This is the age of IoT. It’s predicted that IoT solutions could generate $4-11 trillion in economic value by 2025.
While large parts of that market have already been claimed by a few tech giants, there’s still plenty of market share left for other IoT brands.
But, when the prize is this big and the technology is evolving this fast, the competition to win market share and become a leading IoT brand is already fierce.
It’s no longer enough to have innovative technology at the core of your IoT product. Nowadays, you need to be able to grab every possible competitive advantage with both hands, if you want to be one of the brands that leads the next wave of IoT adoption.
How can you make sure your product stands out? How can you win customers away from your competitors? What does it take to win market share in the IoT industry today?
We’ve identified three strategies that can help you differentiate your products and win more customers in the coming years.
1. Show superior functionality
When competition is this steep and technology is evolving this rapidly, it’s hardly surprising that some IoT brands rush their product to market without the proper testing. If you looked at the current IoT market, you could be forgiven for assuming that it’s more important to be there — in your customers’ homes, offices or factories — than it is to have a product that’s easy and intuitive to use.
But customers expect more. IoT is designed to become an almost invisible part of customers’ day-to-day lives; in many cases, it’s there to be an invisible assistant, quietly providing insights, automating processes and making life easier.
If you can show that your device is more reliable and easier to use, you’ll have an undeniable advantage over competitors whose devices struggle to work effectively in the real world.
Ask yourself the following questions about your device:
- Is it easy to install? – Installation is one of the biggest costs of IoT deployment, particularly for businesses who might need to replace or retrofit old equipment, shut down production or close offices to get devices up and running. Consider ways that you can get your devices installed faster — whether that’s simplifying the setup process, offering an installation service, or providing more accessible installation instructions.
- Does it integrate with other devices? – Encouraging customers to install more than one of your brand’s IoT devices is the ultimate goal of many IoT product leaders — so you should make it as easy as possible for your devices to talk to one another. However, it’s also important to think about how your device will interact with IoT devices from other brands, too. If customers need to switch between multiple different apps to use each of their IoT devices, it’s much more likely that they’ll forget about some of them. If you don’t want your device to be one of the ones that fall by the wayside, explore how you can integrate your technology with smart home hubs that let customers control all of their devices in one place.
- Is the interface intuitive? – Good UX is just as important for IoT devices as it is for a laptop or a cell phone. If you want your product to have mass-market appeal, it needs to be easy for everyone to use, regardless of their experience with technology. Tech nerds will spend a while getting to grips with a device, but the vast majority of consumers will just abandon a product if it’s too hard to use. If you can provide an experience that’s intuitive — ideally one that’s similar to the interfaces customers know from consumer electronics like cell phones — you’ll be able to attract a much wider range of customers.
2. Show that you deliver more value for money
IoT can be a big investment. The devices themselves can be expensive, of course, but it’s often the secondary costs that worry customers — the money and time that they need to invest in order to get their device running and delivering value.
Price is arguably even more of a factor for companies looking to adopt IoT: unlike consumers, they’ll likely need to a) justify the cost of their IoT investment to higher-ups and finance teams and b) measure and report back on the ROI of their IoT devices.
This doesn’t mean that your device needs to be the cheapest on the market in order to succeed — in fact, you should probably actively avoid this strategy, unless you want to get caught up in a ‘race to the bottom’, battling your competitors to offer the lowest price.
Instead, think about how you can show that your IoT product delivers better value for money than the competition.
You can use price and value for money to win market share for your IoT brand in a few different ways:
- Make your devices more affordable – This can be a risky strategy — you want to make your devices affordable for your audience, without undermining the value of your brand or the power of your technology. IoT devices that seem ‘cheap’ are more likely to be associated with security risks or lack of functionality, so do some market research to find your pricing ‘sweet spot’ with your target audience.
- Cut out some installation costs – As McKinsey said in 2020: “Ask consumers, enterprise customers, or governments, and many will cite installation as one of the biggest cost issues in the deployment of IoT solutions at scale”. If you can find ways to make device installation less disruptive, you’ll win over many customers who are holding back from IoT deployment.
- Reduce the time cost of IoT adoption – Whether your customers are consumers getting to grips with their smart meters, or enterprises training entire teams on IIoT, learning how to use an IoT device effectively can take a lot of time and effort. Explore ways that you can help customers get up to speed with your devices faster. That could mean making the UX tweaks we outlined in the last section, offering more support to customers during the implementation stage, or creating detailed FAQs that target common issues.
3. Show that your devices are more secure
If you want your IoT brand to dominate the market, you’ll need to attract a huge swathe of customers who are currently holding back from investing in IoT.
And when you consider that 35% of IoT non-buyers said that security was their biggest concern about IoT, it’s clear that there’s a huge market share to be won for any brand that takes extra steps to protect its customers.
Almost every type of IoT customer — from consumers to businesses and governments — has something to fear from IoT security breaches.
A few years ago, most of those customers wouldn’t have been aware of the scale of the threat. But the number of attacks on connected devices has exploded, more than doubling year-on-year in the first half of 2021. This is at least partly due to the increased popularity of IoT — more devices in use means more devices to exploit, after all. But there are also signs that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the problem, as businesses became more reliant on remote monitoring while working from home.
Addressing these security concerns will eventually become compulsory for IoT brands. Every year, we’re seeing new requirements for IoT cyber security from governments and regulatory bodies worldwide — from the EU to the US, Singapore and Australia.
But winning market share isn’t just about doing what’s compulsory. To become a market leader, you’ll need to show that you’re going above and beyond to make your devices safer and more secure.
Nowadays, ‘going above and beyond’ usually means making security a central, built-in feature of your devices — otherwise known as Cyber as a Feature. In practice, that translates to embedded endpoint protection, built specifically for IoT, that both detects and protects against threats like malware, denial of service, cryptojacking or identity misuse.
Crucially, you can turn this superior protection into a market advantage. Your superior security is a core feature that’s just as important as your interface or your integrations (if not more so!) — and that’s how you should market it.
With support from the right partner, you can secure your devices and leverage superior security to win over customers.
Got what it takes to win IoT market share?
Competition has never been steeper in the IoT industry. We’re in the middle of an age of opportunity — but it’s also the age of more competitors, more discerning customers, and smarter hackers.
The good news is that there are lots of market niches waiting to be claimed. From security to functionality and price, the IoT brands that find their niche now and own it will be the ones that survive — and thrive — over the next few years.
Think security could be the feature that expands your market share? We’re here to help you protect your customers and turn security into a marketing asset — schedule a demo to see for yourself.