WhatSo far, the Internet has primarily networked people, but with the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0, terms which are currently on everyone's lips, we are by now on the threshold of total networking, where information can be exchanged between people and intelligent things (machines, products, etc.) for any purpose. The fact is that the fourth industrial revolution will certainly not be a self-runner, rather needs establishment in the market, the creation of new fields of application, as well as professional marketing and communication. We all know that only clear explanations and presentations of complex solutions pave the way for success, so obviously there is still a lot to be done.

Focus on concrete customer value, instead of abstract solutions

Intelligent machines and everyday objects are a long-cherished vision that has started to become reality with IoT and Industry 4.0. Production plants, cars, houses or fridges start to learn to control themselves and communicate with each other, making an impact on businesses by extracting and exploiting process and customer data that are locked inside enterprises. Data gained from devices, machines and infrastructure manage to boost productivity, enhance visibility into processes, help secure enterprises against attack, and drive profitability by identifying new business opportunities.

IoT stands out, because it incorporates cloud computing, mobility, software-defined infrastructure and many other technologies into a holistic, symbiotic digital workplace. Still, a clear vision is needed instead of just constantly hearing that IoT represents the future that cannot be stopped, adding a bit of anxiety by claiming that whoever didn’t participate would fall behind.

What’s a convincing IoT and Industry 4.0 story?

Well, as always, coherent and comprehensible content is needed that increases the credibility and answers the questions of the target group. With storytelling, authenticity and emotions can be communicated. After all, more than half of all potential buyers of a product trust stories attested by genuine protagonists and this applies to the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 as well. It's just a pity that most SMEs don’t do enough to show their strengths and lack a clear positioning that helps to stand out and highlights their unique selling propositions. Especially, technically oriented companies often find it difficult to describe the customer's needs convincingly. But that’s exactly what’s needed in the IoT and Industry 4.0 - talks about the concrete advantages for the user, rather than abstract technical solutions: User reports, case studies or longer whitepapers help if more details are required and can even be used as printed information for sales ot for downloads on the website. And keeping in mind that decisions are often made on recommendations, reference marketing will be of increasing importance in IoT or Industry 4.0 product and service marketing, too.

Aruba Networks recommends in its whitepaper “IoT deployment best practices”, for instance, to tackle IoT slow and steady rather than fast and furious. Instead of investing a fortune into technical tools and manpower, “focus on proofs of concept, sandboxes, pilots and narrow use cases for the initial go-round for IoT deployments”, the expert suggests. “Learn from mistakes, and be emboldened by success, but don’t try to transform the enterprise in your initial project. Furthermore, ensure that the organization’s human resources are properly aligned and deployed and don’t forget to take a nuanced view of managing endpoints and devices on the network,” Aruba concludes.

The already large and fast-growing Internet of Things clearly changes the rules, with workplaces becoming increasingly digitized by ubiquitous connectivity, innovative applications, and endpoint proliferation and diversification beyond almost anyone’s wildest imagination. And since it will continue to be nothing short of astonishing and challenging, we should attentively keep our eyes on the future.

By Daniela La Marca