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Create IOT products and solutions – Part 2

In my last article, I have talked about the challenges and oppurtunities of IOT industry. Now let’s talk about building an IOT product and  benefits of it in the market.

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How about building an IOT device?

Now let me also talk a bit about the process of building an IOT product. If you are thinking of building an air purifier, or a thermostat, or some smart lighting solutions for home, you are very likely to hit the first stumbling block as to how to go about the whole process. How to get a 3D design for the device, where to go for a prototype design, and how to get the electronics (the PCB part) done, and how to make the device talk and interact with various other devices like your mobile phone, etc.
 What you need is professional expertise in not one particular field, but many diverse fields. If you are a software engineer with some experience with coding, you will know writing software is not that difficult as all you need is a computer, and you could create wonders just sitting in home or office. Building a real, physical thing can be really tough & challenging. Not only it requires varied set of skill set, but also can cost much more to prototype, and test it out.

Steps to follow before going ahead

For the benefit of newbies to the field, I have listed down the steps generally followed in any IOT product development process.

  • Market Research
  • Conceptualization/Ideation
  • Design
  • Prototype (Schematic Design, Layout)
  • PCB Manufacturing
  • Procuring components & assembly of electronic circuitry
  • 3D printing of casing & outer facade of the product
  • Field Trials
  • Redesign & trials if needed
  • Marketing & Mass manufacturing

Loads of data is generated, but what to do with it?

Due to the large number of IOT devices around, it is quite as well expected that they will generate a huge volume of data. Question is how to make best use of the data captured, or how to make your device react to events triggered by actions of other users, or may be from the device owner himself through a mobile application.

Standards like the MQTT, AMQP, etc are the general protocols used for an IOT device or the cloud to communicate with each other. Both of them work on basic principle of publish/subscribe. The two parties subscribe to events, and whenever there is an update, or an occurrence of the event, the subscribing parties are notified.

Providers like Microsoft Azure, ABM, and AWS have all come up with their IOT platforms making it easy to monitor and control remote devices from click of a button. Being on the cloud, it gives IOT the ability to scale. The data being captured in the cloud can be analysed, and trends studied using Machine Learning algorithms and Artificial Intelligence.

Today it is possible to auto update the firmware of an IOT device without requiring any intervention from the customer.

How IOT will drive benefits for users?

Data generated from IOT devices are being continuously analysed and machine learning models are built to help in predictive analytics. Earlier emphasis was on preventive maintenance in industries, and anywhere else where machines were deployed. We used to ensure regular and timely checkups to ensure our machines are always in healthy state. But now with advancements in technology, based on the data captured, our machine learning prediction models can warn us in advance of a possible impending breakdown. A corrective action can be immediately triggered, and the machine is restored to good health much before breakdown.

emergency-notification-iot

Today IOT driven processes paves the way for improvements in existing processes leading to higher customer satisfaction & safety leading to better profits for businesses. Customers delight and an increasing affiliation are invaluable assets to any business, and when IOT is able to help the business achieve that, its relevance will never be in doubt. No wonder Gartner Research predicts there will be more than 20 billion IOT devices by the year 2020.
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Retention playbook for Insurance firms in the backdrop of financial crises

4 minutes read

Belonging to one of the oldest industries in the world, Insurance companies have weathered multiple calamities over the years and have proven themselves to be resilient entities that can truly stand the test of time. Today, however, the industry faces some of its toughest trials yet. Technology has fundamentally changed what it means to be an insurer and the cumulative effects of the pandemic coupled with a weak global economic output have impacted the industry in ways both good and bad.

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Source: Deloitte Services LP Economic Analysis

For instance, the U.S market recorded a sharp dip in GDP in the wake of the pandemic and it was expected that the economy would bounce back bringing with it a resurgent demand for all products (including insurance) across the board. It must be noted that the outlook toward insurance products changed as a result of the pandemic. Life insurance products were no longer an afterthought, although profitability in this segment declined over the years. Property-and-Casualty (P&C) insurance, especially motor insurance, continued to be a strong driver, while health insurance proved to be the fastest-growing segment with robust demand from different geographies

Simultaneously, the insurance industry finds itself on the cusp of an industry-wide shift as technology is starting to play a greater role in core operations. In particular, technologies such as AI, AR, and VR are being deployed extensively to retain customers amidst this technological and economic upheaval.

Double down on digital

For insurance firms, IT budgets were almost exclusively dedicated to maintaining legacy systems, but with the rise of InsurTech, it is imperative that firms start dedicating more of their budgets towards developing advanced capabilities such as predictive analytics, AI-driven offerings, etc. Insurance has long been an industry that makes extensive use of complex statistical and mathematical models to guide pricing and product development strategies. By incorporating the latest technological advances with the rich data they have accumulated over the years, insurance firms are poised to emerge stronger and more competitive than ever.

Using AI to curate a bespoke customer experience

Insurance has always been a low-margin affair and success in the business is primarily a function of selling the right products to the right people and reducing churn as much as possible. This is particularly important as customer retention is normally conceived as an afterthought in most industries, as evidenced in the following chart.

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        Source: econconusltancy.com

AI-powered tools (even with narrow capabilities) can do wonders for the insurance industry at large. When architected in the right manner, they can be used to automate a bulk of the standardized and automated processes that insurance companies have. AI can be used to automate and accelerate claims, assess homeowner policies via drones, and facilitate richer customer experiences through sophisticated chatbots. Such advances have a domino effect of increasing CSAT scores, boosting retention rates, reducing CACs, and ultimately improving profitability by as much as 95%.

Crafting immersive products through AR/VR

Customer retention is largely a function of how good a product is, and how effective it is in solving the customers’ pain points. In the face of increasing commodification, insurance companies that go the extra mile to make the buying process more immersive and engaging can gain a definite edge over competitors.

Globally, companies are flocking to implement AR/VR into their customer engagement strategies as it allows them to better several aspects of the customer journey in one fell swoop. Relationship building, product visualization, and highly personalized products are some of the benefits that AR/VR confers to its wielders.  

By honoring the customer sentiments of today and applying a slick AR/VR-powered veneer over its existing product layer, insurance companies can cater to a younger audience (Gen Z) by educating them about insurance products and tailoring digital delivery experiences. This could pay off in the long run by building a large customer base that could be retained and served for a much longer period.

The way forward

The Insurance industry is undergoing a shift of tectonic proportions as an older generation makes way for a new and younger one that has little to no perceptions about the industry. By investing in next-generation technologies such as AR/VR, firms can build new products to capture this new market and catapult themselves to leadership positions simply by way of keeping up with the times.

We have already seen how AR is a potential game-changer for the insurance industry. It is only a matter of time before it becomes commonplace.

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