Companies can only attain this level of insight and control through integrating intelligent hardware with existing capabilities, including cloud-based software analytics, visualisation technologies and increased compute capabilities at the edge. Fortunately, sensors are becoming less expensive and intelligent hardware is easier to build. It can be designed, produced and distributed by small teams with significantly fewer resources than what was required just 10 years ago.
Today, there are also more resources to help enterprises master the hardware dimension of the outcome economy. Many manufacturers and manufacturing services companies are setting up specialised units with this in mind. Hardware accelerators, just one segment of this movement, are launching at an astonishing pace: at the start of 2013, there were three top-tier hardware accelerators globally; just a year and a half later, there were 15.
In the new outcome economy, intelligent hardware is bridging the gap between the digital enterprise and the physical world. As companies come face-to-face with the IoT, they are uncovering opportunities to embed hardware and sensors in their digital toolboxes. They are using these highly-connected hardware components to give customers more meaningful outcomes.
Today, delivering customer outcomes offers distinct competitive advantage. In the next few years, it will become a catalyst for transformation. Beyond that, it will be nothing less than a survival strategy.
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