The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing at a record pace, from 8 billion connected objects today to a projected 20 billion by 2020, according to Gartner. We’ve been witnessing and participating in the creation of a wide range of connected products—everything from consumer electronics to industrial fixes—that introduce conveniences that were never before available to consumers.
It’s no secret that IoT has enabled brands with access to a treasure trove of customer data. Although some companies now may not know what to do with all the data on hand, the opportunities are brewing for purposeful action within purposeful data.
Three Considerations to Compete in the IoT Age
Competing in the IoT age requires considerations in three critical areas:
- Sensor capabilities – spanning a spectrum of applications from bio-sensing to proximity and temperature, sensors yield real-time actionable data.
- Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS connectivity – from communicating changes in status to exchanging big data across devices, your connectivity features make or break your IoT device.
- Simplicity and style – an intuitive interface, seamless reliability and a fashionable look and feel can provide a competitive edge.
Now, it is time to take our learnings from connected devices over the last decade and merge them with consumables to deliver a new generation of experiences to consumers – through what we call devicification.
What is Devicification? Devicification is a shift to consumer device solution models that marry the consumable to the connected device to drive customer convenience and loyalty.
As companies look to engage and re-engage their consumers in new ways, we are witnessing exponential growth in the number of products becoming devices. Devicification elevates the consumer experience and amplifies the capabilities of existing devices through connectivity features.
What does this all mean?
What once was a passive device can now learn a user’s behavior and consumption habits and utilize that data to make proactive decisions. It’s machine learning in motion.
How Devicification Provides Value
Technologies we implement into devices should always bring value with purpose. If passive products can’t realize added value with interactive features, perhaps it is best to leave them passive. Although it may be tempting to integrate new technologies in every device, that diminishes the true value of IoT.
Devicification brings a lot of value to the consumers, which in exchange, brings unmatched value to the brand. Let’s examine some of these devicification opportunities within reach.
- Auto-Replenishment – Managing a busy household with children at school and sports and with both parents working all day, your customers must keep the detergent stock high enough to keep uniforms and work and play clothes consistently clean. But between a long day at the office and driving the kids around, who has time to think about laundry detergent? Consumers could choose a laundry detergent that maps to a device that tracks their detergent use and re-orders the detergent when the inventory hits a low point.
- Engagement and Personalization – Prescription adherence is a nagging problem, with the FDA reporting that medication isn’t taken as prescribed 50 percent of the time. Devicification can improve compliance through personalization by sending reminders and instructions to a person’s smartphone on how to adhere to doctors’ orders. Expand that ecosystem to include healthcare providers and pharmacies and you could lead your customers to improved health outcomes.
- Risk Management – Smart packaging can offer more transparency between brands and customers, which is essential for retaining trust. Packaging that ensures product safety, authenticity and freshness is especially useful in the food and beverage category, but it’s applicable across the board, especially with high-value products, like those found in the health-and beauty category. Soon, consumers will be able to use their smart phones to access cloud data linked to a specific package and learn about its shipping history, recall information and other supply chain disruptions that might impact product quality.
Connected Device to Consumable Data
As we discussed, devicification isn’t only for the consumer. Connected device to consumable value also comes in the form of priceless data about the consumption behaviors of your customers. When do they buy? What’s their flavor or form factor preference? Is it tied to a season or regional event? The data that can be gathered and interpreted through devices is unprecedented!
And the information you gather can help predict preferences and changes in demand, and lead to brand loyalty. It can allow you to pivot your product strategy based on real-world data you have on your consumers.
But that’s not all. New subscription-based, predictable revenue streams can provide new opportunities to innovate and digitize your business as well. If you haven’t considered adding devices to your product mix – perhaps the time is now.
Written by Julio Oropeza, Senior Business Unit Director, Jabil Packaging Solutions