Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
IoT (Internet of Things) and M2M (machine to machine) are two acronyms that are getting a lot of attention. As more devices are being connected to wireless networks and with billions, yes BILLIONS more coming, there is a plethora of information being exchanged. The challenge companies face is how to capture that information and utilize it in a manner that not only benefits their customers, but also provides efficiencies for them.
The answer to this lies in the software, and by utilizing ISVs (independent software vendors). What once was only a dream can now be a reality. The proliferation of smartphones and tablets have made the once impossible, possible.
Consider that you’re on vacation in Las Vegas and you’ve installed your resort’s app on your smart device or tablet. You arrive onto the property and as you pull up, the valet opens the door and says, “Welcome back, Mr. Smith.” Another check of your phone reveals your room number is available, you’re already checked in, and you can bypass that long line for the front desk (if you’ve stayed in Vegas you know how daunting those lines can be). Feeling like the VIP you are, you walk past that line, get on the elevator, and go to right your room. As you approach the door you simply hold your phone up to the door and it unlocks.
As you enter the room you notice the room temperature is ideal, your favorite genre of music is playing, and you’re ready to sit your bags down and relax. Being Vegas, it’s time to hit the town or a pool party. As you enter the elevator to head out, your room goes back to a setting more favorable for the resort (the thermostat resets, your music and lights turn off), saving the resort money if you’re not the type to power everything off yourself. As you walk around the resort you notice that you’re receiving alerts and coupons from all your favorite retail locations in the area enticing you to spend some of those hard-earned dollars.
Sunday comes and you’re ready to leave. As you exit the elevator and walk past the front lobby you receive a “Thank you for staying, Mr. Smith. We look forward to seeing you again,” on your phone. You proceed towards the valet who greets you by name and already has your car waiting.
Mr. Smith leaves the resort with a feeling of exceptional customer service but he is not the only one who benefits from this high-tech experience. One of the biggest challenges for resorts is remaining profitable (particularly in places like Vegas). As more people pull away from the tables and shop or attend parties or other social events, it becomes overwhelmingly important for these resorts to know not only what their patrons are doing, but how to get them to come back. By utilizing apps on smart devices, smart beacons, and software, resort managers are able to get the valuable analytics they need to not only see what tables you prefer to gamble at, but also where you like to shop, eat, and what events you attend at the resort. This allows them to market to you in order to entice you back or to try to steer your behavior while you’re there.
The benefits of deploying an IoT solution are not solely felt by the customer. The resort is able to obtain critical information that, without such a solution, they would not have. They are able to know where their guests are, what features on the resort are most attractive to their guests, deploy smart energy devices that save the resort money, and can get a sense of what needs to remain versus what should be improved.
Hardware by itself cannot drive the personalized experiences your customers want – it has to be paired with the proper software solutions. Companies such as Dell, GE, Microsoft, and IBM realize this and have begun developing software as much or more as their previous hardware. Hardware will always have a place, now the software is starting to become the key driver.