Spring 2017

Editor's Note

Springing into Action: IoT Engages Connectivity

The thought leadership efforts of our global community have made for a busy and thrilling 2017 to date. On top of our programmatic research activities, we have had the privilege of interviewing numerous Game Changers from our membership community. These executives are thinking and acting differently to activate real change. As the network continues to grow, so has our opportunity to share new insights, and cover the latest and greatest innovative trends to help you differentiate between hype and reality. Our feature Game Changer interview in this edition of Brainwaves highlights BPI leader Sean Shoffstall, who has recently launched a new company called, Crave Metrics. Widely credited for successfully leveraging the “Quantifiable Creativity” marketing approach, Sean launched Crave Metrics after many years of providing data-driven marketing strategies for Fortune 500 Brands at Teradata. His new mission is to recalibrate marketing strategies to show relevant metrics of customer analytics, while removing misleading data and focusing on what matters.

On the research side, we recently launched our first of what we hope to be many reports on the topic of the Industrial Internet of Things. This feature report, The Impact of Connectedness on Competitiveness, includes insights from 350 executives across the industries most greatly impacted by the Industrial IoT, as well as deep-dive interviews from executives at Philips Lighting, Whirlpool, Hitachi, Airbus and others to learn how industry leaders are approaching the new connected ecosystem. The report reveals that industries are combatting a plethora of challenges on the road to IoT, ranging from a lack of technical and analytical skills, to the need to rethink business models, to increased complexity around platform and industry standards and partner collaboration.

Our first follow-up study to that IIoT research initiative will launch in June, and will focus on connected technologies within the ocean supply chain, and how new operational connectedness will drive transformation in an industry traditionally plagued by competitive data hoarding and lack of collaboration. This research initiative, Competitive Gain in the Ocean Supply Chain, will open the door to a new era in the ocean supply chain. We hope to continue to research how IoT technologies will impact various industries in the coming years and hope to hear from our members on which topic areas are most relevant!

The ocean supply chain is not the only industry facing radical disruption due to new technologies and digital ecosystems.  In a new initiative spearheaded by our sister network, The CMO Council, we are exploring the topic of the omni-channel in the telco industry. Getting Serious About Omni-Channel Experience brings together leading voices across the ICT in order to create an actionable framework for more effective and consistent engagement across all customer touch points and channels of digital interaction. It explores the critical need for carriers to free themselves from costly and cumbersome legacy infrastructures to become customer-responsive, agile and intuitive digital business operators. Participate in our survey, and we’ll be sure to share a copy of this feature report with you.

Our feature article ties together the topic of IoT and the evolution of telco in the digital age in a deep-dive interview with BPI leader Bennet Bayer, former Global CMO and VP of Strategy at Huawei. Bennet looks further than the current disruption to understand how business models must evolve given the future reality of where IoT and digital technologies will take us. He explains how IoT will soon evolve to the Internet of Everything, and the impact that will have on telcos when, in the not too far-off future, cell phones won’t exist, and instead the paint on the walls and the clothes we are wearing will connect us to our loved ones in the ways cell phones do today.

Our contributed article in this edition highlights perspectives from the BPI Network’s strategic partner, the IoT Institute, and builds on shared research to understand how business can cut through the hype and noise on IoT. In “Buzzwords Alone Don’t Drive Real Change,” Brian Buntz highlights our recent collaborative research and underlines the imperative to drive IoT decisions not by the technology, but rather the specific business needs. 

No matter what your interest area or goals for 2017, we can collaborate and work with you to help you remain competitive. Do you have a distinct point of view when it comes to business performance, impacting change or accelerating innovation? If you do and would like to have your content considered for inclusion in the upcoming edition of Brainwaves, the official newsletter of the BPI Network, send your submissions to us. From sponsorship to sharing content, if you'd like to work on thought leadership with the BPI Network, please reach out to Sally Lopez at slopez@bpinetwork.org.

Again, we want to thank you for your continued participation and strong contributions to the BPI Network over this past year. We are excited about all that is ahead in 2017 and will be counting on your voice and expertise to keep this exploration of innovation advancing.

Feature Article

IoT: Making Connections, Breaking Barriers, Innovating Everything

Bennet Bayer, former CMO of Huawei Technologies- the Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company and the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world- discusses behind the times marketing techniques within many telco companies. Bayer believes the secret sauce for telcos lies in dissolving boundaries to enable more collaboration with the world, thereby creating a symbiotic business ecosystem that thrives on shared success.

He compares the current telco methods to a plumbing system where the focus lies on the connective pipe between two sides, and not yet towards the systems at each end. He believes telcos today need to develop access to their channels, which are currently plagued by gaps that occur due to the lack of assistance around the functionality of each system connected by these channels, and deteriorate the telco’s customer relationship management.

He explains the flaw as such: “A customer comes to a portal hosted within the infrastructures of a large telco. If you take a company like Telefonica, which has 400 million mobile users, you can imagine these portals are incredibly large. The telcos can see the flow of traffic within the channels, but they do not have any connections to the traffic until the traffic enters their customer relationship management tool. The connections start to break down from there.” He believes that this gap creates an opportunity. “We have an opportunity to rethink channels as networks evolve into software-defined networking. IoT is an important stepping stone redefining all communication channels. The systems, the user interface, and the experience will change dramatically over the next 10 years.”

This IoT-enabled ecosystem means the future of telcos will be more collaborative, according to Bayer. One innovation of significance is software-defined networking and how it changes the way service providers operate. Most telcos provision their network at 110 percent of capacity to ensure traffic can travel through their channels, but many issues can occur when attempting to forecast the demand of traffic. With new predictive and real-time data analytic tools however, telcos will soon share compute cycles, MIB, storage and bandwidth. It is that sharing which will be a paradigm shift in the traditional business model.

“There needs to be a blending or merger of the CRM data. It must be transparent. It must be secure. Telcos must have a willingness to shift from banner-type or programmatic advertising to permission-based marketing.” He elaborates, “Telcos are taking steps forward and becoming more digital to streamline traffic and personalize interaction across the omnichannel for the service provider, thus increasing outsourcing to share the load of the customer relationship management data. That will lead to many new capabilities for customer care because the customer care systems of any service provider are the heart and soul of the business. And those systems are $100 million investments. It is something that no enterprise has anything even close to approximate.”

Bayer believes IoT is just the starting point on a road towards a fully-integrated technology-enabled environment. “The Internet of Things is a point-to-point solution, and in fact IoT has existed for more than 35 years. It started with RFID tagging and AIBC. Today there are incredible advantages enabled by IoT technologies, whereby for example a mobile network can turn down the cell tower during the night when nobody is using it, and save up to 30 percent of operational costs to keep towers running when no one is using them. In the future, IoT will set the stage for the Internet of Everything.”

He explains, “The Internet of Things will evolve into the creation of nanites, or small, sand-sized grain processors, that are going to be mixed into the paint on walls, and be woven into the fabric of your clothing. You will walk into a store and the nanites will recognize who you are, because the wall is the screen, and the computer and end device. There are no more cell phones. You will just turn to the wall, that already knows who you are, and say ‘Call mom.’”

While this idea sounds like something out of a James Bond film, Bayer affirms that this reality is only about 12 years away. The question is, with the Internet of Things rapidly evolving into the Internet of Everything, where does that leave telcos? Who will own this new connectivity ecosystem? The Internet of Things is setting the stage for a battleground, and it is unclear who will come out on top. Bayer advises that telcos must begin moving towards the communal path enabled by IoT technologies, to develop a collaborative ecosystem that will shape the future of the industry. Without that willingness to collaborate, they could very well be outpaced by new digital startups.  

Bennet is optimistic about the future capabilities within IoT, and is confident telcos are moving in the right direction. The increase in connectivity will enable greater collaboration, and augment current and future technologies. Telcos will gain control of the data and help the user realize and shape the data into a comprehensive aid to their experience. The future telcos will utilize the Internet of Things, Internet of Everything, and any number of future technologies to enable this ecosystem, but that future must begin today. 


Sean Shoffstall, Founder of Crave Metrics

Q: How is your team changing the game within your industry sector?

A: I started Crave Metrics to focus on customer journey analytics. We are trying to solve misleading data with Crave Metrics by giving people a broader view of their campaign’s effectiveness across all their channels, because many marketers do not realize every campaign drives brand awareness and the end value that it creates.

Marketers look at a campaign and might see the click-through rate and the open rate, but they are not instantly able to see how it compares against other similar campaigns, or against their company's benchmarks.

Our platform will allow customers that review a campaign to not only see what their score is against the Crave Metrics key marketing measures, but also to see how it performs against the company benchmarks, and against similar campaign benchmarks. This answers the marketer’s question that many platforms miss today, I’ve got a metric but what does it mean?

Q: What are some of the biggest impediments to innovation in your organization or industry sector?

A: There is an influx of so much new technology. Companies must constantly go from Paid Search, to Twitter, to Facebook, to Email, to Instagram, and be prepared to adapt and market to any and all other digital marketing technologies that develop popular user platforms. Current digital marketing technologies are complicated and ever changing: this leads to siloed information and messaging, and can lead to paralysis for marketing teams who get stuck with basic batch and blast marketing.

In spite of all this, universities and colleges are still primarily teaching traditional marketing strategies. Companies then hire young people simply because they know how to use certain media platforms or marketing tools, which can be problematic on its own. New educational and training systems will be vital to success in coming years to help bridge the talent gap. 

Q: How has innovation become engrained in your organization's culture, and how is it being optimized?

A: The leadership of a given team drives its innovation. One thing I have always done with my teams whenever someone new joins us, is bring up the top three to five trends I am seeing succeed with our customers or elsewhere, and ask them questions about its success, which opens the door for them to bring their own ideas to the conversation. 

At the same time, I am willing to pilot certain ideas. I am willing to invest 8 percent, 10 percent, 12 percent of my team’s time to pilot one of these ideas. We cannot always go after the newest platforms, but we can test new platforms on campaigns. If a campaign fails, at least we learn something.  

I have also seen mid to large size companies create a sandbox marketing environment that allows a safe atmosphere to test the latest social platform or API integration, just to see if it breaks. If it works in the sandbox, we bring it in. You need a partnership between leadership, the IT group, and the marketing department to try something new.

Q: What technologies, business models, and trends will drive the biggest changes in your industry over the next two years?

A: VR and augmented reality will change marketing. In-game marketing is another platform that is similar, these immersive environments is where we are going to see the most growth and change. Marketers will need to again focus on the message and make sure it fits in these environments without being obtrusive or obnoxious.

I believe another key business trend will be, I hope, a focus more on consumer data privacy. We protect financial and healthcare data and have seen the repercussions when it isn’t secured. Consumers give marketers their trust by accepting cookies, by signing up for our newsletters, by purchasing and registering their products. They entrust marketers with their data, so marketers have a responsibility to use the data for marketing without releasing potentially sensitive information. I think customers will start to demand more protections like other sensitive data. 

Q: Can you share a specific innovation strategy you’ve recently encountered which you find compelling?

A: Amazon's Alexa. The simplicity of voice activation to access music at any time, to interact with different lists and calendars, to listen to podcasts or news sources, and to use fewer screens, is a game changer for the consumer marketplace. 

Contributed Article

Buzzwords Alone Don’t Drive Real Business Change

By Brian Buntz

Conversations about the digital future tend to be nebulous, but they don't have to be.

In the early and mid-2000s, it seems everyone talked about making the shift to the cloud. “But it wasn’t clear what cloud was,” says Jay Allardyce, chief operating officer for GE Power Digital Solutions. “It seems like cloud is everything.”

The story is similar for Big Data and IoT. When it comes to the former, people go on talking about petabytes, yottabytes, and brontobytes or about leveraging the power of IoT to digitally transform their business. But with any technological buzzword, cutting through the hype and noise to change your organization requires a careful strategy and a focus on day-to-day operations. “What is changing you as an individual to do something different?” Allardyce asks. “At a basic level, it is behavioral change. You did something one way yesterday, and you are going to change because of digital, IoT, cloud, or another one of those flavors tomorrow.”

In the industrial realm, embracing IoT requires companies to modify the culture of their organizations. Successfully implementing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) requires a multifactorial approach— thinking about the business case, the network of things, data collection, and translating that data into actionable information. On top of that, IIoT projects require unprecedented collaboration among various stakeholders.

"What is changing you as an individual to do something different?"

It’s no wonder then that so few of the respondents in “The Impact of Connectedness on Competitiveness” survey reported having a clear vision of IIoT. The industrial sector is still early in the adoption cycle of the technology, and many of the most successful adopters of the technology aren’t sharing their secrets.

“The hardest thing for industrial companies to address regarding IoT is creating a competitive advantage in a new, nascent market,” says Dave McCarthy, senior director of products at Bsquare (Bellevue, WA). “It’s easy to start collecting data without a plan for how you’re going to leverage it, and those that do are often reluctant to share details about IoT deployments because of their strategic nature. The successful companies start with a business outcome and work backwards to get to the right technology that can improve those processes.”

Another wrinkle is that one of the biggest benefits of IIoT is predictive maintenance—36% of the study participants expected the technology to lead to improved equipment uptime and performance via predictive maintenance and asset management. But achieving this goal can be trickier than it sounds. When we asked executives about their company’s ability to use real-time insights and systems monitoring, only 12% said they were doing an excellent job. About one-third ranked their abilities as “moderate/improving,” while 20% evaluated their ability here as “weak” and another 10% reported that they were “very weak.”

[Check out BPI Network's in-depth IIoT research report]

Many companies with IIoT technologies succeed in using sensors to gain visibility of their production facilities, but that’s not enough, says Hans Thalbauer, SVP, Extended Supply Chain and Internet of Things at SAP. “It is not good enough to monitor. The real thing is the action—combining the ‘things’ with business processes to provide the real outcome.” Thalbauer said the situation reminds him of a Geico ad depicting a patient at a dentist’s office. “The guy is sitting there with his mouth wide open. ‘You have one of the worst cavities I have ever seen,’ says the man who is presumably the dentist, before saying: ‘OK, have a good day!’ Taken aback, the patient asks: ‘Aren’t you going to fix it?’ ‘Oh, I am not the dentist. I am just a dental monitor. I just tell you when you have a bad cavity,’ before walking away to go grab lunch.”

The same principle applies to the Industrial Internet of Things. According to one story, British technologist Kevin Ashton came up with the term in 1999 while working at Procter & Gamble. It seems that a certain shade of lipstick in the cosmetic line he managed apparently was mysteriously out of stock and he wanted to use technology to figure out why. In other words, the use case was all about monitoring. But instead of thinking of the buzzword in terms of how it was defined decades ago, I encourage you to flesh out your vision of the future. How will you dazzle your customers? How will you use the supply chain as a competitive advantage? How will you create new business models? While few people go out and shop for Industrial Internet of Things technology, after mulling questions like those, IIoT will likely be the heart of most of your answers.

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