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

How IoT primes a new smart product economy

Mon 25 Jan 2016
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 more than 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
trust
9/10 Aussies to stop spending if personal data compromised
"Based on the patterns we are seeing among Australian consumers, it is evident that trust in a brand is exceptionally important."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
AI-based email security platform Abnormal Security valued at $4B
"A new breed of cybersecurity solutions that leverage AI is required to change the game and stop the rising threat of sophisticated and targeted email attacks."
Story image
CRM
Zendesk announces new conversational CRM solutions
“The last few years have made it obvious that digital is the front door, convenience is paramount and relationships are anchored in conversations."
Story image
Workato
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
Phishing
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
Sustainability
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
Mobility
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.
Story image
Wireless
SmartCIC, BICS partner to expand wireless service options
SmarCIC has partnered with BICS to increase choice for organisations using fixed wireless services, expanding existing carrier relationships for its CELLSMART division.
Story image
PaaS
New digital traffic light system to tackle construction defects
Smarter Defects Management launches its PaaS digital system and says it will revolutionise managing defects in the construction industry.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SAS launches human-focused responsible innovation initiative
SAS has launched a responsible innovation initiative, furthering its commitment to equity and putting people first.
Story image
Cybersecurity
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
Artificial Intelligence
Updates from Google Workspace set to ease hybrid working troubles
Google Workspace has announced a variety of new features which will utilise Google AI capabilities to help make hybrid working situations more efficient and effective.
Story image
Sift
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
Cybersecurity
Managed service providers: effective scoping to avoid costly vendor pitfalls
Managed security services are outsourced services focusing on the security and resilience of business networks.
Softiron
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
Public Cloud
Cloud adoption still a work in progress, NetApp finds
NetApp has announced the results of the annual Cloud Infrastructure Report based on a survey of public cloud business and IT decision makers.
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
SaaS
Atturra partners with Focus HQ to support Aus organisations
Atturra has executed a partnership agreement with Focus HQ, to resell and support the company's Australian developed SaaS-based portfolio management platform.
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
Cybersecurity
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
Cybersecurity
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
Talend
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
Fortinet
Fortinet's Security Fabric hits new record for integrations
The Fortinet Security Fabric has surpassed 500 technology integrations with more than 300 Fabric-Ready Technology Alliance Partners.
Story image
Safety
Voxel hits total funding of $18M following ongoing wins
Since raising its seed round in September, Voxel has grown at pace, by decreasing on-site injuries by upwards of 80% and increasing operational productivity.
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.
Story image
Veryfi
Veryfi announces Mobile Receipt Capture for D2C marketing apps
Veryfi has announced a new enhancement to its portfolio, with Mobile Receipt Capture for direct-to-consumer marketing apps.
Story image
SAS
New SAS service overcomes subscription fatigue for media companies
SAS has launched SAS 360 Match which helps media companies move towards a AVOD model to generate revenue as subscribers cancel.
Story image
Manufacturing
HINDSITE wins Aerospace Xelerated Pitch Challenge with solution to support Boeing
Brisbane-based startup HINDSITE was the winner of the first ever Pitch Challenge organised by Aerospace Xelerated in partnership with Queensland XR Hub. 
Story image
Sustainability
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
Artificial Intelligence
Clear Dynamics closes $35M funding round, invests in global growth
The funding is a major milestone and speaks to Clear Dynamics’ vision for AI-enabled ‘composable’ enterprise software, the company states.
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.
Exabeam
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Excel
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
Artificial Intelligence
SAS unveils AI experience to improve kids' batting abilities
SAS has created The Batting Lab, an interactive experience using AI, computer vision and IoT analytics to help kids improve their baseball and softball swings.
Story image
Sustainability
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
SaaS
Cloudflare launches instant serverless database for dev teams
"Today we’re announcing our first serverless database which we expect will quickly become one of the largest databases in the world."
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Telstra
Telstra and Silver Trak Digital delivers 5G to the cinemas
Telstra and Silver Trak Digital say they've launched Australia's fastest and most secure delivery of content over 5G for cinemas.
Darktrace
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
Digital Transformation
Unlocking the next digital frontier for educational institutions
Understanding where to invest in technology can be challenging for education institutions, especially after the COVID-19 disruptions.
Story image
Remote Working
IT teams deploy powerful technologies to enable remote work
"We found that IT teams mastered the challenges of remote work last year in large part by employing powerful yet easy-to-use technologies."
Story image
Power / Energy
Keysight Technologies introduces new next-gen DPT solution
Keysight Technologies has announced its new next-generation Double-Pulse Tester (DPT) with the PD1550A Advanced Dynamic Power Device Analyser.
Story image
BeyondTrust
BeyondTrust integrates Password Safe solution with SailPoint
BeyondTrust has announced the integration of BeyondTrust Password Safe with SailPoint identity security offerings.