When I lived in the USA a number of years ago, Dunkin Donuts ran a very successful advertising campaign where a tired baker had to get up at 3:00 am every morning; the catch phrase was “Time to make the donuts.”
I thought of this phrase recently when I attended the IoT World Forum 2017 here in London. There, it seemed, everyone was essentially saying the same thing; i.e. it is time for customers to start making donuts using IoT.
Dunkin Donuts is a donut shop; if there are no donuts there is no business. And at the moment, there are no IoT donuts. IoT projects, yes.
But as Robin Hancock from Siemens Mindsphere said: “90% of the projects out there are POCs and they are based on pretty narrow use cases.”
In other words, they are thinking about making donuts, but so far the donuts are imaginary treats that they might get to enjoy sometime in the future.
Of course, the companies speaking at this conference are all making donuts themselves; they are well into their own IoT digital transformations and trying to get their customers to do the same. All believe fiercely in the future of IoT, the revolutionary business models that are possible and the value of IoT - especially when AI is added into the equation. Many are industry and technology heavyweights like Siemens, BT, GE Salesforce, Bosch and Software AG; many are telcos. They all know their stuff.
Yet my question remains: Where are the donuts? Where are the actual, real-life users willing to invest in and develop IoT within their businesses?
We heard about the barriers to adoption – costs, difficulty with connecting to data sources, concerns about security. These are not new and have been the litany from vendors since I started writing about IoT nearly seven years ago.
So how do we cross those barriers? Bernd Gross, CEO of Software AG’s Cumulocity IoT, offered a suggestion. What if some end users – let’s say manufacturers - banded together with some software vendors who would do all the heavy technology lifting? Then the manufacturers could focus on their competitive strengths, working on how to differentiate themselves rather than trying to become something they are not – technology companies.
In other words, the manufacturers can let someone else (technology vendors) get up at 3am to do the baking, while they take advantage of the delicious and profitable donuts. This is exactly what our joint venture with ADAMOS is all about.
As Mark Osborn, EMEA director of IoT at Salesforce said: “Don’t just look at IoT and ponder… figure out how you are going to turn your data into new sales.”
And, as the final panel of Day One said – it is not good enough to just find new revenue models; they have to create value for your customers (donuts if you will), first and foremost. More on this tomorrow...