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Putting the ROI in IoT

By November 16, 2015Article

It’s always fascinating to find new applications for IoT and M2M technologies, especially when the hardware is both cool and sexy. But cool and sexy don’t have much impact on a company’s bottom line. In fact, in some cases what should be cutting-edge technology is more like bleeding edge, with little gained in terms of increased productivity, improved operating efficiency and a positive impact on profitability. 

For IoT solutions providers, it is important that we focus first and foremost on demonstrating a specific return on investment (ROI) and payback for IoT technology expenditures. Especially from a sales perspective, when we can clearly state both the costs and benefits and prove how and when that ROI will be realized, we make a sound business proposal, not a pitch. Or to be even more direct, unless we are able to prove the ROI, we shouldn’t be trying to sell customers solutions that will provide little or no benefit. 

Selling against your competitors is often difficult, particularly if your prospective customers see you as one of many vendors with similar offerings. Differentiation is sometimes difficult. But when you can demonstrate your product or service and prove a reasonable payback, it is harder to say no to a business proposal that is just plain logical and makes financial sense.  

Examples abound. A restaurant owner knows that remote monitoring of cooler and freezer temperatures can avoid thousands of dollars in potential spoilage. A retail store manager sees the increased level of customer engagement a beacon platform provides, providing customers valuable brand information, generating buzz and increased sales. Smart vending allows machines to monitor their own inventory levels, calling in for deliveries only when needed and with a list of what items are needed, saving delivery drivers valuable time.  One unnecessary “truck roll” is simply a waste of valuable resources and directly impacts profitability. Fleet and asset tracking not only provides for dispatching more efficiently but monitoring driver behavior also can save on the cost of insurance and provide management valuable information for driver training. Monitoring and processing of evaporation credits for cooling towers and landscape irrigation can save big dollars in water and sewer bills. 

A variety of business models can be developed for claiming a share of proven savings, guaranteeing a minimum cost reduction, sharing in increased sales, and so on. And if, in fact, we are sure the proposed IoT solution will produce the results we have claimed, these approaches may not be risky, and may generate testimonials and additional leads. 

For our young company, our approach has been to allow for a reasonable trial period for our solutions to demonstrate value for customers. With positive press coverage regarding the technology and enthusiastic client engagement, we believe this approach is most effective in converting those prospective customers and gaining their support and testimonials to verify that we produce the results we claim. Focusing on creating a return on investment for your customers is simply a common sense formula that works. Or as we like to say, “We put the ROI in IoT.” is proud to be a media sponsor at the upcoming IoT Evolution Expo, January 25-28, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Ron Cook will present at the “Retailers Meet Consumers with IoT Solutions” session at the conference.   

Ron Cook is president and co-founder of Telemetree, Inc. headquartered in the high-tech Canvs complex in Orlando, Fla. Prior to launching Telemetree, he was program director for the Innovation and entrepreneurship graduate degree program at Full Sail University. He is a frequent lecturer on beacon technology and using the lean startup approach for starting a new business. Contact him through email at









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