We’re living in a world that’s drowning in data.
Smartwatches and wearables track our steps and monitor our health. The smartphones that we use every day are constantly sending information back and forth, keeping us linked to the internet. Even our homes and offices are more data driven, with the arrival of artificial intelligence and smart assistants.
Some of the data-driven insights that we glean from these new environments are beneficial to product makers, while others are helpful to the customer. Ultimately, however you look at it, we’re all moving into a more digital world, where everyone can enjoy a simpler, more connected day-to-day life.
The heart of this connected environment is the “Internet of Things”. The Internet of Things refers to a network of linked objects, tools, and pieces of software, that allow for better data management and innovation. With IoT devices, we can record and transfer data, monitor essential processes, access new insights, and more. Currently, the market for IoT is expected to reach a value of $520 by 2021. Here’s what IoT means to your business landscape.
A Better Understanding Of Your Customers
Probably one of the most significant benefits of IoT is that it offers companies new ways to understand their customer, client, or user. For instance, look at the smart home assistants that have become increasingly popular in our home spaces. Smart assistants answer your questions and help you to manage your day-to-day schedule. However, they also track important information about when people are most likely to shop online, and which products certain customers want, which is valuable information to manufacturers and business leaders.
IoT devices linked to beacons in the retail environment also can track how customers move around a store, and what sort of products they spend the most time with. This sends data back to the store manager about how products and deals need to be arranged to generate the best return on investment.
Ultimately, the more data a company can collect about their customer through each stage of the complex buyer journey, the easier it is for that organization to understand what convinces a client to buy something, what distracts them, and even what might encourage them to shop elsewhere. Put all that information together, and you get the secret recipe you need for better profits and sales.
Improved Customer Experience
At first glance, the access to extra information that we get from IoT innovations seems to be all about benefiting the business or enterprise. However, by tracking the customer journey and learning more about customers, we also can deliver a more immersive experience for every client. A smart refrigerator that tracks your usage can remind you when you need to buy milk and eggs as part of your next shopping trip. Your intelligent printer can inform you when you’re about to run out of ink, or let you know when a hardware or software error is impending so you can act fast.
The more businesses learn about their clients and the challenges they face each day through IoT, the more they can put solutions in place to help those customers. Even the healthcare industry is benefiting from the use of IoT in enhancing experience. For instance, the Toppan printing company in Japan designed an IoT-enhanced mattress that can sense the heart rate, temperature, and breathing patterns of the user. When the bed detects an issue, it can send an alert to a nurse through the Deltapath Acute app and ensure that the patient gets the care that they need as quickly as possible.
In the retail environment, the same technology could be used to automatically send alerts to customer service reps when a customer is detected wandering around the store, seemingly looking for assistance. You could even alert service representatives when your customers start searching for information on their phone when they’re in your store by connecting a brand app in on-premise beacons.
Significant Cost And Downtime Reductions
IoT technology doesn’t just give today’s modern businesses an insight into their customers. It also highlights how your company works from an internal perspective too. When you can see how people in your team are operating, and which tools you use the most often, you can begin to reduce things like operational expenditure, and even unplanned downtime.
For instance, in the manufacturing world, an IoT strategy could allow your tech team to keep track of all the machines on your manufacturing floor at once. When an issue is detected in the machine, like excess heat, or a reduction in production speed, your system would send automatic alerts to your pre-selected team members through a unified communication or messaging app.
The team members that need to check on the machines are instantly alerted, while your intelligent software lets you know which parts might need to be replaced in the future, so you can order equipment, and plan for downtime.
Productivity And Efficiency Gains
IoT solutions in the modern business space also allow companies to connect the key processes in their organization and therefore gain a more complete overview of their operations. When you have better visibility into your business, it’s easier to identify ways of improving productivity and efficiency. Experts even expect the use of Industrial IoT to improve company revenue by up to $154 million in the years ahead.
In Ford’s Valencia Engine Assembly plant in Spain, the team members are currently using special suits equipped with body tracking sensor technology. This system helps to track worker movements and protect them from excessive stress and dangerous situations. The same tracking technology also can help to identify bottlenecks and problems in production lines.
IoT technology also can help business leaders to pinpoint areas in the business process cycle that might benefit from being automated. When repetitive tasks are taken over by machines, human team members can spend more of their time on creative and demanding challenges instead.
Opportunities For New Business Models
While many of the most obvious use cases for IoT revolve around the development of greater efficiency and productivity, we’re also seeing more companies experimenting with IoT as a way of searching for new methods of growth. For instance, internet-connected cars, trains, and even coffee machines can all feed information back to their operators and manufacturers. This information then offers insights into how the company can adapt its products for greater performance.
IoT brings new value to the business landscape by ensuring that companies can learn from every innovation that they invest in. Companies that effectively integrate IoT technology into the products can consistently find a way to benefit both their internal processes and their customers. IoT may even allow some companies to move away from conventional business models and into new revenue stream options, like subscription-based selling. Companies like Amazon have proven that customers are willing to pay a monthly subscription fee in exchange for faster delivery and better service.
Embracing The Benefits Of IoT And UC
IoT is emerging as an exciting new technology in the business landscape. However, this innovation can’t accomplish much on its own. Connected devices are great, but it’s only when these devices link to your communication strategies and keep your team members informed that you can start to notice a change in your operations.
If you want to embrace the future of technology in your organization, you need not just IoT but also unified communications.
For many forward-thinking enterprises, exploring the opportunities offered by IoT will begin with making sure that you have the right communication and technology standards in place to keep your team members engaged, empowered, and informed. The future of technology isn’t just about person-to-person connections or machine-to-machine conversations. People, processes, and things all need to work seamlessly together to facilitate a brighter tomorrow.
In the future, it will be the internet of everything, inspired by the internet of things, that will have the biggest impact on our businesses. The Internet of Everything (IoE) combines people, processes, data, and machines to make networked connections more valuable. IoE turns information into actionable insights, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities for business. All that starts with the right connected communication.