GDR is pleased to host a guest post from Cameron Worth of Internet of Things agency SharpEnd on how you can select the right IoT agency for your needs.
Before asking what an Internet of Things – IoT – agency does, it’s worth looking at why agencies exist in the first place.
The fundamental purpose of an agency is – or at least should be – to help brands define their role in society at both macro and micro levels. Agencies are also expected to keep up with cultural shifts, but all too often we see agencies stagnate when they get too big, or wedded to certain business models. Don’t worry, I’m not subjecting you to yet another blog on how the agency model is broken; in fact, it’s this stagnation that gives opportunities to people like me to build new and exciting agency propositions.
New platforms spawn new agencies, and the IoT is no different. Web 1.0 created the need for digital agencies, who built websites and defined how brands should build communities across digital platforms and properties. Social media gave us social media agencies, which developed brands in a world where consumers could now talk back. Mobile ripped through everything, and agencies launched to guide brands through the resulting muddle. IoT plugs in context and ‘intelligence everywhere,’ and this brings with it both challenges for brands to overcome and opportunities to leverage. This is why SharpEnd was created.
IoT agencies are essentially just the next step in the platform/agency journey, and understanding what the IoT actually means is key to understanding their value of an IoT agency. This understanding does not come from the thousands of LinkedIn blogs you likely get hammered with about this topic. From a purely technical perspective, there are hundreds of platforms marketed as ‘the only IoT platform you need,’ but before platform selection you need to be able to confidently answer the following questions:
What does the IoT mean for my business?
How does it benefit my consumers?
What are the current and emerging opportunities?
How do we prove that IoT is something worth investing in?
As an IoT agency, it’s not SharpEnd’s job to create technologies per se, as we believe that in most cases the technologies already exist, or aren’t far off.
Instead, it’s our job to identify how connected technologies can be harnessed to their full potential. We combine in-depth understanding across branding and technology with ‘test and learn’ processes to minimise risk and investment. We’re small enough to work on prototypes and pilots while we prove the value of IoT, and this allows us to be more nimble than bigger players who perhaps can’t take risks and co-fund projects as we do (in most instances).
We are growing pretty much exactly in line with the market, and we expect continued growth as more brands work with us to realise the potential for technology innovation in their businesses. Filling the gaps between brands, technology and the consumer, an IoT agency should provide you with a rare mix of specialist knowledge and experience that is crucial in helping brands to understand why the IoT is relevant to them. The train is leaving the station, and if you don’t get on it, your competitors will.
For me, the IoT is all about seeing the whole world as the next platform – and finding technologies that match new requirements that will deliver positive business, brand and consumer outcomes across smart spaces and smart packaged goods.
If you’re curious about what the Internet of Things could do for you, feel free to get in touch with GDR here.