We live in a connected world, enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT) increasingly leveraging artificial intelligence (AI). Looking into the future, several analysts have predicted that the market for AI and IoT will grow to $36 billion in about five years.
Yet research suggests that few organizations are truly benefiting from their investments in IOT and connected products, despite the potential. The promise of technology today is in its ability to create win-win-win scenarios, extracting value from each touch point and interaction. It starts with a focus on your customers’ needs, both internal (your employees) and external (your end customers).
Here are my top 4 tips for ensuring your investment in connected products pays off.
This may appear a little whimsical, but it is about creating the right environment for your connected products to deliver on their promise – or to bloom. This requires continual experimentation that puts the customer at the heart of your connected product strategy. Then follow the Act – Listen – Observe cycle.
Act by experimenting and building something to meet a customer need. Listen to your customers by capturing the touch points and the interactions; all the data on a flexible platform leveraging sensors and connectivity. Observe the challenges they face, understand the intended and unintended use of the product. Get back to action with your next set of experiments.
Want to see it in action? Check out Tesla, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Uber and so many more. They all provide a great blueprint for what is important to customers, both internal and external. It’s no surprise they are some of largest companies that exist today.
When Henry Ford said that “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently,” he was onto something. It would be interesting to know how he would have tweaked (or not) that quote for today’s world.
Experimentation today is critical to a company’s long-term success, and that includes in manufacturing. When Tesla provided the over-the-air update for improving braking capability recently, it brought forward a new way of doing things – and this was not the first time. Imagine what it might do to help the braking needs during different weather, roads and driving conditions across the world.
Is your company prepared to compete with companies with that thinking and culture?
Does Tesla personify the quote from Henry Ford above?
Did its machine react in a semi-human like manner? A hardware and software combination that can be taught (upgraded) to behave slightly differently when faced with the same situation.
Take that a step further and imagine how this could change when these machines become more capable and personify edge computing. These machines will then leverage “experiences” for their response and contribute theirs back to other similar machines.
The key lies in the “Learn Fast” part. Experiments will bring forward several learnings. Is your company set up to leverage the learnings from those experiments at the speed that gives you competitive advantage?
The rate of change in technology is only going to speed up – that’s a given. As technology continues to advance, keeping up with all the trends in IOT, connected products and AI isn’t easy. We have seen many products and some companies go down with the not-invented-here syndrome. It is thus important to allow some experiments, to use different technologies that will bring in value in terms of speed, simplicity, or access to more data. The cornerstones of the Act-Listen-Observe cycle.
A cloud platform that is secured, be it a public, private or hybrid, is a must. Adding in machine learning, deep learning and, in some cases, neural networks to some of your data experiments is an important step. It will open up insights from the unknown unknowns and enhance predictive capability significantly. DevOps fills in a key gap in helping speed up the deployment of your experiments. Gamification of product development will be a game changer. Elements of gamification are already underway. Experiments such as hackathons, robot battles and drone racing are helping speed up changes.
Rethinking engagement and user experience (UX) at times yields a boost in customer loyalty through digital happiness. As digital happiness is short-lived, partners that specialise in continuous improvements to engagement, UX and customer journeys are key to helping maintain customer loyalty.
A company only exists because it serves end customers. Your end customer today has a shorter attention span, significantly less brand loyalty, and a lower transaction cost to change in most cases, with a plethora of options to choose from. Retention today should be a very high priority for you as a company. A simple, well-orchestrated meaningful user experience journey that delvers value to your end customer will bring forward the adoption you are looking for. In the end, today, it is about digital happiness at every touch point or interaction with your product. This has to be either instant (games) or linked to a promise of delayed gratification at times. Understanding how to deliver digital happiness, or to link to it, will be key to the future success of your connected products journey. The steps listed above help in making that happen. They will continuously guide you on the path for long-term success.
As you can see, I’m of the firm opinion that the customer value and their happiness should be at the heart of any connected products strategy. When you start to view the collection of connected products as a value delivery system, when you start to understand that hardware, software, connectivity, data, analytics, and AI need to work together as one then you start to deliver true value to your customer, leading and securing their digital happiness. And Sogeti, with its strong technology and engineering experience of more than 50 years, can help design, develop and realize these experiments and systems of value for you. Freeing you up to focus on your customer.
Learn more on how connected products can drive business value.
A technology enthusiast with over 20 years of experience in the IT industry with current focus on AI and Analytics. His experience spans several different sectors including retail, oil & gas, medical, automotive, manufacturing, and banking and insurance. While he has helped several companies in leveraging data and business intelligence capabilities, he now focuses on ensuring that they derive value from newer AI technologies. These include machine learning, deep learning, blockchain, chatbots and AR/VR. He believes in delivering value to the end customer and their happiness through hardware and software as one point solution.