You may have seen the recent Harvard Business Review article in which Michael Porter and James Heppelmann describe How Smart Connected Products Are Transforming Competition. These smart connected products (a.k.a. the Internet of Things) are seen to be unleashing the third wave of IT-driven transformation and a new era of competition.
Porter and Heppelmann say that the first two waves (the IT automation of the 1960s/70s followed by the Internet wave of 1980s/90s) radically reshaped competition and strategy, and delivered huge productivity gains and economic growth. However while these earlier waves transformed the value chain, products themselves were largely unaffected.
The authors foresee the coming smart connected product wave will impact business models, industry structures and the very definition of industry itself … so I recommend downloading or reading the article online. Alternately Porter and Heppelmann presented The Rise of Smart Connected Devices keynote at last week’s LiveWorks 2015 conference in Boston which can be viewed online.
Porter and Heppelmann have developed a technology infrastructure model for smart connected products. This new technology stack is made up of multiple layers, including new product hardware, embedded software, connectivity, a product cloud consisting of software running on remote servers, a suite of security tools, a gateway for external information sources, and integration with enterprise business systems.