A technical definition of Use Case is a methodology used in system analysis to identify, clarify and organize system requirements. In laymen terms this translates to how and why users of a product or service are using it. Examples range from the mundane (use case of a shovel is to shovel something) to the complex (use case for a cell phone is to talk to other people – communicate with other people – listen to music? – make payments – view web sites – seem cool. You can see why this ever-expanding sets of use cases have made the cellphone a ubiquitous must have in the world).

So, what is your Use case for IoT?

One of the challenges discussing IoT is that it often starts with the premise that data is knowledge. If we connect all the products and systems that exist in the world with the Internet, magically we or our business will become more knowledgeable, more efficient, more competitive, and even wiser.

A better way to approach IoT in your business is to use the gradual approach, like what happened to cell phones, starting with an initial use case that evolves to multiple use cases over time. As you create your use cases for IoT – here is a simple approach you can use.

How can IoT help your Business?

  • Can you gain a competitive advantage by making the products/services you sell smarter?
  • Would your operations run better if you had more knowledge about how they run?
  • Could you reduce your costs by having a better knowledge of how your products/systems work?
  • Will you be able to provide better products and/or services if you knew how people actually use them?

What are the Use Cases associated with your answers?

  • We all know about ‘apps’ associated with products. We also know that while an initial selling point, product app usage is challenging to say the least. Better to think about the total customer experience and how IoT may help. What are the pain points of your products/services? Chances are that if you are selling industrial equipment or solutions the pain points have to do with operational efficiency, monitoring, down time and service. Create use cases around the pain points! Can IoT help you implement solutions that will make you more competitive by addressing use case pain points?
  • What is it about your business operations that keeps you awake at night? What is it that you don’t know? IoT is about knowledge derived from data. What knowledge do you wish you had? Create use cases for your workers and managers that provide them with the information they need in order to improve your operations. A good place to start is by addressing ‘the roles’ of people in your operations – operations managers, support engineers, implementation personnel, customer service, sales and the business analysts that provide you with the information you need to run the business.
  • Knowing that your products and systems work is critical – whether in your own operations or your customers. But knowing how they work renders a much deeper understanding that can drive more efficient utilization and optimizations leading to cost savings. Start by creating initial use cases of how your products and systems work and then instrument your systems with IoT so that the data around these use cases can be collected and validated. Analyzing this data together with cost analysis allows you to pinpoint cost savings though better utilization and better use of your products and systems.
  • After products and systems have been designed, engineered, manufactured and delivered to customers how they are used is often forgotten. Having this knowledge can drive better design and support as well innovation of new and better functions and features. Here, the use case is how actually how the product/system is used. The initial version is how the product is intended to be used. IoT is then used to collect actual use information and process it thereby determining the actual use case. The next time you update and design the product/system your marketing and engineering groups will actually know what the real use case is and work to improve it.

Understanding initial (and future) use cases you want to support is an important part of effective implementation of IoT in your business. Triotos will take your use cases and create the business results you need.

About the Author

Mats Samuelsson

Mats Samuelsson is the Chief Technology Officer for Triotos. In this role, he is responsible for the development, integration, and deployment of Triotos technology initiatives.

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