There was a nice little article in the Washington Post on slow uptake for customer facing IoT features at Whirlpool.
Whirlpool’s certainly not alone in this and it isn’t news to us here at Scante. I personally love getting a ping when the laundry’s done, but customer facing remote monitoring and control functions that capture so much press aren’t yet guaranteed game changers in many markets.
We’re smack in a first blush of early adoption euphoria about what can be accomplished with connected sensors and controls. After some ups and downs, companies are going to settle in to a longer haul of making IoT and its big data trove pay. That’s going to be about customer experience through the whole life cycle of a product in the field, and all the business processes that entails.
It’s a bit of cart-before-horse, in some ways. Sensor and user activity feeds consolidate into real world usage data. That’s the info right at the heart of real world, down-to-earth business processes like support, parts, services, after-sale marketing, and lots more.
In all kinds of markets, that means improved parts, services, and warranty processes. It means usage driven marketing that identifies when customers are most receptive to advertising for follow-on sales. It means new business models that get around complex sales cycles and link manufacturers tightly into their customer’s activity.
In consumer durables as well as overall engineered products markets, IoT is the key to always available, highly personalized support and user interactions. It’s about making it easier than ever for customers to use and maintain their stuff. It’s about maxing out customer satisfaction so you get the next sale, the upgrade, and the consumables business.
This is our wheelhouse at Scante. We’ve been working with these ideas since the dawn of IoT when a comms and sensor package could be north of 50K. That sort of expenditure had to pay on multiple levels and be strongly adopted. No one got it right this first time.
Remote controls and whizbang automation controls are going to be a part of all sorts of engineered products, but they’re not always going to drive the value prop for companies right up front. Look at how long it too for the TV remotes of the 60s to be a must-have feature.
The Internet of Things is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s going to be big forever and affect all sorts of business process and user activity.