IoT and business models: Building new tech…and brands

The Internet of Things has changed a lot about the technology industry. The emergence of technologies that add network connections to traditionally dumb objects has paved the way for corporations of all sizes to create new and exciting business models.

Brands that were once tied exclusively to one industry can expand their reach into the tech world, even if their base product line is anything but what we would consider to be a technology product. The Internet of Things creates an opportunity for brand expansion and increased conversion through convenience. Business models built with the IoT in mind enable companies to go beyond their initial product and service set and provide real value to the consumer, making them a larger part of their customer’s lives.

Non-tech brands can build relationships

Under Armour, the company that makes skin-tight clothing for athletes that wicks sweat and costs a small fortune has been able to expand its brand into the tech sector with fitness trackers and websites that enable users to log their meals, weight, and track their progress as their diet and exercise routine continues.

This shifted Under Armor from being a clothing company to an all-in-one resource for fitness.

Even bigger retail brands like Amazon have gotten into the IoT game. Amazon released a series of buttons that can be placed virtually anywhere in your home that order items with a single push. So, if you run out of mac and cheese, push a button. A new shipment will arrive in a couple days.

This makes Amazon more money because it makes easy sales from the convenience and novelty of its little button, and makes customers happier because all they have to do is push a button and cheesy goodness arrives on their doorstep.

IoT-specific tech startups flourish

For startups, the Internet of Things is an area of virtually limitless potential. There is a lot of virgin ground in the IoT market to cover, and an innovative startup can easily find a new area in which adding network connectivity can improve the way people experience everyday objects.

Brands that are looking for ways to integrate IoT technologies into their businesses are looking closely at IoT startups now more than ever. The Internet of Things is a hotbed for data mining, and companies that base their business model on monetizing data are eager to integrate IoT solutions in their business.

Google, for example, didn’t create Android for fun. It did it because smartphones are carried with users everywhere, and there is a ton of information it can gather and monetize off Android’s users. Additionally, it gives users a platform by which they can surf the Web and experience advertising by doing so. It also gives Google a new medium for which it can sell ads in mobile apps.

In recent years, Google has expanded its interest in IoT considerably. Its acquisition of Nest gave it access to user’s home automation. Google’s self-driving car program will enable it gather even more data as it learns more about where its users are going and what their regular routines are. The car will become a medium in itself for content consumption as drivers will be less focused on the road and more so on screens either in the car or in their hand.

The Internet of Things is changing the way the business world works. It’s turning clothing companies into tech companies, and tech giants into car companies. It’s an ever-growing category of products that is changing the business world forever.

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