The internet of things: billions of marketing opportunities

By Tarah Feinberg, CMO and NY managing director, Kite. 

 

As more of the objects we interact with every day begin to communicate and share data with the Internet, huge opportunities arise for marketers to learn about consumer behaviours, and how they can make their messages and products more relevant and timely. This linkage between physical objects to the Internet or virtual objects is often referred to as the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). This term is not especially new, but the concept is now being realised in a variety of powerful ways, across a wide range of human life.

The term IoT was invented by Kevin Ashton in 1999, co-founder of MIT’s Auto-ID Center, which created a global standard system for RFID, according to Wikipedia. Back then, IoT was mostly the stuff of science fiction. A Jetsons/Knight Rider/Bond dream of connected cars, robot maids and devices triggered by biometric monitors. However, RFID began to push the concept into reality and, over the last few years, innovation and advancement in this space has exploded. By 2015, Bosch Software Innovations predicts that more than six and a half billion IP-ready devices will be connected to the internet and that about 75% of the world’s population will have online access. The distinctions between the ‘online’ and ‘offline’ worlds are shrinking fast.

IoT covers an immensely broad range of tech, including wearables, ‘quantified self’, connected homes, Internet-connected automobiles, smart cities and the supply chain (the original motivation for Ashton and the development of RFID, who was working with P&G at the time). Marketers are beginning to tap into all of these, as they offer valuable insights and potential touch points to reach people in more powerful ways. Consider just a few of the remarkable business and marketing implications of this data, if harnessed effectively:

  • Send prescription reminders or automatically add food to shopping lists when supplies get low,
  • promote a new bathing suit line as a sunny weekend approaches, or
  • entice runners with a nearby refreshing drink as they hit their fifth mile.

 

The possibilities are endless – as everything in our lives becomes more connected and we become more comfortable sharing the minutiae of our daily activities with marketers.

At Kite, we have built a platform containing over 260,000 startups, across practically every area of emerging technology, platforms and media. Each week, we curate a different category and encourage our agency and consumers to rate and review the companies in that area. When we recently focused on IoT, these five companies rose to the top (company descriptions provided by Kite):

Withings creates smart products and apps to take care of yourself and your loved ones through smart scales, baby monitors, blood pressure monitors and activity trackers.

Nest Labs is the creator of the world’s first Learning Thermostat, using your temperature adjustments to program itself to keep you comfortable and guide you to energy savings.

MakerBot Industries is a Brooklyn-based company that creates affordable, open source 3D printers.

Fitbit creates a suite of health/fitness data-tracking wearables that monitor and analyze your daily activity.

Twine alerts you to small in-home problems before they become big problems. Tell a web app what to listen to with simple rules, and you’ll get notifications and peace of mind via email, SMS, Twitter and more.

The biggest challenges for marketers are to leverage IoT effectively by turning the massive amount of data into actionable insights, and learning to use this information in a way that doesn’t alienate consumers. Overall, as long as the computers don’t turn on us, the IoT movement is making the world a healthier, more efficient and safer place to live.

 

Tarah FeinbergBy Tarah Feinberg, CMO and NY Managing Director, Kite. This article is taken from The SoDA Report, a trend report from the Global Society for Digital Marketing Innovators and is republished here with permission.