If you haven’t heard of the “Internet of Things,” or IoT for short, it’s a fairly new concept in digital technology that refers to the network of physical devices that can operate by connectivity to the Internet.
The Internet of Things encompasses quite a broad range of devices, from health-tracking and smart watches to Internet-connected cars, power grids, and even heart monitors. The last two years have seen IoT grow significantly as innovations in appliances, transportation, and wearable tech penetrate the market.
While many are quick to embrace new devices designed to make some aspect of our lives easier, there’s a darker side to the growth of IoT, and it lies in the various systems required to control each device. Mobility is an important trait to modern consumers, so the most common method of control is via an app. But is it really the most effective?
Here at SnatchBot, we would be apt to say no, but we might be a little biased.
Modern Consumers and App Fatigue
A little more than a year ago, app fatigue was something of an abstract concept, but these days there is concrete evidence to support that modern consumers are growing tired of the ever-increasing volume of apps.
App markets are oversaturated, and users are taking a closer look at added value, leading many to delete apps and focus only on those that provide the most utility. These tend to be messaging platforms, which are still increasing in user base, and social media platforms, which are actually on the decline.
In the current tech climate, it may make sense to developers to build an app with which to control IoT devices, but as the number of devices grows, so does the number of apps and interfaces required to use them—which will only serve to further app fatigue.
The question becomes: What does the modern consumer want, if not an app? Customers today seek a fast, reliable self-service option that doesn’t require them to learn a new interface and system. They want a personalized approach that engages them, rather than the typical one-way interaction.
Chatbots and IoT
A chatbot is the ideal solution to IoT management. Intelligent bots use NLP (natural language processing) and artificial intelligence to speak in simple, human language. To the uninitiated, chatbots have come a long way from simple question-and-answer programs; today’s bots are able to perform automated tasks, process payments, collect and analyze data—and all of this is done in a conversational manner that is personal, engaging, and quick.
Applying the concept of chatbots to the Internet of Things, let’s say that a consumer has a connected car and they want to know the fluid levels. Traditionally, they would have to open an app, navigate an interface, and likely enter some sort of commands in order to get the information.
Alternatively, the same consumer could simply send an SMS to a bot—or use another preferred channel—and ask in human language, “What are my fluid levels?” The chatbot would then draw context from the user’s input and use machine learning and AI functionality to reply in simple terms. With bots, there’s no need to download separate apps, learn new interfaces, or remember sequences.
This sort of functionality goes hand-in-hand with the concept of the Internet of Things—the ability to control interconnected devices in simple, human language in a way that’s personal and conversational is indeed a great leap forward in the ultimate goal of making people’s lives easier.
The Future of the Internet of Things
Safety and security is a concern that’s been growing commensurately with IoT, but bot-building platforms like SnatchBot take every measure to be private, safe, and secure, supplying enterprise-grade security that complies with all regulatory mandates, including user authentication and secure messaging.
Tech experts tend to disagree on the forecast for the Internet of Things, but general predictions dictate that it could reach up to thirty billion unique devices within the next three years. With this sort of volume, scalability and removing the necessity of human intervention will become important aspects of furthering IoT technology, and AI is well-poised to overcome those dilemmas.
A bot-building platform like SnatchBot that offers real-time analytics to track the growth of bots and gain insight into its user base will undoubtedly help IoT developers to create predictive, adaptive devices that truly do make lives easier.