Focus on asking why IoT rather than how…

I just spent a week with customers discussing different topics around IoT. Everything ranging from their specific products, to sensors, to mobile carriers to data lakes to mobile access to the information.

As with these things, we took deep dives into the technology. Looked at a variety of ways one could implement IoT into their portfolio. Often, we dug in deep, really deep. When we did come up for air, consistently, everyone had a puzzled look on their face. I think everyone got the general concept, in theory, but many struggled to connect the dots on exactly how they could implement the technology into their existing businesses.

IoT

We spent a good portion of our time exploring the how? How could they leverage it? After understanding what IoT was about, we continued to drill into how… how could they leverage it.

I hate playing devil’s advocate, but felt it was necessary to ask… why? Why should you invest in IoT? What pervasive near or long term problem would it solve? As engineers, we like to stay in the why not camp because we like to build and explore. I like to constantly ask…why?

This took us down the path of entertaining implementing IoT on new projects as opposed to retrofitting existing products. I believe this helped, but still resulted in the similar confusing look on their faces.

We started a great brainstorming exercise that consisted of listing problems.

  1. What are the biggest problems your business faces today?
  2. Is there anything you could do to improve that problem if you had more data?
  3. Are you or your company mentally prepared for change?
  4. Have you thought through the problem enough?
  5. So what?

More to come on this topic, but the morale of this – continue to ask why? Really know why before you jump in to an investment of new tech. The why might be to simply explore to learn. That is ok, but at least you will know and can plan/invest accordingly.