There is no denying that Internet of Things (IoT) devices are having a major impact in the home, with smart devices such as Nest and Echo offering users an interconnected network of devices that interact with each other. The technology is also popular in the manufacturing world, providing a variety of ways to streamline the process of creating a product. However, the possible applications of IoT go far beyond these two industries.
Smart devices and Internet of Things applications are disrupting a number of other industries in unexpected ways, helping businesses find new revenue avenues and smarter solutions. From the pharmaceutical sphere to the beauty and makeup industry to the world of augmented reality, IoT is helping companies relate to consumers in a more personalized manner.
Making Better Healthcare Decisions with IoT
Developers are already making waves in the pharmaceutical sector with IoT apps and devices that improve patient care. In fact, according to GlobalData, IoT software and services in the pharma market is slated to grow to $2.49 billion by 2020.
One way IoT applications are aiding the pharmaceutical industry is with personalized medicine, a growing facet of the industry. In personalized medicine, drugs are manufactured in smaller, less economical batches, which can reduce a company’s efficiency and bottom line.
For example, American Pharma company Bigfinite freeze-dried drugs with a vacuum pump to reduce humidity and ensure the medications were in good condition. However, when a pump broke down, the company lost $20 million worth of product. Now, the company uses IoT sensors on its pumps and other machinery, which send information to a cloud-based platform. By collecting information regarding the temperature, humidity and functionality of this equipment, Bigfinite can effectively predict when a piece of machinery is likely to break down and needs repairing or replacing.
IoT can also benefit patients directly, as virtually every device can compile health data, such as a toilet with sensors, a weight scale, a mirror, a shirt and even an adhesive skin patch. All these technologies can collect information regarding a patient’s vitals, organ health and blood health. Healthcare professionals can then use this data to make better treatment decisions. IoT can even amass data about drug performance and how a new prescription is affecting a patient. By quickly responding to negative side effects, healthcare professionals can effectively address a patient’s unique condition.
Beauty Tech at the Palm of Your Hand
The beauty industry has long been considered a human endeavor that requires a certain degree of artistry and precision. However, IoT has recently entered the fray as a series of tools have been developed to help consumers reach their beauty goals with accuracy and a high success rate.
One such solution is SkinIQ from Sephora, an app that can match a customer’s foundation shade and offer them makeup options based on this data. Another product that helps users is SkinScanner, a handheld IoT device that reads pores, digitally amplifies the skin’s surface and suggests products that may help with conditions such as fine lines or dryness.
IoT in beauty also exists in the form of smart toothbrushes, which work with augmented reality (AR) to help identify areas that are hard to brush, as well as providing information about texture and moisture. These brushes are designed to give users more control over how they look on a day-to-day basis by syncing the toothbrush to your smartphone. It then keeps tracks of scores based on cleanliness, which is particularly useful for encouraging children to compete amongst themselves.
Some beauty companies are also garnering information on customer behavior, identifying what products are popular with consumers by using features that offer instant feedback and opinions through IoT devices. Businesses are using this data to create a more personalized shopping experience, thereby increasing customer satisfaction and boosting profit margins.
The Growing Role of AR in IoT
Businesses are developing augmented reality platforms that collect, manage and apply real-time data to create more interactive IoT applications and devices. One such way is by combining AR with certain products and brands in order to scan codes on a product’s packaging. Once consumers do so, their device will offer interactive, short-form content on the product and gather data.
For example, a user could get information about a soda can by pointing their device at it. The app will then scan a code on the can and trigger an AR animation on the smartphone, offering nutritional information, ingredients, company details and visually-appealing graphics for marketing purposes. Businesses can use this technology to create a deeper connection with consumers while also learning about the lifecycle of a specific product.
Food brands can benefit greatly from the combination of AR and IoT to gather data when users scan their products. This data can then be used to create a reordering notification for consumers. The app could even measure dwell time, active engagement, table time and increase repurchase rates.
The Use of Beacons in IoT
Another emerging technology in the IoT sphere are beacons, which are small, wireless sensors that use Bluetooth to link up with other devices. While GPS devices are used to track assets, beacons can track everything within a 100-meter radius, compiling information about nearby devices and offering business insights and solutions in the process.
Beacon technology in IoT essentially helps vendors enhance their marketing strategies. In fact, Rainbow Light discovered that beacon advertising techniques booster the average sales rate of vendors by 15%. These devices help shoppers gain a better understanding of their surroundings, manage their customer loyalty programs and discover in-store digital media. In retail, beacons combine with IoT by using Bluetooth geolocation to offer shoppers information on current sales or promotions.
IoT is also linking up with beacons in the form of smart shelves, which use radio frequency identification readers (RDIFs). Such readers can be built into a shelf or near a shelf, scanning targeted items and informing the backend system of the items placed on the shelf. This technology can help supermarkets and grocers better understand customer demands and preferences while also enabling consumers to find products through an app that connects to the RDIFs.
For customers, this means they can use apps to save their grocery lists in the supermarket and streamline the shopping experience by learning the exact locations of the products they’re looking for. Companies can improve their bottom line as well by using consumer analytics from their beacons to send personalized offers based on previous purchases.
IoT in the Fashion Industry
IoT devices are changing the fashion game as well thanks to the sensors and computing speed of the technology. Smart clothes consist of a combination of digital and technical features that measure a person’s activity, offer recommendations on how to achieve a healthier lifestyle and give shoppers clothing recommendations.
This technology has great potential in the athletic world, as new materials and sensors can be integrated into sports attire to compile data on a wearer’s activity. By analyzing biometric data during athletic activities, smart clothes can inform users if they need to stretch or dial down their workout. And by giving wearers data-driven insights on how to achieve their fitness goals, companies get the opportunity to sell products that make a difference for consumers.
The ultimate goal with IoT is to create a deeper connection between brands, products and their customers. As personalization becomes more essential for consumers, businesses now have the opportunity to incorporate this technology into their product line to bolster their ROIs. The rise of IoT shows no signs of stopping as the technology can now do everything from improving a healthcare patient’s treatment plan to helping a customer pick the right shade of makeup. After all, the possibilities for this technology are virtually limitless.
If you’re hoping to integrate IoT solutions into your product line, you will need a developer with the talent and experience to help you achieve your goals. The team at 7T is well-versed in Internet of Things applications for a variety of industries. We’re also capable of integrating other forms of emerging technologies, including virtual reality, blockchain, artificial intelligence and natural language processing.