What if you could take the marketing materials you produce every day and turn them into touchstones that trigger interactive experiences?
That’s what the Internet of Things (IoT) can mean to marketers. IoT makes it possible to turn any “thing” into a connected one, moving customers and prospects seamlessly from paper or object to interaction.
When you think of the IoT, you probably automatically think of refrigerators and toasters connected to the Internet. But it actually goes well beyond consumer electronics with built-in sensors. IoT really refers to an interdependent mixture of hardware, software, data and services all with very sophisticated interdependencies.
And it isn’t a futuristic vision. It’s already here and growing quickly. While you were going about your day-to-day life during the past 10 years, the number of things connected to the Internet exceeded the number of people living on the planet. By 2020, researchers predict the number of connected things will be anywhere from 20 to 75 billion.
Already, the IoT is changing the way we interact with each other and the world. It has impacted the way we monitor our health and how we keep our homes secure. It’s changed how cities manage traffic, water distribution and even pollution. It revolutionized banking with the automated teller machine, and now it’s transforming supply chain management and retail promotion.
For marketers, it offers a very real and very relevant way of communicating with new and existing customers through “things” that can see, listen, serve, interact,
record and disposition behavior in real time.
Mobile Is the Controller
Your smartphone, with its wide range of sensors — GPS, accelerometer, gyro, video, proximity, compass, camera and more — and wireless connection, give you an incredibly well-equipped Internet of Things device right in your pocket. These small screens we carry around with us every day offer immediate access to media-rich content and interactive experiences.
Today, we can use smart mobile devices with an augmented reality app to turn any printed image, 3D object or any location into a target that will trigger an experience on a mobile device — without a typical browser experience.
Your phone camera, as an extension of you, sees something and changes the screen to assist you in a more intuitive path through whatever information it reports back to you. With this idea of a browserless Internet, we are no longer constrained by text-based search methodology or opening up a Web browser and entering a URL.