Over the last few years, there has been an exponential increase in dependence on technology. Social media and instant messaging has become a part and parcel of our lives. With the emergence of new technologies, several businesses have quickly adapted and moved to support the demand for new communication channels across their self-service and assisted-service engagement offerings; thereby bringing in the next wave of customer engagement transformation.
The Internet of Things (IoT) changes everything! The above statement is powerful; however, one needs to ask what it really means for the businesses and their consumers. Let’s start with the definition of Internet of Things (IoT). It is a general term used about smart-enabled connected products and services that includes people, processes and sensor-enabled machines, all connected to the cloud (a.k.a. the internet). As an example, today, a common IoT application is home automation which allows you to control IoT-enabled home light switches from an app on your phone.
The origins of IoT are found within the operational departments of industries like Manufacturing, Logistics/Transportation, Healthcare, and Utilities, under the label of Machine to Machine (M2M). The focus of M2M investments has always been on operational efficiency and up time. The combination of reduced size, lower cost and increased processing power fuels rapid expansion of smart-enabled devices to penetrate many markets. Another additional component required to spark the explosion of IoT devices are low-cost with reliable connectivity. The growing availability of low-cost, reliable wireless data services has bridged the final gap and enabled connectivity to the cloud.
Today, we have internet-enabled devices all around us - be it in our cars, homes, sports equipment attached to our bodies and even ingestible. Wearables, like fitness-tracking bands and smart watches are part of our daily lives that help us track our health goals. Driver-less cars are another emerging area. With the rapid explosion of IoT-enabled products, a general question is faced by the service providers on how IoT is beneficial to the organisation. The answer to the question is when it comes to IoT, customer centric organizations will be expected to solve a customer’s problems through insights gleaned from the device or service with even minimal input by the consumer. Through competition from new service offerings, they will quickly move to offer proactive and predictive engagement plans. Consumers will expect businesses to offer plans that can resolve any issue before they are aware about it. Imagine receiving the following message by phone or email:
“Your RO water purifier has a filter problem – this product is under warranty and a replacement filter will be shipped today. Here is your tracking number and a link to a video explaining the simple steps to install the new filter.”
Now that’s how IoT can transform the customer experience.
Predictions for IoT growth rate is challenging, however, analyst firms estimate that the global IoT market can expand greatly to 3 trillion dollars connecting 50 billion devices by 2020.
In the Indian context, the IoT adoption can improve customer experience to a great extent. According to Forrester, IoT in India will go beyond the shop floor and become an essential part of Business to Business (B2B) value proposition and pricing models. By 2020 the number of IoT units in India is expected to cross 1.9 billion with a market potential of over $9 billion. In the current changing times, businesses in India are realising the wide-reaching benefits of IoT implementation. Indeed, they are open for implementation and have an optimistic view of IoT as a key enabler of sophisticated customer experiences.
By connecting all the key components for service transformation, we can make this happen.
-By Adarsh Noronha, Senior Sales Director, Oracle Marketing Cloud, India.
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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