The trick of picking the right partners for IoT apps
It is understood that no one can provide everything, end-to-end, for IoT applications, regardless of the sector. This means ecosystems of partnerships and platforms are not just unavoidable, but essential and choosing partners is difficult, writes Annie Turner. While the focus often is how easy and quick it is to onboard them, less attention is typically paid to how easy it will be to part company with minimal disruption to the business
With that in mind, a good place to start before looking for partners is gap analysis – what do you need to address your most pressing issues and what pieces are you missing before looking for who can best fill those gaps. One of the most common areas to choose are predictive analytics to avoid losing revenue through downtime.
Pierce Owen, principal analyst at ABI Research, advises, “You should choose partners that will help you solve problems and accelerate innovation. This means partners who can help you connect your assets and extract useful analytics out of your data, but also partners who understand the next wave of transformational technologies. That means they are already experimenting with machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), because there are companies that have skills in these technologies and receiving returns on their investment.”
Maciej Kranz, the vice president of Strategic Innovation at Cisco, gives a great example of this. Goldcorp mines gold and typically lost US$ 2 million a day when a specialist vehicle broke down. The only way to recover the faulty vehicle was by using another one, adding to the expense. The company started using sensors for predictive maintenance and reduced the failure rate by 80% in the first three months. By adding AI, that has been cut by 95% using fully autonomous capabilities.
Recent research from ABI showed that the top desired outcome of applying emerging technologies to a manufacturing organisation was improved data outcomes, although the same survey showed a lack of skills and experience was in the respondents’ top three inhibitors to embracing innovative technology. Clearly a great opportunity to pick a specialist partner.
However, the subject of sharing and controlling data is a sticky one. Owen suggests that one of the reasons GE Digital has had to rethink its digital ambitions is that, “They set up partnerships, but then didn’t let them get on with what they excel at – GE wanted control and other companies weren’t happy to hand over control of their data to a third party. That was a big problem,” he said.
Platforms in the B2C arena have proved the most successful and fastest way of growing a business that humans have ever devised. They bring together producers, sellers and buyers of goods and services who previously didn’t and perhaps couldn’t easily transact.
However, when choosing a platform partner, you need to think carefully about their business as well as operational […]
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