When it comes to monetizing the Internet of Things, it can appear that consumer scenarios are the only play, connecting people to cars, homes, and kitchen appliances, clothing, and health info.
If you’re a B2B company, it’s understandable if you are having a lingering wallflower feeling. Fear not—your invitation to the dance is waiting. In fact, the market potential for IoT may be as large for B2B companies as for B2C, if not larger.
Here’s a look at just a few of the ever-expanding list of IoT opportunities for companies that serve business-to-business customers.
Business versions of consumer offerings
It’s true; many IoT offerings do indeed target consumers. But often, those same products and services are equally applicable to business. A prime example is DropCam. With its namesake consumer version, you can keep an eye on hearth and home from anywhere. Its commercial counterpart lets you do the same for your small business.
And if you’re curious, the recurring revenue angle for DropCam comes not from its cameras, but from the cloud recording and storage of the video they capture, services that employ a subscription billing model.
Dual business and consumer use cases like this exist across the spectrum of IoT offerings, from smart watches to smart bands and beyond.
The all-important middleman
Some IoT products will be simply too costly for many consumers to buy outright. Enter B2B middlemen and subscription billing.
Consider the growing market for IoT-connected weightlifting and fitness equipment — or “smart dumbbells” for the oxymoronically inclined. These pricey systems automatically track the progress individual gym-goers make over time. They remember precisely how much weight someone lifts, how many times, how far they run, how fast and so on from one session to the next. A real boon for any fitness buff, if only they could afford it. Thanks to companies like UK startup Gymtrack, now they can.
Gymtrack is rolling out IoT smart workout gear to businesses, namely fitness clubs, which will in turn make them available to their customers through their monthly membership fees.
This same trend is unfolding in industries such as healthcare, where the high cost of diagnostic and imaging systems is being offset by similar B2B usage-based billing arrangements and recurring payment schemes.
The ginormous industrial internet
How large is the market potential for the Industrial Internet? Estimates vary, but the consensus is somewhere between merely ginormous to unprecedented in human history. Indeed, Cisco CEO John Chambers puts the number at an eye-popping $19 trillion over the next decade. Whatever figure you go with, B2B companies stand to claim a healthy chunk of the IoT pie.