The Internet of Things (is a lot Bigger Than you Think)
Let’s Take a Look into the Year 2020
Late on a Saturday afternoon, you wake up from a short nap, your smartwatch buzzing with emails from the office. Swinging your legs off the bed that has automatically warmed itself to the perfect temperature, you reach for your smartphone on its wireless charging mat. Great, it’s related to the latest project at work. Guess they need you in the office.
Tossing on your favorite pair of jeans, a ragged Walk the Moon band t-shirt and slipping into your haptic shoes, which are still charging after your morning run, you make your way downstairs. You hear a pleasant tone from your fridge notifying you that you’re low on your water intake for the day, and you may become dehydrated soon. Fill up your water bottle, grab your keys and you’re out the door just in time for the dongle on your belt to tell you you’re short on steps for the day.
Good thing your office sent a car to give you a Lyft; it’s waiting for you on the corner. The car asks you for the confirmation code, as you scroll through your smartwatch for the text message, you notice you’ll have company on your trip across town as a young boy and his mother smile from inside the self-driving car. You input the code, the door pops open and you slide into the first open seat. You settle in, only to realize you forgot to lock the front door. You whip out your phone to lock the house and check that the hall light is off, all via your home management system’s app.
The scenario above isn’t all that far-fetched. In fact, every seemingly futuristic aspect of that story is available now (except for maybe the self-driving car service, but that may not be too far off). The hot debate over the Internet of Things isn’t “will it happen,” it’s “when it will happen?”. But what is the Internet of Things?
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things is the principle that everyday objects are becoming a network of electronic objects that collect and share information. This means every device we use, method of transportation we take and even the articles of clothing we wear are becoming smart enough to send us information about how we live in the world.
By 2020, it’s estimated that there will be just under 8 billion people on the planet. Comparatively, there will be over 50 billion devices in the Internet of Things, rounding out to between 6-7 devices per person on average, with each device becoming connected, should we trust our devices with all that information? It can be a scary thought that every device we use will know that we didn’t do that extra lap at the pool or haven’t had a glass of water in three hours.
What the Internet of Things Can Be.
Today, the Internet of Things is dedicated to making sure we’re meeting our exercise goals, drinking enough water or taking in our daily calories. The truth is:
The Internet of Things can be so much more.
In healthcare, the Internet of Things could track flu outbreaks in our area, track and alert us of any drastic changes in our biometrics or occurrences of injuries, or even carry our personal health information without fear of getting the wrong medicine.
In travel, we could be alerted to changes in traffic and adjust our morning alarm, we could count on reliable driverless cars to make roadways safer, and we could automate our homes to regulate air while we’re away or increase security at the push of a button.
In design and manufacturing, we could track, ship and sell inventory down to the smallest component, we could have clothing, furniture and rooms tailor-made to our bodies, and we could regulate power and gas needs to effectively supply every user.
The Internet of Things gives us an opportunity to operate on more information and do more.
What Does the Internet of Things Mean for Marketers?
Just as the Internet of Things gives the user an opportunity to live with more information, it gives marketers and advertisers an opportunity to connect with our users at an increasing number of touchpoints. Connecting with a user on such a personal level will allow us to better understand what is important to them.
The Internet of Things is coming. Smartphones, wearable tech and intelligent appliances are just the beginning and honestly, the future is bright. We look forward to the new opportunities these devices present.