The Internet of Things (IoT) will enable business operators to learn more about their business-critical environments, an understanding and set of controls that they have never had before. This knowledge and understanding is critical in ever-evolving, complex environments such as supply chains.
How users will access and interact with this information needs to be carefully thought through. The user journey and day to day working life needs to be well understood. For example, if the expectation is for users to log into an application to interact with the data and realise value, an additional step is introduced creating friction, lowering interaction and ultimately reducing value.
Background running apps
We are seeing more and more background running apps. Applications that are there even though the user is unaware. They are constantly monitoring and when the user needs to be notified of something, they are there. An example would be something like Shazam – the music app. I have it running on my computer. When a song comes on the radio or through an advert, a little pop up appears in the top right corner of my screen simply telling me what I’m listening to. This is a great example of an app interacting with me as opposed to me interacting with it. Friction-less.
My all-seeing, all-knowing assistant
This is exactly what IoT solutions should be. I want to know when something has happened. Yes, I may find the novelty of seeing and learning lots about my supply chain drive me to log into an application initially, but this novelty will wear off. I want an all-seeing, all-knowing assistant to alert me when something happens or tell me if I need to look into something.
From a supply chain management perspective, say I’m a senior manager responsible for supply chain operations. A particular depot is performing badly with regards to the average cycle time when compared to the wider estate, meaning that depot is operating inefficiently. Rather than me logging into the Tracca application, I want the application to tell me. I want to be notified that something requires my attention, and to be asked whether I want a meeting scheduled. Ideally, the application would be able to schedule that meeting and pop it into my diary. I want my very own ‘Jarvis’ to help me manage my supply chain. It is, for this reason, we have developed Omni – our very own virtual assistant which you can check out below;
Seamless interaction ensures value is not missed
If I was required to log into the application to identify the failing depots, I may forget and these issues go unnoticed. Using technologies such as push notifications, voice, automated email, etc. IoT applications can interact with users, ensuring optimal engagement and maximum value created.