Written by

Bernard Marr

Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the fields of business and technology, with a passion for using technology for the good of humanity. He is a best-selling author of 20 books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations. He has over 2 million social media followers, 1 million newsletter subscribers and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK.

Bernard’s latest book is ‘Business Trends in Practice: The 25+ Trends That Are Redefining Organisations’

View Latest Book

4 Hard-To-Ignore Reasons Why You Should Use AI To Make More Intelligent Products

2 July 2021

Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and advances in sensor technology, a whole host of everyday products are getting smarter. We have smart TVs and smartwatches. We have smart running shoes – or rather, smart insoles – that gather data on your running performance. You can even get smart nappies that send an alert to your phone when your baby’s nappy needs changing.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For product manufacturers, there’s no doubt we’voe reached a tipping point in the smart product trend, meaning it’s no longer possible (or wise) to ignore consumer demand for smart, AI-loaded products.

So, if you aren’t already asking yourself, “Could our products be improved with AI?”, now is the time to start. To whet your appetite, here are four huge benefits of smart products:

1. Making your customers’ lives easier (and boosting customer satisfaction in the process)

The smart product trend has particularly taken hold in our homes. Because of the IoT, basic home electronic goods and appliances can gather information on what’s going on around them and respond accordingly. For example, a smart thermostat can heat your home to the perfect temperature in time for your return from work, without you having to programme it. Technology like this makes our homes more efficient, more automated, and more responsive to our needs – helping to remove some of the annoying wrinkles and bugbears from everyday life.

This is key to the success of smart products. Rather than inserting AI for AI’s sake, it’s all about solving customers’ problems and making their lives easier. And I don’t just mean in the home. Today’s consumers expect smart solutions to a whole host of everyday tasks and activities, including changing their baby’s nappy and training for a marathon.

2. Building better products (products your customers really want)

Making your products smarter is a fantastic way to build a more in-depth understanding of your customers. This knowledge can and should feed into your product design. In my experience, building a better understanding of customers and developing more desirable products is one of the most attractive benefits for most businesses.

How does this process work? In a nutshell, by building AI capabilities into your products, you have the ability to collect masses of data on your customers’ habits and preferences: how they use your product, how often they use it, when they typically use it, and more. All this data can be used to improve product design and develop new products that better meet your customers’ needs.

3. Responding to customers’ needs more quickly

The customer journey has been forever altered (and sped up) thanks to our permanent attachment to our mobile devices. Because life is so fast-paced these days, we’re constantly making quick decisions, looking up solutions on-the-fly, and seeking split-second answers to the things we want to know. Google calls these brief “I want to know/do/buy/go/learn” flashes micro-moments, and, according to Google at least, these micro-moments are becoming a vital part of marketing. In other words, as consumers, we increasingly expect brands to respond instantly and offer us exactly what we want in the here and now.

The more information you have on your customers, the better able you are to spot and respond to these all-important micro-moments. This is where smart products come into play. Because they’re capable of gathering a wealth of data, smart products help you understand your customers’ actions, preferences, and decision making.

4. Adding new revenue streams

A less obvious benefit of smart products is that they often enable add-on, AI-driven services. And these services can add a lucrative new revenue stream for your business, particularly if you can tailor them into a subscription model. For example, let’s say you manufacture security systems and have been transitioning to smart security alarms that gather and transmit data on what’s happening in the home. Providers of similar smart security systems are now offering subscriptions to monitor the home in real-time.

Likewise, Apple has transitioned from a straight product manufacturer into a provider of music and TV streaming services (services that are supported by Apple’s iconic products). In this way, there’s a surprising amount of crossover between smart products and smart services. If you can make your own products smarter, it could pave the way for a lucrative move into services.

Everything is becoming smarter – don’t get left behind

I believe every product-based business must carefully consider this intelligent product trend. Those that don’t risk being left behind. That’s not to say you should quickly load your products with unnecessary AI, just so you can label them as “smart”. As with any new technology, it’s really important to find those ways in which AI adds the most value. This will be different for each business, and must be driven by your overarching business strategy.

Data Strategy Book | Bernard Marr

Related Articles

How Do We Use Artificial Intelligence Ethically | Bernard Marr

How Do We Use Artificial Intelligence Ethically?

I’m hugely passionate about artificial intelligence (AI), and I'm proud to say that I help companies use AI to do amazing things in the world [...]

How Artificial Intelligence Can Help Small Businesses | Bernard Marr

How Artificial Intelligence Can Help Small Businesses

Small and medium-sized businesses all over the world are benefiting from artificial intelligence and machine learning – and integrating AI into core business functions and processes is getting more accessible and more affordable every day. [...]

What Really Is The Tesla Bot And How Much Will It Cost | Bernard Marr

What Really Is The Tesla Bot And How Much Will It Cost?

Elon Musk has just announced that Tesla will begin developing a humanoid robot called the Tesla Bot that is designed to perform “unsafe, repetitive, or boring” tasks. [...]

Should I Choose Machine Learning or Big Data | Bernard Marr

Should I Choose Machine Learning or Big Data?

Big Data and Machine Learning are two exciting applications of technology that are often mentioned together in the space of the same breath [...]

What Is The Next Level Of AI Technology | Bernard Marr

What Is The Next Level Of AI Technology?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has permeated all aspects of our lives – from the way we communicate to how we work, shop, play, and do business. [...]

The 7 Biggest Ethical Challenges of Artificial Intelligence | Bernard Marr

The 7 Biggest Ethical Challenges of Artificial Intelligence

Today, artificial intelligence is essential across a wide range of industries, including healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and even government. [...]

Stay up-to-date

  • Get updates straight to your inbox
  • Join my 1 million newsletter subscribers
  • Never miss any new content

Social Media



View Podcasts