Once products ship, the manufacturer is unlikely to see the product again, except for a few returns. They have only a general idea of how the product is used, based on market surveys, or on product returns.
IoT technology enables manufacturers to monitor products after they are in use at a customer site as the product can conduct self checks and monitor product wear and tear – and send that information back to the manufacturer to identify weaknesses in the product.
Other manufacturers see benefits to monitoring their product usage too:
As prices of communication equipment and sensors continue to drop, smart manufacturers will be able to gather information from a wide range of devices. With connectivity enabled via IoT, these devices will be able to send valuable information back to the seller or manufacturer. For example, a refrigerator could send a signal to the manufacturer indicating a detected malfunction. With this data, the manufacturer would be able to put in measures to prevent the problem in other products in the line. In another example, an air conditioner might be able to detect when it needs maintenance and send a message to the manufacturer, which can then initiate remote maintenance service. As a result, the customer will be happier and the manufacturer can save on the cost of doing business.
On the flip side, some products like Windows 10, collect a very large volume of data and “share” that with Microsoft. Such data can include, for example, the list of applications you have installed on your computer.