When we think of IoT (the Internet of Things), addressing a myriad of security and privacy aspects first comes to mind. These are important issues no doubt, and have been promoted widely as was appropriate. But the real risk to businesses in my view is to fail to devise the right strategy to get on top of this trend.
The Internet of Things is not a technical trend. It’s not a fad either.It’s been happening for several years and we see it around us everywhere. We are just catching the wave now. It’s very corporate in the form of logistics and RFID, and it’s also deeply personal in the form of the Nike FuelBand.
That tells us that this notion of the expanded internet is also ultimately about your strategy for customer engagement and experience. Tying in demand with supply has been a long standing challenge. And a meaningful, contextual, local interaction with our customers has been an even bigger challenge. Connected devices are changing that. We can finally move beyond mass applications to tailored applications.
But we have to be ready.
And that’s the risk that should really be on the center of our radar. Thinking of individual use cases is one way to meet this trend. Stealing from Marc Benioff’s latest demo for the power of Salesforce 1 in NYC – I was there so I think I’m entitled – how can we enable the tooth brush to communicate with the dentist is what I think a “direct” use case. That’s obviously the first frontier when we think of connected devices.We think about us, our products and our customers. The next frontier is to begin to create an ecosystem of consumers, partners and also channels. Can Marc Benioff’s Phillips toothbrush help his local Costco store plan inventory and store promotions? Can Philips begin to plan for retention as Marc changes his toothbrush? And how does it change the laws of commerce when it comes to MY data. I’m already used to so many freebies today in return for my privacy and data (Facebook, Pinterest, G+ etc). Am I, the consumer, going to become wiser and ask for perhaps a free toothbrush every 3 months? Or is Colgate going to spoil me to bolster its own competitive situation?
The ecosystems will emerge over the years and the biggest risk is in not looking at it with a wide angle lens. Privacy, preferences and security will play themselves out. They have to, because those who don’t play by the rules will lose the race for customer trust and will be shut out of the data privileges for a long time. The capabilities we need to think of right now are Integrated Customer Insights and Omni Channel Service Orchestration.
I’ve witnessed so many iconic brands simply disappear over the past 7 years, so I’m going to risk using some hugely clichÃ©d adjectives to describe the response to this significant strategic risk – vision, agility and evolution backed by Integrated Insights and Omni Channel Service Orchestration.