If you attended Dreamforce this year or followed it online, you may have heard a lot about Salesforce Internet of Things (IoT). There were over 50 sessions about Salesforce IoT at Dreamforce 2018; it even had its own keynote, where they highlighted the product as an important ingredient of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a state-of-the-art way to engage with your customer.

“But what is the Internet of Things?” you might ask. Put simply, it’s the world’s collection of “smart” devices — refrigerators, cars, printers, thermostats and more. Any device that can connect to the internet or that can communicate with your phone is part of the Internet of Things. And its growing every day:

  • According to Cisco, the number of connected devices in 2017 was over 28 billion. That’s more than 3 times the human population.
  • That number is expected to almost double to 50 billion devices in 2020.

So what does that have to do with Salesforce? In most users’ minds, Salesforce exists behind their computer or phone screen, helping them track potential deals or customer questions. They might think it has nothing to do with their toaster. And while they might be right about that one specific toaster, we’ve mentioned before that Salesforce works best when it functions as your complete business technology platform — not just as a simple CRM. In that light, there’s a lot that Salesforce IoT can do for your business.

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How Does Salesforce IoT Work?

Salesforce IoT makes a lot more sense when you think of each smart device like a simple computer. No, you can’t stream Netflix on your vacuum cleaner, but any smart device can communicate with cloud platforms — like Salesforce — using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Put simply, you can integrate these devices with Salesforce, allowing you to track any data the device captures, such as usage and performance metrics, in real time. You can also use Salesforce IoT to push messages and commands to devices from Salesforce.

This functionality lets you include any real-world smart device in the everyday business processes you manage through Salesforce. You can trigger customer alerts based on device performance, analyze device data and send commands to devices right from the platform.

What Can Salesforce IoT Do for My Business?

All right, enough of the abstract. What does this mean for you? Your business can use this device-to-platform connectivity in numerous ways — here are some common use cases:

Tracking and manipulation of internal assets

One use case that applies to most companies: Managing internal assets like vehicles and machinery through Salesforce. From a single office printer to an entire assembly line, your business likely relies on some set of internal machinery or devices. And Salesforce IoT can help you track them and send commands, whether that means keeping up-to-date on fleet vehicle maintenance needs, monitoring an assembly line or sending instructions to a 3D printer when a prototype is ready to be made.

For a more enjoyable example, imagine the beer fridge automatically opening every time a sales rep closes a deal. Salesforce IoT can make it happen.

Next-generation customer service

And if you sell or lease smart devices, then Salesforce IoT can transform your customer service possibilities. You can configure it to track performance metrics and notify your customer service team any time an asset experiences errors, so they know about customer issues before anyone even calls in.

From there, the possibilities are limitless: Salesforce could help you order replacement parts based on specified error codes. Or support agents could use it to help troubleshoot device issues remotely — no need to send a field technician.

Direct device-to-consumer communication

And, to save your support reps time, you can route specific messages directly to the customer. If you’ve ever gotten an email from your smartwatch, congratulating or chiding you for the number of steps you’ve taken, that was powered by the Internet of Things. You could use it to send maintenance reminders or high usage alerts to your customers. Anything customers should know about their smart device data, you can use Salesforce to send directly to them — with no unnecessary bottlenecks along the way.

What interesting IoT use cases have you seen? Have any of them run on Salesforce? Comment below to let us know!

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