Re-imagining Marketing After Achieving “Internet of Things”

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If you’re not aware, the term Internet of Things refers to the interconnection of everyday objects (large and small) via an array of sensors and radio tags that would allow for a vastly “smarter” world empowered through technology. The amount of information that would be generated is staggering, but innovators will find opportunities to leverage this data (in conjunction with data from your social profile) to create amazing experiences in every day life delivered through this new found insight.

Imagine how a person’s lifestyle enhanced through digital experiences might change if devices, applications, or even marketing experiences were able to pull from a massively expanded pool of data delivered by understanding the current state of things they interact with such as their car, their personal electronics and appliances, the buses their kids go to school on, all the items in their refrigerator, and even their clothing. If each of these items were tagged and at minimum reporting their “identity” and location but potentially even sharing their operating status, power consumption, fuel level, capacity, current activity, or history of use computer logic could understand and make intelligent and highly relevant recommendations based on these factors that could be used to enhance any digitally enabled experience.

Let’s re-imagine a great marketing as a service example from recent memory: Fiat’s Ecodrive. Fiats’s brilliant Ecodrive system allowed your car to monitor your driving behavior and via their website was able to make driving recommendations on improving your driving style to increase fuel efficiency. Unfortunately it wasn’t real time or wirelessly driven but it did demonstrate a clear value to consumers and marketers how rich insight into your behaviors could create valuable experiences. Now imagine if experiences like that were all around us and operating in realtime without the need for thumb drives etc.

In a future world consumers with Internet of Things enabled appliances and products could benefit from always knowing the contents of their refrigerator with brands potentially providing services that make recommendations on replacement purchases or new products.

If all clothing was tagged, identified, and classified applications could be developed that could even recommend clothing based on occasions, the weather, or even what to pack for a trip based on your related travel booking and itinerary.

Anyone who thought the speed at which internet based business and marketing is evolving has slowed down since the hay day of the late 90s and 00s is clearly mistaken. The last couple of months alone have indicated that we’re achieving realization of the semantic web and now China premier minister Wev Jaibo has announced a plan to commit fully to national Internet of Things plan.

I’ve been talking about hyper relevance a lot lately. The concept that through your social profile and location based services respectively marketers understand who consumers and where consumers are in a way that’s never been possible before and this is allowing us to deliver hyper relevant advertising. If the Internet of Things came to bear we would also understand what people were doing and how they were doing it in a way that isn’t currently possible. Again our ability to deliver relevant experience only extends exponentially yet again. Amazing, yet probably spooky, experience await all of us as technology continues to develop along these lines.

The Reality of Internet of Things

Unfortunately the IoT is as revolutionary as it would be hard to implement. It would require universal adoption to achieve the type of world changing effect that is possible. These types of changes would require masses of corporations to work in conjunction or the support of a government with enough to conviction to push through massive innovations in a short period of time.

I believe that time is upon us. The Internet of Things reflects the next great evolution of the internet after the semantic web. We’ve just started to see further wide spread adoption of the semantic web and now China will be the country that has the conviction to lead this next great innovation. In 2015 not only will China reflect the world’s biggest internet community, but they will likely be leading the innovation of the web and the west will look to them for inspiration.

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Freddie Laker

A veteran digital marketer with experience working with some of the world's biggest global brands. He now focuses on providing interim leadership to PE-backed firms.

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