IoT usabilityAlthough the vast majority of marketers is aware of the fact that the Internet of Things (IoT) will change their industry, besides security concerns, not having the required skills is named as one of the main reasons for not implementing IoT. Indeed, IoT requires a complete rethinking of business management, but rewards with incredible new opportunities. It's not just about connecting devices in a meaningful way, but optimizing processes, extending customer services, and creating new revenue streams. Ultimately, IoT solutions simplify processes and create new values for users.

Various divisions benefit from the IoT

Certainly, the IT department is the most obvious sector that benefits from the Internet of Things. Contributing to this are lower development costs in terms of hardware as well as transmission bandwidth, which is steadily increasing. However, data management over long distances requires the security of the data and the skills of employees are required to work with the IT system to take advantage of the connections, such as faster workflows and easier data collection. We all know that IT is by now interdepartmental and therefore relevant to all employees.

Marketing: Customer approach enables deeper market insights

The Internet of Things offers new opportunities to get in direct contact with the end customer or to stay in touch with them in the long run. Anyway, sales and marketing departments have new ways to address end users directly, for example via social media channels. At the same time, companies can find out more about the needs and trends of the market and adjust their offer accordingly. Depending on distribution channels, distributors and resellers might need to be involved or given new opportunities to expand their revenue streams. The product sales are the beginning of the marketing opportunities here, not the end as before.

The company Eliq, for example, for example, allows the monitoring of energy consumption via sensor. The data is transmitted to the cloud and can therefore be viewed e.g. via smartphone. The system is connected to social networks like Facebook, that way increasing interest and attention, and you can even compete with friends for the best energy savings

Improving CRM and making it even more effective

Customer service is another area that benefits from the IoT. For instance, because a connected device recognizes on its own that there is a problem and reports it to the responsible technical support based on how it works. Ideally, the device is able to report which spare part is needed, this way avoiding failures and time-consuming repairs. Not to mention that regular software updates are carried out automatically. All this, however, does not replace customer service, rather supports the department in its efforts to serve the end user faster and more effectively.

For example, the construction machinery manufacturer Hitachi benefits from the IoT in a remarkable way. The interconnectedness of their machines optimizes operation, safety and maintenance processes, besides minimizing the risk of costly repairs or dangerous device failures.

Business development - opening up new sources of income with IoT

IoT benefits are of course decisive for the business development of a company as well, since it enables us to break new ground and generate new sources of income or higher margins. For example, a digital service can become an interesting product for buyers, if it greatly expands their usage options. To provide such services, companies enter nowadays into co-operations with each other that were previously unimaginable.

The Swedish truck manufacturer Scania, for instance, expanded its portfolio by developing a fleet management system that allowed truck buyers, among other things, a more economical operation and optimized maintenance of their fleet. A completely new business was set up that benefitted both the end user and Scania's entrepreneurial development.

The Internet of Things clearly changes the way people communicate, work and live in the future, simply because there will be connectivity for everyone, everything and everywhere. Its impact on businesses and their marketing efforts respectively will be enormous.

By Daniela La Marca