Money-tunnel smallThere’s no doubt about it, today’s emerging technologies are changing our business models.

Not only are companies looking to utilise the benefits of cloud computing, Big Data and the Internet of Things to improve the development of new products and their manufacture. They are also realising that there is money to be had turning a product business into a sales and service business.

So not only can we use the data we collect to monitor how we are performing and make improvements. We can now analyse it and add value to it by turning it into information that other people will want to buy.

Here are a couple of different examples.

Selling information to the end user

Farming equipment manufacturers, John Deere, now make tractors that have full connectivity with their own web portal. This allows farmers to effectively connect with all their employees, contractors, equipment and the John Deere support teams.

They can receive information on when and where to plough and fertilise their fields, the best routes to take while sewing and harvesting and have remote health checks run on their equipment.

The information package as a service is a big feature of the product itself.

Selling information to other parties

Traditionally commercial TV channels have made money by selling advertising space in the breaks between shows. As viewing habits change with more people watching on catch up, and on different devices, there are fewer opportunities to reach potential consumers with advertising.

One cable TV company in the States, The Weather Channel, found their advertising revenue under threat from the use of smartphone weather apps. Their response was to correlate weather patterns with the sales of different products.

I wasn’t expecting this, but they found that women buy different hair products depending on the forecast. This is clearly where I have been going wrong with my hair!!

The upshot was, they approached Proctor and Gamble Co. As a result of P&G changing which version of Pantene products they advertised and when, sales increased by 28%. Read the article.

A note of caution

While cloud-based services, like Facebook, may get away with selling information about you to other parties, it’s not to everyone’s taste.

Facebook uses various data it analyses about you, to sell to others. For example, it uses your photos to determine if you put on weight e.g. over the holiday periods. Then it sells that information to companies who target you with diet-related products.

However, Mattel’s new talking Hello Barbie doll has provoked the #HellnoBarbie social media campaign.

Hello Barbie is an internet-connected doll. She records what a child says to it during play, sends it by Wi-Fi to the cloud where it is stored and analysed by a software company called Toy Talk.

Conversations at a later date with the doll appear to be real, as Barbie recalls facts that the child mentioned before. Maybe she mentions a favourite band or a trip that the child has gone on.

The problem is this. How will Toy Talk or Mattel go on to use the information? Will they sell it to other parties to earn more revenue? Will the children be subject to subtle advertising; the latest record by their favourite band or an offer at the theme park? Read their response.

So what are you doing in your business? Could you use emerging technologies to analyse