Gathering Competitive Intelligence at hi Tech & Industry Scandinavia 2017
Designing new products that stand out would be much easier if you knew your competitor’s plans. While they are unlikely to send you their blueprints, there are ways companies can gain insight.
The term competitive intelligence, coined in 2007 by John McGonagle, refers to the action of defining, gathering, analyzing, and distributing intelligence about products, customers, competitors, and any other aspect that helps executives and managers in strategic decision-making for an organization.
Applying competitive intelligence means understanding and learning what is happening, or going to happen, in the world outside one’s business in order to increase competitiveness. That is, learning as much as possible, as soon as possible, about one’s industry and relevant competitors.
Businesses cannot exist merely by providing a product or service. They need to pay attention to what is happening in the marketplace, to watch out for direct and indirect competitors, and also to be aware of emerging trends, patterns, and relationships across industries. Knowing what competitors are up to forces companies to be humble about their own products and activities, and also to be better prepared to take action in time.
To sum up:
- Competitive intelligence is an ethical and legal business practice, as opposed to industrial espionage, which is illegal.
- The focus of competitive intelligence is on the external business environment.
- Competitive intelligence involves gathering information, turning it into intelligence, and then using it in decision-making.
Possessing competitive intelligence means understanding and learning what is happening beyond the boundaries of one’s own business to increase competitiveness
Staying on top of what competitors are doing pushes companies to be humbler and better prepared to make the right decisions at the right moment
HI-TECH, GUIDING THE INDUSTRY IN SCANDINAVIA
The international trade show hi Tech & Industry Scandinavia 2017, which took place in Herning (Denmark) from October 3 to 5, is Scandinavia’s leading event in the fields of tools, production equipment, automation, energy, logistics, and innovation. The event clearly focuses on all aspects of mechanical engineering and automation. That is why it offers a unique opportunity to discuss and discover market trends, emerging technologies, and innovation around Scandinavian countries.
hi is the place to get answers from the professionals in these fields. Industry experts tend to be friendly people, and they are usually happy to discuss anything relevant to their area of expertise. They are also generally good sources of information, due to their high number of relevant contacts. Thus, developing a mutually beneficial relationship can open a valuable information channel, and it is indeed a way of gathering competitive intelligence.
TRENDS AT HI-TECH
From hi Tech & Industry Scandinavia, three trends that will shape the technology industry over the next several years stood out to us:
1) Product modular configuration
The way we develop products is changing. Companies are starting to design and manufacture products based on modular configurations. Through collaborative environments that use end-consumer information, companies will increasingly offer their clients a variety of possible solutions to meet their requests. In this regard, hi was filled with a wide range of production equipment and automation solutions with configurable materials and functions.
2) Access to user-generated data
One of the most commonly prioritized growth areas for companies at hi is related to the Industrial Internet of Things and its many components, including sensors, actuators, connectivity, real-time analytics, and managed services. The IoT unleashes massive amounts of information in real time through intelligent connected products, and this data is essential to understand customer behavior. To this end, some of the most technological firms have already developed platforms that allow them to access the data generated by their customers when they make use of their hardware and software.
3) Artificial intelligence to unlock value
Last but not least, the main trend that surfaced at hi was the use of artificial intelligence (AI), and particularly how industrial devices collect and exchange data to generate such intelligence. AI allows products to sense their environment, to communicate, to understand complex situations and to quickly deal with them on their own, without the need of human interference. The potential for this new intelligence goes beyond anything we have imagined before, and its limits are still unknown.
This 3-day trade show left its mark on attendees, and we are certain it inspired them to look into their own companies and analyze how upcoming trends and technology will transform their businesses.
Companies need to know what their competitors are up to and also be aware of emerging trends