As the M2M and IoT market continues to grow, we have seen varying stats forecasting the vast potential growth the market holds. From Gartners estimates that there will be an increase from 6.4 billion connected devices this year (worth $235 billion), to 20.8 billion devices by 2020, it is clear this market will open a lot of opportunities for businesses and their customers.
It’s fair to say industry experts have defined the market and we are now past the hype of the potential around M2M. The trial period is over, and now it’s all about businesses applying M2M solutions to their existing models. As a result we certainly have seen a steady increase in adoption rates over the past years. However, there are more opportunities for businesses in more non-traditional sectors to integrate M2M in their existing processes to drive adoption rates further.
We have already seen significant growth in adoption rates within the traditional M2M sectors of energy & utilities, telematics and fleet management. Due to the majority of early M2M applications focusing on energy, telematics, and fleet solution, these sectors can all be classified as early adopters. However, as the M2M industry has grown so too has the development of applications, diversifying the offering and creating more opportunities for businesses in the non-traditional M2M sectors.
So the question remains: How do we influence other businesses in non-traditional sectors to realise the opportunities around integrating M2M in their existing processes?
Firstly, we should consider whether these businesses have the understanding of this new market. Therefore, has the industry focused on educating businesses outside of the traditional telecoms market? According to research from Advanced, 43% of business directors do not understand what M2M is and how it works. This highlights just one of the major challenges businesses are facing today, as the market moves on to actively launching applications that business owners do not understand the benefits of.
There needs to be a focus on customer education, as confusion from a high level in boardrooms around the what, why, and how, will slow down adoption rates within non-traditional sectors. It is becoming clearer that M2M deployments within businesses are more than just the technology, but also to do with the improvement of efficiencies, the decrease of long term costs, and the ability to overcome technological barriers that businesses have experienced in previous years.
So how does the industry continue to educate the businesses, consumers, and customers whilst keeping up with the service and application demands of the early adopters?
Firstly we have to understand the structures and levels of hierarchy and departments within businesses, each with differing goals which align with the core businesses objectives. With this considered, the key is translating a balanced M2M solution that will attune with the goals of the Finance Director, Operations Director, Sales Director and so on. With this understood it’s simply a case of changing the conversation from what M2M will be in the future, to how it can change your business now with immediate, tangible benefits. This strategic approach of making sure benefits are easily understood creates immediate value and incentive for businesses to take the plunge. By gaining a clear understanding of the opportunity and what this means for their business, Business Directors and Managers can then filter and communicate the information down the hierarchy.
The following steps from here are to identify the immediate opportunities within your existing customer base, which we call the ‘quick wins’, as well as creating new opportunities from both new and existing customers, which as you may have guessed would be the ‘big wins’.
Join me next month in this series where l’ll be discussing the quick and big wins your business could be making.