According to Gartner, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a network with the aim to connect physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate, sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.
But what this definition does not tell us is how the IoT will revolutionise customer experience.
With the global market predicted to be worth £4.2 trillion by 2020, for the past few years at Outbox Group, we have been telling businesses why they should have a vested interest in the potential of IoT in improving customer experience.
For by connecting devices to the internet it enables consumers and businesses to share a common platform. This platform will mean that mutual interests can be achieved through greater use of technology in providing individually tailored customer service.
We can already see this with Apple’s release of iBeacon which allows businesses to send consumers hyper-contextual content. From our conversations with industry leaders, we can already see Beacon has been taking the retail sector by storm with the ability to send customers personalised messages depending on where they are in the shop.
John Lewis is one of many retailers to have invested over £100,000 in developing a retail catered Beacon app to situate all marketing hyper-locally, guide shoppers towards their wish list items and provide its customers the capacity to instantly pick up the products in their immediate surroundings.
Airlines like Virgin Atlantic are also now getting involved and testing the potential of Beacon by offering passengers special offers such as commission-free currency exchange in the terminal. It is creating a beneficial information network based on the end user’s physical environment.
As well as Beacon, the adoption of Radio-frequency identification (RFID) will become prolific in the next few years. By allowing items to be tracked by connecting to a network, RFID will provide companies the ability to gain a comprehensive insight into the product or services they offer.
The digital revolution will additionally allow a mass amount of real-time data to be gathered and utilised effectively to improve customer experience. No wonder Zebra Technologies found that nearly 96 per cent of retail decision makers are ready to make the changes required to adopt IoT technologies and provide greater digital customer experience.
With the advance of these new technologies, the pertinence of adverts will also improve by only targeting consumers with promotions relevant to them and speeding up the buying process. This will require an effective CRM and Marketing Automation system to be in place which Outbox Group notably provides.
Companies that have the ability to source relevant data will also be the ones to continue improving their customer service through the IoT network. They will also need to ensure rigorous testing of applications as a faulty network will only infuriate and drive potential sales down.
The other benefit IoT offers is its potential to prevent inconvenience pre-emptively. One powerful example of a company seeking to truly enhance customer experience through IoT is premium electric car company Tesla.
By installing sensors in its cars Tesla is now able to send messages to the driver when a problem is identified.
By giving the opportunity to companies to vastly develop customer experience through faster than real-time customer service, the investment within this network of physical objects or "things" will truly revolutionise the customer journey.
The information at the disposal of companies will only enhance their CRM systems capabilities from the point of buying a product to actually using it.
Marcin Malinowski is Director of UK Business Unit at Outbox Group, having previously worked for IBM as a Leading Consultant.