We are hearing news about wearables and connected devices every day. The Wi-Fi-enabled fridge and a number of Wi-Fi-enabled household items have already hit the stores. Coca-Cola unveiled internet-connected vending machine while Burger King—the Coca-Cola company—installed over 2,000 internet-connected soda fountains called Coca-Cola Freestyle all over the US. So, there is no doubt the estimation of over 50 billion connected devices by the year 2020 could well be true.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is on the verge of revolutionizing the way people live, but what does it mean for businesses? IoT brings about a paradigm shift in the way brands establish and maintain the relationships with customers. With wireless sensor technology, IoT, and Salesforce1 platform combined, businesses can now establish a direct connection between a server and a customer’s smartphone, tablet or other connected devices through an app which can lead to delivering the whole new customer experience.
IoT and Salesforce1 Platform
On September 15, 2015, the first day of Dreamforce 2015, Salesforce announced its IoT Cloud powered by Thunder—the most powerful real-time event processing engine—will be in pilot the first half of 2016. This is quite an exciting news, but at the same time it doesn’t come as a surprise at all. Salesforce has been collaborating with IoT leaders—PTC ThingWrox, ARM, etc.—for the past 2 years to get IoT data streams from connected consumer products, industrial equipment, and machines into Salesforce Analytics Cloud. It makes sense to have an IoT Cloud as a centralized platform that connects to the IoT data and feeds the data to every Salesforce Cloud so that Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Communities, Analytics and custom apps can take action in real time.
Wave is Salesforce Analytics Cloud that helps companies tap into customer insights. It is built based on principles of mobility, indexed search, schema-free architecture—supporting varied structure of the data from Big Data to IoT.
Salesforce IoT Cloud, powered by Thunder, empowers businesses to connect to the Internet of Customers transforming IoT data, Big Data, social interactions, and digital content into business insights with benefits that include:
A 360 Degree view of the IoT data enables businesses to gather and organize clients’ data into useful insights helping everyone across business functions understand the prospects’ buying journey and customer behavior providing an opportunity for businesses to make data-driven decisions that drive stronger customer and business value. Instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach, businesses can deploy customized strategies depending on the budget, behavioral pattern, and the overall evolution in the customer’s buying habits.
Proactive Engagement & Personalized Services
Putting data from connected devices in the hands of customer-facing agents enable them to provide personalized services and be proactive for better customer experience.
For example, when a connected device detects a current location of a customer and sends the data back to Salesforce server, a business can then sends back information about specific services at the current location of the customer and customizes any type of services based on trends identified from the customer’s past behavioral patterns when browsing, consuming, or purchasing products or services.
With this technology, businesses adopt a predictive approach where they can help customers solve problems even before they arise.
How to Put Everything into Practice?
Here is the journey of the Internet of Things data stream in Salesforce ecosystem:
- Create a connected object. The source of data comes from mobile devices such as smartphones and consumer wearables like the Fitbit, Apple Watch, etc.
- Create connected device applications using Force.com or Heroku. The app is a central point of interactions between raw data created by human inputs and the sensors embedded in the devices.
- Connect the objects to Cloud through application programming interfaces (APIs).
- Stream Internet of Things (IoT) data from smart, connected object into Wave and IoT Cloud dashboard and insights. This step puts data into visualization and context for business users to analyze and take meaningful actions.
Practical Example: Internet of Connected Shoppers
IoT makes our lives become more and more futuristic just like in sci-fi movies. In a scenario of retail shopping, conventionally, businesses used sales figure as an ultimate benchmark to determine an effectiveness of their sales and marketing efforts. However, what if a particular customer browsed, compared and selected products in a very short period of time, but ended up waiting for a long duration at a checkout, this might be an indication of an unsatisfactory experience. Right?
In the past, tracking and analyzing such details would require an impossibly high investment in computing technology. However, evolution of technology, affordability of cloud computing, and effective utilization of Big Data analytics and Internet of Things have enabled even small and medium enterprises to gain better understanding of the smallest and even most insignificant details related to their customers.
Combining Salesforce and IoT will allow businesses to utilize data related to all facets of the customers. They can then draw data-driven conclusions to facilitate more satisfactory interactions with customers.
The analysis of data and personalization of the experience can take place in real-time. Shoppers who have finalized their choices in a significantly shorter timespan can be guided to a checkout counter through an automated message sent directly to his or her smartphone.
It is easy to see why Salesforce IoT Cloud is going to become the next big thing for businesses of all sizes as it lays the foundation for the implementations of innovative & imaginative processes, tactics, and strategies to provide improved customer experience. ‘A Customer Success Platform’ now helps businesses create ‘An Internet of Customers’ because they believe that behind every app, connected device, and sensor is a customer.