Series Introduction: ‘Your Guide to the Future’
Here at B2B International, we’re always thinking of the latest innovations and emerging ‘megatrends’ shaping our clients’ industries and markets.
So, for every month in 2019 we decided to delve a little deeper into each of these trends and produce a mini-guide looking at what it is, how big it will be and the opportunity it presents for b2b companies.
Our complete ‘Guide to the Future’ is also available as a handy desk calendar (see above) – click here for details on how to get your hands on one.
This month’s topic is the Internet of Things. Enjoy!
What is it?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network or ecosystem of devices connected via the internet, allowing them to communicate with each other by sending and receiving data. This not only includes internet-enabled devices, but also non-internet-enabled devices. These devices are then able to receive and execute different commands from another connected device, effectively making them ‘smart’.
For example, smart home technology allows users to use their smartphones to switch lights on and off, adjust the central heating and even see who’s at the door when they’re not at home. Cars are also getting smarter, with manufacturers such as Tesla able to fix problems through software updates rather than mass recalls.
How big will it be?
The IoT market is expected to generate revenue of close to US$10 trillion with over 75 billion devices used worldwide by 2025 (Source: Statista). It is predicted to be the most influential megatrend of the century. Our research suggests that the IoT will be one of the biggest topics on the agenda for 70% of b2b marketing and market research professionals over the next 5 years (Source: B2B International B2B Marketing Survey 2018).
What’s the opportunity?
The integration between the physical world and computers will create endless opportunities for B2B companies. Perhaps one of the biggest lies in the improvement of the customer experience.
The Internet of Things allows companies to collect vast amounts of data from sensors that can be used to provide accurate, real-time information (i.e. in customer order & delivery tracking), optimise product usage, predict maintenance needs and identify customer needs.
For example, manufacturers can use data gathered through sensors to remotely monitor product performance and predict when maintenance may be needed. Performing short bursts of preventative maintenance earlier on in the lifecycle means products will spend less time in repairs and reduce downtime for customers.
Product usage data can also be used to identify potential improvements and push configuration changes and software updates directly to the product over the internet, providing peace-of-mind to the customer by ensuring it is always up-to-date and running at optimal levels.
Another example is logistics companies who can improve the customer experience by monitoring equipment and fleet vehicles across the entire supply chain to provide accurate and up-to-date information on exactly where an order is and when it will be delivered.
The Internet of Things has developed rapidly over the last few years. As it continues to cement itself in everyday life, b2b brands are starting to wake up to the opportunity and explore how the technology could impact their business strategies and business models.
To learn more about how to use the Internet of Things to improve the customer experience, read our in-depth article “How the Internet of Things can Help B2B Brands Deliver CX Excellence“.