Tech: The power of the 'Internet of Things'
This concept, whereby billions of everyday objects might 'talk' to each other, raises a host of possibilities for brands and marketers
Consider smart meters. EDF Energy is trialling a meter that monitors your electricity use minute by minute and sets a price based on demand. If you use off-peak power, you save money.
In the future, such meters might negotiate with your tumble dryer, telling it to slow down when there's a surge in demand elsewhere. You would pay less, and there would be less of a need for so many expensive power stations to be built.
Or consider car insurance: Aviva is running a small-scale pilot scheme where it places a black box in a consumers' car and monitors their mileage and driving patterns. Drive carefully on low-risk roads, and your premium will go down.
These are early examples of applications of what's being called the Internet of Things. When communication chips were expensive and network bandwidth was limited, only the most powerful computers could access the net. Now billions of mobile phones are online.
Basically, the Internet of Things gives rise to the question: 'What can happen when hundreds of billions of everyday objects can access the net and "talk" to each other?'
That day isn't quite here. Much of the activity is still in research labs or pilots. Nonetheless, real examples are starting to go live and some companies are turning their whole business model on its head. Rolls-Royce, for example, no longer sells jet engines as such, but 'hours of power' instead, relying on the components within those engines to communicate back to it about how they're being used, how parts are wearing, and so on. It then schedules the appropriate servicing.
The question for you, then, is how this might change your mix of products and services? How might it change the way you promote and sell those products?
In a world where people's T-shirts can 'talk' to their washing machines, will we need different types of soap powder, each tightly tailored to just how that T-shirt is being worn each day?
Graham Oakes is a technology consultant. He can be contacted via www.grahamoakes.co.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org. His book Project Reviews, Assurance and Governance is published by Gower.
WHAT ARE THE OPPORTUNITIES?
Create fresh market niches
When an object can tell us exactly how it's being used, we can tailor supporting products and services. 'Talking T-shirts' might not be a reality yet, but such innovations will create opportunities ranging from fresh accessories to dry-cleaning services to who knows what.
Target promotions more effectively
Likewise, when you know exactly what people are doing with an object and where they are, you can target messages to suit their circumstances.
Build long-term relationships
When objects can be monitored and managed remotely, the scope for long-term service relationships grows. You're no longer limited to a one-off sales transaction: you can provide all manner of ongoing support.
In the case of smart meters, by setting up a conversation between objects, the power company can shift demand patterns in its favour.
This allows it to reduce costs and manage its operations more effectively, which will lead to higher profitability.
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk
Latest jobs Jobs web feed
- Account Director- Exciting Online Content Marketing Company- Up to £70,000 plus OTE Cedar Scott Up to £70,000 basic (up to £90,000 OTE) plus share options, Central London
- Category Manager Pearson Competitive salary & performance related bonus & benefits, Central London
- Global Product Manager Evans Taylor c£50k - c£60k p.a. plus car, bonus and benefits, North East of England or Central London
- Brand Manager Radisson Blu Edwardian, London Competitive , South Kensington, London
- ACCOUNT DIRECTOR/SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR - BTL/SP/Brand Experience - London - £45 - £55k plus bonus Judi Patton £45K-55K plus bonus, London/Greater London
- Senior Planning Director, International Agency, London, to £120k Fill Recruitment Ltd to £120,000, Central London
Integrated digital marketing offers huge opportunities to engage, servic...
Mobile marketing is coming of age, and the pace of change is now exponen...
With UK consumers spending an average of £1,083 a year online, int...
Conversational Mobile Marketing: Engage Customers and Empower Advocates (Expert Reports) External website
The pressure is on for marketers and mobile operators to embrace a strat...
As a nation, the UK is media and technology obsessed with over half of t...
All customers have the potential to become your brand advocates, driving...