Shannon Flynn

The Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are three emerging technologies projected to make a massive impact on the foreseeable future. However, it seems likely that they will have exceptionally noticeable effects for the rest of this year and into 2021.

They Will Help Companies Regain Lost Profits

This year was incredibly tough for many companies. The COVID-19 pandemic forced enterprises to delay planned product launches, cut marketing budgets and make other hard decisions that adversely affected profitability.

Recent academic research confirmed that the economic damage caused by the pandemic in the United States was widespread yet varied in its overall impact. It affected unemployment rates and caused entire industries to virtually shut down.

However, if brands use AI, ML and the IoT, they’ll be more equipped to find effective ways to become profitable again. For example, a retailer could use an IoT-based people-counting system to maintain safety in stores. A manufacturer could depend on AI and ML to determine the best ways to make process or quality control improvements. These are some of the many examples of utilizing the technologies to help profits increase.

They Will Pave the Way for Growth

Successful technology implementation can also help companies grow. Consider the example where a company uses artificial intelligence to reduce the need for manual processes, such as distributing invoices or organizing files. If AI assists with some of those needs, employees have more time to devote to tasks that directly connect to growth.

It’s important to consider, too, that although many companies saw their growth plans put on hold during 2020, some sectors thrived. Research about consumer buying behaviors during COVID-19 revealed a 74% jump in hand soap sales during the first three months of 2020. Coffee products also soared, especially with more people working from home.

Tapping into the benefits of AI, the IoT and machine learning helps company leaders keep pace with marketplace changes and seize growth opportunities. For example, a specialized camera powered by machine learning algorithms could speed inspection processes, allowing companies to increase their output without adding staff members.

They Will Create Competitive Advantages

The IoT, ML and AI are all much more accessible now than they were in the past. That improvement means that companies have more choices concerning which products they could use to meet needs. Additionally, today’s offerings are much more user-friendly than earlier possibilities. These benefits open new opportunities for using innovative technologies for increased competitiveness in industrial sectors.

Next-gen IoT, such as GNSS-based technologies, are steadily providing more benefits for smart cities. For instance, products using IoT for location and data collection intelligence will revamp industries such as transportation, utilities, healthcare and waste management. Process enhancements from cloud-based opportunities will present various opportunities for digital transformation.

AI and ML can also create models that set expectations for outcomes. For example, plastic surgeons are starting to use both technologies in their work. AI tools and ML algorithms can assist with planning before a patient’s procedure or help a surgeon predict someone’s aging process and recommend strategies to slow or minimize it.

Many companies in the shipping and logistics sectors also depend on the IoT, ML and AI to maintain their competitive edges. For example, an IoT sensor can verify that a delicate product stayed within the necessary temperature throughout its entire journey. An AI database could recommend the best shipping routes or help company decision-makers alter travel paths once disruptions arise.

They Will Promote Customer Loyalty

2020 was a year when many people worldwide decided to switch brands. As we move into 2021, AI, ML and the IoT could prove vital for bolstering loyalty. A September 2020 survey from Mckinsey investigated why consumers in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany switched brands during the pandemic,

The results showed that lower prices and better price-to-value ratios were the top drivers. Companies must focus on those aspects, but they can dig deeper to determine how to please customers. For example, an AI tool used for email marketing could send the most appropriate communications to customers based on their previous actions. That approach could convince customers that brands genuinely understand their needs.

Moreover, research published from the Capgemini Research Institute in July 2020 investigated how companies succeeded when using AI at scale. It revealed that 62% of the AI-at-scale leaders saw at least a 25% decrease in customer complaints. People become unhappy brands for a variety of reasons. However, ML and AI technology could identify the most common reasons customers end their relationships with businesses. Similarly, IoT sensors could pinpoint the quality issues that lead to product defects or other problems that erode customer trust.

Technological Investments Can Provide a Strong Return on Investment

The people tasked with planning a company’s operational investments for the upcoming year have a challenging job. It’s not always immediately apparent which solutions would provide the best and most evident payoffs. These examples show that the IoT, machine learning and artificial intelligence are three technologies that are well worth considering.

It’s not enough to simply see that a product has AI capability and purchase that tool based on a single aspect, however. People should apply a broader viewpoint and ensure that a ML, AI or IoT tool would also fulfill company needs in the ways described here or others.