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Being Agile in the Age of IoT: How Large Organizations Should do Business Today

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In his book “Size Doesn’t Matter: Why Small Business is Big Business”, author and entrepreneur Jeff Shavitz reveals that one of the reasons small businesses today are more likely to sustain their success than large corporations is their ability to be agile. What does being agile mean? Simply put, being agile means being adaptable to different conditions and being prepared to face difficult challenges. That’s according to Forbes Magazine. In the software industry, being agile would mean replacing high-level design with frequent re-design. It’s about following an iterative process, in which you continuously re-design in small phases, rather than building continuously as a whole. If you put both definitions together, it makes sense why agility for a company is so important: it’s the only way to survive the tidal wave of technological changes.

It’s been proven that, in the age of the Internet of Things, agility spells success. Be that as it may, economies around the globe are more and more dependent on small, agile companies which, for the past decade, have grown both in numbers and value. But what about large companies? How are they surviving the tidal wave?

Adapting to Change

Tech giant Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE) has wisely, albeit belatedly, put its best foot forward in the race to innovation. It didn’t stop from edge computing and development of big data analysis in real-time, it is now in forefront of cutting-edge technology in IoT. It’s main concern today, according to Senior Vice President and General Manager Keerti Melkote, is “cost-prohibitive economics and lack of a holistic solution” which it considers key barriers for mass adoption of IoT.  Ten years ago, HPE had been lagging behind in the tech race; today it has transformed itself as a major leader in the operationalization of IoT for mass consumption.

What HPE has proven is that even old, large companies can adapt to rapid changes and become as agile as any other young enterprise.  But it’s certainly not a walk in the park to do all that. Transformation was key for HPE, and, it had to be holistic, comprehensive, deep transformation; otherwise, the entire organization would have collapsed from the sheer weight of the task of revising, redesigning, transforming, changing. During its big event in London last December, HPE revealed that it’s coming out as a leaner, more streamlined organization, and that it was ready to make “inroads into hybrid IT, IoT and..memory-based computer architecture.”

This is the kind of adaptation large corporations need to do. Still – and, of course — there is no blueprint for innovation. Every entrepreneur knows that. But here are some fundamental guidelines that innovation experts would like large corporations to follow to achieve agility and succeed in today’s world:

First, determine your purpose in the world.

Why are you relevant to people? What is your mission? The clarity of purpose will guide you and your employees to transform in a way that will transcend hollow economics and urge for profit. In today’s world, people go for benefits and solutions, not fashion and trends. The digital world is all about authenticity, and anybody who is not will be ignored, or worse, rejected. The range and scope of IoT make it impossible to not be transparent. If people see you are genuinely concerned about their welfare, not just their wallet, then they will reward you with loyalty.  Your relevance will tide you through the wave of competition and ever-changing consumer preferences.

Second, remove the silos, spread your wings and embrace diversity.

Iterative design is what defines agility. The better you are at understanding the importance of adapting to different conditions, the wider the doors of opportunities to improve. This can only happen when you go out of your comfort zone and go beyond the borders. Developing your niche and cultivating your expertise are all good, but you cannot be forever confined to this silo. Try going from within to without and vice versa until you become like a gel-o in a world of wooden cubes. While there are real challenges to diversity, such as when creating an environment by which a marketer, a sales officer and a software engineer. But once you perfect that structure, the next step is batting for excellence.

Third, streamline. Small is good, lean is wonderful.

In today’s world, hierarchy, and all those strings and links don’t just make life cumbersome, it could ruin innovativeness as well. When an organization is too big, and the system is too complicated, in all likelihood, it will swallow initiative and creativity, and the dynamism of your employees could be gone after one big gulp. There are awesome IoT-based performance monitoring infrastructure that can be built within the company that, rather than infringe on individual creativity and initiative, will harness them. Within your reach are project management technologies that IoT has made a lot more efficient and user-friendly. Why not make use of those.

Fourth, and in relation to the third guideline, empower more, lead less.

In today’s world, you don’t have to be on top to lead, you just have to be within and among your people. The advancement of technology and social media have made it possible to lead from the bottom. Today, anyone can be a thought leader. Instead of building structures and hierarchies, use IoT to build your leadership.

Finally, keep your lines open both ways.

Lead not by imposing and controlling, but by communicating and being authentic. Decisions that are made behind closed doors by a few people might work a few times, but this will not be the case all the time. No, not in today’s world where collaboration, diversity, authenticity and openness make organizations thrive and succeed. Twenty years ago, secrecy and confidentiality might have been the norm for top executives. But do you think that kind of environment will win you advocates among thought leaders and influencers within the ranks of your employee base? Today, the mindset is: “Shouldn’t decisions that affect the organization be made as an organization?” Because IoT and social media allow everyone in the organization, from top to bottom, to participate in decision-making, the logical answer is: “Yes, decisions in the organization should be a collective decision.”

 

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How consumer retailers are enhancing shopping experience using IoT?

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When Agnes (not her real name), a budding entrepreneur in the retail business, started putting out her fairly ordinary retail commodity out in the market, she did it with much pizzazz that many clients instantly paid attention. Other veterans in the retail industry were puzzled: what did Agnes do that we have not done? For Agnes, an IT enthusiast with a penchant for creativity in the marketing front, it was a no brainer. She did it because she knew how to maximize IoT in enabling unique experiences for the retail market.

Agnes knew about customer experience and gambled on intelligent retail spaces to shore up her business. The latest Beecham Research proves her correct. In its newly published ‘Internet of Retail Market Brief’, the research group says IoT will be “pivotal in shaping the experience-based retailer of the future. The research suggests that emerging technologies like 3D virtual realities and biometrics, among others, will create new levels of customer engagement.

credits: Xtreme Readers

Beecham’s findings give us a deeper analysis of the ongoing transformation of retail space and where this will lead to. It’s important to know – and this is not just for retailers but everyone in the IoT business as well —  the impact to key enabling devices and applications on the retail environment. Specifically, the study shows the trends in hospitality, interactive kiosks and entertainment. It also looked closer at experiences among multisite retailers, virtual retailers and specialist retailers, and how the Chief Experience Officers within their space should take on a more active role in harnessing emerging technologies to win customers.

What Experience Do Customers Want?

Enhanced customer experience. What does it mean anyway? Huffington Post says customer experience is how customers perceive their interaction with your company. In the realm of retail, customer experience would mean their shopping experience, the ways by which you as retailer was able to help the customer find what he or she wants.

Like Agnes who has become a savvy retailer by using technology to engage with customers, appreciation and recognition of IoT and the “magic” that it can do to attract, captivate and win over loyal customers.

credit: OTS

Beyond hard selling, or even cold calling, retailers today recognize how various platforms in devices can fire up interest in a customer and let him stop, think and make a decision at the point of sale. Beecham Research calls it the “intelligent use of multi-sourced data and advanced data analytics.” Simply put, make IoT work for you.

According to Saverio Romeo, principal analyst at Beecham Research, “Data will be the life blood that will flow through all these technologies, making physical and virtual retail spaces more intelligent and able to adapt to new needs, experiences and business models.”

One of the most cited examples of IoT-based customer experience enhancement is Disney’s Magic Band. This unique technology gives the ultimate convenience to the visitor by giving him easy access to a wealth of services and capabilities. That would mean avoiding long lines, allowing easy purchases and being able to walk in and out like a VIP. In the retail grocery front, the in-store app has given a great opportunity to capture customers who are understandably acerbic to long lines, or products going out of stock, or just traveling to the supermarket. The in-store app can send text alerts and notifications on where and when to buy products. It event tells when milk has run out or if the kitchen pantries need to be replenished.

These are just few examples, and there is still much, much more that retailers can do to bring customer experience to the next level. IoT offers the widest space for retailers to trudge on and fully maximize to their advantage. In a study published by IBM in 2015, it says customers are more empowered than ever before and “creating real, relevant connections with them has become extremely challenging.” In this hypercompetitive environment, retailers who use IoT get the upper hand.

credits: LinkedIn

New skills for the retailer

However, designing and implementing experience-based retail strategy will not be a walk in the park, according to Beecham Research. It calls for new skills and changes in the organization, as well as the engagement of professionals who understand the challenges.

Saverio Romeo gives this advice to today’s retailers:  “To succeed, the industry must embrace the IoT vision and ensure that they have the right strategies, skills and technologies to become experience-based retailers across multiple physical and virtual channels.”

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Kony Helps KMC Controls Launch New Mobile App with Innovative IoT Technology

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Leading Global Building Automation Manufacturer Delivers New KMC Connect Lite App Built on Kony’s Platform to Accelerate its System Configuration & Setup Time by 75 Percent

AUSTIN, Texas – January 25, 2016 – Kony, Inc., the leading enterprise mobility company, today announced it has helped KMC Controls develop an innovative KMC Connect Lite mobile application that speeds the pre-commissioning process of its KMC Conquest controllers by simplifying field configuration and installation. The KMC Connect Lite app is the first in a series of mobile applications and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions that KMC Controls plans to develop using Kony’s cloud-based Platform. By using the KMC Connect Lite mobile app, customers can reduce the system installation
setup time by up to 75 percent.

KMC Controls is an independent U.S.-based manufacturer that provides building automation and IoT solutions to help facilities reduce energy consumption and operating costs, while also increasing the comfort and safety for building occupants. Based in New Paris, Indiana, KMC Controls provides its building automation solutions to system integrators, distributors, OEM partners and IT providers worldwide.

“For over 50 years, our goal at KMC Controls has been to help customers minimize energy use, maximize building efficiency, and ensure the comfort and safety of their occupants. To continue our leadership in manufacturing, we’re building an ecosystem optimized to deliver IoT solutions that deliver genius buildings and facilities,” said Richard Newberry, chief executive officer, KMC Controls. “We chose Kony to be part of this ecosystem because of their world-class expertise and market-leading platform. With Kony, we can develop mobile applications that can revolutionize building automation.”

KMC Controls selected the Kony Platform because of its open architecture enabling them to develop for both iOS and Android with a single code base. With Kony MobileFabric, KMC Controls can develop back-end micro-services for the KMC Commander system, apply analytics, incorporate features and functions suggested by customers, and integrate them with its mobile app. And using data enabled by the Kony Platform and saved on the Kony Cloud, KMC Controls can gain insight into how and where its mobile application is being used, what functions are proving most popular, and how much time is being spent on each screen.

KMC Controls first collaborated with Kony to deliver the KMC Connect Lite mobile application. Using Near Field Communication (NFC), the KMC Connect Lite mobile app enables field service technicians to configure, customize, and commission controller devices without powering the controller or even opening the box. With the KMC Connect Lite mobile app, a field installer places their mobile device on the controller box and can write the controller settings through NFC.

“The KMC Connect Lite mobile application that Kony helped us build is a game changer for our customers,” continued Newberry. “KMC Controls is focused on providing innovative and intuitive solutions and our mobile app saves an enormous amount of time, improves margins, and helps our customers gain competitive advantage. What used to take customers 4 days to configure and install a system is now down to just a few hours.”

Building on this success, KMC Controls plans to leverage the power of the Kony Platform to develop future mobile applications and IoT solutions.

“IoT is disrupting every industry. At Kony, we provide a cross-platform architecture that enables organizations to harness the power of mobility and leverage IoT technology that can transform their business processes and create new capabilities,” said Dave Shirk, president of Products, Strategy and Marketing, Kony, Inc. “Kony is excited to partner with KMC Controls on their digital journey as they continue to provide innovative mobile apps and IoT solutions that deliver value and exceptional experiences to their customers.”

To showcase their latest products and solutions, KMC Controls is participating in the AHR Expo from January 30 – February 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

For more information on KMC Control’s mobile innovation:

Video: KMC Controls

Kony is recognized as a Leader for the fourth consecutive year in the Gartner June 2016 Magic Quadrant for Mobile app Development Platforms (MADP) report. In addition, Kony was named a “Leader” and earned the highest score in the current offering category in Mobile Infrastructure Services by independent research firm Forrester Research, Inc., according to The Forrester Wave™: Mobile Infrastructure Services report and The Forrester Wave™: Mobile Development Platforms report.

About KMC Controls

Founded in 1969, KMC Controls is an American manufacturer of open, secure, and scalable building automation and IoT solutions. From secure hardware devices to smart and connected software, KMC delivers embedded intelligence and optimized control. KMC is committed to providing industry-leading Internet of Things-enabled automation solutions with leading tech suppliers to increase comfort, convenience and help reduce energy usage.

About Kony Inc.
Kony is the fastest growing, cloud-based enterprise mobility solutions company and an industry leader among mobile application development platform (MADP) providers. Kony empowers organizations to compete in mobile time by rapidly delivering pre-built, omni-channel mobile apps across the broadest array of devices and systems, today and in the future, with a lower total cost of ownership. Kony’s cross-platform solution helps organizations design, build, configure and manage mobile apps to empower and better engage with customers, partners and employees. Kony was named the first place winner in CTIA’s MobITs/E-Tech Awards for the last three consecutive years in categories recognizing mobile application development platforms, and was included on the Inc. 500|5000 list of fastest growing private companies in America. Connect with Kony on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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