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Internet of Things brandishes possibilities, challenges for marketers in 2016

IoT

The Internet of Things allows users to control household items through mobile devices

The Internet of Things is poised to hit its stride in 2016, giving marketers greater insight in connecting to consumers with significant data gathered from mobile devices, but the challenge will be how to best leverage the information. 

IoT made a significant jump forward in the past year with a bevy of devices being launched with connectivity to smartphones, with Target even opening a showroom for these products. The devices serve marketers with an immense amount of data to their advantage, and in the upcoming year marketers will need a technical platform, which can manage the overwhelming amount of data as well as process it all. 

“We opened Target Open House as an experiential retail setting that inspires people to explore the world of connected home living, what it is, how it works and how it can make our lives better,” said Jenna Reck, spokeswoman for Target. “Open House has become a place for Target to invite the connected home community to exchange idea, share work and spur dialogue. 

“It also helps Target and our partners to quickly get products into consumers’ hands and learn more about how connected home products and services can come to life in a retail environment,” she said. “Since opening in July, we have learned a lot about the connected home space, products and Target’s role in facilitating connections. 

“We have already updated the physical space and introduced new products as part of our mission to continually iterate. We will continue to build on early momentum as we head into 2016.”

IoT in 2016
The network of connected devices within a home which consumers can control through their smartphones is defined as the Internet of Things. This past year, IoT jumped from an application to control the thermostat in your home to a series of appliances, wearables and household objects, all connected to mobile devices. 


The Flic device can be placed anywhere

These devices are able to derive a set of data from which marketers can gain insight into consumer behavior and habits at home, giving them more direction on how to appeal to individuals. The challenge is how to best take advantage of all the information, which many believe will see a solution in 2016. 

“The amount and type of data that can be gathered from IoT facilitates focused marketing,” said Ravi Rao, senior vice president of analytics at Infogix. “So, there is no longer any need for guesswork about a customer’s preferences, interests, actions; there is no longer the need to make assumptions about a consumer based on group or demographic level trends. 

“Marketing can be one-on-one,” he said. “However, what this means is that the right type of focus needs to be put on accurate analysis of the IoT data. 

“This requires an appropriate combination of technology, analytics and business expertise to analyze the information available from IoT and be ready to go-to-market in a timely manner. This has been, and will continue to be a challenge in fully leveraging IoT for marketing.”

Privacy invasion 
Currently, there is a drastic difference in operation and control over these connected devices between brands and manufacturers, making the experience less optimized for consumers. The more seamless the experience on all IoT devices is, the more likely users will be to adopt the technology. 

Another serious issue plaguing IoT is the unknown variables related to privacy. With every device containing consumer information, will marketers be faulted for tapping into it, and how will it affect its relationships with users? 

While advertising is now completely personalized thanks to mobile, consumers may show aversion to marketing efforts, which take advantage of information related to their at-home IoT devices. Consumers may feel as though their privacy is being invaded. 


Samsung’s Smart House devices are operated through an app

 “There are currently several, independent efforts to establish standards for IoT data communication,” Mr. Rao said. “These need to converge to facilitate the use of data from different IoT devices from different manufacturers, environments for marketing purposes.

“There is still a lack of clarity on the direction of security and privacy policies and regulation related to IoT,” he said. “What of the vast amounts of IoT data can be used for the one-on-one marketing? 

“As there is more clarity on these aspects, we will know how it will impact marketing.”

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer

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Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach her at brielle@mobilemarketer.com.

 
Related content: Software and technology, mobile marketing, IoT, internet of things, target open house, connected devices

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