How IoT Data Can Work for Product Development

The Internet of Things is fast becoming an essential tool for product development.

That’s according to a recent Forbes article, by Dan Woods.

Using examples, from a CITO Research white paper, Woods illustrates how the data collected from a product can remove much of the guesswork about consumer needs, provide a foundation for empirical decision-making, and change the nature of the products themselves.

Consider how the very concept of “product” is changing in the IoT age. A product was once a physical offering owned by its buyer, who then became responsible for its upkeep and lifecycle—think all manner of products from consumer durables to industrial equipment.

A manufacturer might have also provided aftermarket service and learned about product performance through maintenance visits and customer feedback, but the IoT takes that to a whole new level, Woods says.

Today the concept of “product” is morphing to combine product and service by virtue of the complex physical and digital nature of an offering. Today all manner of products can be equipped with IoT connectivity, software, and sensors to provide a whole new level of capabilities and valuable data output.

These smart products, take heavy machinery for example, can be owned by its buyer and serviced remotely by its manufacturer. Through predictive data analytics, the manufacturer can prevent the machine’s downtime by sending a technician out ahead of a part or system failure, or avoid sending a technician altogether with a software patch upload, or other remote service delivery.

The obvious business booster in this scenario is heightened customer satisfaction and value-added service revenue.

Imagine also how the manufacturer can gain product performance data firsthand and feed it back into its product development process to improve quality. Many manufacturers are also collecting data to analyze which product features are used more than others, as well as how they are used, to apply changes in design and streamline development of only the essential attributes.

Woods states that with IoT data, manufacturers can also better anticipate where consumer preferences are going in the future. Rather than creating a general, one size-fits-all marketing strategy, advertisers and marketers can reach individual segments of their customer base to keep the customer engaged and satisfied with the product, he says.

Woods concludes that the flow of IoT data should mean better products, better service, and more value for the customer, with a lower risk for the manufacturer. It is one of the wonderful scenarios where more data leads directly to more value for everyone involved.

Read the full article on Forbes.

Photo courtesy of Joy Global, Inc. 

Filed under: Innovation, IoT Tagged: Internet of things, IoT, manufacturing, product development, smart connected products