The Internet of Things is the Great Equalizer for Startups

August 11, 2016

9:00 pm

When new technology hits the market, early adopters often find themselves carrying the burden of high development costs. But over time, industries mature, technologies evolve, and more players enter the fray. And once variety and competition rise, costs drop drastically. The internet of things (IoT) is no exception to this inevitable trend.

In the early stages of the IoT, many of today’s commonplace platforms were either nonexistent or extremely expensive. But now, companies with limited resources — including startups — have the same ability to implement IoT technology as large corporations. In fact, they actually have a leg up over these larger counterparts.

The Startup Advantage

IoT is a space that changes rapidly and sits on the bleeding edge of today’s technology. Startups have an inherent advantage in this environment with their ability to move quickly and capitalize on immediate business opportunities. By contrast, larger organizations seem to have multiple approval levels and processes for every purchasing decision, even if it’s just for a few staplers.

However Startups can and should use IoT for a variety of purposes. While the eventual outcome is different for each company, the method is the same: bringing enhanced intelligence to the organization.

How It’s Being Leveraged

This technology behind the internet of things has been is being leveraged to:

Save Customers Money

When data can be remotely collected and analyzed by a company, it’s able to offer usage-based pricing for its products or services. This model allows smaller companies to optimize revenue and undercut flat-rate businesses in ways that simply weren’t possible before.

For example, Metromile, one of the world’s fastest-growing car insurers, used IoT technology to create a usage-based billing model long before major insurers decided to do so. By the time the big players hopped on board, Metromile was already revamping its app to utilize this same data to provide additional features to customers.

Revolutionize Industries

Wearables are possibly the loudest players in the IoT world; all types of companies are using them to serve as a key differentiating factor in crowded or competitive industries.

Healthcare is one such industry where wearables are helping startups stand out. Health Care Originals, for example, offers a device that provides real-time health data monitoring for asthma patients. The company’s app automatically records the users vitals, helping optimize treatment and quality of life.

Enable Better Decision-Making

Internally, IoT technology can help companies of all sizes replace outdated processes with easier, more streamlined methodologies. For example, data can be used to improve asset utilization, monitor and improve supply chain efficiency, reduce energy costs, improve maintenance, and automate tasks that typically require human intervention.

Externally, IoT data opens up avenues for startups to provide decision-making power to larger companies. For example, a startup called Tachyus created an IoT-driven platform that helps oil operators determine how to maximize well output. It calculates optimal drill locations and methods, water injection rates, and other vital information to increase domestic oil production by 20 percent or more. With the ability to determine these things from afar, the big players in the oil industry no longer need to send humans to hundreds of locations to manually record and analyze meter readings.

Soon enough, anything that isn’t connected will be dead. Leaders who aren’t considering investments in the IoT are putting themselves at a big disadvantage. Today’s business world runs in real time, and embracing connected technology is the best way to remain competitive.

Startups like Metromile, Health Care Originals, and Tachyus have used the IoT to differentiate themselves and revolutionize their respective industries. Leaders who follow suit today will reap tremendous benefits tomorrow.

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John Horn is the CEO of Ingenu Ingenu, which he joined after serving as president of RacoWireless, a leading provider of machine-to-machine connectivity solutions. Before joining RacoWireless, Horn was a leader at T-Mobile for more than nine years while he focused specifically on developing the company's M2M program and go-to-market strategy.

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