The Internet of Things (IoT) is the movement towards having almost every electronic product we use connected through the Internet. With an estimated worldwide market of $7.1 trillion for 2020, it has been the center of attention recently in the digital world. Already there are products like Nest, a thermostat that learns your schedule and uses the information to make automatic adjustments to your heating. Other IoT products fall into the category of wearable technology. For example, UP by Jawbone is a bracelet-like device that helps improve your health by tracking your activities such as sleeping and walking. As a result of the IoT the two can communicate, allowing the possibility for UP to tell Nest when you’re awake which then can trigger your heat to turn on. This constant exchange of data and information between devices will not only deliver a new breed of products, but its potential impact on the digital marketing ecosystem is staggering. Here are five of the most significant ways the Internet of Things could impact our lives:
1. Privacy Preferences
Privacy is one major barrier the IoT will have to overcome to reach its full potential. How much information will users be willing to share with marketers? Companies have not yet considered the security and privacy preferences that products in the IoT will offer and will not until consumers demand so. When that happens vendors will be forced to put in place different measures of security that may increase product costs, but create a safer Internet of Things for consumers. Opting-in will also move far beyond email subscriptions. Vendors will have to consider how they are going to allow customers to opt-in or out for every product in the IoT.
2. An Equal Exchange
In order for consumers to feel compelled to release their private data to companies, they are going to have to receive significant value in return. Within the IoT this value will most often come from products providing consumers with a more convenient or enhanced life. For example, a Withings Smart Body Analyzer looks like an average scale, but it measures your weight, body composition, heart rate and air quality. Their app compiles this information and can guide users to help them achieve health goals. This streamlined process creates an easier path for users to achieve fitness objectives and can only happen when users are willing to share their personal information. Companies receive valuable data that can be used to better market their products and in turn consumers’ lives are improved.
3. Products to Services
Along with the emergence of new interconnected products will come the opportunity to create complementing services. According to Chad Jones, VP of Product Strategy at Xively, this will shift the vendor/buyer relationship from a single transaction to a service-oriented relationship where, “the vendor can anticipate the customers’ needs in advance by working in real-time with products data.” New England Biolabs produces enzymes for molecular biology. By working with Xively and Salesforce they created an application that tracks who removes their different products from freezers on work sites and when. This connection allows New England Biolabs to help their clients better maintain inventories and can personalize future buying experiences for users based off of their purchase history.
4. Accurate Advertising
Advertisements within the IoT will fall into two categories, Need-Based Ads and Predictive Ads. Need-Based Ads show suggestions of products you need at that very moment based on the data being streamed from your devices.