Connected products are an excellent example of a disruptive product. One might argue that all manufacturers have done is add a sensor to an existing product, though that isn’t the case. Connected products are disruptive because they bring an entirely new value to the table – read on to learn how exactly they’re disrupting the market.
They Create a New Business Model
Thanks to sensors, manufacturers have access to an unprecedented amount of data. This data can help them create a new business model. Data enables manufacturers to go beyond manufacturing to provide a completely different service.
Here’s an example: A manufacturer that sells engines to airlines can add sensors to its products. Then, it can sell the data in an easy-to-digest form that those sensor-equipped engines generate back to the airlines so that the airline can understand how it can reduce fuel consumption or do other things to make itself more efficient.
They Improve Products
The importance of data in connected products cannot be overstated. Data can help manufacturers create better products.
Sensors built into products can tell manufacturers how those products are being used. Manufacturers can see which features are popular, which features would make the product better, and which features aren’t useful at all.
They Allow for Predictive Maintenance
Everyone has seen that dreaded “check engine” light come on in their car. Wouldn’t it be great if your car could tell you exactly what was wrong with it to save you the worry (and a trip to the mechanic)?
Connected devices allow for predictive maintenance. The device can tell you what’s wrong with it so that a technician doesn’t have to waste time poking around to figure out what the problem is. For manufacturers, this capability is a boon – if factory equipment needs maintenance, the technician can repair it quickly with minimal disruptions to the flow of business.
They Speed up Processes
Information is only useful if it’s timely. It becomes useless if it takes too long to get to the people that need it. Before the proliferation of digital information, it could take manufacturers weeks to get information on where products were on the supply chain.
Today, that’s no longer the case. Sensors in shipping containers tell you exactly where your product is (and whether it’s reached its destination safely). Want to know if you need to order more raw materials? Smart bins and smart shelves alert you when supplies are running low; they’ll also tell you how much to re-order to prevent overstocking.
Connected products have disrupted the way companies are doing business because of one important differentiation: information. It’s their ability to collect and transmit data that makes them more valuable, and thus innovative, to companies. Those who manufacture connected devices will possess a competitive advantage in years to come.