Connecting products allows companies to tap into new business areas and to offer entirely new services to their customers. By analyzing data from their customers’ connected products, companies can gain valuable insights into how these products are actually used. This is what the second level of IoT maturity is all about: utilizing IoT data to improve products and services – all that, while complying with the latest IoT security approaches.
Bosch Power Tools, for example, leverages IoT data from their connected lawn mowers in order to better address their customers’ needs. Maria Benito Herrero and Luke Calton of Bosch Power Tools explain.
Maria Benito Herrero
Maria Benito Herrero is product owner of the Indego 400 lawn mower at Bosch Power Tools. Maria joined Bosch in July 2011 and has accumulated over 15 years of experience in the marketing field. In her current role as product manager at Bosch Power Tools, she helps shape the strategy and management of the Indego product line. She is particularly interested in understanding the user experience and in current market trends.
How did IoT data from the field help you develop a product that better fulfills your customer needs?
Maria Benito Herrero When we started to develop our latest lawn mower, the Indego 400 Connect, the market research data indicated that the average size of gardens in Europe is less than 500 square meters. To verify that information, we started gathering IoT data from current users of the Indego 1000 Connect lawn mower. By analyzing the IoT data, we were able to confirm the research data. It turned out that 75 percent of our users’ lawns were smaller than 400 square meters. However, the Indego 1000 Connect was designed for bigger gardens, ranging from 1,000 to 1,300 square meters. That information was key for the development of the new Indego 400 Connect.
Have you already analyzed IoT data from the new Indego 400 Connect?
Maria Benito Herrero We recently analyzed how often people send their mower to mow each week. This data turned out to be totally different from the data we obtained from market research. When we asked people how often they mow their lawn each week, their answers were way lower than the numbers we got from evaluating the IoT data. We came to the conclusion that the mower does not always mow the lawn in one go. Sometimes, it has to go back and recharge. Hence, people don’t exactly know how many times the mower actually mows the lawn. Yet this information is extremely valuable because it affects the lifetime of the mower, amongst other things.
Luke Calton is product owner for connectivity at Bosch Power Tools. In his current role, Luke is defining the roadmap for connectivity and launching a native app to replace the current hybrid smart garden app. He joined Bosch in 2015 as a product manager and has also worked as a commercial marketing manager.
The issue of IoT data security is widely discussed and seen as a challenge. How do you approach IoT security for your products?
Luke Calton We always comply with the latest design recommendations and make sure that our solutions are state-of-the-art when it comes to IoT security. We do not track personal data, such as e-mail addresses, or anything related to names, birthdays, and gender. Although an e-mail address is required for the registration in the app, we ensure that it is not used in any other way. On the other hand, there are other areas, such as our lawn map, which some people also classify as personal data. We use the information from the maps in order to better tailor our product offering. It is practically impossible to identify the owner on the basis of data about the shape of the lawn. From a legal point of view, there is no issue. However, it is vital to ensure that we identify and treat the data in a manner that not only conforms to the legal standpoint but also complies with the user’s perception. We do that with the same degree of security and confidentiality.
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