Call for change

Consumer durable companies are delivering more and more consumer experiences and services, and that figure is expected to grow significantly. That’s because consumers want appliances to do more, whether alerting them to poor air quality or washing clothes with a few taps of an app. Smart, connected products supported by cloud-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) technologies make these innovative, helpful experiences possible.

Haier Group, the world’s leader in major appliances, aims to make its washing, cooling, cooking, small appliance and air conditioning products smart and connected. Although its European arm already had an IoT platform, it was limited and hindered innovation. The heavily customized platform slowed down product changes, making it difficult to react quickly to the market or new consumer demands.

Haier Europe wanted to enhance speed and agility even further to get closer to customers and transform from a pure product manufacturer to a product and services company. Based on past experiences, Haier Europe knew how critical IoT and smart products are to growth.

To complete this journey, Haier Europe knew it needed to make its smart products even smarter to deliver relevant consumer experiences at scale and create a foundation for new service offerings and revenue streams. How could it overhaul its IoT platform and organization to improve products and deepen customer engagement and loyalty?

“Thanks to our collaboration with Accenture, we accelerated our transformation journey to become a products and services company. The platform was developed quickly and is helping us offer consumers a range of innovative services.”

– PIERGIORGIO BONFIGLIOLI, Marketing Director IoT, Smart Solutions

When tech meets human ingenuity

Haier Europe collaborated with Accenture to develop an IoT strategy, road map, operating model and use cases. Design thinking sessions at the Accenture Customer Innovation Network in Milan helped define the IoT strategy and cocreate relevant use cases. Over the course of a year, we implemented an IoT platform powered by AWS cloud services that functions seamlessly alongside Haier Europe’s existing systems. The platform easily collects and analyzes data from the company’s appliances and provides remote updates.

The Scan to Care service, created in only two months, enables customers to store washing label instructions by taking a picture of their items using a mobile app. Machine learning algorithms (built, trained and deployed on Amazon SageMaker) read the digital wardrobe data to suggest optimal wash cycles. If a dry clean-only item makes it into the wash, consumers receive an alert. In addition, the Snap & Wash dishwashing service, analyzes a photo of the wash baskets to suggest the best wash cycle.

Haier Europe also worked with us to set up a dedicated IoT division and an agile IT operating model. The new IoT division brings together a multidisciplinary, dedicated team of business and technology professionals with governance responsibility for Haier Europe’s IoT strategy, ecosystem management, services ideation, value realization and platform evolution. A Digital Services Factory handles new releases, enabling the team to focus on strategic work.



A valuable difference

With its new capabilities, Haier Europe is creating smarter, more connected products and services across appliance categories.

Consumers now have a greater range of innovative and affordable services, fueling marketplace differentiation and brand loyalty.

> 60%

year on year increase of registered smart product users have been recorded thanks to the work done in 2020

x 10

increase in smart home appliance from 2016 to 2020, thanks to the new capabilities

Previously, the company had few consumer insights—retailers monopolized this information. With improved data insights, Haier Europe can better understand consumer habits and product performance. Insights into consumer needs also provide valuable new functionalities, products or services, while improving existing ones. For instance, based on consumer demand, the company recently developed a wash program to sanitize face masks. Usage insights are also helping Haier Europe tailor services, like warranty programs. In aftersales, performance insights enable service technicians to bring the right replacement part to repair appointments for quick resolution.

In addition, the platform’s flexible, scalable microservices architecture and improved security standards make it easier for the company to offer a range of third-party services like air quality monitoring or cooking tips. Improved technology management has also delivered significant efficiencies and employee productivity.

With improved speed, agility and scale, Haier Europe is exploiting its competitive advantage to create a strong foundation for services, increase sales, unleash new revenue streams, and achieve its goal to make all products smart and connected.

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