Well, have you? Have you generated your consumer insights from IoT?  Or even should you? The answer is a resounding ‘Yes ‘ – you must! If you don’t then somebody else will! It is becoming increasingly more important to use the internet to obtain ‘Micro Data’ to give yourself a business advantage.

There is a massive gap between “Big Data” and “Micro Data”, isn’t there?  Or is there? “Big Data” is today’s buzz term, but what about the future? Is “Micro Data” going to offer business opportunities for companies in the future? Perhaps – let’s check out what consumer insights are available to those that promote MicroData over Big Data. Let’s forget the quote marks!

What is IoT – the Internet of Things?  Using IoT in Business

What is IoT? The term Internet of Things refers to the network of connected devices. Not just the connection between computers, laptops and cell phones and the internet, but of much more. Your power usage, kitchen appliances, and even your car may be connected together through the IoT. Any electronic device can be connected to another through the internet of things.

Your power Smart Meter is part of IoT. Even your medical monitors may be connected. Pacemakers, heart monitors and even the device you use to measure your stats when jogging can be connected to the internet. Using IoT in business can give you an advantage over your competitors that don’t use it. The Internet of Things is sure to expand over the coming years, so how can you use it to give you more insight into the needs of your customers?

In general terms, the Internet of Things involves every device that is connected to the internet. That internet connection is all that is needed for anyone to connect them all together. This can generate an amazing network of product manufacturers, their distributors or sales outlets and the customers – individual or corporate.

According to Bernard Marr (‘Big Data in Practice’,  ‘Key Business Analytics’ and ‘Key Performance Indicators), the Internet of Things is going to be massive in 2018. Here are some examples of how IoT is being used to gather data and why it is being used.

Banks and Other Financial Services

Physical bank branches are rapidly disappearing from the streets and malls.  The activity of bank customers or account holders in these branches was a good source of information about the banking and spending habits of account holders.  Because of this, banks and other financial services institutions had to find another way of collecting data.

Wearable devices offer a low-cost solution to this.  The Bank of America and Fitpay got together to enable the bank’s customers to make contactless payments using wearables.  Barclays Bank has recently unveiled its UK bpay contactless watch payment system.  There are many similar systems either already in place or in process of development,

Financial service providers are using the IoT philosophy to obtain data from ATMs, mobile devices, and various banking apps as it is generated. This enables the financial services company to analyze individual habits and the way they use the service.  By using an individual customer’s data, offers or promotions can be customized for each individual customer. This use of customer insights from IoT enables targeted promotions which produce far better results than a general promotional campaign.

Smart vs. IOT

There is little difference between ‘Smart’ and ‘IoT’, Smart devices can provide information to the user that is also being delivered to another party.  The two-way connection between a Formula 1 racing car’s data and the engineering team is an example of this.  The data can help the team to make wireless alterations to the car’s set-up to improve performance. Such data links could arguably not be classed as a network, but a 2-way communication although it is a fundamental form of the Internet of Things.

Telematics and Auto Insurance

Another example of how IoT can be employed is telematics.  This is a form of science where sensors are used to provide information on a wide range of activities.  This information can be used to control remote objects. It can be used by auto insurers to establish the driving practices of individual drivers, their speeds, how heavily they brake and where they regularly drive.  

Insurers can establish whether individuals drive largely at night, whether mainly on rural or on city roads, and whether or not you take proper breaks on long Journeys. This information can be used to set an auto insurance premium. You may one day receive a call from your insurer telling you that you drive too fast in speed restricted areas and that your premium is being increased because of this.

This form of IoT can also be used in car sharing, where the availability of vehicles registered in the scheme is determined by GPS and provided to those needing transport.

Ralph Lauren Polotech

Another genuine use of IoT is the Ralph Lauren Polotech Shirt.  Sensors integrated into the Polotech shirt can record a number of biometrics useful to athletes.  Among these are the depth of breathing, heart rate when running at measured speeds, calories expended and even the efficiency of calories burned with distance traveled. The data can be wirelessly sent to an iPhone or Apple watch.

Using IoT in Intelligent Shopping  

Stores can use RFID tags on their goods in a number of ways to make shopping easier for their customers.  

Amazon Go:   Customers at Amazon Go physical stores can use the Go app on their smartphone to enter the store.  They then select their goods and place them in their shopping trolley, and when finished just walk out the store – no checkout queues!  Each item is tagged electronically and is registered as the customer leaves the store. The total is automatically charged to their Amazon account.

Rebecca Minkoff:  Another use of RFID tags was applied by fashion store Rebecca Minkoff.  Smart dressing room mirrors could read information from the RFID tags attached to its garments.  Screens appear on the mirrors enabling customers to request alternative sizes, find suggested accessories to go with the item or even request a store assistant.  

Internet of Things Summary

The Internet of Things (IoT) can be used to generate consumer insights and so assist the business and the consumer in new and varied ways.  A smartphone is just one example of the ever-increasing world of IoT. Once you have generated your consumer insights with IoT, you will have a significant business advantage of those that fail to do so. The above are just a few of the many different ways in which IoT can benefit your business.

Sonal Patil

Sonal Patil

contributor

Sonal is a business analyst at Marketresearch.biz. She specializes in analyzing and managing various market insights.