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This research presents the results of an exploratory study of how organisations operating in the Internet of Things (IoT) industry are building and innovating their business model (BM). Using an explorative sequential approach through the multiple-case study method, we apply the “Canvas BM” framework to explore the BM of three companies operating in IoT industry, namely Intel, Solair, and Apio. The paper finds the most important building blocks - key activities, key resources, and value proposition - and most critical related factors enabling IoT-oriented organisations to create and capture value. Furthermore, our results also suggest that the main difference in the processes of BM building and innovation depend on the different capabilities and competencies possessed by organisations. This study therefore advances the theoretical understanding of the critical factors for the value creation process in the IoT industry's organisations and offers interesting implications for management theory and practice.
4. Discussion and conclusions
The findings showed that infrastructure management and product are the most important CBM areas, while customer interface and fi- nancial aspects were recognised as less critical. More specifically, they also indicated that key activities and resources, and value proposition were commonly recognised as the most important building blocks for their BM, while significant differences emerged within other building blocks and factors.
With reference to infrastructure management area, our results suggest that activities and resources are recognised as the most important building blocks. Customer, product, platform and software development, as well as the implementation, were commonly recognised as the main critical activities needed to create and deliver value for companies. Such activity configuration looks mainly at in-house resources and human resources in particular for value creation, rather than out-house resources from partner networks. However, Apio is more inclined to use networks, rather than in-house resources, for acquiring the knowledge and competencies needed for completing activities. Such result could be justified by the fact that Apio is a micro and emerging start-up company operating only in B2B market.
Young and small firms normally endure a scarcity of financial, human, and tangible resources that results in a reduced set of competitive options (Knight and Cavusgil, 2004). Older firms typically rely on their internal resources to compete more intensively in the market. Moreover, larger and older companies, already holding a large set of technological capabilities and for which IoT is just an emerging area of business, tend to focus extensively for value creation and value capture on their key resources, much more than is the case with small specialised companies.