Friday, October 2, 2015

Smart Connected Products: Can Massachusetts be a Global Hub for IoT

Last week, MassTLC was lucky enough to have partnered for a forum with Harvard Business School’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, to discuss where Massachusetts sits in comparison to other key cities in the US.

Christian Ketels, a Principal Associate at HBS, provided us with a number of insights from his team’s research to help guide the discussion.

We looked at this in three key themes, which were later broken down:
  •          The What – What are IoT enabling technologies? and, What does a cluster of IoT enabling technologies look like? Or should we be a cluster of IoT within a vertical?
  •         The Where - What is Boston’s position, how are we doing relative to other locations, what are our strengths and weaknesses
  •         The How – How can we be more successful and to help individual companies by changing the environment? What actions can we take to achieve this leadership position?

The What
There was some of dissent with respect to separating out the IoT product from the enabling technologies. The thought was that these two things must go together and the focus must be on the knowledge of the vertical industry with a deep understanding of the value that a connected product can bring to its stakeholders.

The Where
While HBS provided some great data, this being a newer market leaves a number of stealth companies unaccounted for so it is very difficult to understand how cities compare realistically. Also, if the reality of vertical knowledge is most important, does it make most sense for Massachusetts to concentrate and lead in just those verticals, such as healthcare and life sciences as well as small agriculture?

The How
While this wasn’t addressed as heavily, there was discussion about the importance of partnering with our regions of the country and globe. IoT is so vast that no one area can own it, the different disciplines and knowledge centers must work together to accomplish big things and succeed.

So where does this leave Massachusetts as a possible hotbed?
MassTLC, along with many of the great companies and organizations in the region will continue to work towards Massachusetts having a solid foundation and leadership role in IoT. But we must continue to define what that role should entail.

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