If you are reading this article, you probably already know what IoT is, so let's skip the introduction. When it comes to using IoT devices with Sitecore, there are some very useful applications; for example, your company produces IoT devices and you want to get additional feedback from customers after they bought a device. With additional data, you could optimize the use of the device itself and also optimize the experience for your customers when they visit your website. Not only that, you could also use it for future customers similar to the ones which already bought your device. This is where Sitecore comes into play.
Before we proceed, we need to explain some features that will help us understand how Sitecore works. The first one is Customer Profile. Through customer profiling, which is one of the most important Sitecore features, we can group customers by their shared goals and characteristics; we call those groups "personas". Based on personas, we can assign specific decisions and actions through Sitecore. The second important feature is Experience Profile. The Experience Profile enables you and your sales teams to monitor the key areas of customer experience and interaction such as visits, campaigns, goals, profiles, automations, outcomes, and keywords. For example, for each contact, you can see (at a glance) which events and goals they have triggered as well as how many engagement value points they have accumulated on your website.
So, how would that work in practice? First you need to use Azure IoT Hub, a fully managed cloud service that securely connects, monitors and manages your IoT devices. You'll need to use the Azure portal to create an IoT hub, create a device identity in that IoT hub and in the end, include device libraries. The IoT device captures data based on user activities and sends it to Azure Notification Hub, which can push data further to Sitecore. Sitecore registers the IoT device with the device key, creates profiles and pattern cards, extends the xDB contact and creates a new entity service.Based on the data, Sitecore updates the profile card of that user and uses it for personalizing the web experience.
Let's use a possible real-life scenario to explain this even further. This may sound futuristic at first, but with the current progress of smart cars, this is a very realistic possibility. The customer buys a car (IoT enabled, of course). The type of the car, the user's driving habits and the condition of the car are reported to Sitecore. At one point the car reports to Sitecore that the tires need replacement and Sitecore promptly notifies the user to visit their site and buy new tires. The user visits the site and voila, as soon as he starts searching for the tires, he gets personalized content: the type of tires suitable for his car and driving conditions. So simple!
By following the train of thought in this example, you could probably imagine numerous other examples helping you to keep your customers. Personalized marketing is obviously the future of marketing and Sitecore is probably one of the best solutions available right now.