Commentary

10 Consumer Benefits From The Internet Of Things

Despite some rather significant bumps in the road ahead, there are plenty of coming opportunities that will be presented by the Internet of Things.

As regular readers know, we routinely chronicle issues on both sides here, ranging from security and privacy potential pitfalls to opportunities to create new forms of advertising and delivery mechanisms.

But now, buried deep inside a 100+ page report by a global organization looking at the range of IoT issues, is a detailed list of some of the distinct opportunities ahead.

Consumers have plenty of benefits to look forward to, according to Consumers International, a world federation of consumer groups with 240 member organizations in 120 countries. Here’s a condensed look at the 10 IoT consumer benefits they see coming:

  1. Responsive services. With more information coming from more sources, services can observe, learn, anticipate and respond to individual needs.
  2. Shorter feedback loops. Companies can quickly learn about consumer experiences with products or services, identify faults and adjust.
  3. Convenience. Saving time and money by automating tasks such as reading energy meters or checking expiration dates of food and medicines. Interconnections between devices and aggregation of information could eliminate some of the complexity that consumers now negotiate themselves.
  4. Enhanced experiences. The idea that consumer activities such as cooking could be enhanced by IoT technology, by linking ingredients to recipe suggestions, much like reading on an e-reader enables instant access to dictionaries.
  5. Efficiency gains passed on. Potential for efficiency gains as realized by business to be passed onto customers. Lower barriers to entry as technology and data costs get lower could offer opportunities for new entrants.
  6. Increased insight into behavior. Assumptions made about habits, like how much you might walk or sleep, the amount of time spent on particular tasks can be more accurately understood and services related to these will no longer have to rely on assumptions.
  7. Decision-making support. Consumers will be able to act on this knowledge themselves and make the best match with offers on the market.
  8. Solving offline safety and security issues. Many methods to secure valuables have weaknesses that can be mitigated to a certain extent by IoT technology. Digital keys can limit or allow access, for example, and lost objects can be tracked and found.
  9. Verify behavior or events. Billing for supplies like energy or water could become much more accurate using real time information. Consumer benefits would include much simpler verification processes for products, leading to increased confidence.
  10. Remote control. Able to exert control over home or other appliances while not physically there, such as by checking security systems or granting access to approved parties to switch lights or heating on or off.

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No one benefit in itself can be considered earth shattering. But taken together, they do paint a behavior-changing picture being created by the Internet of Things.

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