The Internet Of Things Conversation and CES
By Devin Cheevers and Eric Pfeifer
Of all the conversations out of CES 2014, the concept of the "The Internet Of Things" stood out, we discuss further here.
As the cost of connectivity and sensors falls, more items, beyond computers and smartphones, including everything from cars to shoes, will report data to the internet. This increased connectivity of previously “dumb” things, “The Internet of Things*” or IoT, will bring a wave of creative destruction to many industries, similar to that caused by connecting people to the internet.
In his keynote at CES, Cisco’s CEO John T. Chambers promised the IoT will alter the trajectory of virtually every person on the planet. A tad hyperbolic, maybe. But for consumers and marketers, the internet of things should realize a host of previously unavailable opportunities.
Internet of Things
For consumers, the IoT will make life easier. Examples include smart homes and health tracking. Smarter appliances, windows and air conditioning will reduce chores and save energy. Passive tracking of your habits and diet will improve your health.
For brands and marketers, new interaction models and revenue opportunities will be created. Take iBeacon technology from Apple and Qualcomm's Gimbal technology. By enabling more precise location tracking indoors, new ways to change in-store behavior will become available.
Digital Sixth Sense
At CES, there were product announcements that highlighted many areas of the IoT, including connected car initiatives, wearables and connected retail. However, beyond the buzz of these individual announcements, the discussion of how the IoT will create a “digital sixth sense” for consumers presents the most interest to marketers. Understanding how to provide truly relevant and personalized value to consumers, enabled by this “digital sixth sense,” will become a business imperative.
IoT: The Next Evolution From Mobile and Tablet
Below are some questions to consider as you meet the challenge and opportunity of the IoT. Notice how they are similar to those brought about by smartphones and tablets. Begin to discuss these with your team as a way to start thinking of the IoT.
- How flexible is our content, and how can we deliver it across multiple screen sizes and interaction modes?
- How, as a brand, are we dealing with customers consuming two screens at the same time?
- Do we have systems in place for customers to transition between multiple screens and devices, throughout the day, to accomplish a single task with our organization?
- Do we have data and measurement expertise and knowledge, including management of privacy issues, to take advantage of the explosion of data around our customers?
Beyond these foundational questions, consider the new areas that smart devices will bring into consumers’ lives. Smart cars, smart homes and wearables all provide interesting platforms to engage with consumers. Brands that take advantage of these new platforms, while connecting the entire user journey, will have a competitive edge.
So while CES brought us advances in consumer electronic goods, it also showcased that 2014 is the year we can begin to realize the opportunity of the internet of things. Google’s purchase of Nest Labs, makers of home-automation thermostats and smoke detectors, for $3.2 billion is one of the opening salvos in the battle for the internet of things this year. Google, with the multiple it’s paid, believes in this space.
To examine the individual product announcements and goings on at CES, please check out:
*Cisco used a term of "Internet of Everything" in this keynote, which it defines as “bringing together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before — turning information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented economic opportunity for businesses, individuals, and countries.”