The CEO of Cisco, John Chambers, noted in January that the Internet of Things (IoT), otherwise known as Web 3.0, is going to skyrocket into a $19 trillion industry. He made the comment at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. In his keynote presentation (which included a comedy spotlight by Sarah Silverman), Chambers discussed a future, not-so-distant reality in which Internet-connected devices all around us will already know our preferences and can adapt to suit our expectations.
As far as marketing is concerned – and sales generally – the Internet of Things represents a vast new field of possibility. With your “user preferences” immediately understood by the world around you, marketing can adapt so that what you’re presented by marketers aligns with your core interests. Consumers are more likely to make purchases when the Internet of Things is delivering more relevant content to them.
So what exactly will the Internet of Things do?
The Internet of Things won’t just help businesses make more sales and boost the economy. It will also allow for widespread social improvements – for our security, our safety, and our health. Further, it’ll help us cut costs, organizationally and personally. It’s estimated – per a study cited by Chambers – that garbage cans connected through a cloud-hosted system will reduce the expense of waste management 30%.
Chambers notes that what is really exciting about the Internet of Things is that technology is a means to an end, and Web 3.0 allows us to use the technology we have more expansively, with a broader purpose. Chambers said the Internet of Things shouldn’t really be conceived of as a technological concept but as a revolutionary social shift, like windows cloud hosting that “changes people’s lives forever.”
Cisco as an example of cloud & IoT adoption
Cisco has realized that it needs to enter the cloud, specifically with regards to the IoT, if its business is to continue growing. Revenue for the IT hardware aspect of its business (its bread and butter) is turning downward, with a 5% drop expected for 2014 (per Bloomberg). Cisco expects its sales to be dampened until 2017 or possibly even 2019, although placing the cloud and Web 3.0 as a point of focus could help the company avoid a major dip.
Cisco is a great example of how companies are adapting to fit the times. As the Internet of Things grows, the possibility for marketers to take advantage of the new terrain is obvious and compelling. Certainly the individuals and organizations who figure that space out will likely experience incredible success.
Implications of the Internet of Things for marketing
Molly Borchers, a contributor to The Huffington Post, is a public relation professional interested in the marketing ramifications of the Internet of Things. She notes that much of what makes Web 3.0 distinctive is its access to massive amounts of data that can be analyzed and reframed for marketing purposes. Borchers uses the example of a Fitbit which collects data such as the wearer’s heart rate, the number of strides while walking or running, and calories they burned. Marketing success will depend in large part on how successfully and creatively companies can use the big data.
An obvious example is a Google Glass app released last fall called Glashion. The app will allow users of Google Glass to gather clothing and accessory information from people they are passing on the street, then seamlessly look for prices online. In the age of the Internet of Things, particularly with the cloud’s ability to crunch data incredibly quickly, preferences can be integrated in real-time with product offerings in Glashion and similar areas. In turn, that will increase the likelihood of purchase.
Marketing site ClickZ spoke with a few experts in the field to gauge their perspectives on the Internet of Things as well. Here is a summary of their thoughts:
Amy Lanigan, vice president for Fluid
Marketing that makes use of Web 3.0 should have the following characteristics:
- designed for seamless integration
- frictionless (avoiding anything that gets in the way of your message growing and being spread online)
- has clear and obvious value for customers.
Jeremy Lockhorn, vice president of emerging media for Razorfish
Marketers should be able to meet two primary developing needs of consumers:
- a personalized experience that protects their privacy
- marketing and service that is predictive.
Regarding the second bullet, for a short primer on the predictive cloud – with significant attention paid to predictive analytics and predictive modeling – see this recent blog post on Predictive Analytics & Predictive Modeling on the Cloud.
Rebecca Nadilo, director of digital strategy for BBDO
Marketers should ask themselves two basic questions when strategizing a plan for Web 3.0:
- How can I establish brand utility (usefulness of the brand, such as connecting people for a phone company or helping people realize their athletic potential for a shoe company) through the Internet of Things?
- How can I take the big data and turn it into smart data?
Owning the Internet of Things
A vast new market is emerging for businesses. Many businesses will thrive because they have embraced Web 3.0. Others will survive because they will make use of the new marketing opportunities it provides. At Atlantic.Net, we have a strong and elastic cloud hosting infrastructure to host applications in the Internet of Things.
By Moazzam Adnan; comic words by Kent Roberts & art by Leena Cruz.