We’re living in an age where we can connect almost anything to the world wide web. The number of devices connected to the internet has been steadily climbing for last 5 years. “The new rule for the future is going to be, anything that can be connected, will be connected.”, wrote Forbes back in 2014. We have smart thermostats, smart watches, smart refrigerators, the list goes on an on. From Google Home to Apple watches to Nest learning thermostats, consumers can’t seem to get enough of these products. The term the internet of things was actually coined by Kevin Ashton of Procter & Gamble in 1999. The IoT essentially refers to all of these many connected devices that have become part of our every day life. Gartner estimates that the IoT will consist of more than 20 billion connected objects by 2020, which is just two short years away!
So What Does All This Mean For Marketers?
The IoT has and will continue to change how we market to consumers in a number of ways. One of the most powerful advantages for marketers is the amount of consumer information available. And in real time no less! For example, you might say to your Amazon Alexa, “Alexa add paper towels to my shopping list.” Or maybe you use your Google Home to get suggestions on local restaurants. Marketers will have more and more insight into the buying habits of consumers. What are they buying and when? Are most of their purchases at a similar price point? What kinds of purchases or services do they most frequently use their smart device for?
According to My Total Retail, “eventually, customers’ actual buying patterns and a personalization engine will help marketers and merchandisers to auto-create special offers, dynamic pricing and custom bundles based on past purchase behavior. Taking this one step further, the personalization engine will access customer data in real time to hyper-tailor offers right at the moment of purchase. Everything the system knows can fuel the engine and promotions are dynamically constructed.”
“The Internet of Things is not a concept; it is a network, the true technology-enabled Network of all networks.” – Edewede Oriwoh
What Does The IoT Mean For Consumers?
These changes in technology are also changing the buying experience for customers. The IoT is changing what consumer’s expect from the companies they make purchases from. We can ask Alexa to order a Domino’s pizza for us and have it show up to our door step within twenty minutes, all without ever sitting down at a computer or picking up the phone. Consumers now expect making purchases and ordering services to be as effortless and quick as possible. We are busier and more over scheduled now more than ever before, so consumers will jump at any product that makes life easier and more seamless.
But Is it a Security Risk?
There has been some backlash in recent years over the safety of having every aspect of our lives connected to the cloud. Some experts warn that with so many points of connection, we’ve created a virtual playground for hackers and cyber attacks. It’s not just private individuals who should take precaution, thousands of businesses and industries use these technologies as well. These include traffic lights, public water systems, and sensors used to predict earthquakes and floods to name a few. The world is becoming one gigantic integrated network of technologies.
But there are precautions you can take to guard yourself and your business against your data getting into the wrong hands. Network World advises, “There are various encryption models that companies can take advantage of to prevent unwanted dissemination of data. De-identifying data from all personally identifiable information effectively protects the privacy of those involved, prohibiting hackers from doing anything with the apparently meaningless information”
How Will The End of Net Neutrality Effect the IoT?
The debate over net neutrality in this country has become more and more heated. If you got a little lost in the conversation over net neutrality, heres a basic break down of what it entails. According to Wikipedia, net neutrality is, “the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.”
With the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality in December of 2017 comes potentially major implications for how we use the internet. Repealing these laws effectively does away with a free and open internet and puts it into the control of major internet service providers like Verizon Wireless and AT&T. Under the old net neutrality rules, consumers were free to connect as many devices as they wanted to their WiFi without effecting their broad band speed. Under the new rules, carriers like Verizon could speed up or slow down traffic based on what device you’re using or what brand of phone you own! The repeal could mean a switch to a “pay to play” model. According to Tim Wu, media law professor at Columbia University, “without network neutrality, the Internet will undergo a transformation from a market ruled by innovation to one ruled by deal-making.”
What’s Next in 2018?
Despite the potentially grim nature of the future of the IoT, many innovators and techies haven’t slowed down. We’re always looking for ways to give our lives a “smart” boost. Here’s a few super cool smart home products you should know about in 2018:
1. Roost Wi-Fi Battery
Roost created the first Wi-FI enabled battery for your existing smoke alarm. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing more frustrating than being woken up at 3 am by your smoke alarm chirping. And I must confess, I’ve been guilty of just disconnecting the alarm in a desperate sleep deprived plea to get the thing to stop beeping. But Roost created this high tech sleek battery that alerts your smart phone when your battery is low or the alarm is going off.
2. Belkin Wemo Insight Smart Plug
How many times have you been at work panicking that you left the garage door open or left a stove burner on? Belkin is one of several companies that have created Wi-Fi enabled wall plugs. You can program the device using your smart phone to turn off appliances or schedule lights around your home to turn on and off. You can also pair the smart plug with a learning thermostat like Nest.
3. Ecobee 4 Smart Wi-FI Thermostat
Move over Nest! Theres a new smart thermostat for your home on the market. The Ecobee comes with an Amazon Alexa speaker built in. The company claims the Ecobee can reduce your heating and cooling costs each year by 23%. And of course, it’s controlled by your smart phone and can even be used to set timers and alerts.
4. SkyBell WiFI Doorbell
This is another great “peace of mind” smart home product. The SkyBell is a camera and WiFi equipped doorbell. The device is controlled from their app on your phone or your computer. When a visitor presses the button you receive an alert on your phone as well a live feed of the visitor. You can also hear and talk to the visitor. This smart doorbell also has a motion detector, can take photos, and is equipped with night vision.
5. Samsung Family Hub
This is by far the most high tech refrigerator we’ve ever seen! This thing can stream music and TV, create shopping lists, and even show you it’s contents with a built in camera. You can also use it to manage multiple calendars and set reminders for when certain foods will expire.
What’s next, all expense paid vacations to Mars? Oh wait…