A new report from industry analysts IoT Analytics GmbH sets out to show small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) how to find a suitable model for digitalisation. With so many options for innovation in the IoT age, says Jeremy Cowan, the authors aim to help SMEs navigate their way through the complexities of the Internet of Things.

IOT Analytics, based in Hamburg, Germany, provides market insights and industry intelligence for the Internet of Things (IoT). Through sponsorship from Next Big Thing AG (NBT) a Berlin-based IoT company builder, the report is now available to download free of charge.

Written by Knud Lasse Lueth, Dirk Glienke and Zaña Diaz Williams, the Guide to Internet of Things (IoT) Innovation is a 36-page report that contrasts various models for digitalisation. The report also includes the  results of a survey of more than 50 decision-makers at SMEs in Europe, and presents additional research on current IoT use cases.

IoT solutions are designed “to revolutionise the way we do business,” say the authors. “Digitised processes, products and services create a new level of efficiency and enable completely new business opportunities. Companies need to follow these trends in order to stay competitive and thrive in their respective markets.”

“While large and multinational corporations generally have sufficient human, financial and development resources to create these new digital and IoT-based solutions, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) don’t possess the same options. Nevertheless, SMEs face a plethora of choices of external innovation from building corporate ventures to using company builders all the way to accelerators,” the report says.

Nine development models

Using nine different development models, the white paper’s authors show a range of ways for SMEs to explore and create their own IoT solutions. The nine models are:

  1. Third party full service provider
  2. Corporate Ventures
  3. Company builder/agency (Co-creation/co-development)
  4. Strategic partnerships
  5. Incubators/Accelerators
  6. Innovation Labs/Spin-off programs
  7. Direct start-up engagement (Co-creation/co-development)
  8. Ecosystem Innovation (consortia/academics)
  9. Open Innovation/Hackathon

The report finds that IoT is driving new innovation models, but that a lack of talent and expertise are holding innovation back. In addition, only 52% of respondents focus on developing new service-based business models while the majority (70%) are using IoT technology to improve existing products. In light of the disruptive potential of IoT, the focus on current products for linear innovation is surprising, perhaps even alarming, says IoT Analytics.

SMEs seem to lack a comprehensive vision of IoT. With this mind the white paper lists six “takeaways” for SMEs to consider in their plans.

Knud Lasse

The report has been sponsored by Next Big Thing AG, a Berlin-based IoT company builder that offers a  framework for the acceleration of IoT ventures. Its goal is to promote digital transformation and IoT-driven innovation for companies throughout Europe. NBG gives access to an ecosystem of investors, start-ups, corporate partners, hardware and software engineers and technology providers.

Since its launch in August 2016 Next Big Thing have developed IoT ventures across energy, property/facility management and assisted living sectors, whilst developing its own tech stack of enabling technologies in blockchain and secure hardware.

For more information on this free report click here.

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