If you haven’t heard of The Internet of Things yet, also called IoT, then you should get familiar with this term quickly because it will be the future of marketing and technology. The definition of the Internet of Things is the network of physical objects or “things” that are becoming connected to the internet through enhancements, sensors, and smart technology. The term has been around for some time now, it was first coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999, and he is a British visionary who said that this next step in connectivity would take us beyond machine-to-machine communications (M2M). The Internet of Things is now growing in popularity as connected objects are coming online at an exponential rate. In the next 5 years by 2020 it is estimated that over 26 billion objects will be connected. This is the steady progression towards an internet that can produce data without human input. The implications will touch every industry, retail, wholesale, big data, and marketing in ways that are hard to imagine. Here are a few examples of Internet of Things that really blew our mind:
Companies are now bringing objects online like vending machines. Ever pass by a vending machine and your favourite drink or snack is missing? A connected or smart vending machine, can send regular inventory updates to the company so that they know what needs to be refilled and when. Maybe your favourite snack is always sold out first. A smart vending machine can offer up statistical data to the company so that they know what is always sold out first and what never sells, so they can maximize sales by changing the product mix. The next step in vending machines takes it a step further and adds in a social media component. Imagine a promotional vending machine that releases a prize when you send out a tweet or post an Instagram photo to promote the company offering that giveaway?
Smart shelves are on the way. With the addition of sensors, smart shelves will help stores with their inventory, maintain sales data, increase efficiency, and prevent loss. With connected shelves and even connected products, efficiency is increased because even something as simple as misplaced items throughout a store being able to be located and returned to the correct shelf. When more items throughout a store are “online”, you can also boost engagement with applications for shopping, kids, and more. If connected shelves are camera-enabled, the future could also see stores collecting demographics information based on gender, race, and age and then possibly taking things a step further with personalization.
The medical industry will see significant strides in medical care with IoT. Imagine a connected pill that sends data back to your doctor. Not only would a doctor or caretaker know that a patient took a pill, but when they took and if any were missed. Take that a step further to pills that will be able to record body temperature and record other diagnostics such as blood, cholesterol, etc.