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IoT and its unfair competitive advantages

IoT is widening the chasm between the have and have-nots. No this is not about a privileged human social class but instead about the companies that get how disruptive some technology innovations can be and those who don’t.

Cloud is lowering operating costs, speeding time to market and in some cases generating new revenues. Big Data is giving unique insights into previously unseen trends in an ocean of data. However both are dwarfed by the power of acting upon these cost, time-to-market and knowledge advantages.  IoT is substituting slow human-driven processes by fully automated processes. The end result is that companies can do in minutes what traditionally would be done in months. Let’s look at some examples:

Retail and in-store studies

Supermarkets know what you buy but they don’t know what you almost bought. Neither do they know if you spend quite some time in a specific isle and ruched through another. The traditional way is to survey a subset of shoppers during weeks, often months, and extrapolate. Via IoT you just embed tracking technology in shopping carts and use computer vision to analyse in-store cameras. Real-time information is available. What if you would put wheels under the racks and displays? You could restructure the store every day to see what the ultimate layout is.

Home Insurance as a Service

Take a normal home insurance contract and you see a list of standard questions: Do you have a fire alarm? Any valuable content? Etc. Questions take months to fine-tune and change.

What if you could adapt home insurance costs based on how you use and maintain your house? You don’t only check if a house has a fire alarm but you can increase the monthly premium if you don’t replace you fire detector’s batteries immediately. You can even check if you always put on the burglar alarm when you leave or only from time to time. Your insurance premium can be lowered if you hardly cook but increment if you always eat out. Intelligent doors and security cameras can do more than signal a potential breach. Via face recognition known burglars can be spotted as soon as they enter the premise and even before they reach the front door. Insurance can take risky behaviour into consideration as well as reward the opposite. So families that leave the cooker unattended or use a lot of candles would pay a higher premium.

Cargo transport and logistics

What about self-driven lorries or container ships? Gamification of parcel delivery services in which fast delivery makes you gain points but driving recklessly looses points. Uber for small delivery vans. Crowd-sourcing container cargo and using uber style collection and distribution services. High-frequency trading based on container ships or trucks delivering late.

This is only the beginning

“TheFacebook.com” and “Angry Bird” IoT apps have not been invented yet. The world is waiting for disruptive companies to create unfair competitive advantages because they understand the new capabilities IoT brings. Who would you rather work for, the disruptor or the disrupted?


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