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Creating a Compelling IoT Value Proposition & Business Model




Illustration: © IoT For All

Whenever we talk about IoT (Internet of Things), we always start with an introduction to the term. We don’t assume everyone knows what the Internet of Things is and what it means. But at SpinDance, we see it simply as this: physical things and digital services that connect them to the internet.

Perhaps it’s a smart car or a connected consumer device, like a smartwatch or smart tracker. Maybe even a smart building. Point is, IoT is a physical device that’s connected to cellular, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi. It’s not just a traditional computer. And to operate these devices, digital services are needed to support and ensure its systems are resilient (i.e. an app or a shared dashboard). So that’s where we come in.

Now, follow along as we discuss the why of IoT, its frustrations and challenges, how to identify opportunities, and how to create an IoT business model that gets your entire team on board—while driving lasting value.

The Why of IoT 

We get it. You want the why and the benefits, the promises of what IoT can achieve. Well, our list is endless, but the most important ones are improved user experience, increased sales, better customer support, recurring revenue, and last but not least, improved quality (Sound amazing? We think so). The goal of every IoT product is to accomplish all of this—and more.

Frustrations and Challenges 

Yet for many companies, there is a real fear that an IoT project won’t hit the mark. The timeline will either be too long or the project itself will be over budget. More worrisome, customers won’t be happy with the product. We recognize these valid concerns and do everything we can to address them.

Let’s refer to IoT thought leader and Stanford professor, Daniel Elizalde, who performed a survey and identified IoT’s top challenges. While there are obvious technical challenges, like scaling the solution, we’re focused on two aspects: how to make money and how to find a product-market fit. Essentially, we’re outlining the value proposition and the business model.

Defining a Value Proposition and Business Model 

Cue the image of Cuba Gooding Jr. shouting, “Show me the money!” because that’s exactly what we’re doing. While value propositions are the benefits your customers can expect from your IoT product (and the money you can expect in return), the business model demonstrates how to bring that value to market. It’s vital to combine both of these aspects so you can pave the way for a successful product. Check out the image below from Strategyzer to gain more insight on go-to-market desirability features.

A Clean and Clear Example 

With any product or service, you want to create gains and relieve pains. Here’s a tangible example: cleaning the floor. Now, the ask, or the required product or service, helps clean it. This might mean mopping, vacuuming, or manually cleaning. But the gain is to clean the floor. Still, another gain might be to clean the floor in half the time. So if there’s a product that cleans in half the time, that surely leads to a satisfied customer. No brainer, right?

But there are stark pain points. For example, a heavy vacuum is a pain. Customers will search high and low for a lightweight vacuum. However, if a lightweight vacuum can pick up more dirt in half the time? Well, then we’re winning.

This is a perfect picture of how you can connect your customer’s needs and create a product that addresses their pains and gains.

3 Types of Fit 

  1. Problem-Solution Fit – First, focus on validating everything with your customer. Before guessing your customer’s pains and gains, always talk with them. You’re guaranteed to learn something new, plus you can verify if it’s a valuable problem—and if you have a solution.
  2. Product to Market – The second phase is often the longest. Bringing your product to market has its fair share of ups and downs because you’re refining every detail. While geared on innovation, you’re not so worried about making money. Yet, at some point, you’ll need to pivot and be ready to scale the solution.
  3. Finesse and Fine Tune – Lastly, once you’ve tied up all loose ends, you’re prepped to finesse and fine-tune the business model.

Two Tools to Discover IoT Value 

A  common question we receive is, “how do I apply IoT to my product or service?” But that’s not what you should ask. The better question is, “how do I apply IoT to my customers, jobs, pains, and gains?” This sheds light on what you need to know and allows you to attack IoT from the right angle.

To help you understand the benefits, pains, and gains, we’ve developed two tools: the IoT Evolution Canvas and the IoT Value Map.

IoT Evolution Canvas 

IoT isn’t revolutionary, but rather evolutionary. Because it’s all about making small, incremental improvements. With an IoT Evolution Canvas, you’re making decisions and taking steps to identify product enhancements.

Let’s look at the three steps to any job:

  1. Collect the Information
  2. Make Decisions
  3. Take Action

You’re gathering necessary information, asking all the important questions, and taking action based on the outcome of that decision. To illustrate, we can refer to any piece of equipment. You’ll ask, “does it need to be fixed?” Or, “is it going to break?” Then, your focus is on performing the maintenance.

This happens one of three ways:

  1. Manually
  2. Assisted
  3. Automated

You can either fix it yourself, use a tool for assistance, or completely automate the process and remove a human from the equation. Again, we’ll use our example of floor cleaning. You can get on your hands and knees and scrub the floor, use a cleaner to remove stains, or better yet, automate with a robot vacuum that knows exactly what to clean—and how often.

Here we uncover the end goal, the true benefit of IoT: automation.

IoT Value Map 

To bring depth and distill opportunities into a shareable plan, we recommend IoT value maps. These describe a single IoT value proposition in greater detail by reviewing the data collection, the analysis and decision making, the actions (human and machine), and the outcome (customer benefit).

Moving back to our example of carpet cleaning, perhaps you create a robot vacuum that can alert when cleaning is required. The obvious thought is how to achieve that outcome or customer benefit. And frankly, it’s all about data. Look at dirt levels, spot density, and create a schedule. This information will feed the model, and the algorithm will lead to the necessary actions.

But most importantly, in any project, after laying the framework, ask if it’s the right outcome. Will the customer care about this? Are there other actions that will solve a bigger problem? Further yet, is it truly attainable? Trust that questioning everything will only instill confidence in your IoT model and better determine your ROI.

3 Types of IoT Revenue Models 

Finally, we dive into the benefits and three revenue streams of IoT.

Fixed One-Time Transaction

Using our friends at Whirlpool as an example, if you buy an oven or a dishwasher from the appliance manufacturer, you make a one-time transaction. Because you’re giving them a specific amount of money and they’re providing the product.

One-Time or Ongoing Service

Think Netflix. This revolves around a fixed fee. So you’re paying $10 per month to gain access to an entire content library. But the point is, no matter how much you’re actually watching, the fee won’t change.


View this revenue model as a variable transaction based on consumption. For instance, a financial planner may invest and know how to cushion your bank accounts—but you’re paying them just as much to do so.

All of these revenue models can be mixed and matched to create the framework of selling IoT. But if you’d like to learn more, be sure to read Bruce Sinclair’s IoT Inc.

Presenting Your Go-To-Market Strategy 

You now have the tools, the models, and the rationale to show VPs and stakeholders the value of IoT. We’ve identified ways to address customer concerns and use value proposition design to solve problems. Plus, we’ve offered avenues to maximize your investment and establish a better relationship with customers.


Cyber Security

Akamai Acquired Asavie Provides Mobility, IoT and Cybersecurity Solutions





Akamai revealed on Tuesday that it had acquired Asavie, a company based in Ireland that offers applications for mobility, IoT and cybersecurity.

Asavie has built a tool that supports businesses by positioning assets within private network slices to protect their phones and IoT computers. The organisation claims that to protect networks, it uses machine learning and anomaly detection.

Akamai believes that its purchase of Asavie is part of its 5 G security advancement plan and plans to extend its capacity to protect smartphone and other wireless devices in more and more remote business environments.

Akamai has agreed that the products from Asavie will become part of its product range for Encryption and Personalization Services.

The group announced that it had purchased Asavie in an all-cash transaction that is not supposed to have a material effect on its 2020 financial performance, although it has not announced the exact sum it paid for the Irish company.

Asavie hires over 130 employees, The Irish Times said, and last year the firm posted sales of EUR 23.6 million ($28 million) and pretax income of EUR 1.9 million ($2.2 million).

According to Dr. Tom Leighton, CEO and co-founder of Akamai, “We believe the acquisition of Asavie would help Akamai ‘s carrier partners meet business and mid-market consumer demand for IoT and mobile device protection and management services.” “What’s interesting about the Asavie approach is that it has been shown to be very easy to scale and secure as more IoT devices connect via cellular and 5G.”

A total of 28 organisations have been purchased by Akamai in recent years, including four companies last year. Earlier this year, Instart, a California-based company that offers solutions to enhance application efficiency , customer interface and security, announced the acquisition of clients and intellectual property.

Since 2015, Akamai has posted sales above $2 billion last year and hit almost $3 billion last year.


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The Lucrative IoT Opportunity for Communications Service Providers Post COVID-19




Illustration: © IoT For All

As we entered 2020, many Communications Service Providers (CSPs) were optimistic about finally fulfilling the early promise of IoT by harnessing the potential of 5G and Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) to offer a rich source of future growth. Many CSPs understood that to realize this opportunity, they needed to change. Enterprises wanted fuller solutions that would drive their digital transformation faster and that were simple to buy, fast to implement, and simple to consume.

In a recent Analysys Mason study, 59% of enterprise customers would only buy MEC as part of a solution. Solutions require a much fuller set of capabilities that typically come from partners. So, are CSPs successfully managing to offer compelling solutions that accelerate digital transformation for their customers?

The answer: not entirely. Omdia’s quarterly 5G innovation tracker reveals that so far, 32% of enterprises have chosen DIY (to go it alone and build their own 5G solutions), 40% looked to others like systems integrators for solutions, whilst only 21% purchased directly from CSPs. Although it is early days, CSPs must drive this ratio above 50% to make sense of their 5G investments.

The ‘Positive’ Impact of Covid-19

Regardless of Covid-19, the fact that only one in five early enterprise 5G solution deals are CSP-led, proves that the way CSPs want to sell is deeply at odds with the way in which their enterprise and SMB customers want to buy. What’s more concerning is that some of these early large enterprise deals, such as the ones we see in automotive with VW and BMW, cut out CSPs entirely – even for connectivity. Businesses want to buy complete solutions that meet their needs and help them solve business problems, rather than connectivity and separate technology products they need to integrate. This is a multi-billion-dollar opportunity that requires CSPs to collaborate and better understand their customers’ needs, becoming ecosystem-enabled solution providers to satisfy them.

The global pandemic is causing many enterprises to hit the ‘fast-forward’ button on IoT/5G technology solutions. Indeed, 5G investment in China is already recovering because enterprises there recognize the importance of automating processes to guard against a second wave of the pandemic. We expect this trend to unfold globally as Covid-19 makes digitalizing physical assets, automating through industry 4.0, and securing supply chains more relevant than ever.

As Covid-19 resets how enterprises use technology, major verticals including automotive, manufacturing, and logistics will look to rebuild differently. Within this is an opportunity to test the mettle of solutions that harness IoT, 5G, and MEC with AI. In the U.S. for example, 67% of businesses believe that 5G use cases can deliver 11%+ cost reductions over the next three years. Nearly a quarter (23%), believe that 5G use cases could deliver revenue growth of 11% or more. Now is a very good time for CSPs to change their approach to selling 5G and non-5G driven IoT propositions. But are enterprises willing to buy from CSPs?

Enterprise IoT & 5G Market

CSPs are pushing at an ‘open door’: 98% of European, 92% of Asian, and 87% of North American businesses are willing to buy advanced solutions from CSPs. In particular, North American businesses are most positive about the role CSPs will play in 5G, with 96% believing they will do more than provide connectivity. Large North American enterprises say they want to work with CSPs as they can orchestrate ecosystems of partners, manage complex programs, and are perceived to be more flexible than other potential 5G solution providers.

Enterprises, more than CSPs, recognize that building effective IoT solutions is a team sport. They don’t expect one organization to have all of the answers. But they do expect industry players to collaborate to provide solutions to their business challenges. This is where the problem currently sits. Enterprises are looking to buy solutions, CSPs want to sell products – in effect, to organize themselves in a way that best suits how they want to structure their business internally rather than how best to meet customer needs.

Businesses want to find the ‘perfect’ solution to their problem, rather than invent one by integrating multiple products – which is too slow and costly. Instead, they want to buy complete IoT solutions ready to be consumed in a bite-sized way, with no upfront investment and/or risk. It’s not about buying a network slice or MEC product. For businesses, it’s about finding pre-integrated solutions and the best available technologies to quickly drive efficiencies for customers or help them grow revenue as part of their digital transformation. For CSP, it’s about retaining customer relationships and growing revenue.

Even the larger enterprises don’t have the knowledge or capabilities to deal with the integration of new standalone technologies. So, they look to partners that understand their challenges, orchestrate the right ecosystem of technologies and players to deliver solutions that perfectly solve their problems. Covid-19 will only accelerate this trend as it renews pressure to digitally transform faster.


Historically, CSPs have tended not to work in this way. Now, they really need to. One key step is to adopt a more open and collaborative mindset. This includes taking the lead in setting up and managing ecosystems with third-party partners.

Ecosystems are an effective way for CSPs to plug their knowledge and technology gaps, broaden their portfolio of services and solutions, and importantly encourage fresh ideas and new ways of thinking.

For CSPs to monetize IoT throughout the process of enterprise renewal during Covid-19, it will require having industry-specific solutions underpinned by an enabling technology layer that is massively scalable. Strong partner ecosystems will generate powerful network effects around a digital business platform that provides massive economies, frictionless process execution, and zero-touch operation for customers. These architectures and solutions need to be capable of being converted into technology wrappers and services.

IoT Innovation Requires Collaboration

Solving customer problems requires a broader set of perspectives and the exchange of customer insights and ideas for new products or services, as this rarely happens effectively and sustainably in silo. This is the concept behind an ecosystem-enabled solution provider. They bring together a broader set of capabilities around a digital business platform to prototype and test those new ideas with customers. In these new multi-sided business models, a partner ecosystem is key for generating new ideas, bringing new data sources, driving innovation, expanding offerings, and extending into the white space between old industry verticals and growing revenue.

The pandemic we’re experiencing is hastening change. There isn’t a single entity that hasn’t been affected by it. Our global economy is in a holding pattern and budgets are tightening. This laser focus on how to spend carefully will lead both enterprises and SMBs to accelerate investments in automation, remote business operation, and remote working in the short term. While this is process is in motion without a hard timeline, the CSPs that will prevail will be the ones that harness a powerful ecosystem to provide full solutions to problems and in so doing, build much strong and closer customer relationships.

CSPs are poised as ecosystem-enabled solution providers that can foster growth by combining 5G with technology – if they embrace platform-based business models and orchestrate partner ecosystems to satisfy the needs of their enterprise customers. This requires a change in mindset, experimenting with business models, accelerating innovation, and speed to test and monetize new offerings that are co-created with an ecosystem of partners and underpinned by the right IT platform to support these new ways of working.


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Consumer Interest in IoT Devices Varies Among Gender, Need




🟥 We’ve all seen a horror movie where a killer finds a conveniently unlocked door, pushes open a window, or breaks a glass windowpane without alerting the unsuspecting residents. Bad news for Michael Myers: developments in smart home technology have made it a little harder for these intruders to break in — in fact, that’s the main draw of this technology for some people who buy them.

🚀 What if, upon hearing a suspicious noise outside, you could tell your phone to lock your doors? Or if you could call the police to your residence simply by shouting the command out loud?

It might make horror movies a little less interesting, but it also makes real people safer. 🔻

A survey conducted by home insurance company Hippo broke down what drives consumer interest in smart home devices, finding varied results among gender and purpose. The survey asked 1,000 smart tech users to share their opinions. ⤵

➤ Women look for safety first; men want convenience ⤵

👉 If life was a horror movie, women might have the upper hand. Survey data showed that women are most interested in purchasing home monitoring systems and technology that will keep them safe. The general consensus was that smart alarm systems are the way to go when shopping for smart home tech.

Men, on the other hand, are more interested in energy-saving technologies that will help lower their utility bills. They’re also looking for technologies that will make their lives easier. When it comes to protection, however, men tend to opt for camera systems.🔻

➤ Overall, convenience is key

More than just scaring away things that go bump in the night, smart home technology has opened up a world of possibilities for people looking to make their lives more convenient. You can unlock your front door with your cell phone, adjust the thermostat without leaving your seat, and ask Alexa for that final recipe step without having to wash off flour-covered hands.

🔺Among homeowners, this added convenience was the biggest driver of smart home excitement — 46% of them said this was why they decided to invest. Also driving smart home tech sales are home monitoring capabilities, 17%; added protection, 16%; and lower utility bills, 16%.👇

➤ Today’s smart homes ⤵

🚩 It’s more common than not for a home to have some sort of IoT device, whether it’s a Google Alexa device or a doorbell with a camera attached. Today’s smart homes have a variety of devices performing a variety of functions. The most common four are the following: 🔽

◆ Smart appliances: Appliances like laundry machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators can be hooked up to a smartphone to alert you when you’re out of milk or let you start preheating the oven before you leave work.

◆ Alarm systems: With a smart alarm system, your phone will let you know any time someone opens or closes a door, a window opens or smoke is detected in your home.

◆ Cameras: Smart cameras can send footage to your phone so you can monitor an outdoor pet’s activity, or make sure no one is snooping around your property.

◆ Smart thermostat: A smart thermostat lets you control the temperature from your smartphone and can let you set the temperature to automatically increase or decrease based on lifestyle patterns or weather.

If it sounds like we’re living in the world of tomorrow, it’s because we are. Smart devices have made life more convenient, safer, and more connected than ever — what once required time and effort can now be done seamlessly from your mobile device.

🔥🚀 With a smart camera that alerts you every time a door or window is opened, good luck to the slasher movie villains of yesteryear.


↘ Source: Emily is a content creator for Hippo. When she’s not typing away at a computer, you can find her hiking with her dog or doing a crossword.

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