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How should companies tackle IoT in a customer-centric way?

Companies that are overly concerned with what IoT technology to invest in are missing the point: They need to determine how it will bring them closer to their customers.

Companies are trying to become customer-centric, and part of that strategy is becoming more connected. Companies are not just selling a product anymore but they're selling a service: You're not just selling a car but a connected car. Most companies recognize that to become a connected company means adding an Internet of Things (IoT) component because the mobile phone is already a connected way to learn a lot about your customers.

It's not the Internet of Things itself that makes it harder to connect with customers; it's the significant volume of data companies are dealing with. A given company could have anywhere from 1 billion to 10 billion events occurring a day. So, while the data's scale is big and sometimes a little daunting, the main issue has been how companies take advantage of it.

We've talked to customers who have spent tens of millions of dollars wiring themselves up and running their own big data applications with their own army of very expensive, hard-to-keep people they've hired only to look around and ask, “Have we transformed our business? Are we customer-centric? Are we delivering a different customer experience?" And the answer is no. And then they ask what went wrong, and then they realize they had a sort of a "Field of Dreams" mentality -- if you build it, they will come.

One pixel IoT technology starting to impact
product development

That's the issue we hear consistently -- people are starting the wrong way around. Instead of asking themselves, "How do I transform the experience my customers and employees have with me?" they're saying that if they connect, everything will be solved. You do need to connect, but the IoT problem has not been, "How do you connect?" but, "What are you going to do to change your relationship with your customer?"

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