Billions of ‘Machine Customers’ Already Exist Among Us

In today’s business landscape, it’s increasingly common for companies to engage with machine customers during transactions or interactions. This shift towards machine customers is a significant trend, one that IT leaders must acknowledge and prepare for.

According to Don Scheibenreif, a vice president and analyst with Gartner’s customer experience research group, machine customers are already a reality. These entities, which could be any of the over 13 billion Internet of Things (IoT) connected products currently deployed, can act as customers, seeking out services and supplies autonomously.

Gartner predicts that the number of IoT-connected products will rise to 15 billion by 2028, with CEOs estimating that a notable portion of their revenue, around 15% to 20%, will originate from machine customers by 2030.

IT leaders are urged to strategize and invest in IoT, AI, and cloud
IT leaders are urged to strategize and invest in IoT, AI, and cloud for machine customer integration.

Scheibenreif points out that there are already numerous examples of machine customers emerging across various industries, with new instances continually coming to light. These machine customers can receive and respond to messages, make purchasing decisions independently, negotiate deals, request services, and even place orders for necessary parts or supplies.

For instance, companies like Carvana and Amazon are utilizing bots and smart technology to facilitate interactions with machine customers. Additionally, AI and IoT connectivity advancements have enabled devices to diagnose issues, preemptively order parts, and schedule service appointments, as exemplified by Tesla vehicles and platforms like iProd.

Vishal Gupta, CTO, CIO, and senior vice president of connected technology at Lexmark, emphasizes the immense potential machine customers present for businesses over the next several years. Lexmark, with its extensive network of connected printers and IoT sensors, demonstrates how companies can leverage machine customers to enhance efficiency, reduce downtime, and improve maintenance processes.

Collaboration between IT and business is essential
Collaboration between IT and business is essential; a proactive approach is vital to seize machine customer opportunities.

Gupta advises IT executives to proactively develop strategies for embracing machine customers, collaborating closely with business leaders to identify key opportunities, and laying down the necessary technological infrastructure. This includes investing in IoT, edge computing, AI, and cloud capabilities, as well as assembling teams with the relevant skills to execute these strategies.

Scheibenreif echoes this sentiment, urging organizations not to delay in exploring the potential of machine customers. He suggests forming dedicated investigation teams comprising representatives from various departments to evaluate market opportunities and adapt the company’s approach accordingly.

Ultimately, successfully integrating machine customers into business operations requires a cohesive effort across multiple fronts, from technology architecture to sales and marketing strategies. By embracing this evolution, companies can thrive in an increasingly automated and interconnected world.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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