IoT: Just do it
Mention the Internet of Things and for most people the word “smart” springs to mind – smart offices, smart shops, smart meters, smart fridges… These days we look at what’s around us and assume you can have smart everything – and you pretty much can. So why wouldn’t you?
Well, because IoT used properly isn’t about connecting things just because you can. You need to know why you’re connecting them. What is it about a connected device that will be useful to the business? What information will it give you that will improve the lives of your customers?
I heard an interesting story at a recent conference from Travelodge, that brilliantly demonstrated how IoT technology can benefit the business when it’s used thoughtfully, intelligently and to the ultimate benefit of the customer.
Travelodge guests were leaving negative feedback about their stay and the company needed to know why. Taking a closer look, they discovered that the complaints were centred around breakfast – and specifically around the scrambled eggs. Intriguingly though, scrambled egg reviews from some Travelodges were very positive, but at too many of the others, the reviews were negative. When Travelodge drilled down into their kitchen appliance data, they discovered that the positively reviewed eggs were being cooked at one temperature level, while those with the bad reviews were cooked at different temperatures. Voila! An easy fix and instant improvements to the customer experience deployed.
Having an IoT strategy is all about having a strategy for the data it will give you. You’re looking for insights you can use to bring about useful, tangible benefits – and in most cases that means information that will help you create a better or new experience for your customers.
But my advice is do have an IoT strategy.
Fifteen years ago, when the shiny new thing was ecommerce, many companies waited to see what happened with their competitors before thinking of testing the water themselves. But what happened was that these were the companies that lost momentum and fell behind. Those who started down the ecommerce road early learned as they went along and found themselves streets ahead as a result.
Today, with the right platform, you can kick off IoT initiatives quickly and easily, the moment you have an idea. Not all ideas will work, but nowadays you have an easy way to test it out. If it works, great – roll it out. If it doesn’t, then use those learnings to develop the next idea.
What’s a good idea? Controlling your car’s temperature when you’re not in it? Intelligent cat flaps that let your Tiddles come and go, but keep next door’s Tom firmly outside? In all honesty, you won’t know until you try. You might be surprised at the new revenue streams you open up and at what customers are prepared to pay for.
The point is, do it. Don’t wait. Used cleverly, the Internet of Things can bring fantastic benefits to your business. So kick off a few projects – even if it’s just to get the learnings. All those learnings will be valuable, and with the experience you gain, you’ll be better able to react and implement your really great idea when it comes along.
So think outside of your box, don’t analyse your thinking too much, and get started. As soon as you have an idea, you’re ready. Just do it. Before someone else does.
Please get in touch if you would like to continue the discussion – email@example.com
Vice President – UK, Ireland & Nordics