How 'Smart' Products Are Changing the World
The growing proliferation of "smart" products is affecting everything—from supply-chain management to customer engagement to marketing campaigns to analytics, according to a recent survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit and Cognizant. The accompanying report, "The Rise of the Smart Product Economy," states that smart technology has a presence in virtually every aspect of our culture, providing previously unavailable data and insights into product usage and perceived value. These products can also strengthen revenue streams. For example, there's a smart Johnnie Walker bottle that sends a personalized message—such as promotional offers and cocktail recipes—to every customer who waves a smartphone in front of it. The bottle also serves as a supply chain monitoring tool, as it can be tracked from the manufacturing site to the point of consumption. "The opportunities unleashed by smart products are seemingly endless for any company seeking game-changing innovation or new levels of efficiency," according to the report. "However, product companies need to get on board—and fast—to ensure they are not left behind in the quickly intensifying and accelerating smart product market." A total of 205 R&D, product design and innovation executives (including CEOs) from companies in the health care, retail and manufacturing sectors took part in the research.