Guest post by Parks Associates
The Internet of Things (IoT) growth in broadband households opens up opportunities for companies to sell products and services. Companies developing, manufacturing, and marketing products benefit, and ancillary industries, such as support services, will find new opportunities within the complex connected home ecosystem.
In addition to increasing sales and revenue, IoT creates opportunities for companies to transform every aspect of the business. Companies can utilize e-commerce to provide a method for consumers to add accessories, order parts, order third-party products or content, or order subscriptions. Additionally, the ability to create more efficient product support through remote diagnostics, early failure detection, and automated warranty processing can minimize service costs.
Companies can utilize data and analytics to create customer benefit and value, segment the market, and create new revenue streams through advertising, sales of value-added products, and content sales and subscriptions. Moreover, companies can gain insights from understanding how consumers use products and how products perform.
Product enhancement capabilities can enable consumers in many ways by expanding functionality through integration. Consumers can monitor the status of and control their devices remotely and even program their device to operate automatically based on a series of conditional events. Automation of operational decisions to reduce costs or optimize other outputs is an additional benefit.
The growth of IoT devices in broadband households will result in opportunities for technical support services. Due to the complexity of communications and interoperability, consumers will need help navigating the IoT. These opportunities cross all device and services categories within the connected lifestyle. Technical support companies will enable device and service companies to enhance their brands through exceptional customer service, promote loyalty and retention, and improve the user experience.
Information transmitted by devices also improves support processes by enabling more proactive support and minimizing the need for consumer participation. From data generated by devices, support providers can spot performance problems and either alert consumers or proactively address the problem before it comes to the attention of the consumer.
However, the opportunities of smart products and the connected lifestyle also create inherent risks for both companies and consumers in terms of privacy and security.
While consumers appreciate the convenience that comes with increased connectivity, they are more than ever aware of the potential risks. Nearly 50% of broadband households report having privacy concerns about using connected devices. Smart home devices are able to communicate with each other and share data. Connected cars collect driver behavior data that could potentially be shared with insurance companies. Devices with cameras and microphones, such as TVs, can record viewed video – even personal videos – or conversations in the home.
The potential for hackers to gain access to a connected health device and change settings, or gain access to acceleration or braking systems in cars, could lead to devastating results.
As the IoT grows and presents new opportunities for companies, those same companies need to be cognizant of the risks and consumer concerns and find the sweet spot that supports both revenue generation and end-user privacy and security.
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