How the IoT will Change the World We Live In
The day of the “Internet of Things” is rapidly dawning. In its infancy now, this world that was once a dream of technology geeks and visionaries is slowly filtering into the mainstream, into our businesses and homes. As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes more and more ubiquitous, what are the basics you need to know? And, importantly, what are the unique marketing opportunities it presents?
How it Works
It’s not a small idea and not easily defined, as you can tell by the multiple subheadings on the Wikipedia page attempting to encompass the different facets. Essentially, the IoT is the INTERconnectedness of everyTHING. It’s the ability to create a network of informed devices around us that communicate with each other and us and, ultimately, make our lives simpler through automation, and sometimes by extrapolating our needs. The IoT imagines a future in which data gathered through connected devices informs us constantly, updating processes and taking the guesswork out of decisioning processes.
The term Internet of Things was coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, then a brand manager with Procter & Gamble, although the idea itself has been around much longer. Ashton imagined a network of sensors connecting and transmitting data about objects (he was helping launch a cosmetics line and was puzzled about why a certain shade of brown lipstick never seemed to be in stock). Technology has advanced to the point that this theoretical idea is now being implemented in mainstream applications. In the words of The Guardian, “It’s what happens when sensors, cheap wireless chips and ubiquitous internet connectivity collide.”
How it will Change Our World
Soon, “smart” medical devices will be connected in a clinical setting instead of operating independently as they do today, to ensure prescriptions are dispensed accurately, patient transfers are handled without error, and emergency alerts are monitored and assessed correctly.
Our home devices will be intelligent: baby monitors that cue soothing lullabies, refrigerators that order new water filters, and thermostats that “know” what temperature you like at what time.
The opportunities and possibilities will evolve as more and more of our devices are connected and data analytics uncovers increasingly valuable opportunities in the marketplace.
Marketing and the Internet of Things
“The Internet of Things has promised to turn our everyday interactions with stuff into data for logistical and marketing applications,” according to a recent article by Ad Age. The article goes on to describe the infrastructure developing around data collection and analysis, with the capability of tapping data from the product and maker, tracking supply chains, distinguishing fake products, issuing updates, customizing use and more.
One company moving to capitalize on this new data management frontier is Evrythng, which has created a Smart Products Platform that helps product makers connect their devices via the Web. Said Evrythng CMO Andy Hobsbawm, “It allows you to message people at exactly the right time in their purchase cycles…. I actually know whether or not you engaged with a product in the last two weeks.”
Evrythng received $7.5 million in new funding earlier this month and has partnered with Trueffect, a digital ad firm specializing in first-party data targeting to create marketing opportunities for data gathered from smart products.
It has been said by industry watchers that the downfall of the Internet of Things will be security. In terms of consumer privacy, the industry is still determining best practices and the government has not regulated the IoT.
That being said, integrated encryption will be a significant factor, as data-gathering systems are being built, as well as an awareness of what level of education and buy-in from customers is expected regarding data collection and sharing.
Fun Fact: Kevin Ashton revealed to the BBC in a March 2015 interview that he now wishes he had called the phenomenon the Internet for Things.
What do you see as the opportunities and challenges of the IoT?
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