Internet of Things has become quite a buzzword these days. But what exactly is IoT, and how can it help you grow your business to new heights?
Internet of Things is one of the pillars of what's being called the fourth industrial revolution. IoT is not a single technology but rather involves numerous technologies that work in rhythm with each other. The basic premise behind IoT is to create a network of interconnected devices that constantly communicate with each other and provide the business owner with real-time data.
While the concept has more or less existed since the conception of the internet, we just didn't have the technology at the time. Thankfully now, because of the wide availability of cheap electronics, modular system designs, and faster wireless internet means we can finally achieve the dream of complete interconnectedness.
While all of this sounds exciting, as a business leader or an entrepreneur, you might be thinking about how you can take advantage of this? So, let's go through some of the ways IoT can help you grow your business and make customer-centric decisions.
One of the main attractions of embedding IoT systems into your products is the never-ending real-time data you can get back. This means for the first time ever, businesses know in real-time how and when their products are being used. This allows them to make data-driven decisions to improve their current line of products.
And not even just that, all of that data will allow you to recognize gaps in the market so you can develop new products. And all of these decisions are data-driven based on end-user demand, so you don't have to worry if the market for that new product exists or not.
The real-time data gives you as a business leader and decision-maker valuable insight into customer behavior patterns, their buying cycles, and much more. In today's world, data is the new gold. If you have an extensive database of real-time customer behavior, you can leverage it.
Getting the word about new services or products can be tricky and expensive, especially for businesses that don't have a huge marketing budget. This is where IoT can be used to reach out to customers that are already using your products about new offers and services.
For example, you are an IoT-based refrigerator company. You can use the display screen on the refrigerator to inform customers about new services or products they might be interested in.
This is the beauty of IoT. Never in history have businesses managed to directly connect with their customer. And now it's time to fully utilize this direct connection to the customer.
IoT allows a persistent and real-time connection between the company and its product. This connection can be utilized to add improvements and upgrades to the product long after it has been shipped. In fact, a lot of companies already do this with their products.
Tesla Motors is known for pushing regular updates to their electric vehicles that enhance and improve their capabilities. Previously doing software upgrades would require customers to bring their products to either the company or a company-approved vendor. But with IoT, these upgrades are over the air.
This just simplifies the relationship between the customers and the company. After-sales support like these powered by IoT is what increases customer retention and positive business growth.
IoT allows businesses to directly be in contact with their products in real-time. This means that businesses have better tools to evaluate their products if customers have a problem or need help. Not only that, but the business also has real-time data on how the product is being used. So, they can adjust and upgrade how that product functions even after the product has been shipped.
IoT gets rid of the middlemen if your customers face issues with a product. IoT can enable customers to reach out to customer support directly. And since customer support already has all the data about the product's usage, they can make better recommendations to the customer.
We are already seeing companies opening new lines of revenue using IoT. This is only possible because IoT allows businesses to have real-time access to their product, no matter where they are. So, they can offer extra features or services on a subscription-based model.
A good example is what Mercedes is doing with their first fully electric vehicle. The Mercedes EQS is the German automaker's first go in the EV industry. While the car itself is an excellent automobile, Mercedes decided to paywall the rear steering of the EQS behind a subscription model.
The standard Mercedes EQS comes with a 4.5-degree range of real wheel steering without any extra charges. But if drivers want to access the full 10-degree range of rear-wheel steering, then they have to pay extra. It's a subscription-based model that costs about $575 per year. And just to be clear, the EQS can physically do 10-degree rear-wheel steering, but Mercedes has decided to put a software lock on it.
While it may sound like a dangerous precedent, Mercedes is setting for other automakers. No one can deny that it's a pretty neat idea to find new ways to monetize your products, even after they have been sold. This is all possible because of IoT-based technologies.
Simply put, IoT is not just a new buzzword that will fade out after a while. IoT is here to stay. The companies and businesses that don't adapt to this change and incorporate IoT into their products will be left behind. Because they won't be able to compete with the competition that is able to provide better products and services via IoT.