"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Lauren Moores, vice president of analytics at Dstillery.
The beginning of the year brings new budgets, goals and throngs of marketers and solution providers traveling to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to see what's new in consumer technology. CES 2015 boasted the largest showing to date of the Internet of Things (IoT), ranging from practical solutions to purely conceptual ideas that may take years to develop, let alone scale.
Why does IoT matter to media? The simple answer: More gadgets and platforms for marketers’ messages.
For years, we have dreamt of machines anticipating our needs. We are not yet at the point where the refrigerator orders milk when supplies are low or where the toaster tweets when toast is done, but the concepts are being developed. Existing examples of IoT include smart-home items that anticipate your energy needs, like the Nest thermostat, or adjust to your patterns of usage, like the Misfit smart light bulb. Smart TV is also part of IoT, with its ability to connect all content to the TV or the TV to wearables or other devices throughout the home.
As the interconnectivity of these devices leads to further changes in our behavior, our understanding of brand engagement will need to change as well. Marketers should prepare now.
An Opportunity For Engagement
IoT is fundamentally an extension of the “phygital” environment we have now, with our physical behaviors monitored digitally through our smartphones, tablets and wearables, and connected to our virtual behavior on desktops and TVs. IoT is the connection of all stationary things to all mobile things, including ourselves.
This explosion of smart devices introduces new opportunities to engage with audiences. But reaching those audiences with appropriate messaging is not a simple matter. Similar to our current state of data from mobile smartphones and tablets, data from these devices is fragmented or siloed due to proprietary technology platforms, making interconnectivity difficult across manufacturers. The good news, however, is that leaders, such as Qualcomm and Intel, are combining cloud and sensor technology to provide cross-connectivity platforms, and both are working to establish IoT standards.
Lack Of Standards
Standards are critical to enabling brands to access platforms at scale. Lack of standards and doubts about interoperability among gadgets result in data inconsistencies that undermine marketing platforms. Interconnectivity between smart devices allows not only better data signals and insights but also the ability to use IFTTT (If This Then That) programming. IFTTT allows us to program conditional usage of devices or automate multiple tasks.
Understanding how consumers interact with their smart devices provides behavior context for brands. For example, a healthy consumer audience could be created from users who program their TV not to turn on unless they have hit particular exercise thresholds for the day.
At the Brand Innovator’s event at CES, brands such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Walgreens and MasterCard discussed the complexity that IoT brings to brand growth and audience acquisition, and the need to pay attention to how IoT is evolving. Brands preparing for the huge growth market of the next few years need to understand how to participate in this IoT culture now.
IoT is the new mobile and more. It not only offers us the promise of more “us” time due to less manual connecting and logistical machinations, but it also offers a huge shift in the landscape for consumer engagement. Imagine the not-too-distant future where your shower tells you your shampoo is low and provides an offer to replenish or shift brands, and then lets you purchase via a hand swipe before a drone delivers it to your door. I cannot wait to start connecting all that data.