The chief IoT leader in the enterprise needs brings a mindset that defines success with IoT as “making things better one project at a time”.

In IoT,  there is no VisiCalc, no Microsoft Office, no Hotmail and no Facebook of IoT;  there is only continuous improvement.  The chief IoT leader in the enterprise needs brings a mindset that defines success with IoT as “making things better one project at a time”.

VisiCalc and Microsoft Office were evergreen cash cows of productivity improvements that alone justified buying PCs and installing many of the first enterprise networks. It is hard to find single applications in of IoT technology that have that kind of broad power to drive platform adoption across industry sectors, cloud or hardware.  I’m not suggesting that an industry specific or one-off solution can’t provide profound, gobsmacking returns and cost reductions—they can—it just doesn’t make it a killer app.

Choosing just one technology and calling it the killer app misses the point entirely. Every industry needs to know different things and needs signals from different types of devices. Retailers don’t care about the location of infusion pumps any more than hospitals care about changing pricing on the right displays, but what does all of these types IoT technologies have in common is that they improve processes.

Using the mindset that continuous improvement is the power of IoT can be applied to both improving internal operations and driving value to the customer.  Having products “phone home” so it can be fixed before the customer even knows there is a problem is a process improvement.

There are a lot of people who would argue that IoT technology has been used for improving manufacturing and other process-driven industries for years. SCADA, M2M, and other technologies have been sending data from machines to people for a lot longer than the word IoT has existed. Many of these applications are involved with process improvement in industrial settings where lean is practiced.

It’s worth noting that most of these types of projects are going through very diligent in ROI modeling to get them approved in budgets, and smart companies keep deploying more of them. That is a virtuous circle of improving processes, reducing costs, improving outcomes, and moving onto the next application. As IoT grows, signals from legacy applications and new applications are going to be introduced into this cycle of improvement.

Once implemented, the vast majority IoT solutions continuously drive returns as long as they keep running. This year’s killer app is just the next cost reduction and process improvement project.

In every organization, in every enterprise, there is low hanging fruit for IoT technologies to reduce costs and improve workflow outcomes. Companies will find IoT apps that will empower their teams, create new transparencies, and hopefully improve everybody’s life safety. To get there, companies should focus on continuous improvement, not just one application.