Internet of Things ImageAnalysts predict the sensor market and the internet of things will be worth US$29bn by 2020. Cisco the tech giant estimates that there are 15 billion connected devices today and could reach 50 billion by 2020. But, what progress has been made and what customer service or product will prove to be popular closer to home, literally in our homes?

The manufacturing industry uses the Internet of Things the most, General Electric has introduced sensors to its jet engines, which can pre-empt breakdowns by gathering approximately half a terabyte of data per flight, and has also begun its ‘Brilliant Factories Initiative’, collecting data from all the machinery in their factories, which could eventually lead to 40% efficiency gains. The company has also begun testing railway-inspecting robots. Siemens equipped a 150-year-old tree with sensors to measure air pollution, ozone etc. It has also developed technology which allows wind turbines to communicate, maximising energy yield while minimising wear and tear.

IBM has announced a $3 billion investment to create an “internet of things” unit that will try to track all the data cast off by devices. In addition, they have collaborated with the Weather Company, using sophisticated sensor analytics to improve communities’ and companies’ planning and operational performance.

In the home…

Domestic sensors are increasingly available on the market such as:

  • allowing you to control home electronics from anywhere; a remote video camera which sends a notification to your phone if it notices a break in;
  • a smoke alarm sends an alert to your phone if smoke is detected;
  • wirelessly connected buttons which trigger an order for a household good;
  • adjustable lights which can change the colour, brightness and ambience of a room.

Our new research shows that millions of consumers are interested in using a range of domestic sensors including:

I would be happy to use this
Your fridge to trigger an online order for goods when items were running low 17%
A computerised front door, which could be securely opened remotely with your smartphone 19%
To be notified by your smartphone of a house break-in or fire 38%
Your water/gas/electricity usage monitored in real-time and the results available on your smartphone  32%
To be able to control the brightness and colour of your room lighting using your smartphone 26%
To monitor home activities when away from home (eg misbehaving dog, young child being cared for) using a remote video camera 24%

‘Big Data’ from sensors has major implications for digital customer service particularly with CRM integration and analytics empowering frontline staff. It links directly to Davies Hickman’s concept of Smart Service: organisations monitor, analyse and react to changes in products and services to resolve issues for consumers before they become problematic.

If issues like data privacy, intrusion into consumers’ lives and training are managed correctly, the Internet of Things revolution presents a fresh start to improve products, services and multichannel connectivity.