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Get to Know the IoT Landscape

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
  • Explain what IoT means.
  • Identify the four components of IoT.
  • Describe the role Salesforce plays in IoT.

What is IoT?

Are you ready for a trip to the land of IoT? The land of networked devices and other things embedded with electronics, sensors, and software? The land of HVAC units, jet engines, robots, coffee machines, cars, routers, ATMs, apps, and millions of other connected objects? Then fasten your seatbelt and prepare for takeoff.

The land of IoT

You probably already know that IoT stands for Internet of Things. Seems simple enough, but what does that mean? There are lots of definitions out there that include descriptions of electronic devices. But what’s important to remember is that it’s not just about things as individual devices, machines, apps, sensors, and so forth. And it’s not just about turning physical things into connected things that can transmit data. IoT also introduces the possibility that real-time event data can be used to create new, connected customer experiences and services that ultimately reduce operational downtime, improve customer outcomes, and generate new opportunities for digital monetization. Gartner estimates that by 2020 there will be more than 20 billion connected things, with the ability to transmit billions of data points.

The explosion in the number of connected things

The companies of the future will be those that figure out how to create value and build new services from all this data.

What Is the IoT Landscape?

Every company is on a journey to digital transformation: a journey that will transform their business from selling and delivering a physical product or asset, to delivering proactive customer experiences tied to connected products. To achieve this goal, companies need to connect their physical assets to their customer experience. But how can they do this? Let’s start with a bird’s-eye view of the IoT landscape to help simplify our understanding of IoT.
To succeed in IoT requires that companies invest in these four key segments:
  • Things: We’ve got this part covered already, but just as a reminder, things are devices, apps, and other objects with embedded electronics, sensors, or software. Once connected, these things can send and receive data.
  • Connectivity: This refers to evolving plain old “things” into connected things that transmit data over networks and other systems to the cloud. It also refers to how things connect to each other over networks and other systems. Wireless connectivity for devices, sensors, and software is usually provided by the wireless carriers and companies that specialize in this area.
  • Device management: It takes sophisticated software to manage connected devices, keep their firmware up to date, and store all the data they transmit. Do a simple Internet search and you’ll find more than 300 IoT device management platforms.
  • Customer experience: Using the data that comes from all the connected things in the land of IoT, you can create new kinds of customer experiences that proactively engage your customers across all lines of business. Including from how you sell to how you service, market, and even build apps. And who lives in this part of the map? Salesforce. Salesforce IoT connects the Internet of Things to the customer experience and the world’s number one CRM. This connection empowers any business, and every trailblazer, to harness data streaming from their network of connected products and reimagine the way they sell, service, market, build apps, and more.

Many companies have invested in things, connectivity, and device management, but relatively few have achieved great success in IoT without connecting these investments to systems of engagement like Salesforce. It’s tough to monetize your investments without some way to impact your customer experience. This is where Salesforce can help by making it easy to bridge the gap and innovate in customer experience for connected things.

So, how does Salesforce help you bridge that gap? How do we take what’s going on with things, connectivity, and device management and help you transform that into customer experiences?

Let’s drop down in altitude to take a closer look.

Where Is Salesforce on the IoT Map?

In the land of customer experience, Salesforce paves the road and leads the way. Salesforce IoT bridges the gap between IoT infrastructure and customer experience. And because Salesforce IoT is part of the broader Salesforce intelligent customer success platform, we’re able to provide out-of-the box integration to the business applications that engage your customers, employees, and partners (like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud, and Marketing Cloud). Salesforce IoT enables companies to monetize their investment in IoT.

With Salesforce IoT, customers can:
  • Easily connect everything to CRM: Seamlessly connect data from every device, sensor, website, and interaction with Salesforce customer context data to get a more complete view of customers.
  • Rapidly innovate in IoT: Put intuitive clicks-not-code tools in the hands of your business users and rapidly innovate in IoT by creating IoT-driven customer experiences in days, not months.
  • Engage customers proactively: Turn data into action by identifying significant events from high volumes of data, and triggering and automating near real-time output to any one of the core Salesforce clouds or a third-party service.

Salesforce IoT enables companies to blaze new trails in IoT and scale their IoT strategies by providing the tools they need to turn the billions of data points from the millions of connected devices into engaging customer experiences.

That sounds pretty cool. Let’s continue on the next leg of our adventure where we find out a lot more about how Salesforce IoT works.