Ready for the Internet of Things?

Ready for the Internet of Things?

The bluetooth Hapi fork can help us lose weight and reduce digestion problems.  The similarly connected Beam Brush enables us to improve our dental hygiene habits. These are available now. (Of course, the connected fridge in the picture would order the milk for you.)

What opportunities does the Internet of Things bring to you?

In the world today, there are more devices connected to the internet than the total global population. It’s predicted that by 2020 up to 1 trillion devices may be connected.

There are sensors in cars that can help improve your driving and reduce your insurance costs. Ever cheaper sensors can be embedded in products linked to smartphones and the IT cloud helping customers to achieve their goals.

New technologies are enabling companies to nurture a customer relationship that moves beyond the purchase to a post-transaction relationship between customers and vendors.

Nokia has patented technology for magnetic tattoos that vibrate on incoming calls or messages – scratch to turn off the vibration! Microsoft et al, and more recently Google and Novartis,are working on contact lenses to measure biochemical fluctuations in the body which could be used to monitor insulin in diabetes patients.

The Internet of Things is the connection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing Internet infrastructure. The opportunities arise from sensors, and networking, computing and service platforms being combined to capture, analyse and act on the information serving the end customer’s needs and purposes.

By enabling customer data gathering in the post purchase experience, Konica has been able to seize the initiative and tell its customers that they are experiencing machine issues (which they may not yet be aware of) and advise them that an engineer is already on the way.

What opportunities, or threats, does the Internet of Things provide your business?

Perhaps there are specific opportunities, like the fork or toothbrush, that go beyond what is available with existing products. Could you develop these with your expertise to help customers to achieve their goals more effectively and steal a march on your competitors? If not you, who might?

Alternatively, are there ways that your customer service could be enhanced further over the competition by employing techniques such as used by Konica for self-reporting of issues and proactive rather than reactive service?

My car usually tells me when there is a fault requiring visiting a garage – but could it tell the garage via my smartphone what the fault is and they call me up to tell me the parts in stock and the repair can be booked in? My typical experience in these situations is to ring the garage (eventually get through) and explain within my limits what the issue is, book a day when they can take and return my car or provide a hire car, understand the cost implications and get ready for the extras and delays. On the other hand, if they rang me and said your car has this fault and we can leave you with a courtesy car tomorrow and the car will be back the next day….Am I dreaming or is this what someone could offer – in any industry?

Any device which requires maintenance or calibration from time to time and within a wireless network environment could potentially be linked to a feedback mechanism in such a way. Could that give your product and service offering an edge?

In exploiting such changes, care needs to be taken in assessing the additional income potential and the changes and costs to achieve this.

Someone will be thinking on this. And in case you doubt it, I met a teenager this week who has been part of a team coding an alternative to the Hapi brush printed using 3D printing.

If you are considering new initiatives to help grow your business and lead the competition, including the changes required within your business and their financial implications, please give us a call on 01235 838543 for a free, no obligation, initial consultation.

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