The internet of things (IoT) has already caused changes across a wide range of industries, and it is poised to continue to do so. Tracking customer data can be invaluable to marketing, business analytics, development of products or procedures, and more.
“In the workplace, companies that can effectively exploit the IoT may ultimately have a competitive advantage,” DeVry University notes. “Harnessing all of the data constantly streaming from devices in the IoT is not an easy task. Companies that have the means to identify the best sources of data and analyze it can make informed decisions more quickly than ever before.”
The implications are that businesses will be able to make smarter decisions and increase revenue as a result. IoT devices hold a large amount of promise in the coming years. Let’s look at different ways they will change how businesses collect and analyze data.
The layout of a store affects how a customer sees certain products, how they move through the store, and how they are exposed to various products. In a grocery store, it can mean the difference between a sale and a customer never knowing an item exists. This is why milk and eggs, items that are bought on a regular basis, are at the back of the store. This gives maximum exposure to other products as the customer walks through aisles.
Analytics can make store design even better. By tracking a customer’s phone, an IoT device, a business can see exactly how certain customers move through a store. Are they lingering in a specific area? What items did they look at? Were they comparing products instead of simply going with a usual brand?
Collecting this data and analyzing it can produce predictive analytics. In a given trip to the store, where is the customer likely to go? What products are they likely to buy on a given day of the week? Answer these questions and you can tailor the shopping experience, increasing a customer’s perception of the store and products, allowing more chances for impulse buys, and potentially increasing revenue.
Phones and health trackers, like a FitBit, are IoT devices capable of tracking data such as heart rate or sleep patterns. Apps capturing biometric data can detect something wrong and immediately alert the patient’s doctor. This helps both the app developer and the business side of a hospital while monitoring and even improving a customer’s health.
There’s plenty of room for entrepreneurs in the healthcare app niche utilizing IoT technology. For example, the premiere episodes of The Pitch podcast featured Juan-Pablo Segura pitching his idea for a healthcare app to investors that uses IoT blood pressure cuffs and a weight scale. His app addresses an important part of women’s healthcare: pregnancy.
The service, as Segura pitched it, would monitor blood pressure and weight each week. The collected data would be sent to the cloud via the app, and then sent to the woman’s doctor for evaluation. The woman no longer has to go to as many appointments, saving time, and the doctor can still keep track of the woman’s health without a face-to-face visit.
One final example of how IoT will become more important is in the shipping industry, and in particular warehouse inventory management. Imagine a system where warehouse inventory is catalogued through warehouse management software, using RFID chips or even robots with machine learning to track shipments as they enter and leave warehouses. The cataloging system then interacts with a driverless truck’s monitoring system to compare its proposed route with the optimal load of items in the warehouse. Crunching route data can help in solving the Tetris game of what inventory optimally goes in which truck, saving on both time and fuel.
Data from previous runs can also be used to refine the truck’s routes and times. Driverless cars do not need to work on a human schedule and never get tired. As such, the data might show 4 a.m. being the perfect time for the driverless truck to arrive in a city, avoiding much of the daytime city traffic.
No matter if the truck is driverless or not, tracking and analyzing inventory and driving data can make the process much more efficient, saving time and fuel, and thus money, and making the shipping industry run smoother.
IoT is continually evolving, and how industries use big data collected from IoT devices will change with it. Processes will become more efficient, information about clients and customers will be analyzed, and it is entirely likely that more money will be made. Until then, the companies that utilize IoT and analytics will have a competitive advantage over those that do not.
Devin prides himself on being a jack of all trades; his career trajectory is more a zigzag than an obvious trend, just the way he likes it. He pops up across the Pacific Northwest, though never in one place for long. You can follow him more reliably on Twitter.