Internet of Things: A Wave You Should Not Miss Surfing
Take a moment with me and imagine a life so different from the one that you lead today that it changes the way you see and understand the role of technology in it. (We are not speaking of email or mobile phones or chat).
Let’s fast forward to 2025:
Your toothbrush from Philips communicates with the dentist about the health of your teeth.
The blue-tooth sensor attached to my commode analyzes my urine sample and sends instant data to my doctor along with other vital health statistics that comes from my choice of wearable.
Your smart fridge knows your food buying habits and places an order when something gets over from your grocery store.
And of course, my smart phone is my digital personal assistant that manages my day-to-day activities, which includes nearly everything, from managing my gym routine to booking my tickets for travel…all by itself!
Now, what’s going on here really?
The Connected World
Welcome to the ‘Connected World’ of devices and apps, technology and need.
All this is not fantasy, rather it is really close to reality. The world around us is now connected in new and exciting ways. People are connected to people; people are connected to devices; and there is a cacophony of data everywhere. Devices are also connected to other devices, and all of them are talking to each other and exchanging data with each other. The opportunities in this context are vast, and thus comes the emergence of the term Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT is a buzzword these days and everyone wants to talk about it as it is indeed the next BIG wave. Using IoT, Tesla and Google have taken the automobile experience to newer heights. With driverless cars around the corner and overnight updates that fix issues, they are giving people like me (obsessed with cars!) a new driving experience in the morning. Just imagine this: If I were to step out of my home or office for a drive, my smart car would actually drive itself out of the parking lot and wait for me at the gate. As an auto-enthusiast, my love for cars would be instantly doubled and my car would become my new best friend because, my car would communicate with me in new ways and means, which I never thought could be possible before.
This could very well be my life and your life, in a few years, and also the life of an average customer who consumes many technologies.
Paradigm Shift in Customer Experience
In simple terms, IoT is connecting the devices over Internet and letting them talk to each other. Innovations and inventions are rapid in the IoT space today. Our watch, phone, car, tooth brush and every gadget that we work with or use are all talking with each other, while also telling the world of our preferences and status. This has a very profound impact on almost every industry. Its social implications on industries like healthcare are noteworthy, where costs could significantly come down, while also creating a patient centered healthcare model.
From the Internet of Things emerges an equally interesting world of “The Internet of Customers” as coined by Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce, the world’s No.1 cloud-based Customer Success company. Now, one can proactively engage with customers on a real time basis with data that is obtained from sensors, devices or websites. Recently, Salesforce launched Salesforce Thunder, an event-processing engine that has the capability to consume billions of events from connected devices, all in real time. This will revolutionize customer intimacy, understanding and service in ways that we haven’t begun to comprehend yet.
Talking about Customer Experience, one of the examples that definitely fascinates me is that of Burberry, one of the most valuable luxury brands in the world. Burberry has been one of the early adopters of IoT that provides personalized experience to its customers when they walk into the store. The store personnel use iPad apps, which have the customer’s purchase history as well as the preferences. The mirrors in the store can instantly turn into screens that can display videos. Every product has a RFID woven on to it that triggers relevant video content on these screens providing customers an enhanced customer experience. There has been a perfect wedding between the physical and the digital world, and credit of this seamless bonding goes to IoT.
Be it the IoT or the Internet of Customers, a huge wave is surging in the horizon, and I certainly hope while surfing through it, you are going to make the most of it.