Internet of Things (IoT)

Building Loyalty Through IoT

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We are just six weeks into the New Year and one thing has become crystal clear — businesses have made IoT a top priority for 2017. According to new research from Gartner, there will be 20.8 billion connected devices by 2020.

But the impetus behind these investments isn’t solely about creating the next ground-breaking, life-altering product or service. The vision is more vast than that. It’s about driving unprecedented levels of customer loyalty by making people’s lives better, safer, healthier and more convenient and then tapping into reoccurring revenue streams that have eluded many businesses for years.

Consider this. If you’re an avid runner, one of these connected devices may be your sneakers. Many runners today have chips put in their shoes which track how far they run, their splits and more which they count on to help meet their weekly goals. This is valuable information of course but imagine this scenario:

Knowing you’re a busy executive, every week, the device takes into account your schedule and the weather and recommends the best time and place to get exercise. Now imagine you just got back from your daily run and the chip proactively sends an alert to your fitness tracker letting you know how many miles you’ve logged in your current pair and, knowing precisely when you traded in your last pair and why, it reminds you that it’s time to buy new sneakers and places the order for you from your favorite retailer. It also knows where you are traveling for the next month and recommends some new running gear that is more appropriate for that climate.

This is the journey we are embarking on with Visa. Today we announced an exciting collaboration that will produce new services that build brand loyalty and reduce buying friction by bringing the simplest, best customer experience to consumers who get what they need, when they need it, with the guidance and insight from a cognitive system.

Another example that showcases the impact of this collaboration comes from one of your most important household appliances — your washing machine. A connected washing machine understands how many loads of laundry you do every week and the cycles you tend to use, and with this insight it could anticipate when you need to order more detergent to get the best possible price and place it for you. That’s a great convenience for on-the-go people who often find empty detergent bottles at the worst possible time.

But there’s more.

Traditionally a retailer sells you a washing machine or a refrigerator as a single transaction. It’s a onetime payment that ends once it’s hooked up in your home.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Working with Visa we are transforming that entire business model, allowing companies to tap into continued revenue streams that last for the lifetime of the unit. In fact, it seeds a greater level of loyalty that will likely help ensure you buy from them again in the future.

In today’s hypercompetitive world, every business must deliver exceptional services if they want to secure customer loyalty and grow revenue and IoT is the best weapon. Railway operators such as SNCF can monitor trains not only to prevent breakdowns, but to improve reliability. Don’t want to buy a car? An automotive dealer can let you lease a new car with payments being processed automatically based on how far you drive each day. The car can even alert you when a fan belt needs replacing and schedule a service appointment at their preferred local garage. That’s the power of cognitive IOT.

The list goes on and on its growing every day, which is why 2017 will be a watershed year for IoT.

General Manager, IBM Watson Internet of Things, Customer Engagement and Education

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