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Connected devices will drive connected customer experiences

The future of customer experience is staring us in the face. Augmented Reality will bring the store into our homes. Chatbots will become intuitively conversational. 3D Printing will deliver customised and locally made goods. Mobile & wearable devices will become embeddable. Biometric and embedded payment systems will become passé. Blockchain technology will help end fake news sources.

From mobile phones to smart home assistants, consumers have embraced technology with open arms. According to Futurum Research, more than 37% consumers in US have three or more mobile phones in their home. 35% of households have two or more smart devices – Alexa, Google Home. 13% households have three or more wearable devices. 39% of households have purchased an augmented or virtual reality device. 29% of consumers use three or more banking, finance, or payment apps. These are trends that are pretty visible to Indian marketers too. Technologies like Edge Computing, Cloud, IoT and Blockchain are enabling trusted and transparent transactions and enabling a single source of record to create a customised customer experience.

Technologies like smart speakers, digital signage, VR, beacons, and wearable devices are all providing huge opportunities to drive great engagement stories with AI-enabled experiences in-store and even in homes and vehicles.

Connected devices and technology will develop a richer experience with a brand. It will also make the product features more accessible. Brands will have to invest in technologies that will elevate the consumer experience to a new level. Personal technology, such as wearables, smart phones, and embedded smart assistants, will play a very important role in how brands engage with consumers.

We are slowly but surely moving computing to the edge to drive real-time insights on consumer behaviour and needs. From wearable devices to embedded technology to augmented reality, these technologies will capture and leverage behavioural insights to provide immersive customer experiences. Smart technologies like AI, ML and predictive analytics are already providing intelligence to scale data insights, enabling just in time conversations and adding context to real time consumer experiences both online and in person. As sensors and IoT devices increase in sophistication brands will have the ability to engage almost continuously or on demand with consumers and that too with real time data at their disposal. This shared data between consumers and brands will only enhance the customer single view and customer experience.

The growing popularity of smart voice assistants like Alexa, Google Home and Siri is also giving brands a new way to interact with their customers. Many brands have developed “skills” for Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant platform. Fitness fanatics can use Alexa skills to create a workout or plan a healthy meal, while those more inclined toward watching a movie can use Alexa to request a movie on Amazon Prime. Wearable technology ranges from visual overlays on eye wear to audio information on Bluetooth headsets, to smartwatches that can monitor anything from the wearer’s heart rate to their investment portfolio. As capabilities of wearables grow, the opportunities to incorporate them into an omnichannel marketing approach also multiply. For example, wearables can gather data on a user’s in-store experience like the items they browse, the time they spend in a store, or the average value of their items, and deliver messages that are relevant and enhance the personalised experience driving customer delight.

From smart watches to smart refrigerators to smart toothbrushes to smart diapers to smart coffee makers – every one of them will provide an opportunity to improve customer experience. Brands will not just get a more clearer picture of the consumers journey, they will also be able understand how products are being used, which features are most relevant, how the brand fits into the connected devices ecosystem, and more importantly what are the other products and adjacent services that can be sold.

Connected devices will change the role of marketing. Brands and products will become channels. A new way of thinking for Marketers will be the order of the day. Marketers will have to evolve as people, devices, and digital infrastructure get connected.

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