What is the ‘Internet of Things’? Why are Internet of Things products smart? What will this technology mean for companies? Euan Davis, senior director, centre for the future of work, Cognizant, takes us through all these questions and more.
A slew of newly connected gadgets that are controlled through mobile apps and feed personal data into the cloud are driving a wave of interest in the Internet of Things (IoT).
Home automation start-ups, established consumer electronics giants and large venture capital-funded technology companies are gearing up for competition as connected cars, homes and even smart cities emerge. However, examining the abstract world of IoT from the world of products reveals the extent to which a billion inter-connected devices and products are changing businesses as we know it.
Latest research from the Cognizant’s Centre for the Future of Work—a survey of over 200 global product design and innovation executives carried out in collaboration with the Economist Intelligence Unit—highlights practical steps that business leaders can take to benefit from the fast-accelerating trend of smart products—and the prizes on offer from the “Smart Product Economy”.
Rise of smart products
Whether it is smartphones, smart cities, smart cars or even smart toothbrushes, smart technologies are finding their way into, and around, the everyday things we like to buy and use.
Witness the ‘smart’ Johnnie Walker bottle, which sends a personalised message to every customer who waves a smartphone in front of it, whether it is a promotional offer (pre-transaction) or a cocktail recipe (post-purchase, once embedded sensors detect the bottle has been opened). The bottle can be tracked across the supply chain, from manufacture to consumption. The opportunities unleashed by smart products are seemingly endless for any company seeking game-changing innovation or new levels of efficiency.
Why make products smart?
Adding smart technology to products can deliver game-changing innovation, enriched customer experiences and higher levels of efficiency. From R&D and manufacturing, through distribution and after-sales support, product data is changing the way products are built, sold and supported. Survey results reveal where companies are focusing their smart product investments.
Smart product development focus on three primary objectives: making industrial equipment smarter, through insights gained from embedding smart products into and around a manufacturing process; and making product packaging smart by highlighting the expiration status on commodities such as perishable foods, or reminding patients how and when to consume their medication. The third significant development opportunity focuses on making consumer devices smart, such as a fitness band that tracks personal wellness.
All these initiatives are set to change the dynamics between product creation and product sale dramatically because customer insight and business meaning are flowing through and around a product’s data.
Value flows from the virtual and beyond
The digital data emanating from a smart product or the processes that surround it is where the value—or alchemy—can be found. Imagine that smart whisky bottle exchanging data with a chilled glass to help uncover the perfect temperature for that drinking experience.
If properly instrumented and personalised, smart products become the sources of tremendous insight on product usage and status across the value chain, inform continuous product improvements and influence strategic moves into connected and/or radically adjacent markets.
By distilling and applying the insights gleaned from product intersections, manufacturers and other players in the value chain can strengthen customer relationships and create new and more profitable sales channels. Smart products can be instrumented to communicate with one another and with other products and services. Like the toothbrush that monitors and tracks the user’s brushing performance and provides feedback, or a jet engine that beams live engine data to ground staff, or a connected car that sends driver data to an insurance broker to enable dynamically priced car insurance. This looks and feels like a new product model for the digital age.
A smart product economy beckons
As product functions become more tightly controlled and optimised, we expect to see the emergence of innovative workflows (or product stacks) that connect the various products with the companies that own and operate them together.
Visualise the Smart Product Economy as the opportunity around the connected home, the connected car or the smart city. Each features a stack of products interacting with one another and blending into a unified entity that can be controlled through a single platform or interface by the home owner, driver or city planner. The result is a fully integrated and sometimes a fully automated solution.
It is happening today. Consider the manufacturing, healthcare or retail spaces, where inexpensive sensors and embedded software running across IP networks enable once inanimate products to sense, monitor, optimise and regulate themselves in increasingly autonomous and meaningful ways. Beyond the whisky bottle, check out GE’s smart turbine, to Procter & Gamble’s smart toothbrush, to Babolat’s sensor-embedded tennis racket.
Where to start?
Our research demonstrates that the process of giving a product a virtual identity triggers productivity gains and offers the potential for game-changing innovation. Product companies need to engage quickly to ensure they are not left behind. Already, smart products are emerging across industries and creating profound impacts on product development, manufacturing, marketing, sales, after sales and the customer experience.
New ‘digital components’ can be added to almost any object without dramatically increasing its price. Sensors and processors, software controls and data storage can be added, accessed through an interface like a dashboard or app. By using data and analytics, companies can see and predict a product’s behaviour and, by extension, the wants and needs of its user by interpreting the data and anticipating how a product could solve current and future needs.
Over the longer term, strategic opportunities for smart products will emerge around interconnected solutions and the partnerships that underpin them. This inevitable disruption to the product model, and the opportunity it creates, is a natural consequence of what Cognizant terms ‘code halo’ thinking—leveraging the information that surrounds people, organisations, products, and processes to build new digital revenue streams and new commercial models.
Please login with linkedin to commentsummer campaign
Don’t underestimate the power of The Chase. The quiz show’s prevalence in the top 10 means it may get overlooked as we put our attention on TV’s more novel offerings. But Seven continues to deal a very strong punch every day with its offering of The Chase and Seven News. Seven News was the most-watched […]
The advertising world is all about risk and reward — bold work can reap huge commercial success but, there’s every chance an idea or campaign could go very, very wrong. Fortunately, Luke Spano, managing director of native content firm Avid Collective is used to a high-stakes career given he was previously a professional poker player. […]
Yarra Valley Winery Innocent Bystander has launched a new masterbrand media campaign that will sweep across the eastern seaboard. ‘Come Play in the Shadows’ is a bridge between the serious aspects of winemaking and the bright, social world of wine enthusiasts. It aims to challenge the normal, the boring and the same-same. Innocent Bystander prides itself on […]
Clean Up Australia today reveals a refreshed brand identity to coincide with registrations opening for Clean Up Australia Day 2024. The work was created by Sydney creative agency, uberbrand, and is in the market from this week across TV, radio, outdoor, print and digital platforms. “We are one of the nation’s longest-running environmental charities continuing […]
Elon Musk has told advertisers who are considering pulling their spend from X to “Go fuck yourselves” in an on-stage interview. It’s a pretty frank statement for the company’s owner and chief technology officer which, until recently, received 90 per cent of its revenue from advertising partners. Musk was chatting to journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin […]
It’s the station the Gold Coast grew up with, and in a local nod to its heritage, Triple M today has been officially renamed to 92.5 Triple M Gold. 92.5 Triple M Gold has brought the good times and greatest hits back to the Gold Coast with Flan, Ali & Spida for Breakfast, South East Queensland’s very own […]
SenateSHJ has launched a new digital, data and insights capability designed to help clients tackle the growing complexity of communication challenges. SenateSHJ Digital, Data and Insights (DDI) will combine the firm’s existing Digital and Insights functions to create a Trans-Tasman capability focused on digital communication, and the generation and use of data to improve communication. […]
The new Children’s Advertising Code comes into effect today following the completion of a wide-ranging public review by Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA). The new Children’s Advertising Code extends safeguards to all advertising directed at children, addressing concerns from the community, government and industry. AANA CEO Josh Faulks said the new Code recognises the […]
Creative technology platform Bonzai has announced the launch of BrandStory – a new premium mobile ad format. BrandStory offers triple the ad space and 2.8 times greater time in view than single scroll ad formats, addressing the surging demand from brands worldwide for more real estate to drive real results by seamlessly intertwining awareness, exploration […]
B&T went through the looking glass this morning, with editor-in-chief David Hovenden (above) appearing on Channel 7’s The Morning Show to get the general public involved in our search for Australia’s Greatest Ad. Hovenden chatted with Kylie Gillies and stand-in host Matt Doran about what makes a great ad and showcasing some of our favourites […]
Two Australian-born technology providers have joined forces to bring more power and choice to marketers in Australia and New Zealand with mobile messaging that is more local, cost-effective, and integrated. It’s a partnership that sees two Australian software companies come together to deliver a world-class mobile-first solution for marketers building data-driven, personalised, omnichannel campaigns. While […]
Zitcha and Broadsign have teamed up to integrate the Broadsign out-of-home (OOH) advertising platform with Zitcha’s retail media platform. The collaboration empowers retailers to maximise and monetise in-store digital display networks and enables advertising partners to easily view and book available in-store inventory and review campaign performance alongside the retailer’s other media channels. With the […]
Today, 7-Eleven has announced a one-of-a-kind collaboration with the popular Sydney-based anti-resort wear label Double Rainbouu. Dropping tomorrow, December 1, just in time for summer, this limited-edition capsule will infuse the fashion brand’s rebellious spirit with a distinctly iconic 7-Eleven flavour. The unisex collection features five must-have styles comprising two signature Hawaiian shirts, a peaked cap, a bucket hat […]