How do you differentiate in The Internet of Things (IoT)?

Analysts are telling us that the IoT market is about to grow in 2020 to exponential proportions. Four billion connected people, fifty (plus) billion embedded and intelligent systems, four trillion revenue opportunity and  fifty trillion gigabytes of data.


Are the analysts right? Of course no one can predict the future and there are many dependencies, but I strongly believe it is possible. There is however one thing we need to do. We need to stop approaching the IoT market from a technical perspective. Sure, many solutions are being developed by very smart people and they are an essential key in the total solution but customers do not think in megabytes, connectivity, battery capacity or chipsets… They want a total solution and they want a strategical partner to unburden them from all the hassle that’s involved. Only then, enterprises and consumers will accelerate in this market.

That’s why I strongly believe in Full Solution Providers (FSP). In many cases they have an entrepreneurial and commercial background. They understand the need of customers and they are able to translate these needs into solutions (solution selling). Today, we often see startups base their Marketing & Sales strategies on selling a "smart-box". This instead of positioning it as an value added service that helps customers to reduce costs, improve their service and achieve more sales and revenue.

To be successful in selling IoT, one must understand that selling it is different to selling a hardware solution. IoT intervenes in the heart of the business processes of your customers.

Many FSP’s have a strong ecosystem (partners) in place, so they are able to assist customers in the development of the total solution. Meaning:

  • IoT business scan to do a feasibility assessment
  • Consulting to guide customers from running pilots to full market launch (crawl, walk, run)
  • Hardware / Software / App selection to provide customers with a full end-to-end solution
  • Connectivity to make sure the solution has the best value (availability) at the lowest cost
  • Security to offer secure solutions
  • Management platforms to manage your deployment in the best effective way.
  • Value Added Services like analytics tools to assist customers in strategical decisions to help differentiate from the competition.
  • Maintenance and support to make sure that the services to customers are working flawless and issues are solved within time.

To support my findings, I would like to share with you my experience of the many IoT events I have visited in past years. Almost every event of witch IoT is the key attractor, you find connectivity (re)sellers, Hardware vendors, software platforms, app developers, System Integrators and combinations of the above. They are all talking about technical schemes, battery capacity, megabytes and so on.

My conclusion, “Let’s be customer faced instead of a technical approach and make sure we all drive the IoT business to the numbers the analysts predict”.

Sander Mulder