In an age of personalization, the internet of everything, with elements of sensors for data collection, big data analytics, sophisticated mobile and web applications, integrated with operational elements of customized delivery services will reign supreme. Yack, yack, yack . . . so what does this really mean for the business opportunities ahead? Here are our projections.
Sensors: Sensor technology and adoption have evolved to the point of having too many sensors, not enough standardization. Sensors range from throw-away, single-use models to MEMs and RFID solutions. They can be apps on mobile phones to gadgets that are wearable or not to sensors attached to and even inside our bodies. So what needs to be done to ensure that the sensor technology remains relevant?
- Integrate the sensor hardware and reports so that it is integrated with applications and analytics.
- Create sensors that collect only the relevant data for specific purposes, short-term and long-term.
- Manage the sensor development project so that each individual sensor solution is cost effective and also customized to the needs of the user.
Big Data Applications: Yes, it’s about the data, we have oodles and oodles of it, coming out of our ears, detailing everything from our web search habits to buying and texting patterns, from time spent in a room to preferred heating temperatures, from average speed on freeways to average expenditure for each trip to preferred stores, in preferred months, at preferred times of day. And sensors of every style and flavor will continue to add more and more data to be managed, overseen, and acted upon. The future must include this data though, so here are some thoughts on what you need to do with the data you have, when delivering personalized solutions for your customers:
- Filter out relevant data – know what data is relevant, when and why. Create customized reports on that relevant data, so that various stakeholders can monitor and act on it.
- Integrate all data sources into a common structure so that you can create inter-relations between the data.
- Recommend actions based on data profiles. Allow stakeholders to update and manage which data profiles should elicit which actions.
- Let the data tell the story about your customers and where they are trending.
Supply Chain Optimization: Thank you Dell for revolutionizing the supply chain process, making it on-demand. Thank you Google and Amazon for raising the bar beyond that, and aggregating the delivery of products to the door so efficiently and conveniently. The challenge and opportunity in delivering personalized products to the door is that the services must be customized to the needs of the user – not just combinations of off-the-shelf items! So how do you deliver this in a cost-effective way?
- Integrate sensor, application/big data information into the manufacturing and delivery process.
- Partner with stakeholders across the value chain, making each partner accountable for the customization before the delivery.
- Target highest need classes of customers first, for although each will get customizations, it would be easier to deliver customized solutions if you had higher volumes of need for specific types of customizations.
The bottom line is that sensors, big data applications and supply chain solutions will be essential elements of successful personalized solutions, but integrating each element cost-effectively while wowing the customers is the ultimate challenge and reward.
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