There aren’t many technologies and changes coming to the world and to marketing that excite me as much at the internet of things. If you were looking for a subjective article, you’re in the wrong place, but I can assure you that mine is a well read and thought out passion.
I sound like a motivational speaker, but if you truly want to succeed at something then you need to be passionate about it. Hopefully, some of my enthusiasm bleeds into your own outlook on IoTs marketing and devices because it will happen.
I know there's a tendency to latch onto these buzz-terms and hype them up, especially when creating content around them so the onus of proof falls to me. To convince you that this isn’t all fluff, I am going to show you 10 companies on the front lines pushing the envelope, and ushering us into the IoTs future of marketing.
We all want to live in a Tony Stark style mansion with our very own helpful Jarvis greeting guest and pairing cheese and wine when someone arrives at the door. SmartThings is the most promising startup for making it happen.
An ecosystem of more than 200 devices that communicate with a central hub that does everything from check for open windows to turn on lights when you open the door. If you want to program the coffee machine to switch on when you wake up, or set up an alarm to warn you when you left the iron on, SmartThings has a sensor or camera for that.
From a marketing point of view SmartThings, and companies like it, afford some interesting opportunities. Samsung made a compatible TV and launched an ad campaign around it, but it’s worth mentioning they also acquired the startup in 2016. Since then, The Amazon Echo has also started supporting SmartThings.
This is a bit techy, so I hope I don’t embarrass myself, but Microsoft's Azure IOTs Edge is, for all intents and purposes, a big deal.
You know how the cloud is all about storing stuff in data servers and sending it to the device when it is needed?
The cloud has long been considered the holy grail for IOTs connectivity, but if devices don’t have an internet connection, they are useless. Even constantly sending data backwards and forward can prove cumbersome.
The IOTs Edge can run on a raspberry pie with as little as 128 MBs of memory. And because they are flipping geniuses, it can run Azure Machine Learning and analytics programs.
The Blockchain isn’t a company, but it will affect the front lines of digital marketing and probably all computing. You might have heard about the blockchain in the context of bitcoins. That’s where is begun, but it has become so much more.
It’s a decentralized network of computers or nodes that use their combined processing power to move data and validate transactions.
The advantages for IOTs ecosystems are straightforward enough. Rather than building and maintaining big expensive server farms for cloud technology, blockchain technology could use the combined power of all IOTs devices to authenticate transactions.
IBM and Samsung partnered up in 2015 to build an internet of things blockchain based on IBM’s ADEPT (Autonomous Decentralized Peer-to-Peer Telemetry). Hopefully, this technology will be what the IOTs needs to reach its full potential and scale up into the billions of devices and beyond.
Remember when mobile marketing and advertising was new and exciting? Everyone poured money into it, even though it was near impossible to track. From tech giants to garage startups, a whole industry was created around the possibility that someone would develop software to target an audience with programmatic ads, or get an accurate ROI metric.
IOTs is going through something similar. Analytics are a little difficult on devices that open doors and turn on lights.
Iguazio is a startup dedicated to building unified data platforms and real-time insights across internet of things devices.
Its unveiling was met with a lot of enthusiasm and investor interest from companies that have a horse in the internet of things race. Companies like Bosch, whose investment in the company makes a lot of sense when you consider they sell in-car systems.
The connected car that knows when a part is faulty and can order a replacement with minimal user input, or direct a driver to a specific gas station with a promotion is a marketer’s wet dream, but it all takes analytics to measure and track.
Hiku is a connected grocery scanner that lets you order groceries from Walmart and Peapod. Users can talk into the device to create lists of products for purchase, or they can scan barcodes to the same effect. The software will also remember prior purchases and recommend them, which makes a lot of sense for groceries and covering the basics.
They aren’t alone in the space. Amazon’s Dash grocery scanner is the bigger name, but Hiku actually came out first, after the company was founded in 2012.
The hardware and products of these two companies aren’t as significant as their IOTs direct connection to services. Ideally, this tech will find its way into the fridge, and a clever Ai will know when you have run out of iceberg lettuce and it will just arrive, but buttons are a good start.
Tankutility is an IOTs company that monitors and sends alerts to your mobile phone when you are running out of propane. Using magic level tech it peers through solid metal to see how you are using your gas and compiles that information into graphs and charts to help you use it better. The device itself, connects to your existing wifi, so you can monitor it anywhere in the world.
The other side of Tankutility’s service is connecting propane users with propane suppliers; scheduling deliveries, in app payments, and an improvement on the customer’s experience, all pros.
Think about what this could mean for Airbnb owners out of town, and renting their place, or senile loved ones who shouldn’t be lifting up and shaking the tank to make sure it is empty, or talking on the phone to a delivery company.
Amazon’s IOTs AWS cloud platform and their AWS Greengrass software have made them a massive contender on the front lines of IOTs marketing. They are already using this software to build applications for automaker BMW and agriculture manufacturer John Deere.
It is battle of the clouds. Salesforce, IBM, and Microsoft, are all flaunting their respective IOTs clouds. Competition does wonders for emerging technology but one has to wonder if these diverse and often incompatible systems won’t lead to a distribution problem like we are seeing at the moment with virtual reality headsets.
It isn’t just these software contributions and massive server farms that earned them a place on my prestigious list. Amazon has released internet of things devices, the previously mentioned dash button, and Alexa powered echo speakers.
Named after the library of Alexandria, Amazon echo, is a virtual assistant that responds to voice commands to control smart devices, play music and order pizza.
IOTs devices and startups have gained traction in the health industry, but AdhereTech works wonders with its simplicity and by being truly useful.
Through a partnership with some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, AdhereTech has released wireless pill bottles that record when patients are taking their medication and provide visual reminders.
If a dose is missed, customized instructions can be sent directly to the patient via an automated phone call or text message.
According to AdhereTech, of all medication-related hospital admissions in the United States, 33 to 69 percent are related to poor medication adherence, and this technology could potentially millions of dollars as well as lives.
Theatro is tackling workplace productivity, or lack of, with small Wifi connected IOTs devices.
The days of booming voices echoing around department stores might be well and truly behind us if this Dallas based startup has their way.
Small and wearable devices, and you just push the button to talk. Glorified 2 way radio?
It would be if it didn’t link to an intelligent AI that can track everything about the restaurant, store, airport, or wherever frontline staff are asking it questions.
Management can even record messages and play back the team huddle for the early morning shift.
TempoIQ connects IOTs sensor devices to the cloud to provide real-time analytics. Sensor analytics will be the eyes in the field of the future.
Factual, impartial reporting on anything a sensor can be programmed to detect. Monitor equipment, eliminate wastage or provide a better customer experience with good old fashioned data.
TempoIQ is focused on letting companies easily add sensor analytics to this operations or products.
I don’t think that there are that many marketing applications outside of streamlining the department and providing a better customer experience, but I chose to include it because it is a powerful IOTs analytics platform and we can never have too many of them.