As Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “an ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.” It’s a fitting statement to describe today’s hyper-competitive world, where sensing and responding to changing trends in real time – aka the “sentient” enterprise – dictates whether a business survives and thrives. And now that the smart phone revolution has placed the power of the web at one’s fingertips, we have a better understanding of how the machine-to-machine (M2M) revolution impacts the power of the sentient enterprise.
Imagine a refrigerated cabinet or vending machine able to communicate its state, announcing if it is powered on, at the right temperature, well stocked, with the right product mix, at the right location, how shoppers interact with it, if it is due for routine maintenance and so on.
Now imagine millions of such machines worldwide, adding up to a sizeable business for a company. Imagine each machine offering shoppers the ability to pay for the product in multiple smart ways through other devices (smart phones, smart cards, touch screen, etc). Imagine the enterprise being able to remotely and dynamically tune the machine with advertising, pricing, promotions, bundling, language and currency. Imagine the machine tailoring an offer to a shopper that it recognizes as a loyal customer (if the shopper allows it).
The ability to glean real time shopper insight, optimize retail locations, make the supply chain efficient and effective and to generate a high return on assets seems like a marketing and operations dream. This smart asset scenario is well within reach of M2M.
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