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IoT and Human Relationships: Can One Improve the Other?

The Internet of Things connects man-made products to one another through small sensor chips. The rapid growth of IoT technology has dramatically changed how human beings connect with one another, especially through the use of portable and digital devices. The IoT has created a truly interconnected population, and continued development could lead to further innovation in the near future.

IoT technology has moved into unexpected channels, with smart cars, refrigerators and even thermostats being released recently. The relationship between manufacturers, the brands and their consumers will likely change as a result. Even televisions are becoming intuitive in the way they provide OTT content for users and make recommendations based on viewing history. The world consumers live in now is touched by the IoT at almost every corner, which is why businesses need to adapt and plan for the Internet of the future.

IoT technology growing in value

Deloitte predicts that 1 billion wireless IoT devices will be sold in 2015, a stark 60 percent increase from last year. This would ultimately lead to 2.8 billion devices connected through IoT infrastructure in the U.S. IoT hardware and connectivity revenues are also growing each year at a rate between 10 and 20 percent. Applications, analytics and services are maturing more quickly between 40 and 50 percent annual growth.

Overall, 60 percent of all wireless IoT devices will be bought, paid for and used by enterprises and industries in 2015. Another 90 percent of the services revenue will likely germinate from the enterprise.

Businesses are clearly seeing the value in IoT technology, but they need to know how to leverage these capabilities to enhance customer and human relationships. The rapid increase of consumer- and enterprise-connected devices provides an opportunity to build a deeper understanding on how consumers and businesses can use a wide range of connected products to their advantage. 

According to Forbes, citing industry analysis, 13 percent of IoT implementations between 2009 and 2013 focused on revenue growth and innovation. Similarly, consumer IoT has focused more on wearable devices and sleek interfaces than it has on providing solutions to real problems. Until now, enterprise and consumer-facing IoT infrastructure may have been focusing on the wrong things.

Enhance human relationships with IoT

Forbes added that the enterprise can use improved data connectivity through IoT technology to better understand and support human needs in general, which will drive overall growth for these manufacturers. Since IoT devices are already sharing and transmitting data, companies can used this information to design new and improved products that are optimized for human use. Using various streams and sources of data could also help service providers and manufacturers design products that anticipate customer needs based on the time of day or where they're located.

"60 percent of all wireless IoT devices will be bought, paid for and used by enterprises and industries in 2015."

Enterprises that invest in IoT infrastructure have a massive opportunity to enhance customer relations through this technology. They first have to appropriately aggregate relevant information from various sources. Then, they must analyze the data and look for patterns and habits that could lead to new products and perhaps expand into different and emerging verticals. IoT technology is creating an opportunity for new markets, but also for progressive companies to create more sustained and deeper relationships with their customers.

According to technology firm Gigya, there are a couple of ways the IoT is shaping company and consumer relationships: 

  1. Creates a seamless conduit between the brand and the customer: Companies that invest in IoT infrastructure and product development can establish a direct channel with their clients. The key to maintaining value, Gigya says, lies in simplicity and ease of use. Consumers want their lives simplified through the IoT. Companies that leverage this technology can become trusted advisors by making specifically tailored offerings or suggestions, as opposed to a faceless brand.
  2. Access to data deepens the relationship: Since IoT devices are constantly sharing information, their are truly an all-access pass to data. The enterprise needs to responsibly manage this information and analyze this to improve product offerings and targeting strategies. While that's a continued challenge, companies can leverage consumer identities through social authentication, therefore getting to know the consumer better. 

Businesses that figure out how to collect the right information and leverage it to their advantage are in for a real opportunity. Customers could rely on companies to show them how to create more value from the data, hence improving the overall consumer-enterprise relationship.

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