The Internet of Things is transforming business in manufacturing and product development. And now with help from the pandemic, it's helping organizations create better and safer customer experiences, according to data from Capegemini. For example, contactless delivery and touchless interactions are one area where IoT's impact has been felt. "The trend towards touchless interactions is reflected strongly in retail spending patterns over the course of the pandemic,” the report said.
CapGemini also predicted that by the 2030, more than 125 billion IoT devices will be in service. Many organizations are developing Internet of Things sensors, devices or other technologies that can communicate independently with customer support and provide immediate feedback to customers.
Below are four ways IoT devices are being used to enhance CX today:
1. Transportation and Logistics
Track Supply Chain Movement
IoT now allows customers to more transparently track the location of orders and their movement along the supply chain and identify "weak links" in it, said Evgeniy Altynpara, CTO for Cleverload.
This has made mobile technology critical. "Competing businesses have adopted new technology and added new devices to operations to better track packages and keep the end consumer satisfied,” said Shash Anand, SOTI vice president of product strategy. “Transportation and logistics leaders have started to look at technological investments in operations to ensure they not only return from the COVID setback but remain competitive.
Logistics companies place IoT sensors on containers help manage transportation with minimal human intervention and constantly monitor characteristics, such as temperature, lighting, or humidity in the boxes, Altynpara explained. Smart containers enable logistics companies to ensure the safety of "sensitive" products (e.g., food, drugs, flowers), better track doors opening and closing, etc. Both the supplier and the end-user can see if the transportation regime has been followed. Among other things, IoT data simplifies the resolution of disputes about the unsatisfying quality of the delivered goods.
IoT-based route management enables to better allows plan and control shipment and delivery schedules. The tracking devices installed into a vehicle, the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and dispatcher software help to instantly identify time delays, prevent vehicles’ breakdowns, monitor road accidents and obstacles (landslides, fallen trees),” Altynpara added. “This allows suppliers to respond to emergencies quickly, flexibly find ways to deliver orders in time and increase customer satisfaction.”
Anand added that his company’s research found that 80% of companies are looking to make significant investments in new technology such as mobile devices, wearables and IoT devices and solutions in the next 18-months to create a faster and more efficient last-mile delivery process.
Related Article: How the Industrial IoT Is Making the Workplace More Productive
2. Faster Legal Claims
IoT systems allow attorneys to gather data quickly and efficiently, said Michael Jeffcoat, founder of The Jeffcoat Firm. Mobile phones, GPS trackers, and even smartwatches all transfer information in real-time, thus giving legal practitioners more leverage on time-sensitive cases.
“Many lawsuits require immediate action,” Jeffcoat added, pointing to road accidents: “Severe vehicle collisions involving two or more parties turn incredibly messy when there’s insufficient supporting evidence. These cases need more than just witnesses. To ensure smooth court proceedings, attorneys would need as much information about the accident as possible. In most cases, the court would have access to the street cameras recording traffic. However, if the accident occurred somewhere with no eyewitnesses or functioning street cameras, the case would reach an impasse.”
3. Enhancing Business Uptime
IoT machines and devices help organizations keep their product and assembly lines moving. “Assets that are self-aware can request service, order replacement parts, and report data on usage patterns that can then be used in prediction-based models to identify/predict needs for service resulting in higher up times and greater asset reliability,” said Bill Donlan, Capgemini Americas executive vice president, digital customer experience.
For example, airplane engines upload very large amounts of data after flights (upon landing), Donlan said. This data is used to run models and confirm and predict service needs all resulting in higher customer satisfaction and improved run performance. IoT sensors have been making their way onto factory floors for the last few years. The sensors are designed to monitor machine performance, output, hours in service and other data. When the data shows the machine’s performance is deteriorating, the manufacturer can pull it offline for repair during a slow time rather than waiting from the machine to fail completely.
“Similarly, complex medical devices can also self-report the need for service before the asset needs to be shut down. In some cases, they can go a step further and actually order the replacement part and/or schedule the on-site technician service visit,” Donlan said.
4. Smart Stethoscopes
Speaking of healthcare, in many areas of the US and even more so in underdeveloped countries, medical specialists are at a premium — there aren’t enough specialists to meet the demand.
For example, Eko co-founder and CEO Connor Landgraf shared that almost 60 percent of the Haitian population live in poverty, people in villages across Haiti lack access to basic medical care. “In Haiti, screening for rheumatic heart disease is performed by screeners, not specialists," said Landgraf.
The screener uses a smart stethoscope that employs a digital adapter to amplify and record heartbeats in real time. The patient's heartbeat is captured and sent to the cloud, in both audio and visual wavelength format, enabling physicians to use their smart devices to record and share what they're hearing with other doctors. The screeners can work with as many as 2,000 patients a day, according to Landgraf.