There are many buzzwords in the information technology world that may leave some people confused. This includes the cloud, big data and the internet of things. The internet of things is something most people can’t define. However, it’s a simple concept. It’s the use of 'things' including devices, objects, machines, buildings animals and people that have the ability to exchange and collect data with the use of embedded sensors, network connectors, software and more. It goes beyond the simple notion that only a person using a computer can interact with the internet.
According to estimates, there may be as many as 200 billion 'things' in the internet of things by the year 2020. The internet of things comes under a wide tent. There are many ways this IT philosophy can help a business market and sell its products. Below are a few ways the internet of things can help a company improve its customer relationships.
Products Will Be Smarter
In the end, while service certainly matters a whole lot, the product itself is the biggest determinant of customer satisfaction. However, what if a product could tell what a customer wants and adapt accordingly? That is a very real possibility with the internet of things.
In the future, everything from frying pans to mattresses to yoga mats will be connected directly to the internet. These things will be able to receive and transmit data, and they will be able to operate differently based on the information received. They will also be able to analyze user input and receive instructions on how to adapt when that input is sent through a Wi-Fi connection to the cloud.
A television, for example, will be able to tell that the user speaks Spanish as a first language and will switch on spanish captioning automatically as a result. A treadmill will be able to tell when an athlete is at the breaking point and be able to slow down to safer pace as a result. There are nearly limitless possibilities for what can be accomplished, and all of them will surely help customize and improve a customer’s experience with products that are part of the internet of things.
Marketing Will Be Smarter
The internet of things also has the power to transform marketing forever. The collection of massive amounts of data is known collectively as 'big data.' Big data combined with the internet of things could be a powerful force. Right now, you are probably familiar with internet advertisements that target you based on your browsing history. Think of that but only apply it to how you use products in the real world other than your computer. In the future, you may be marketed to based on how you use products connected to the internet including everything from kitchen appliances to your car.
This may seem like an invasion of privacy. That is certainly a real concern. However, consumers so far have shown great tolerance in regards to companies collecting their data for marketing purposes from their internet use. Unless the law changes to prevent it, the internet of things could become the greatest collector of marketing information in the history of man.
Customer Service Will Be Smarter
Lastly, customer service will be transformed by the internet of things. As we currently know it, customer service is reactionary. A customer has to make the effort to contact customer service or tech support about a problem. According to research, only 4% of dissatisfied customers contact the company that disappointed them.
However, with the internet of things, customer service may become proactive. Tech support or customer service reps may be able to detect a customer is having a problem and contact that customer instead of the other way around.
Overall, the internet of things has the potential to completely change how people use the internet and products. While some possibilities do seem a little questionable in regards to privacy concerns, the possibilities for businesses to make a huge profit by improving the customer experience are certainly there.