subtly he refers to the fact that some ideas will probably rise from the DIY community and will be brought to mass success by one or two players. In my opinion, the one with the best user experience.

Are we already at that turning point with regards to IoT, or will it still remain in the hands of my children who hopefully after the summer holidays will switch all their career aspirations to become the best techies in the world?
I think we have already crossed that point, but a lot of businesses (some industries have already seen the light) don’t yet understand what the monetization potential of IoT is all about. For these companies, here are two simple rules that could really change their perspective on IoT.

1. Machine Data is internal data being wasted: A lot of things or machines within the company can already be measured, but nobody is acting on this data. This is a potential goldmine that can give you insight into waste, production optimization, set-up reduction time, logistic movements, etc.
The bigger issue is how to connect the technical perspective to the business process insight. Information technology + Business Analysis = Business Technology. By investigating the kind of machine data being produced, we can look in what the potential insights are. Big Data is not only data from external sources and the web, it can also be delivered by the tools you have already installed. Take this as a potential start in your IoT monetization journey.

2. CRM delivers 25% insights in what your customer is doing; IoT can deliver the other 75%: A very interesting insight from our former CTO, Andy Mulholland, who has published several pieces of work from his research into IoT technology and its business use. He stated that if the industry has so massively invested in CRM projects only to gather 25% of the insights from the customer, imagine the potential if we can get the other 75% through connected people and devices.
And he is totally right. With sensor technology we can track our customers, gain more insight into what is leading to a purchase rather than the purchase alone. We can get insight into the use of the product after the purchase, thereby offering additional services over the web or through an app. We can create additional loyalty by combining the data from the product into mashed services which enables the user to share data, and optimize his or her life (think of Nike and Health).

Just thinking of how we can tap into the real usage and behavior of your customers and how IoT can enable this will help you come up with some great ideas.

Just two simple questions and approaches, but in my opinion a way for every company to start leveraging the power of IoT.

So, besides the doorbell, doorknob and toilet-flush, I will ask my children to try and come up with cool ideas on how their or their friends’ lives will change if they can leverage the information they already posses (option 1) or if they can gain insights they don’t have right now into personal behaviour (option 2).
Curious to see what surprising ideas will come…
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