IoT: Symbiotic relationship between Consumer and Brand

Dear friends and family,

Firstly, if you are new to the list, WELCOME :D. If you are interested, click here to view previous mailings.

Recently I have been reading about the IoT and stumbled upon some thought provoking propositions that I thought I would share with you. It focuses on the business approach and is rather technology agnostic.

So whether you are a consumer of a product or a business owner, if you are not yet leveraging from the Internet of Things, this would give you a good idea of where to begin.

Let’s start with the definition of IoT,

“The interconnection and interaction of the digital and physical worlds, wherein uniquely identifiable embedded technology connects and integrates physical ‘things’ to information networks via existing and emerging Internet infrastructure. IoT is a platform for connecting people, objects, and environments to inform and enable visibility, engagement, and innovation.”

IoT introduces a symbiotic relationship between the consumer and the brand.
From data collection, brands can better listen to, observe and use data-generated insight to enhance their products, services and engagement with the customer.

From a consumer standpoint, the benefit is empowerment. The age of Internet has empowered consumers via access to abundant information, at a click of their fingertips. IoT further fuels this empowerment to achieve the results desired.

How can brands actually enhance customer experience in the Internet of Things? Below are 4 key factors to keep in mind from both the brand and consumer point of view, with examples of each.

  • Reward
    • Brands use incentive (monetary, promotion, points, content, etc.) derived from data generated online and/or offline to drive customer interaction.
    • Consumers feel rewarded for their interaction (time, loyalty, purchase, location, product/service use, behavior, etc.).

McDonald’s recently partnered with Piper, a Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) beacon solution provider, to send customers greetings, coupons, alerts, surveys, Q&As, and even employment opportunities via their smartphones when they walk through the door.

Taco Bell targets users of the Waze app. When the consumer drives by their local Taco Bell they receive targeted messages such as getting a free cinnamon twist if they make a late night purchase at the restaurant.

  • Information and Decision Making
    • Brands use informational media designed to aid consumers with product and service decision-making, delivered at the most convenient time, on the right platform, and at the right place.
    • Consumer makes informed decisions through using the relevant information presented at the right time.
Home Depot is currently piloting intelligent integrations between customers’ online shopping carts and wish lists and the retailer’s in-store mobile app experience for loyalty members. Upon entering the store, customers that are part of Home Depot’s Pro Rewards program will receive a notification showing them the most efficient route through the store based on the items customers shopped for online.
  • Facilitation
    • Brands enable a specific customer action or transaction architected to streamline the brand-consumer experience within a specific environment.
    • Consumer feels the brand makes it easier to access, acquire, or accomplish what they need.
Starbucks now makes transactions possible beyond the Starbucks app through third-party integrations (extending beyond smartphones) with wearable devices such as Microsoft Band, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, and Pebble. By integrating with PebbleBucks, Pebble’s native payment app, for instance, Starbucks customers are able to pay for their beverages via the wearable.
  • Innovation
    • Brands use real-time feedback mechanisms to inform and enable product and service development, design, or customization.
    • Consumer feels the brand listens to and implements their requests for product or service improvement more rapidly.

Tesla Motors, manufacturer of connected cars, not only provides software updates to the car’s operating system (OS), but also crowd sources ways to innovate by allowing customers to submit requests for features they would like. Recently a customer submitted a request for a crawl feature: in effect, extremely slow cruise control to ease the driving experience during heavy stop-and-go traffic. Not only did Tesla implement the crawl feature for that customer, but also they rolled it out across the entire fleet via a software update.

Considering the factors listed above, business use cases can be outlined to determine the integration of IoT that best serve and satisfy your consumer. However one should be mindful of the ethical implications and security measures of collecting so much big data. Transparency is key to gaining trust.

So that’s a rather comprehensive summary of the aspects to take into consideration. I hope it was useful.

Once again I really do hope you will be coming to the IoT Conference in Ottawa on the 25th of September 2015. Below you can find a quick summary of the topic I would be presenting:

I look forward to seeing you there!

And since it’s a Sunday evening, I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes,

“All your dreams can come true, if you have the courage to pursue them.” -Walt Disney

Have yourselves a great week 🙂

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