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Wired World: What Smart Systems Mean for B2B Marketers

As a branding agency, we’re constantly studying and monitoring industries to track trends and assess how the world’s best B2B companies are being positioned or repositioned for growth, differentiation, and ongoing relevance. A recent topic of conversation among our strategists is the Internet of Things. By 2015, according to some estimates, 25 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. Cisco, for one, predicts the Internet of Things will have an economic impact of $14 trillion by 2022.

What are the sectors and real-world companies that stand to thrive in a world where smart sensors embedded in all kinds of things—from cows to cabs to coffee makers— gather information and transfer it wirelessly to others? Some industries already have front-runner companies poised to take advantage of truly “connected” times. IBM, for one, with its “Smarter Planet” initiative is one example. What began, simply, as an ad campaign several years back has grown into a broader value proposition across a variety of industries and applications. IBM continues to expand upon the “Smarter” concept, applying it to Smarter Commerce, Smarter Cities, Smarter Buildings, etc.

But there are many industries where there is an opportunity for companies to really step up and own solutions for developing and delivering a more connected experience.

Among the categories with the most opportunity:

  • Healthcare. The sharing and connection of information regarding patients, new virtual treatments, research studies, clinical trials, new technologies, are all enabled by technology and connectivity. Already pacemakers can communicate continuously with a patient’s physician. A company such as Cerner, the health care information company, is well-positioned to push the boundaries of connectivity, providing solutions and demonstrating the value of interconnectivity.
  • Energy. With power generation, distribution, storage, and utilities, the power grid continues to get smarter. Technology continues to enhance the development, distribution, and monitoring of energy. A global leader like Honeywell, with its broad range of products, is well-established and suited to usher in a new era of energy connectivity.
  • Manufacturing. Logistics and supply chain management in the M2M world has never seen business like it is currently experiencing. Companies like UPS and JDA Software, the supply chain giant, are taking logistics and precise inventory management to a new level.
  • Consulting. Helping companies understand how their businesses are affected by a smarter, more interconnected environment presents a significant opportunity. Consultants capable of working with companies to evolve, develop new solutions, and position themselves properly in the information economy will play a critical role as businesses transition and stay competitive. IBM, again, is one strong example of a solution provider, but consultants to all business functions are equally important – information technology, sales & marketing, product development, operations, etc.

What are some other B2B brands that are positioned for success in the Internet of Things?