What does M2M and IoT mean to you?

Hayden Richards reveals the secret to meeting the challenges of M2M and IoT.

Hayden Richards, digital native & growth hacker, The Manufacturer
Hayden Richards, digital native & growth hacker, The Manufacturer

The Internet of things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technologies continue to play a major role in today’s manufacturing sector.

Increasing demand for wireless networks, innovative cloud applications and new sensor devices are all playing their part to fuel increased demand.

A new market research report published in March, by Transparency Market Research defines this growing industry: “The global IoT and M2M market is segmented into four major categories, on the basis of technology and platforms into Radio frequency identification (RFID); Sensor nodes, Gateways, Cloud management, Near field communications (NFC); Complex event processing (CEP); and Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA).”

These segments all combine to form a new era of competitive advantage if manufacturers can fully embrace all the technology can offer.

I am sure while many would agree that IoT is a major game changer, what we may be witnessing is the third wave of that comparative advantage.

In a series of books, the first titled Competitive Advantage, Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter describes three types of competitive advantages. The first example describes IT automation, the second describes the interconnectivity of IT, and the third describes what we now know as the Internet of Things.

Smart World IoT
Unlike previous eras, technology is now being directly embedded in products.

The main differentiating factor here is unlike previous eras, technology is directly embedded in products and this leads directly to increase productivity, greater innovation and enhanced economic growth.

It is also worth pointing out that the first and second waves resulted in large productivity gains and economic growth.

In a Harvard Business Review essay, both Porter and James Heppelmann CEO of PTC make a case for the importance of IOT, rating it higher than the arrival of the internet. Porter suggests these new innovations will require skill sets not traditionally found within the manufacturing sector.

Of course we are all aware of the STEM skills issue and that there may be a workaround by simply purchasing the cloud technology required without having to depend on in house staff.

From all this we can conclude that connected devices in the factory reflect a whole new set of technological possibilities for the manufacturer limited only by imagination.

One fact has not changed and that is the dynamic rules of competition and competitive advantage which for now remain constant.

The challenge for the boardroom requires executives have a full grasp of these old rules in relation to new opportunities.