The Internet of Things (IoT) will become a “cornerstone” of excellent customer service, according to a new report from research firm Frost & Sullivan.

The IoT “is rapidly interlacing with every business and consumer product,” the firm says, and the success of IoT enables and is dependent on strong customer service and support. IoT technologies can create a strong return on investment (ROI) by reducing support costs, increasing customer loyalty and referrals, uncovering insights to cross-sell or up-sell to customers and developing customer-appealing products, the report says.

Frost & Sullivan forecasts that there will be 50 billion connected devices globally by 2020. It says IoT is already spawning device-as-a-service business lines as advantages—including valuable new data streams and an unprecedented level of control over products for customers and suppliers—catch on.

“IoT is the development and convergence of many communications and computing technologies including, but not limited to analytics, cloud computing, machine-to-machine, remote access, and high-bandwidth wireless applications,” Brendan Read, Frost & Sullivan customer contact industry analyst, said in a statement.

“IoT is a new and dynamic layer that by providing critical information and process management has the potential of enabling increased business growth,” Read said. ”??To establish IoT in customer service, solution providers and user companies must ensure that IoT systems are highly interoperable without silos, and have secured information and operations.”

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