Industrial Internet Opportunities: From Better Business to a Better Planet
For the past three years, I've shared with anyone that was willing to listen that the internet technologies we use in our commercial/personal world, when applied to the industrial world (what we call the Industrial Internet), create value as a combination of one of three things: (a) improved asset performance, (b) new services offerings and/or (c) better relationships between vendors and their customers. These are examples of what I will call "first rail" value.
The Industrial Internet also enables a series of second-rail opportunities enabled primarily by data ... What I am talking about here are business models that are enabled by the aggregation of a large number of data sets from the first rail. For example, a vendor can provide well-pump monitoring equipment with a cloud back end and a mobile experience. That can be their "first-rail" business. That same vendor could then aggregate the information from a large number of its customers in a given area and sell that information to the local water authority. This would be a “second-rail” business model.
At a recent event in New York, I was introduced to a "third-rail" set of opportunities. What I am talking about here is the opportunity for Industrial Internet applications to also generate social value—value that leads to the betterment of society as a whole.
Sound too esoteric? Consider the example of a pump supplier that deployed remotely-managed water pumping equipment in remote areas of Africa and that chose to add an SMS subscription service alerting consumers of the state of the pump, allowing villagers to avoid walking (often multiple hours) to find an empty well. Alternatively, consider the benefits of micro-adjustments to air-conditioning systems across a city, lowering peak-demand for electricity and avoiding the need for higher-polluting sources of energy supply.
As you look at evolving your business to benefit from the Industrial Internet, we can certainly help you find and refine first- and second-rail opportunities. It is my personal hope that we can also find opportunities beyond that to contribute to a better planet.