The Internet of Things: Using Technology to Engage

With more than 100 people in the audience, Jerry Filipiak, CEO of Comarch Inc., delivered a powerful presentation at GSummit 2014. Filipiak detailed the importance of real-time engagement, sharing the results of an implementation with JetBlue before giving the audience insight as to how Comarch plans to change the future of loyalty and engagement with the integration of Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

Context is Key

When Comarch began working on TrueBlue Badges, a social-engagement extension of JetBlue’s loyalty program, JetBlue wanted a tool to connect to its members and promote its brand in social channels. Contextual communication was most important for JetBlue, as the airline wanted to make sure that its members were truly engaged and delivered a unique experience.

Revenue-based Social Engagement

All brands are concerned with social interaction, and all brands want to see that they’re being discussed within social networks. However, actually measuring how social activity directly converts to revenue can be quite difficult, if not impossible. With Badges in place, Comarch has enabled JetBlue to accurately measure conversions that stem from social sharing.

Each time a Badges member socially shares their progress, they are not only working toward points and badges, but also promoting the overall program and encouraging others to join. “It’s free advertising for your program,” Filipiak explained. “It’s like using sponsored ads, but you don’t have to pay a dime for it.”

When other members click through the links or interact with a Badges social post in any way, JetBlue is able to track detailed behavior analytics. This allows the airline to develop rich user profiles – both for existing members of the program and those that have yet to join – and determine exactly where and when digital conversions are taking place. As a result, Comarch is able to essentially put a dollar value on each person interacting with the Badges program, presenting JetBlue with a unique and valuable solution.

Comarch IoT

Having already created transaction analytics for social engagement, the next step for Comarch is changing location-based activities into measurable conversions – and Internet of Things makes that possible. “Digitizing the real world,” as Filipiak describes it, is a natural progression for Comarch. He revealed that Comarch has committed to integrating IoT with its solutions and is currently developing beacon prototypes, expected to be market-ready by the end of 2014.

Beacons are small instruments that use BLE (Bluetooth low energy) technology to trigger personalized communications and calls to action. When equipped mobile devices come within a certain distance of the beacons, unique interactions manifest in real time, delivering virtually anything to the devices. Based on how these communications are acted upon by users, complex data is extracted, providing businesses with unprecedented insight into consumer engagement, purchase intent, conversion and spend in location-based settings.

Just as most brands know that social interaction with their customer base is important yet find measuring social conversions difficult, location-based engagement suffers from the same problem. Filipiak elaborated: “On a busy street, signs can catch the attention of people walking by and draw them into the store. They probably lead to some conversions, but there’s no way to determine exactly how many people saw the signs, went into the store and bought something as a result . . . beacons can track everything.”

Adoption of IoT

Although Comarch’s IoT offering will debut within the next few months, Filipiak feels that widespread acceptance of the technology is still about two years away.

“Having people’s devices suddenly start communicating directly with them and sharing unique, relevant content might freak them out,” he laughed. “Instead, it is important to gently transition the technology into people’s everyday lives and get them used to the fact that their devices can now talk, something that wasn’t previously possible.”

However, once customers and some large-name brands are on board, IoT has the power to revolutionize customer engagement and loyalty programs. Sharing a vision for a modern airline loyalty program, Filipiak demonstrated how beacons could be used to guide members through an airport: routing them to their terminals, suggesting food and shopping deals along the way, and rewarding them for completing customer and passenger-related actions based on their location.

By digitizing the real world and maximizing context over user journeys, Comarch intends to lead this widespread adoption of IoT, which according to an IDC study, is expected to be valued at over $7 trillion worldwide by 2020.

More about customer engagement software: comarch.com/trade-and-services/loyalty-marketing/customer-engagement/

More about loyalty solutions: comarch.com/trade-and-services/loyalty-marketing/loyalty-management/

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