Month: October 2014

MoT for IoT (The Marketing of Things for The Internet of Things)


By Scott Levine
Vice President Strategy

As you’re most likely aware by now, the hot conversation about the internet these days is the expansion of the internet beyond the World Wide Web and email, to “things” that are now, or will be connected to it in the future.

“Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) predicts some 25 billion devices will be connected by 2015, and 50 billion by 2020.”

Cisco has broadened the term “Internet of Things” to their own marketing cry: “The Internet of Everything,” and Cisco might just be correct. Of course, marketing people will arrive at the same epiphany that I have, which is that there are going to be billions of “things that are connected to the internet” that will require marketing.

Just what are these “things” in the Internet of Things that will turn into “The Marketing of Things?”

In an article in Forbes, Jon Marcus writes: “How Cows Are Becoming Smart Connected Products” as he tells us about an entrepreneur in Austin, Texas named Brian Walsh who is running a start-up who “proposes feeding electronic pills that will sit in their stomachs and transmit their vital signs to farmers who can head off costly livestock illnesses or death.” Marketers are already salivating at the messaging possibilities of this- such as: Get your connected cow prime Grade A beef, where cows are raised with the latest in technology to provide you with the best beef ever.

In some cases the Marketing of Things for the Internet of Things has already occurred. Just take a look at Ralph Lauren’s “Polo Tech Shirt.” In this case, marketing has already been applied: “The next evolution of wearable technology. The Polo Tech Shirt. We are proud to be the first luxury lifestyle brand to offer apparel that tracks and streams real-time biometric data directly to your smartphone or tablet.”

Connected appliances are now available, where you can control your oven, refrigerator, dishwasher and more all from your smartphone. Here again, the Marketing of Things for the Internet of Things is already in full swing. “Turn your smart phone into a remote control for your GE Brillion-enabled appliances!  Get the GE Brillion app for your Android or iPhone, and you’ll be able to change appliance settings, keep an eye on your appliance status and cycles, and get maintenance alerts—all from your mobile device!”

Yet, sometimes you have to wonder if all things really need to be connected, as is the case of the Quirky Egg Minder. A $50 retail item that “wirelessly connects to your mobile device to track the number of eggs you have and tell you when they’re going bad. In-tray LED lights indicate the oldest egg, while push notifications alert you when you’re running low.”

If boiling water the old fashioned way is becoming boring, you can go out and get yourself the WiFi Kettle, where innovation and the Marketing of Things have met: “With the WiFi kettle you can start boiling your kettle from anywhere in the house. Using the WiFi kettle app you will save up to two days a year by pre-boiling your kettle saving you up to five minutes at a time.”

When you leave your connected home, you can get into your connected car, where again the Marketing of Things has begun: “Chevrolet is the first and only car company to bring built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi to cars, trucks and crossovers.” And with Wi-Fi becoming ubiquitous, you have to wonder if in the future there will be anyplace where we won’t be connected?

You’re motoring away from home in your connected car, and after driving for 20 minutes, you realize that you may have left the thermostat turned way up. No need to worry, just pull out your smartphone and use that in-car WiFi to connect to your connected thermostat from Nest. And yes, the Marketing of Things has been planned and penned: “Most people leave the house at one temperature and forget to change it. So the Nest Learning Thermostat learns your schedule, programs itself and can be controlled from your phone. Teach it well and the Nest Thermostat can lower your heating and cooling bills up to 20%.”

The Internet of Things has produced some really useful and important products in its infancy. You can lock and unlock your home and set your burglar alarm remotely from anywhere. Elderly or disabled people who have a falling accident can have emergency services notified from wherever they may be with a cellular or internet connection. Some of the connected innovations are wonderful and useful, and some aren’t. But all of them will need marketing. So, fellow marketers out there, get ready to provide “The Marketing of Things” for “The Internet of Things.”