“When you look at the Internet of Things, the things themselves are not interesting,” said Dave Sobel, director of Community at MAXfocus and a self-professed IoT enthusiast. “We’re all focused on the ‘things,’ but that’s not where the opportunity is.”
That’s a quote from an article on The VAR Guy, and I could not agree more. The article is interesting on its own (I’ll share some thoughts later on cloud services, IoT, and the channel) and if you are trying to get your hands around IoT and what it means to business, it’s worth a read. For today I wanted to share a few thoughts that this quote generated in my head.
1. Running shoes – what happens when they are instrumented? When the data from the shoes (pressure maps, gait data) get integrated with other info (running mileage, terrain)? Suddenly your running shoe retailer (or your gym, or your coach, or whoever you allow) has tremendous insight into when you need to replace your shoes, what type of shoe will work best for you, muscular imbalances you might need to work on, etc.
2. Gym equipment – Combine a beacon on the equipment with a wearable and instrumentation on the machine to automatically log the user’s reps and upload them to a service for tracking exercise. Integrate the coach or trainer in the gym into this loop for a rich and very sticky engagement with the customer. Imagine all the marketing value of knowing which members are using which equipment, and overlaying that on their class attendance and demographics.
3. Sleep data – Mash up your sleep data from a wearable from the temperature data on your Nest (lots of data point to the connection between temperature and sleep quality). It sounds great but what’s important is how the thing (thermometer) enables a better life (better sleep = better life, no two ways about it). Let the athletic coach or health care expert see these data so they can understand how they might impact response to medication or training load.
Selling things is getting less and less interesting as a business. If you are in retail, and you really view your role as just having a thing on the shelf for someone to walk in and buy, you are competing directly with Amazon, Walmart, and every other e-commerce site that exchanges things for money. Being close to the customer and building a comprehensive relationship with them means being able to leverage the data from the things more effectively than a far-away website and truly move from selling a product to providing a service.
I’d love to hear your favorite ideas for how to merge user data and device data to deliver better solutions to customers.