IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

How the Internet of Things primes a new smart product economy

Tue 27 Oct 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

A slew of newly connected gadgets that are controlled through mobile apps and feed personal data into the cloud are driving a wave of interest in the Internet of Things (IoT).

Home automation start-ups, established consumer electronics giants and large venture capital-funded technology companies are gearing up for competition as connected cars, homes and even smart cities emerge. However, examining the abstract world of IoT from the world of products reveals the extent to which a billion inter-connected devices and products are changing business as we know it.

Latest research from the Cognizant’s Centre for the Future of Work—a survey of over 200 global product design and innovation executives carried out in collaboration with the Economist Intelligence Unit—highlights practical steps that business leaders can take to benefit from the fast-accelerating trend of smart products—and the prizes on offer from the “Smart Product Economy”. 

Rise of smart products

Whether it is smartphones, smart cities, smart cars or even smart toothbrushes, smart technologies are finding their way into, and around, the everyday things we like to buy and use.

Witness the ‘smart’ Johnnie Walker bottle, which sends a personalised message to every customer who waves a smartphone in front of it, whether it is a promotional offer (pre-transaction) or a cocktail recipe (post-purchase, once embedded sensors detect the bottle has been opened). The bottle can be tracked across the supply chain, from manufacture to consumption. The opportunities unleashed by smart products are seemingly endless for any company seeking game-changing innovation or new levels of efficiency.

Adding smart technology to products can deliver game-changing innovation, enriched customer experiences and higher levels of efficiency. From R&D and manufacturing, through distribution and after-sales support, product data is changing the way products are built, sold and supported. Survey results reveal where companies are focusing their smart product investments.

Smart product development focus on two primary objectives: making industrial equipment smarter, through insights gained from embedding smart products into and around a manufacturing process; and making product packaging smart by highlighting the expiration status on commodities such as perishable foods, or reminding patients how and when to consume their medication. The third significant development opportunity focuses on making consumer devices smart, such as a fitness band that tracks personal wellness.

All these initiatives are set to change the dynamics between product creation and product sale dramatically because customer insight and business meaning are flowing through and around a product’s data.

The digital data emanating from a smart product or the processes that surround it is where the value—or alchemy—can be found. Imagine that smart whisky bottle exchanging data with a chilled glass to help uncover the perfect temperature for that drinking experience.

If properly instrumented and personalised, smart products become the sources of tremendous insight on product usage and status across the value chain, inform continuous product improvements and influence strategic moves into connected and/or radically adjacent markets.

By distilling and applying the insights gleaned from product intersections, manufacturers and other players in the value chain can strengthen customer relationships and create new and more profitable sales channels. Smart products can be instrumented to communicate with one another and with other products and services. Like the toothbrush that monitors and tracks the user’s brushing performance and provides feedback, or a jet engine that beams live engine data to ground staff, or a connected car that sends driver data to an insurance broker to enable dynamically priced car insurance. This looks and feels like a new product model for the digital age.

As product functions become more tightly controlled and optimised, we expect to see the emergence of innovative workflows (or product stacks) that connect the various products with the companies that own and operate them together.

Visualise the Smart Product Economy as an opportunity around the connected home, the connected car or the smart city. Each features a stack of products interacting with one another and blending into a unified entity that can be controlled through a single platform or interface by the home owner, driver or city planner. The result is a fully integrated and sometimes a fully automated solution.

It is happening today. Consider the manufacturing, healthcare or retail spaces, where inexpensive sensors and embedded software running across IP networks enable once inanimate products to sense, monitor, optimise and regulate themselves in increasingly autonomous and meaningful ways. Beyond the whisky bottle, check out GE’s smart turbine, to Procter & Gamble’s smart toothbrush, to Babolat’s sensor-embedded tennis racket.

Where to start

Our research demonstrates that the process of giving a product a virtual identity triggers productivity gains and offers the potential for game-changing innovation. Product companies need to engage quickly to ensure they are not left behind. Already, smart products are emerging across industries and creating profound impacts on product development, manufacturing, marketing, sales, after sales and the customer experience.

New ‘digital components’ can be added to almost any object without dramatically increasing its price. Sensors and processors, software controls and data storage can be added, accessed through an interface like a dashboard or app. By using data and analytics, companies can see and predict a product’s behaviour and, by extension, the wants and needs of its user by interpreting the data and anticipating how a product could solve current and future needs.

Over the longer term, strategic opportunities for smart products will emerge around interconnected solutions and the partnerships that underpin them. This inevitable disruption to the product model, and the opportunity it creates, is a natural consequence of what Cognizant terms ‘code halo’ thinking—leveraging the information that surrounds people, organisations, products, and processes to build new digital revenue streams and new commercial models.

By Euan Davis, Senior Director, Centre for the Future of Work, Cognizant

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure to deliver 204% return - study
The Forrester Total Economic Impact study finds SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure brings a 204% return on investment over three years.
Story image
Talend introduces new data health solutions for businesses
Talend has announced its latest version of Talend Data Fabric, with the release of Talend Trust Score enabling data teams to establish a foundation for data health.
Story image
Microsoft backing Māori and Pacific wāhine in tech industry
A new initiative focused on getting Māori and Pacific wāhine into the tech industry and backed by Microsoft, NZTech and the government is calling for tech companies to get involved.
Story image
Hawaiki Cable
BW Digital completes acquisition of Hawaiki Submarine Cable
BW Digital has completed its full acquisition of Hawaiki Submarine Cable, with all applicable regulatory filings and approvals now received.
Story image
Palo Alto Networks says ZTNA 1.0 not secure enough
Palo Alto Networks is urging the industry to move to Zero Trust Network Access 2.0 because previous versions have major gaps in security protection.
Story image
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from IronNet
Michael Ehrlich joins us today to discuss the history of IronNet and the crucial role the company plays in the cyber defence space.
Story image
Tech innovation crucial to growth, but barriers remain
Businesses in the A/NZ region believe tech innovation is crucial to drive future growth, but 76% say they’re being held back by complex data architecture.
Story image
Employee Experience
Zendesk launches customer service and employee experience offering
"Zendesk is helping businesses embrace this new generation of conversational customer relationship management and turn customer service into growth.”
Story image
Microsoft unveils adaptive accessories for disability access
Microsoft is introducing an expansive Inclusive Tech Lab to give people with disabilities greater access to technology through new software features and adaptive accessories.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ForgeRock releases Autonomous Access solution powered by AI
ForgeRock has officially introduced ForgeRock Autonomous Access, a new solution that uses AI to prevent identity-based cyber attacks and fraud.
Story image
HackerOne launches Attack Resistance Management solution
HackerOne has launched Attack Resistance Management - a new category of security solution that targets the root causes of the attack resistance gap. 
Story image
Power / Energy
SmartCIC report reveals top five 5G carriers in the world
The Global Cellular Performance Survey also found that 5G networks are delivering high download speeds but lagging in upload speeds.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ANU and Seeing Machines to use AI to improve driver safety
The Australian National University and Seeing Machines have won a grant to develop AI systems monitor human behaviour while driving.
Story image
Prophecy International migrates VMware environment with Oracle Cloud Solution
The Adelaide-based global provider is using the solution to eliminate the need to re-write applications, therefore allowing the company to enhance its business operations.
Story image
Energy storage demand momentum continues, says BYD
BYD has announced an expansion of its production capacities and will deliver 250,000 units of its energy storage system, BYD Battery-Box Premium.
Story image
ThoughtLab reveals 10 best practices for cybersecurity in 2022
The benchmarking study reveals best practices that can reduce the probability of a material breach and the time it takes to find and respond to those that happen.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Databricks strengthens AWS partnership with new Lakehouse offering
Customers will experience faster onboarding and unified account administration to make building a Databricks Lakehouse on AWS easier.
Story image
Power at the edge: the role of data centers in sustainability
The Singaporean moratorium on new data center projects was recently lifted, with one of the conditions being an increased focus on power efficiency and sustainability.
Story image
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Kodari Securities (KOSEC)
NFT trends and opportunities: expert reveals all
The NFT market is growing at an exponential rate, with unprecedented liquidity. Here we explore how businesses can profit.
Story image
Google reveals new safety and security measures for users
Google's new measures include automatic two step verification, virtual cards and making it easier to remove contact information on Google Search results.
Story image
Grasping the opportunity to rethink the metrics of a sustainable data centre
A data centre traditionally has two distinct operations teams: the Facility Operations team, and the IT Operations team. Collaboration between them is the key to defining, measuring, and delivering long-term efficiency and sustainability improvements.
Story image
Zerto unveils updates to ransomware recovery capabilities
"Organisations face increased risks from the volume and sophistication of ransomware attacks prevalent today."
Story image
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Adyen expands partnership with Afterpay as BNPL payments increase
Adyen has expanded its partnership with AfterPay allowing more of Adyen’s merchants in more countries worldwide to use the BNPL provider.
Story image
Hands-on review: STM laptop bags
The advent of hybrid working has meant we need laptop bags. We got our hands on two of the most popular laptop bags from STM.
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Avaya OneCloud sees 118% ARR growth for second quarter 2022
Avaya Holdings has reported $750 million annual recurring revenue (ARR) for its OneCloud offering, up 21% sequentially and 118% from the same period last year.
Story image
IT budget
$20m boost for digital technologies announced
The government is spending an extra $20m over four years on its plan to transform the digital technologies industry.
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Employee Retention
Company values increasingly important in post-pandemic world
New research released today reveals that company values are the new currency when it comes to employee retention in a post-covid economy.
Story image
Siemens showcases new automated solutions for data centers
Siemens has implemented new automated solutions and AI in the Baltic region's largest data center, providing insight into the future of data center management.
Story image
Could your Excel practices be harming your business?
While Excel has been the de-facto standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, is it alone, enough to support organisations in the global marketplace that’s facing rapid changes due to digital transformation?
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
For every 10PB of storage run on HyperDrive vs. comparable alternatives, an estimated 6,656 tonnes of CO₂ are saved by reduced energy consumption alone over its lifespan. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road for a year.
Link image
Story image
Why tenant consolidation is critical to cloud success
Consolidating tenants can improve cost management, security and engagement after a flurry of reactive activity following the widespread shift to remote operations.
Story image
Remote Working
How organisations can meet employees' changing expectations
The global employment market has shifted dramatically in favour of employees, sparking the so-called great resignation, in which people are leaving unsatisfying roles in search of greener pastures.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Physical security systems guide the hybrid workplace to new heights
Organisations are reviewing how data gathered from their physical security systems can optimise, protect and enhance their business operations in unique ways.
Story image
Ingram Micro Cloud adds Bitdefender solutions to marketplace
Ingram Micro Cloud has announced the expanded availability of Bitdefender solutions on the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace.
Story image
Jabra investigates what makes an ideal hybrid work model
“The way we work has changed forever and the current state of knowledge work requires access to digital platforms and technologies to be successful."
Story image
Use of malware, botnets and exploits expands in Q1 2022
"As zero-day attacks and other vulnerabilities among companies like Google and Microsoft come to light, threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics."