What is IoT?
We hear a lot about how the Internet of Things is transforming business and industry. But, what exactly are we talking about when we say, ‘the Internet of Things?’
In this video, Banyan Hills Technologies CEO and founder Steve Latham explains what the Internet of Things encompasses, how it’s affecting business and why it will transform the customer experience and ultimately lead to new streams of revenue.
It seems like the Internet of Things is all anyone wants to talk about these days.
You’re probably hearing about it more and more but you’re not quite sure if it’s real.
Or, it applies directly to your business.
The fact is, is that the Internet of Things is extremely real and we’re surrounded by it and its growth every day.
We now have smart refrigerators that alert us when we’re out of specific shopping list items.
We have fitness watches that are tracking our steps and helping us live active and healthy lifestyles.
And just about every appliance in our home is becoming smarter and connected in order to make our lives easier. Of course that makes perfect sense, right?
So, how are businesses taking advantage of IoT? And, how is the enterprise becoming smarter like our homes?
IoT has created such excitement and buzz in the industry that some companies have reorganized around the concept. They’re spinning up IoT departments, assigning lead innovators for IoT and then carving out research and development budgets to go build prototypes.
But the truth is you can’t build IoT in a boardroom. And, you can’t monetize IOT from simply changing your organizational structure. That’s just not the right way to go about doing it.
On the other hand, there are some businesses that have been doing this for a long time, back even before it was called IOT. These companies have mostly been responsible for managing large networks of devices in industries like industrial manufacturing or energy management.
They’ve been monitoring their devices to improve operations, and they truly do understand the value of IoT. The term IoT to them simply describes solutions that they’ve been using for a long time.
But now, the decreasing cost of technology automation coupled with the inflating operational cost of running a business are allowing for IoT to play a very meaningful role in nearly every business.
Take a look at retail. A typical retail environment can have as many as three or four types of connected devices. At least.
A kiosk for registries or customers to check product inventory, wayfinding, vending machines, point of sale systems are just a few of the items you can find in a retail environment.
IoT and connecting all of these devices can help improve how operators monitor and manage devices within a physical environment.
Now, it is true that today’s operators of large networks of self service devices face real challenges and have concerns about issues like security and scale when it comes to IoT. But you can’t let that stall innovation. And when you think about it, these are challenges that we’ve all faced before.
It wasn’t that long ago that consumers had to go to a physical retail location to make a purchase. But with the onset of website technologies and e-commerce retail operators were able to replicate physical stores in a digital web experience.
Consumers could sit in front of their computers at home, searching, shopping and paying online. And as an industry, we made them feel safe doing so because as e-commerce evolved, we created standards that were able to solve for security challenges.
We created standards that led to an improvement in authentication, verification, encryption and ultimately established trust certificates that helped the industry move forward.
But then, this is where I’d argue that the true revolution in ecommerce occurred. For the first time, operators were able to leverage web analytics to understand who was visiting their website, what products they were looking at, and establish what the individual’s personal preference were.
The operator could then personalize the shopping experience to present only those items that the customer is truly interested in. The operator could now have website customize itself to a customer’s preference as he or she is going through the shopping experience, ultimately driving satisfaction and likely increasing spend. Wow.
Okay, so let’s shift over to the physical world. If you’re a brick and mortar store and you want to deliver the same experience to your customers in the store that they have online, how do you go about doing that?
Today, when a customer enters a store, a retailer has no idea when they arrived, who it is, what they’re looking for, or if they found what they wanted, or if they just left.
The point is we can take all of the learnings of how we transformed the customer experience with e-commerce and then we can transform the instore experience by leveraging Iot. There are technologies today that can be implemented to outfit a smart store.
It could be mobile check-ins, security cameras, RFID, kiosk, digital signs, mobile payments and much, much more.
Let’s use a few of these technologies and apply them to an instore retail experience but now enabled with IoT. A customer can check in on the phone before she even arrives. And then, while in the store, her location is being tracked by location based beacons. An Iot platform combines all of this data to help the retailer understand real-time who’s in the store, where they are within the store and by association, what their personal preferences are.
Through all of this intelligence, we’re able to determine that this is one of our elite customers and then can ensure that she has a high level of service while in the store.
Now when the customer doesn’t find what she wants, we can outfit the store with self-service technology such as a kiosk, to make sure that she always has access to assistance and the full catalog of product even if the product isn’t currently in the store. She can browse for her size and because the system is fully aware of her personal preferences the kiosk can present her with other associated rewards and offers that might be of interest. Now she can either pay for her purchase directly at the kiosk, or simply take a copy of the receipt for the product with her to check out.
Digital signage technology can also become smart through integration to an Iot platform, as the ads that are playing can be tailored real-time to match customer preferences.
An IoT platform allows for all of these devices – from the point of sale machine to the kiosk, the mobile application, location beacons and the digital sign to become fully connected and integrated. This clearly enhances the customer experience while also allowing the retail operator a single view to all analytics involved with the in-store customer experience.
So, with IoT, operators with large networks of devices like kiosks, point of sale systems and digital signs can manage their operations, improve the customer experience and even enable new revenue streams.
With real-time insights to monitor the overall health of their devices, integrated incident management to ensure maximum uptime and improved field service productivity and real-time financial dashboards to manage growth and profitability for the entire fleet.
The possibilities are endless as what can be reported on real-time through an effective implementation of IoT technology.
So, what does IoT mean for retailers and operators of large networks of devices? It means automation, operational efficiency, new revenue and innovation.
To learn more about how an IoT platform can take your operations to the next level and beyond basic device management visit our website and check out Canopy.