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Forget Consumer IoT—Industrial IoT Will Be The Revolution

Danielle Beurteaux

Recent big news in the IoT-sphere isn’t about intelligent toasters or sentient vacuum cleaners. It’s about the Industrial Internet of Things, which is about to blow us out of the water. Tom  Siebel, founder of Siebel Systems, recently renamed his latest company C3 IoT (previously known as C3, the firm focused on energy), with a broadened aim to provide enterprise-level software to a broader range of industries, from utilities to aerospace.

Computer maker Dell also recently launched an industrial IoT environment PC, and GE and Tata Consultancy Services partnered and will start off with GE’s industrial cloud, Predix, which GE launched last summer.

Research from Accenture claims that IIoT could increase GDPs in 20 economies by a total of $10.6 trillion by the year 2030 . That’s based on current IIoT investment trends; with more investment, the potential growth is even greater.

A white paper by IDC and sponsored by SAP, “IoT and Digital Transformation: A Tale of Four Industries,” looked at manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and consumer products and found that “business benefits from IIoT will be realized at different speeds and on different scales.”

They’re calling it Industrie 4.0 in Germany, but regardless of the name, getting from where we are today to a future of ubiquitous IIoT has some hurdles, according to Kai Goerlich, idea director of thought leadership at SAP. Will we be ready?

SAP: How will we make a living?

KG: The last digitization was largely driven by telecommunications. We could view mobility as the first wave of IoT. The difference now is the mobility connected people, and IoT is connecting everything into a large grid, mesh, whatever you want to call it. The danger is job loss. The World Economic Forum had a graph; in highly automated countries, job loss won’t be that high, about a 10% risk. But the U.S. has a 30 % risk. The U.S. is still relatively service heavy with many people in functions as compared to Germany, which has already automated a lot.

IIoT, or Industrie 4.0, in my opinion will lead to a total redefinition of how markets run and economic production without humans. Automation poses the risk that we automate so fast that society can’t adapt. It took us 60 years from the 40’s and 50’s to fully automate operations, and now within 20 years, we have the Internet and mobile. It’s really a very fast speed; within a short lifetime two or three revolutions and our systems are not fast enough to react to it.

SAP: Will business models change?

KG: IIoT is a big game changer for business models. We’re taking out some of the in-between process in the value chain with direct one-to-one consumer sales. The old economy was run on the old sequential value chain. Digitization completely wiped out the value chain.

SAP: How important are data and interoperability?

KG: On the good side, with more sensors in all devices, we could make more sense out of the world. If we can exchange data, have more data points, our picture of the world may be more real time and realistic than in the past. That needs interoperability—make things work together and data exchange and create insights.

The real money is where data is, you can already see this happening. All use cases are basically on the data level. It will be totally ambient; in 20 years everything will talk to us. IoT was invented around 2000, but it won’t be used for much longer. Industries are already defining it differently—remote maintenance, connected, etc.

IIoT will digitize physical assets and make everything connected. Estimates put savings at 50% of fixed assets costs, that’s a big sum. If you just take the top 10 companies in each industry, there’s a lot of money in it. A lot of savings in sharing products and lifecycle maintenance.

For more insight on how IoT is impacting real-world businesses, see The Internet Of Things And Digital Transformation: A Tale Of Four Industries.

 

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Advice From An IoT Expert: Three Things You Need To Know

Robin Meyerhoff

In the race to go digital, most businesses today are considering Internet of Things projects. But there are still some key questions about impact, security, and value that are obstacles to adoption.

I sat down with Maribel Lopez, an Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile expert and head of Lopez Research, to get some tips for business leaders to think about before embarking on IoT projects.

One key piece of advice from Maribel, “Everyone is looking for the killer IoT app, but oftentimes it’s a combination of mundane things that offer big opportunities for efficiency.”

See below for three other pointers.

Digital is different and so is data

Businesses have been going digital for a long time, since the days when e-commerce was hot. For example, in retail, digital used to mean replicating the shopping experience online. Now it’s about locating the customer in the store, giving you a 3D view of the customer and the thing. Now things can talk to you and tell you if something is wrong or seems weird.

What’s different about digital transformation today is the availability of different types of information. You’re not just digitizing paper processes. We now have different sources of information about weather, location, usage, etc. that weren’t available before.

Data provides the power and opportunity in IoT use cases.

It gets really interesting when you think about what you can do with that information. Now that it’s cheaper to go digital, you can use the cloud to build apps that take advantage of that data. It’s a perfect storm of cheaper sensors, more data sources, and an ability to bootstrap in the cloud.

Make security a priority from day one

You can never be overly concerned with security. But security should not stall your IoT projects.

Too often, people think about security after the IoT system is in place, but you need to be thinking about it while you’re designing it. Like with mobile, IoT is up and down the stack and pervasive, so you need to think about the security the whole time and bake it in – from sensors to network to apps.

Security is not sexy like user interfaces, so often it’s the last thing designers consider before shipping a product. But you need to start with security, because it’s hard to add later.

Define value: Cost efficiency or transformation

There are a couple of ways to use IoT. The first two focus on saving and making money. The third case is the ability to do something you couldn’t do before.

In the first case, it’s relatively easy to show value – like with predictive maintenance. Then the question is what scenario will save you the most money? You need to consider what’s most important to your business and your key KPIs over the next year. Some people have very specific goals – they want to sell products twice as fast or increase quality control.

Then you can look at how IoT will help improve the product’s performance (either in sales or quality) and make decisions about how IoT can impact change the most quickly.

While you’re defining your IoT use case, make sure you can tie it to your stated KPIs for the next year or two. That will help you pick the right solution, get executive traction, know what you want to accomplish, and be in line with your business.

Then there’s the case of digital transformation. Take the Disney Magic Band – a bracelet connected to sensors all over Walt Disney World that helps visitors do everything from access their hotel room to function as your ticket to the park.

The Disney Magic Band is really different – it was designed to help improve park vistors’ experience, reduce the wait on lines, improve cross-sell, and upsell to customers. It’s unlikely that the project is going to save Disney money, but did it improve KPIs? Yes.

That was a billion dollar project, but it put Disney in a totally different place in terms of customer experience and business models.

As these examples show, IoT is a game-changer, but someone needs to be in charge. Who Will Lead Development of the Internet of Things Inside the Organization?

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Robin Meyerhoff

About Robin Meyerhoff

Robin Meyerhoff is the Senior Director, Content Team, Global Corporate Affairs, at SAP, responsible for telling key corporate stories via multiple formats: cartoons, video, infographics, opinion pieces. Lead integrated internal-external approach to rolling out content, including comprehensive editorial calendar, regional coordination and alignment with key business objective.

‘Welcome To The Future’: Manufacturing’s New Theme Song?

David Parrish

Rapid technological change is a topic that even pops up in country music, such as Brad Paisley’s song “Welcome to the Future.” It provides a motto for the transformation of manufacturing change in a time when the Internet of Things (IoT) connects machines and buildings as well as people.

In a recent episode of her radio talk show Coffee Break with Game Changers, Bonnie D. Graham opened with the song, which contains the refrain “Hey, every day’s a revolution. Welcome to the future.”

In the episode, Graham interviewed three top executives in the field of industrial machinery and components (IM&C). She asked about changes in global manufacturing caused by the fourth Industrial Revolution.

Graham said that collaborative robotics – the field of machine-to-machine communication – is one of the major changes created by this digital transformation of manufacturing.

About the four Industrial Revolutions

Water and steam power mechanized production during the first Industrial Revolution. Electricity powered the second. The third Industrial Revolution began in the 1960s, when digital innovators developed information technology and used electronics to automate production.

The fourth Revolution is a whirlwind of digital change building on the third. It involves the Internet of Things. The IoT connects a broad array of objects to the Internet and makes machine-to-machine (M2M) communication possible. The IoT helps create a broad ecoweb of productivity in manufacturing.

Graham interviewed Sean Molloy of itelligence, Jason Coffman of Deloitte Consulting, and me about how rapid digital change is affecting manufacturing worldwide.

Here are some of the points we covered.

IoT improvement of margin

Sean Molloy is the IM&C Industry Solution principal for the company itelligence.  He noted that digital changes in manufacturing are transforming ordinary objects into high-value products when connected to the Internet. He said there is opportunity to reap rewards by transforming common items into IoT objects.

Automobile radios are a good example, Molloy said. He explained that the first auto manufacturers to link radios to Bluetooth technology were able to charge a premium price. The Bluetooth technology allowed drivers to talk hands-free on smartphones, listen to driving directions, and stream music.

Molloy said that manufacturers need to move quickly when they see such an opportunity. Value and profit margins decrease “as a product matures in the marketplace.”

He added that many manufacturers continue to pursue profit through sales volumes on standard objects. Instead they should be connecting the objects to the Internet for greater profit.

Social media and manufacturing

In my comments, I emphasized the importance for manufacturers of taking social media seriously.

Few manufacturers or their customers knew much about interacting on social media eight years ago. Yet, today most of them are very social savvy.

The information customers share via social media gives companies data similar to that of a feedback group. Product improvement happens quickly if companies pay attention to this data when it is fresh.

Broad picture of connectedness

Jason Coffman is the manufacturing principal for Deloitte Consulting. He added to the conversation about product improvement through connection to the IoT. Coffman called the IoT web of devices the “broader picture” of digital connectedness.

Coffman said manufacturers do need to add digital improvements to products.  Manufacturers also should communicate with customers and manufacturers via social media. And they need to ask themselves how digital change can improve business-to-business interactions.

General Electric’s Power-by-the-Hour jet engine program is a good example, he said. It sorts “massive amounts of data” rapidly to provide better service to B2B customers, Coffman added.

Fine tuning industrial robots

I expanded the discussion to the M2M capabilities of IoT devices, responding to Graham’s question about how industrial pump makers are using IoT sensors.

While water pump guys are really on the forefront of this kind of connectivity, changes in robotics are a very profound change. Industrial robots have traditionally been locked in cages, because people who entered their space could be harmed.

However, advancements in the use of sensors have enabled industrial robots to sense people approaching them. The robots slow down and completely stop. This allows robots to work with ease in the same manufacturing line as people.

The IoT has taken M2M one step further by creating machine-to-human responses.

Cybersecurity and information overload

We concluded the interview by all discussing the need to improve the security of Internet-enabled factories and the challenge of coping with Big Data overload. Companies are gathering data about the manufacturing process, customer needs, and security protocols.

Molloy said that the cybersecurity industry is maturing along with digital changes in manufacturing. “I think,” he said, “at the end of the day, we are going to be able to transact in a fairly safe world and be very successful with the Internet of Things.”

I noted that the cybersecurity industry is expected to grow to a $2 billion market within four years. People realize there is an opportunity to make some money, to be good at it, and also just to protect the greater good if you will.

Of course, all this data gathering increases information overload. This overload will make manufacturers need statisticians more than ever. It’s an old field that is updating and moving into new prominence.

Statisticians will become data scientists, Coffman concluded. These scientists will give manufacturers advanced analytics explaining connected interactions of machines. Manufacturers also will be able to see what is shaping customer behavior. Then they can make products and services for consumers and help workers in “running their shop floor.”

To learn more about Digital Transformation for IM&C, click here.

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David Parrish

About David Parrish

David Parrish is the senior global director of Industrial Machinery & Components Solutions Marketing for SAP. Before joining SAP, he held various product and industry marketing positions with J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft, and QAD going back to 1999.

Customer Experience: OmniChannel. OmniNow. OmniWow.

Jamie Anderson, Volker Hildebrand, Lori Mitchell-Keller, and Stephanie Overby

The lines between the digital and physical customer experience today are largely artificial. Customers shop in retail stores with their devices at the ready. They expect online-like personalization and recommendations in the aisles. They’re looking for instant gratification and better sensory experiences from digital channels. It’s an omnichannel world and companies must figure out how to live in it: delivering a superior customer experience regardless of the entry point.

Luxury fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff, for example, opened its first three retail stores with the intent of taking customers’ best online experiences and bringing them to life. “In the past, you had this brick-and-mortar experience, and you had the online experience,” says company president Uri Minkoff. “There were such great advantages and efficiencies that emerged with shopping online. You could get recommendations, see how something should be styled, create wish lists, access user-generated content. In the store, it was still just you and the product, and maybe a sales associate. But [unlike online] you had all five of your senses.”

Rebecca Minkoff’s new stores still stimulate those senses while incorporating some of the intelligence that online channels typically bring to bear. Each store features a large interactive screen at the entrance, where customers can browse products or order a beverage. Shoppers can interact with salespeople or they can make purchases on a mobile app without ever talking to a soul. Inside a fitting room, RFID-tagged merchandise is displayed on an interactive mirror, where customers can request new sizes or the designer’s recommended coordinates (a real-life recommendation engine).

The company has found that 30% of women ask for additional items based on the recommendations. It has also sold three times more of its new ready-to-wear line than it anticipated. “We were an accessories-dominant brand,” says Minkoff. “But we’ve been able to build this direct relationship with our customers, helping them with outfit completers and also getting a better sense of what they want based on what’s actually happening in our fitting rooms.”

Each piece of technology adds to the experience while capturing the details. Rebecca Minkoff’s integrated systems can remember a customer’s previous visits and preferred colors and sizes, and can enable associates to set up a fitting room with appropriate garments. On the back end, the company gets the kind of visibility into in-store conversions once possible only in digital transactions. “The technology gives us the ability to create the kind of experience each customer wants. She can shop anonymously or be treated like a VIP,” says Minkoff.

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Build Around a Big Idea

Rebecca Minkoff’s approach is a bellwether. It’s not enough simply to provide continuity or consistency from one channel to another. Customers don’t think in terms of channels, and neither should companies. Rather, it’s about defining the overarching experience you want to deliver to customers and then building the appropriate offline and online elements to achieve that intended outcome.

As more goods and even services are commoditized, companies must compete on the experiences they create (see The ROI of Customer Experience). That means coming up with a big idea that drives the design of the customer experience. “Every great experience needs to have a theme,” says Joe Pine, consultant and coauthor of The Experience Economy and Infinite Possibility: Creating Customer Value on the Digital Frontier. “That’s the organizing principle of the experience. It’s how you decide what’s in and what’s out.”

For example, Rebecca Minkoff serves as an image consultant to its Millennial customers, who expect personalization, recognition, and tech innovation, using a mix of online and offline techniques. To stand apart, companies must come up with their own unifying idea and then integrate data and systems, rework organizational models, and rethink key strategic metrics and employee incentives in order to integrate the physical and digital worlds around that idea.

Here are some examples of companies that have created a theme-driven experience using online and offline elements.

Nespresso: Imparting a Sense of Luxury

At the most basic level, Nespresso is a manufacturer of coffee and coffee machines. But the company has successfully turned what it sells and how it sells it into a very specific type of experience. Nespresso strives to impart a feeling of quality, exclusivity, even luxury in a host of ways.

sap_Q316_digital_double_feature3_images2The company has created the Nespresso Club, which maintains direct relationships with thousands of customers. Its customer service centers are staffed by 1,000 highly trained coffee experts who don’t just push products but offer advice and guidance as a sommelier might do with wine. Its 450 retail stores (up from just one Parisian in 2000) are called boutiques; the largely inventory-free showrooms are built around tasting and learning.

Online, the focus is on efficiency and service. Customers who prefer digital interactions can order through the web site or mobile app, which offers the option of courier delivery within a two-hour window. The company also recently introduced a Bluetooth-enabled coffee machine, which when paired with a smartphone app, can track a customer’s usage, simplify machine maintenance, and as Wired pointed out, enable remote brewing.

Success didn’t happen overnight, but today Nespresso is one of Nestlé’s fastest growing and most profitable brands, according to Bloomberg.

QVC: Using Online to Complement the Experience

The theme that has driven television-shopping giant QVC’s customer experience for decades has been “inspiration and entertainment.” Traditionally that was delivered through the joy of spontaneous discovery while watching the channel.

Matching that experience online has been difficult, however. At a digital retail conference in 2015, QVC’s CEO explained that in the past the company had failed to deliver the same rich interactions online that it had developed with its TV audiences, according to Total Retail. So the company decided to rethink its use of digital tools to focus on complementing the experience it delivers through TV screens, according to RetailWire.

For example, after enticing TV viewers with products, QVC introduces the next step in the buying journey—“impulse to buy”—in which viewers are spurred on with televised countdown clocks or limited merchandise availability. Online, the company has been experimenting with second-screen content (for instance, recipes that compliment a cooking product being sold on TV) to further propel purchases. The QVC app features the same item that is on-air along with a prompt that reveals all the items featured on TV in recent hours. On Apple devices equipped with Touch ID, customers can check out in less than 10 seconds with the fingerprint-enabled “speed buy” button. The third phase—“purchase and receive”—is complemented by a simple and reliable online browsing and purchasing platform. The last stage—“own and enjoy”—is accompanied by follow-on e-mail communication with tips on how to use products.

Last year, the company reported that 44% of total QVC sales came from online channels (up from 40% in 2014), and nearly half of those were completed on a mobile device. In fact, QVC is currently the tenth largest mobile commerce retailer in the United States, according to Internet Retailer.

Domino’s: Focusing on Speed and Convenience

sap_Q316_digital_double_feature3_images3Domino’s Pizza built a fast-food empire not necessarily on the quality of its pies but instead on the experience of getting hot food delivered quickly. What started out as a promise to deliver a pizza within 30 minutes to customers who phoned in their order is now a themed experience of efficient food delivery that can be fulfilled a number of ways. Domino’s AnyWare project enables customers to order pizzas from their TV, their Twitter account, their smartwatch, or their connected car, for starters. The Domino’s app features zero-click ordering functionality: Domino’s will start fulfilling the usual order for customers who opt in 10 seconds after opening the app.

Domino’s Australian stores are piloting GPS tracking whereby employees begin working on an order only when the customer enters the “cook zone”—a dynamically updated area around a given store that results in the customer arriving to a just-prepared order. The tool builds upon previously developed GPS-based technology for tracking delivery drivers, according to ZDNet. And the company that came up with the corrugated pizza box and the Heatwave Bag to keep pies warm is now building the DXP—a delivery car with a built-in warming oven. All in the name of the fast- and hot-food delivery experience.

Mohawk Industries: Using Social to Streamline Customer Interactions

Mohawk Industries grew to become a US$8 billion flooring manufacturer by relying on customers to visit its dealers’ retail locations to see, touch, and feel the carpet, hardwood, laminate, or tile they planned to purchase.

sap_Q316_digital_double_feature3_images4Today, instead of waiting for customers to find Mohawk, it has redesigned its experience to find them. It has adopted new technology and reworked its sales processes to reflect that new focus. The company’s 1,200 sales representatives have access to a 360-degree view of each customer, complete with analytics and sales tools on their tablets, enabling them to capture and follow through on leads generated through social media engagement.

By analyzing online discussions in real time, representatives can jump into the conversation and help customers find the product they may be searching for and direct the consumer to a retailer to finish the sale. In one episode, a woman was posting about her interest in a particular leopard rug on Twitter. Mohawk’s team surfaced the tweet, passed it on to a channel partner who contacted the woman and closed the sale within two minutes. Today, the company boasts an 80% close rate on sales started and guided in social media and has made $8 million on 14,000 such social leads. Mohawk Industries expects an increase of $25 million in sales year-over-year, thanks to its new customer-centric approach.

Customer Experience Design: Where to Begin

Developing a unique, valuable, and relevant customer experience that combines the best of offline and online capabilities is a huge undertaking. All corporate functions, including marketing, customer service, sales, operations, finance, and HR as well as product or business lines—all of which typically have competing metrics and agendas—must buy into the experience and collaborate to make it happen. And the ideal mix of digital and physical components will vary by company. But there are some best practices to get companies started on their own journeys.

Start at the Top

Without leadership buy-in, changes will not happen. “Customer experience is not a feature, it’s not a shiny button. It’s a concept that sometimes is tough to grasp. But we believe that if done right, it will keep customers loyal. And so we put a lot of effort into it,” says Kevin Scanlon, director of total customer experience at tech company EMC. “That’s why having that top-down support is paramount. If you don’t have it, you’re spinning your wheels. It’s going to give you the resources, the focus, and the attention that you need to design that consistent experience.”

To demonstrate its commitment, every VP and above at EMC has a customer experience metric as part of their quarterly goal.

Begin with the End in Mind

Companies can take a page from the design-thinking approach to product development, starting with the experience they want customers to have with their company and then putting in place the people, processes, and systems to make that happen across various touchpoints. Uber didn’t start by buying 1,000 cars. It started with a completely new customer experience it wanted to deliver—straddling the digital and physical—and then built the organization around that. Uber ultimately leveraged people, process, and technology to bring that to life, but it started with a unique customer journey.

Design for the Customer, Not the Company

sap_Q316_digital_double_feature3_images5To date, most corporate processes have been designed for internal efficiency or cost savings with little consideration for the impact on the customer. Companies that want to design for consistent experiences have to reexamine those business processes from the customer perspective. In order to deliver a standout and consistent experience, enterprises must bring together an assortment of data from a variety of systems—including POS transactions, mobile purchases, call center activity, notes from sales calls, and social media.

The average retailer has customer data in more than a dozen different systems. But it’s not just the front-end customer-facing systems that need orchestrating; back office systems and processes, from your supply chain to fulfillment to customer service, must be designed to deliver the intended experience. For example, Nespresso has to orchestrate a number of back-end and front-end systems to offer customers premium courier delivery within two-hour windows.

Put Someone in Charge

Companies that are truly invested in creating integrated, standout customer experiences often create a centralized function that can bring together the people, processes, and technology to bring them to life. Sometimes there is a chief customer officer or head of customer experience. But unless these people are really empowered, they’re toothless.

EMC’s Scanlon is empowered. He heads up a function that has been transformed from focusing on product quality into a centralized customer experience center of excellence staffed with 60 full-time professionals. The center has translated into “more focus, more energy, more insight to our customers,” says Scanlon. “And we can deliver that insight to our internal stakeholders, which trickles down to our account teams and lets them have more meaningful conversations that benefit our customers—and benefit the company over time.”

Centralize Customer Data

Even if there is no central customer experience function, there needs to be a central data repository and analytics system: a digital foundation that everyone can use to improve their piece of that experience. EMC’s customer experience group has a data governance function that maintains a single source of customer truth. “They’re able to pull all relevant data sources into one location and get past the typical customer data challenges,” says Scanlon.

Invest in People

Companies that care about the customer experience invest in the people who deliver it. Human beings are the clearest signposts on the customer journey. Companies must hire the best, train for desired outcomes, and reward based on experience metrics: for being brand ambassadors and for going above and beyond on behalf of the customer.

sap_Q316_digital_double_feature3_images6Rethink Metrics and Incentives

One major bank was having trouble driving adoption of its online banking tools. The customers that used the tools loved them, but the tools weren’t getting traction. The problem? The branch managers had no interest in promoting digital banking. They wanted to drive as much traffic as possible to their physical branches because this was one of their key performance metrics.

The solution was to change the compensation approach in order to reward employees for the entire customer experience, including online banking adoption. Branch managers were measured on online and offline customer behavior in their regions. That became a single and critical KPI, and it boosted the desired behaviors and improved overall customer satisfaction.

Create a Single View of the Company

For years, companies have talked about the importance of understanding the customer. And that remains true, particularly when it comes to delivering a valuable customer experience online and off. But successful customer experience design is just as much about giving customers a clear understanding of the company through coordinated experiences that deliver on the brand’s theme and bring it to life in various ways in bricks and mortar, through devices, in online interactions, and everywhere in between. D!

Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.

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Is The Internet Of Things And Wearable Technology The New Black?

Fred Isbell

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a classic hype cycle phenomenon. Besides forecasts of high growth, it is capturing a large share of interest and overall mindshare.

One thing is clear: The elements of the IoT are here to stay. Once we get past the definition of IoT, which is commonly referred as sensor-based devices and machine-to-machine communications, businesses can open themselves to enormous potential.

When trying to understand new things, I prefer to embrace them as a part of my daily life. When tablets first emerged, I didn’t go anywhere without my trusted iPad. In fact, I sometimes leave my laptop home knowing that I can do most of what I need on this device. And based on that experience, I took my own advice when it came to wearable technology recently – and the results were eye-opening.  I’m now onto my second-generation wearable device, showcasing just how quickly this is all changing.wearable-1

But first let’s jump into the time-travel machine back to February 2015. I was attending the MIT/Sloan School Sports and Analytics conference in Boston, and it seemed that everyone was mentioning wearable technology. The buzz was verified weeks later when I attended the IDC Directions Annual conference, where wearables made the short list of technology ubiquity. A year later, I returned to the MIT/Sloan School Sports and Analytics conference in Boston a little bit wiser. At that point, I invested in a Fitbit and started tracking my own personal statistics for exercise, sleep, and more. Needless to say, the geek in me was in full force as I wore both a Fitbit and a sports watch at the same time. I didn’t want to miss anything, and my middle-aged eyes appreciated the help.

One of the benefits of working for a tech company is the opportunity to adopt new technology in every aspect of my life. My employer, SAP, kicked off a new wellness program, incorporating wearables in how its employees track their health and wellness. I took advantage of this opportunity, replacing my sports watch with a second-generation Fitbit and consolidating two devices into one.

My wearable journey is certainly not complete yet, but it’s become integrated into my life in a very nonintrusive way. Just as my tablet has become an extension of me, so has the wearable device. I even exchange screen shots of my results – such as when I rode my first charity JDRF bike ride over the summer – to friends so we celebrate our achievements.

Very soon, our interactions with the IoT and wearable will become the norm, and we won’t think twice about it. But at the same time, it’s becoming a big business. Market watcher CCS Insight sees this as a US$14 billion market growing to over US$40 billion by 2020. All of these devices will generate even more data, making Big Data bigger than anyone could have predicted.

wearable-2

All of that data will generate increased demand for applications – especially analytics – to understand, interpret, and use this information. And if you think about it, my Fitbit app on my phone is really a personal business intelligence tool and the ultimate example of the consumerization of IT.

Not surprisingly, tech leaders such as SAP talk about the fusion of business-to-business (B2B) and business- to-consumer (B2B) into what some call “business-to-business-to-consumer” (B2B2C). The proliferation of wearable technology is a great example of this. The market for applications and solutions will increase exponentially – supported by cloud-based delivery and unprecedented demand for the infrastructure to deliver real-time intelligence and much more.

Wearables are indeed the new black as it becomes mainstream and part of society. I’ll come back shortly with a further discussion of how we can apply this technology in sports and analytics. In the interim, I need to head to the gym to get my 10,000 steps and the fitness equivalent to make my Fitbit – and me – happy!

For more on the impact of connected devices, see How Tech Changes Up Health In The Workplace.

Join Fred online: TwitterFacebookLinkedInsap.comSAP Services Hub

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About Fred Isbell

Fred Isbell is the Senior Director of SAP Digital Business Services Marketing at SAP. He is an experienced, results- and goal-oriented senior marketing executive with broad and extensive experience & expertise in high technology and marketing. He has a BA from Yale and an MBA from the Duke Fuqua School of Business.