Are you in the retail, technology, fleet services, entertainment or any industry that uses devices like your website or mobile application to keep in touch with your customers? Then it’s time to sit up and notice the way these #1. What is IoT (The Internet of Things)? Over the years, businesses have used devices to inform, educate and also keep in touch with customer needs. However as technology provides a host of opportunities, these devices are now going to be smarter – where they can take their own intelligent decisions through preprogrammed instructions and help ease your work. E.g. If your customer has run out of basic supplies like vegetables and milk, the smart device will give them the information without the customer having to check it for himself. At a larger level, smart cities across the world are changing the way we live by providing technology aided sensors that monitor the traffic, public facilities and also parking facilities. Some smart cities across the world are New York, London, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Tokyo and Paris. #2. How IoT will impact your business As per Cisco, IoT is a going to be a $14 trillion business opportunity for companies and individual businesses in the next decade. Let’s take a look at how it will transform your business and impact your customers. For your business Imagine a situation where you have to reach out to your sales team on a daily basis to sort out prospective orders for the day based on customer requirements. The everyday hassle of monitoring the required orders and sorting it out will require regular interaction with the team, which will take away your valuable time that you need to focus on other critical areas of your business. What if this entire process could be automated without any manual intervention? IoT will help you do this by programming your devices to function accordingly. Fast forward in the future, and you have IoT enabled machines letting you know which customer came to you how many times and what was their purchase list. Such a data will also help you geographically locate the population that contributes majorly to your business and in turn will help take better decisions with regard to allocation to budgets and also targeting the exact audience that contributes majorly to your business. For your customers Customising your marketing strategy by using the in-depth data available about your customers, will be a key to using IoT to the optimum. Some of the areas where IoT will help customers are: Helping elderly or disabled people in independent living Using remote applications to prevent over-utilisation of resources like electricity, cars and traffic lights etc. Monitoring energy and water usage to reduce over usage and control costs. In agriculture, to decide the exact quantity of materials to be used, predict weather conditions and control humidity and temperature. Controlling temperature in large devices for industrial use like fridges and medical materials Payment for shopping enabled at the place of travel like during transportation, at parks or offices. #3. Companies that have embraced IoT Some of the companies that have used IoT to improve their customer experience are Disney, Royal Caribbean International, and Tesla Motors. These companies are changing the way customer experience is enhanced by using data analysis to provide in-depth customer data on their likes, dislikes and patterns of choice. This information is used to provide a personalised experience to the customer. Disney has already integrated IoT as a part of their system with a $1 Billion investment on the MagicBand. Any person who has registered with Disney hotel and resorts gets a MagicBand – a wearable bracelet that has to be worn by the guest. This band is quite simple in its looks but provides the user a seamless experience across the park. How it works Once the guest has arrived at the hotel a MagicBand will be provided which will detect the user’s presence. The guest can then place the order for their food, rides and events at the theme park and all this information will be relayed via sensors to the respective organiser. For e.g. if a guest orders a food item, the respective restaurant gets a message transmitted through sensors on the MagicBand, of the order placed by them and when they would be expected. As soon as the guest leaves the room to eat at the restaurant, the sensors send a message of their arrival and the waiters await their arrival. Once seated, their location and table no. is communicated through sensors to the chef for the order to be delivered. Besides ease of communication, MagicBands also help eliminate long queues for the guest, avoid paying for rides and thereby not having to carry along their accessories like wallet and keys. This leads to a seamless experience for the guest. #4. Advantages of IoT It helps avoid accidents through the use of data to monitor the performance of a product like car or a bridge which needs urgent repairs. It enhances the customer experience and eases business operations It assists healthcare to track patient health even in remote places through the use of a chip Helps is saving resources by making optimal use of it like in inventory management, security and energy conservation. #5. Concerns with IoT Even though all this information seems like an ease to business it has its own pitfalls Lesser use of manpower is going to lead to higher loss of jobs and in turn higher rate of unemployment. With increased use of technology there is a risk of data being hacked and misused thereby resulting in mass shutdown of technology driven machines and in turn massive loss for business. Privacy issues and control of Internet of Things by some organisations is also going to be a key issue in executing IoT across different platforms. Key Takeaway While there is a high interest level in mobiles and mobile-enabled devices by the customers in recent times, taking it to the next step through IoT early on will help to keep your products and services relevant to your customer. Have you used IoT and if so are what has been your experience with it? Share it with us in the comments. Images “Internet of things word floating on open hand with light blue sky with cloud, Digital Technology concept / Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. 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