The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is defined as the increased interconnectivity between devices capable of using wireless communication technology. It includes the capability to connect objects, locations, people, and even animals, to the internet for seamless data sharing. It’s estimated that by the year 2020, there will be between 50 and 75 billion devices connected to the internet worldwide.
Those devices won’t be just smartphones and tablets, but appliances and even heating and cooling systems. Smart refrigerators will tell you when the milk is about to spoil, and smart lightbulbs will let you know when they need to be changed. There might even be a whole new set of jokes about how many people it takes to change a light bulb. Through the magic of IoT, the information from that light bulb can also go straight to the manufacturer, who can then send you a money-saving coupon to purchase a new one, impressing you with their perfect timing.
Your sprinkler system will be able to check in with your local weather service to see if rain is expected in the forecast before turning itself on. Those are just two examples of the potential money-saving benefits for consumers. Improved traffic monitoring is an example of its potential time-saving benefits for everyone. There are also environmental benefits, like monitoring pollution and adjusting manufacturing timetables accordingly. Finally, it can improve safety, such as door locks enhances with smart devices that notify us if someone opens the door while we are away.
The Next Big Thing
It’s estimated that 74 of today’s brand marketers report a noticeable increase in web traffic when they invest even 6 hours per week in social media marketing. The IoT is designed to maximize the benefits of social media through automated posts and media shares generated by connected devices. That’s why it is so valuable in preparing for the next big thing. New online communities form around the use of particular apps, devices, and social media sites. When IoT devices are coupled with social media, marketers are better able to take advantage of the newest trends more quickly.
Eight years ago, Twitter didn’t even exist, yet today, it has almost 700 million registered users. Instagram, released in 2010, reached 100 million users within its first year. Pinterest released the same year, took a little longer to catch on, but now has more than 176 million registered users. Just as we couldn’t even imagine any of these social media sites ten years ago, today we can’t imagine what may become the next big thing or what kinds of amazing capabilities it may have. The internet of things will ensure that marketers can connect as soon as it hits the market.
The Personalization Factor
The IoT collects data regarding where, how, and even why, products are being purchased. Having access to that information allows companies to tailor their marketing efforts to the individual needs of their customers. As IoT allows companies to deliver only the most relevant messages over preferred channels at a time when it’s most convenient for each individual customer, the return on their marketing investments will increase substantially.
Just knowing the right time to send an email can make the difference between a potential new customer reading it and responding or hitting the delete button without even opening it. Companies will be hiring fewer marketers and more data analysts to determine the right information, the right time, and the right channel to deliver it. While consumers may enjoy the benefits of the OiT, no one enjoys the prospect of their personal privacy being invaded or their personal information being used frivolously.
Perhaps one of the most welcome changes for consumers will be an end to the age of the interruptive commercial. Nothing annoys consumers more than advertisements for products for which they have no use or interest in at an inconvenient time. Rather than being subjected to unwanted advertising, consumers will be exposed only to relevant ads that reflect their personal interests, priorities, and past buying habits. Consumers benefit from saving valuable time and companies benefit by saving wasted advertising dollars.