In the past, companies could only gain insight into the needs and wants of their customers through surveys and reviews. After the internet entered the scene, businesses gained another way to look into the life of their consumers: Collecting information from which sites they visit. For years, companies have been amassing data via website traffic.
While web surfing and the resultant wealth of data gathered is still useful, there’s a much more valuable info source being created and collated these days. Enter the Internet of Things (IoT)—an array of devices, from personal wellness wearables to smart watches to appliances to home security—all connected to the internet. Tapping into this network is a critically important approach to big data; with it, enterprises can streamline their industry analysis and more fully and accurately develop marketing plans and consumer profiles.
IoT and Marketing—A Unique Approach
Traditionally, the goal of creating and marketing a product has been to sell it. That was the general end goal when it came to collecting buyers’ data. IoT, however, allows companies to not only benefit from selling products, but to gain greater insight into the habits and desires of their customers. Wearables provide companies with more obvious data about their consumers, such as age, height, weight, sex, and activity level.
Unlike wearables that act as a primary source of customer information, appliances might not be the first thing you think of when you think “consumer data.” But consider this: they collect information about a person’s dietary habits, food preferences, family routines, and even how many times a day the fridge door has been opened. Extrapolate that across a wide population, and you have data that will help you plan for product changes, develop upgrades, and forge potential partnerships with other brand relevant products. The information can also be sold to advertisement agencies to generate additional income.
Carefully Manage Data Storage
Now that you know the importance of the IoT and what it can do for your business, you’ll need a way to store the data you collect. You’re going to have a lot more info than imagined, and you’ll need to be aware of the available storage options. However, the smart devices must send information before the data can be stored. Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT) is one prevalent protocol currently being used. As far back as 2013, MQTT was tapped as being the perfect IoTs protocol: Ideal for low-bandwidth, low-power communications. In much the same way that the HTTP standard paved the way for people sharing information through the World Wide Web, MQTT has set the stage for bringing online billions of low-cost, embedded data-collecting telemetry devices. From there, information gathered can be stored through platforms such as Hadoop and Hive.
Ensure the Security of Your Data
Security is a major challenge anyone dipping their toes into the digital space is dealing with these days. And the IoT industry is no different. A recent study by the Altimeter Group showed that consumers are definitely concerned about where their data is going and what’s done with it once it gets there.
In fact, more than half of the survey’s respondents said they were “very or extremely concerned” about every aspect of data collection, storage, and potential uses. The level of concern rose to 78 percent around the selling of data to third parties, with data storage and personal identification issues also highly rated. If you’re using a Managed Services Provider for your storage concerns, you must ensure they have a top notch security strategy in place. If you’re an MSP, capitalize on these concerns, and provide added value by assuring customers have the best possible data storage and security options available. A strictly regimented and multi-layered security system is one of the most important aspects of your IoT business model.
Build a Better Customer Profile
IoT is the way of the future. Revenue from smart devices is expected to exceed $300 billion by 2020, and the revenue gained from these devices is only the beginning. The data you can collect from the products is equally if not more valuable than profit from sales. By creating a profile of your customers, you can pinpoint their desires and address their pain points by providing products or services more closely tailored to them.
IoT is creating a symbiotic relationship between businesses and their customer—and this is leading to a future where businesses possess a deeper knowledge of their customers’ needs. IoT allows them to build services and products tailored to their consumers’ habits and desires. From a commercial standpoint, the info gained from these devices will foster a greater understanding of the way people use technology and can improve buyers’ lives. This will allow enterprises to maximize their profits. The collection and analysis of data from smart devices will lead to a future where shoppers are getting the exact products they want from the businesses and brands they love.
This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. For more on these topics, visit Dell’s thought leadership site Power More. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.
Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.