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IoT and digital transformation: the journey begins now

IoT connected smart city
IoT-connected smart city
IoT-connected smart city
August 1, 2016


Theresa Bui

In reality, the IoT journey began years ago. But doesn’t it still seem like every blog, every article, every webinar, every academic paper is still (silently) asking “Are we there yet?”

For the last 10 years, Cisco Jasper has helped more than five thousand companies accelerate their IoT initiatives.  So our answer is Yes.

Yes, we are here. Yes, it’s happening. And, yes, you should get started (if you haven’t already).

This was the topic of a recent webinar I hosted, The New Frontier: How IoT is Changing Business As We Know It. I talked about six companies using IoT to transform how we do business, how we interact, and how we experience the world around us.

John Deere: product to services

John Deere is a great example of a product company using IoT to offer new types of services to make their products more valuable to their customers. Once upon a time, John Deere just sold you a tractor, getting the majority of their revenue at the point of sale. Their engagement with farmers was transaction-based and all about the tractor. But today, that tractor is equipped with sensors connected to the Internet to provide farmers services such as reporting on fuel consumption and engine performance, real-time weather information and soil analysis. This means they now have an ongoing engagement with farmers every day, offering valuable tools to increase yield, save money, and increase profits.  This ongoing engagement gives John Deere insight into how their products are being used and generates new revenues from new services.

ABB: remote management

ABB is a leading supplier of industrial robots and modular manufacturing systems. The company has installed more than 250,000 robots worldwide serving a variety of industries including automotive, electronics, pharmaceutical, and food and beverage.

By adding connectivity to their equipment, they now offer offer remote management services to help their customers get the most value out of their manufacturing equipment. So now ABB can do remote monitoring, troubleshooting, diagnostics and maintenance on their robots wherever they are in the world.

IoT gives them the ability to predict issues and get actionable information when things are happening with ABB equipment. With IoT, they are able to respond more quickly to problems that occur at the customer site; and even see issues before customers notice them. Quite often, they can help the customer correct the problem without sending a service person onsite. This saves customers time, lowers the costs of ownership on ABB equipment, and helps reduce factory downtime.

Iot-connected smart city

Tesla: continuous improvement with real-time connectivity

What is an IoT discussion without talking about Tesla? Tesla cars are connected. Tesla car parts are connected. The one of many values of being a Tesla owner is that you and Tesla are connected. And that connectivity is what lies at the heart of IoT.

IoT lets them fix problems easily. In 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration alerted Tesla drivers that a charger plug needed to be fixed. Tesla did the fix for its 29,222 vehicles effected via a software update. No having to bring it back to the dealer or a mechanic. No phone calls, no emails or time out of your day

IoT enables them to make car ownership a better experience. If you lose your Tesla key, pull out your phone and tap on the Tesla app. Now you can unlock and start the car. That’s what it means when you have a persistent connection to your customers via your devices – you can offer them services in addition to your product that makes the products better.

Konica Minolta: monetizing IoT

Konica Minolta saw that the office equipment industry was stuck on a one-time purchase, break-and-fix model. That drove up expenses for both them and their customers.

And they wanted to change that paradigm. They connected the traditional multifunctional printer and evolved into a central hub of new capabilities and services They can now offer capabilities such as office-as-a-service, security, data provisioning, intelligent computing power, high capability storage and advanced content management.

Konica Minolta can also get remote insights into equipment utilization and upcoming needs (like paper orders) and provide predictive maintenance on their equipment. And they’re monetizing those services in new ways such as shifting to a ‘pay per copy’ model.

IoT has enable them to change the way people view office equipment and back-office business process by transforming a regular office printer into a virtual real-time collaboration and information management platform.

GM: using IoT to the max

One company that is implementing IoT on a global scale is GM.

They’re offering remote management services around their cars and car parts. They’re offering innovative new services based on a better understanding of car owners and behaviors. And they’re monetizing their cars in new ways via 3rd party partnerships.

With IoT, they can get real-time data on car performance and harness this information to help the customer understand what’s going on in their vehicle. They can now go from diagnostics to prognostics – so GM cars can tell you when there are potential issues so you take action before you’re stranded on the side of road.

With IoT, they can offer new services like the RemoteLink application, which allows them to remotely access the vehicle to start it, lock or unlock the doors, and much more. In 2014 when temperatures plummeted across the US, they were doing 20,000 remote starts per month. That’s real, meaningful value to GM car owners. Made possible through connectivity.

With IoT, they’re able to offer additional services through third-party partnerships which allows them to stream in movies, music, news right into your car. And that means that car ownership with GM isn’t just about the car. It’s about the experience.

WeiPass: Revolutionizing Retail

WeiPass is a new company that offers the WeiPOS, a customized point-of-sale (POS) machine. It’s targeted to small Mom and Pop retail stores, who use their POS machines process payment transactions.

When consumers buy something in a physical store, the merchants type the total amount in the WeiPOS machine that will then generate a QR code. The consumer will scan this code and use WeChat, Alipay or Baidu Wallet to complete the transaction.  The machine is given for free to merchants who pay a a commission rate for each transaction.

But here’s the great thing about the machine – it isn’t just for POS transactions. Merchants have access to over 100 apps pre-integrated onto the machine. Apps that help them drive traffic to their stores – like doing their own email marketing and promotions, developing electronic couponing programs, and building customer loyalty programs.

It’s a connected “marketing-in-a-box” that helps small Mom and Pop retailers reach online consumers and drive them to their physical stores.

I talked about these companies to highlight the possible. Through IoT, you and your customers are connected in real time, all the time. Through your internet-enabled devices, you can deliver connected services that enable a host of new high-value experiences for your customers that translate to new sources of revenue for your business. …And we’re just getting started!

Listen to the replay of my webinar on the subject here. And to stay current on the latest in IoT business insights, subscribe to our blog on the top right of the page.

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