It took the entirety of human existence for the global population to reach 7 billion people. The Internet of Things (IoT) has eclipsed that number in just seven years. Today there’s nearly one connected device for every person on the planet — and that’s not even accounting for smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers

This growth shows no signs of slowing, either. According to IoT Analytics, by 2025, the number of deployed IoT devices will outnumber the global population by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1.

It’s not surprising, then, that CEO World Magazine says one of the biggest questions facing business leaders today is how to most effectively modernize or digitize their business. Not doing so, puts them at high risk of being left behind in an increasingly connected world.

There’s just one problem. 66% of executives say that a skills gap prevents them from successfully leveraging IoT technologies,¹ and of those who have waded into the waters of IoT, a full 75% consider those initiatives to have ultimately been a failure.²

So how can traditional companies effectively evolve, and position themselves for sustained growth, in an increasingly connected world? There’s no absolute right way, but here are a few tips to ensure you’re giving your company the best chance to succeed.

1. Walk, Don’t Run

The variety of applications for IoT devices is nearly limitless, so the first question to ask yourself is how you can best deliver more value to your customers. While some businesses will want to run before they walk, it’s better to focus on filling a market need by delivering one or two things really well, and then expanding over time.

Take, for example, the property management company that was one of the first to develop a cloud-based, keyless entry system that allowed hosts of vacation rental properties to easily assign unique PIN codes to each new guest, monitor the comings and goings of cleaning staff, and more. At the time, this service was revolutionary, and was quickly adopted by platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. Later, the property management company added a home control offering to their line, which enabled owners to offer their guests yet more benefits: a full smart home experience, including lights, thermostats, and security.

2. Find The Right Technology Partner

Given the statistics cited above, you should take a serious look at finding a technology partner with an established track record before trying to take on the burden of building you own solution. While many technology companies can provide some of the necessary components — an app, a cloud service, hardware — very few combine all of them into a single platform. If you’re starting from scratch, or close to it, one-stop shopping is always easier than trying to find multiple solutions that can be stitched together.

Two years ago, one of America’s largest energy providers decided they wanted to add home control capabilities to their consumer offering. They began with a field of 15 possible partners, but as the conversations began, it slowly became clear that almost none of the companies could deliver on all of the energy company’s needs. In the end, only one was able to give them a white-labeled application, hardware that could incorporate smart energy monitoring, the flexibility to create new features and services, and the cloud infrastructure that would future-proof their investment. That partnership is now blossoming, and the energy company is rolling out their new solution to several of its brands.

3. Use Data To Drive Growth

There are two key ways in which companies can leverage user data to drive growth. By looking at data on a macro-level, companies can better determine which new features or additional products should be prioritized on their innovation roadmap. On a micro-level, user data can help companies build more personalized experiences for each individual customer — which in turn develops increased brand loyalty.

One company used their data to accomplish both of those things in one fell swoop. Their initial offering was a clean energy subscription service built on an IoT platform that allowed them to aggregate data across a wide range of customers. They then analyzed the trends and developed a new feature that reduced power to unused appliances during peak hours. The result? Lower monthly energy bills for their customers and an increased retention rate.

As the number of IoT devices grows at a rate of 3x over the next several years, products will become increasingly differentiated by the types, and amount, of data they collect. The companies that are best at turning insights into action are the ones that will see the most success. Many of the world’s top companies are already evolving their offering to include connected devices, but many more have yet to make the leap.

Now is the time. If you’re looking for an end-to-end platform with feature customization and white-label products that let you put your brand front and center, contact MiOS to learn more about how we can partner to innovate your business and help you drive growth in a more connected world.

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