3 Emerging Opportunity Spaces for Killer IoT & Data Value Propositions

3 Emerging Opportunity Spaces for Killer IoT & Data Value Propositions

05-Jan-2016 by Gunes Kocabag

IoT and data present a rapidly growing opportunity space for technology companies. The space is rapidly being populated by inspiring startups creating offers ranging from internet connected light bulbs, to plant pots. Only 0.06% of things that could be connected to the Internet currently are, so there is a lot of excitement around the possibilities these technologies can offer. However, most of the time, we get too caught up with developing the technology and forget to ask ourselves a very important question: What user need are we solving?

Following a user-centered approach, we’ve mapped out the landscape of emerging value propositions that leverage both personal data and IoT technologies, and came to the conclusion that the conversation needs to shift away from killer apps to killer value propositions. In this post we share three tips for creating killer IoT and Data value propositions:

1. Address Issues Users Genuinely Care About

In today’s world where the market is saturated by products and services that offer solutions to problems that range from urgent to ‘meh’, those that make a lasting mark will be the ones that address issues users genuinely care about. Fundamental human needs such as physical and mental health, wellbeing, safety, security, connections to loved ones are the kinds of areas that IoT and data services can provide real value.

Taking the health sector as an example, there are currently 40,000+ health apps available only in the US, and the market for mobile health services is estimated to be $11.5 billion globally by 2017. Health sensors will increasingly appear in everyday items such as garments, furniture, or edibles, which will turn self-monitoring into a daily routine. But how to rise above the noise? By finding your niche market; clearly identifying a specific need shared by a definable and addressable market. Niche markets at a global scale are not so niche anymore.

2. Help Solve Interaction Overload And Fragmentation

As digital gets increasingly incorporated into our lives, we’re getting overburdened by data and interactions. Our data is spread all over the place and we don’t even have access to most of it. Most of our interactions are fragmented and spread across multiple interfaces, across different service providers, and various devices. There is opportunity for IoT and data startups to address these tensions and provide users a simpler, integrated data and IoT experience. Some emerging value propositions in this area are around ‘digital dieting’, exemplified by Moment- an app that tracks how much you’re using your phone and tablet, monitoring how many minutes you spend staring at each device, how many times you pick it up, and whether or not you’re meeting your goals.

It can even deter your usage after you enter the red zone by giving you constant alerts that make checking e-mail so tedious you’re compelled to stop. Services that focus on aggregating offers into one single interface – such as Hootsuite, which has built its value proposition on helping users manage their social media from one single interface – is another way to solve the frustration created by fragmented offers.

3. Build The Infrastructure For Emerging New Economies

Today’s economic landscape is rapidly shifting, and new economies are emerging that disrupt business as we know it. The ‘access economy’ exemplified by the likes of Uber or Airbnb; or the ‘on-demand economy’ exemplified by the likes of Taskrabbit or Amazon’s Dash button are changing the lifestyle, mindset and expectations of the future consumer. IoT and data are often core to these emerging offers which are shaping tomorrow’s economy; and startups that manage to build the B2B infrastructure backbone for them will be leaders in tomorrow’s economy. Braintree – a payment processing startup, now acquired by Paypal – made its big breakthrough when the intriguing new players it signed up as clients, namely Airbnb, Fab and Uber made it big. So if you’re a startup trying to choose where to play, identify other rapidly growing spaces and figure out what they need. A strategic portfolio of high-growth clients means that you win when they win.

Whether you’re developing a B2B or B2C offer, the starting point should be to identify what problem you’re solving and what completely new value you’re bringing to the table. Being different or digital is not enough – you need to understand what new capability you provide, what tedious task you automate, or what frustration you take out of people’s lives. In this post, I’ve highlighted three spaces among the many we see as opportunities for new IoT and data players to explore. We look forward to seeing more truly customer-centric offers emerging in these and other spaces.


Gunes Kocabag is a Senior Associate at Claro Partners, an international business innovation and service design firm. Claro Partners is a co-founder of Startupbootcamp IoT & Data.