What can IoT do for your customers?

Internet of Things (IoT) is a utilitarian technology that organisations are in the process of deploying through sensors and devices connected across a digital network. The paradigm which integrates IoT technologies into customer experience is popularly known as the Smart User Experience. In past few years, it has taken centre stage in delivering growth for organisations and is predicted to play an even crucial role in near future with the fifth generation connectivity (5G) rolling out expansively.

The number of connected devices have been forecasted to reach 25 billion by the end of 2021 (as per Gartner), which will produce huge opportunities for organisations to deliver a stylised experience to their patrons, majorly from 29.4 trillion gigabytes of data that will be generated by at least 41.6 billion connected IoT devices in the next five years (as per research firm IDC estimates). This data, if utilised well, would enhance customisation and transparency, thus creating valuable insights into consumer behaviour.

Here are a few practical examples of how technology can be implemented in an organisation without having to reinvent the wheel.

It is normal for the new age customers to expect a convenient, fast, and flexible delivery; they appreciate real-time visibility. In fulfilment services, DHL utilises IoT sensors in its warehouses and fleets to share continuous updates with the customers. Keeping them in the loop builds a level of trust in the system and reduces chances of customer attrition when things go south.

In order to offer faster and more customised services, supermarkets like Asda use RFID sensors and IoT devices, catalysing sales and building customer loyalty. IoT connected devices such as beacons, cameras, and smart shelves generate data which in turn augments customised customer engagement. The data is also used to judge the effectiveness of store layouts and in-store promotions, which are analysed concurrently to capture customer preferences when making a purchase. Intelligent staff scheduling can as well be based on data generated from IoT sensors, thus eliminating long queues at the cash counters. For those of us who are lethargic or super occupied, grocery shopping has become state-of-the-art with Tesco’s digital channel, isn’t that automation a life saver?

Companies like Nest that integrate home security with IoT go a step further in building a smarter, and more thoughtful connected home. Control your lights, set the temperature and start the entertainment, all with your voice. Who doesn’t fancy such personalisation? And the data generated can anticipate device failures and notify users immediately while adapting to different conditions for every home — be it weather, location, or usage patterns.

In as much as IoT revolution builds upon the efficiencies of past technologies, it offers the opportunity to reimagine products and services with innovation, the functional no-checkout retail store Amazon Go is such a fantastic proof. This fully automated store enables customers to interact with products inside and use their mobile wallets to pay for the items, creating a seamless experience.

Startups like Lime (I found them interesting in Germany specially) and other product-as-a-service platforms today are created in response to customers wanting to pay-per-use rather than lease.

With more devices and data streams generated every day, IoT analytics will be a central technology in continuously creating better customer experience in the future. Are you game?

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Supriya Sharma

Supriya Sharma

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♥️ — Proud Daughter, Charmed Sister, Juliet sans Romeo; 🧠 — CX Alchemist, Business Strategist, Leadership Evangelist, Author, Investor