Each day more products and services are becoming connected to each other, to customers, and to employees. Appliances, equipment, furnaces, dimmers, thermostats, machinery, medical devices, earbuds, watches, and vehicles, to name just a few, transmit and receive important information and instructions in real-time over the Internet. Frost & Sullivan forecasts there will be 50 billion connected devices globally by 2020.
Driving the popularity of connected devices, also known as the Internet of Things (IoT), are the Customer Experience benefits. Businesses receive operations data, such as when to replenish stock, what kinds, and at which outlets. Consumers can get texts, record their favorite shows, and cut energy costs by turning on the furnace only before they leave work for home. Equipped with this information, B2B and B2C suppliers refine their product development, supply chain, delivery, and marketing strategies.
In turn, business and consumer customers can be alerted to potential problems before these become major and possibly dangerous issues. For example, sensors can automatically relay individuals’ vital health information to practitioners. As a result, treatment and repairs are likely to be shorter, more successful, safer, and less expensive. Specialists will have a better idea of possible problems, their exact locations, and will be prepared to handle them.
But every new technology creates challenges, and connected devices/IoT is no exception. On a broader industry level Frost & Sullivan has identified interoperability, adequate bandwidth, and security as difficult but surmountable hurdles to their widespread adoption and use.
Equally critical for IoT success is the Customer Experience with these solutions. Not only must the connected products work reliably, without dangers like hacking, but they also have to be simple to use, affordable, and easily and effectively supported.
Appropriately enough, the IoT will be one of the key topics that will be discussed in a Frost & Sullivan webinar with LogMeIn on the “The Future of Customer Engagement: Keeping Pace with the Connected Consumer” Wednesday Dec.3 at 1 p.m. ET that we invite you to join. The panelists also will look at the role of demographics and the rise of new channels, the growing importance of Customer Effort (CE), and omni-channel (from chat and virtual assistants to mobile and social). Register here to learn from and participate in this important dialog.