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GeoMarketing 101: Internet Of Things

As the presence of smart devices increases, marketers are beginning to explore the new ways in which the internet of things allows them to connect to consumers — and allows consumers to connect to each other.

From geo-targeting to beacons, location-based technology is opening up a world of possibilities for marketers — but it’s also complicated, as new capabilities and use cases seem to emerge every day.

With the goal of breaking down some of the most important “geo” concepts to provide a better understanding of the basics — and a jumping off point for exploring how far the power of location may take us — we introduce the next installment of our GeoMarketing 101 series: understanding the internet of things.

What Is The Internet Of Things?

Internet of things (IoT) is a catchall term referring to any device or object with network connectivity, meaning that it can interact/share data with other mobile and connected devices.

Examples of this include everything from smartwatches to smart refrigerators — the “smart” designation is commonly used to distinguish IoT devices from their “regular” appliance counterparts — and the industry has grown significantly over the past year.

What do these devices do? Well, the familiar smartwatch can communicate with a users’ mobile device, receiving texts or emails, triggering the device to take a photo, tracking steps, and more. A smart fridge, for example, could determine when a food item has been placed in or removed from it — and if the user runs out of something, it could be automatically reordered through Instacart or a similar service via a touchscreen on the front of the fridge. Smart thermostat systems can be controlled via mobile, allowing the users to set temperatures or check in on the home remotely, and more.

Essentially, if you can imagine a reason the device should be connected to the internet, it probably exists — or someone is working to develop it.

Where Are We In The Evolution Of IoT?

As is so often true of emerging technology, this depends who you ask. Here’s what we know — or has been forecast — based on concrete data: Cisco predicted last year that the global IoT market would reach 14.4 trillion by 2022. By a diversity of similar estimates, the market is big and getting bigger — but that doesn’t mean we know exactly which devices will become the most popular, leading the charge toward “normalization” of smart tech, the point at which it will be present in the vast majority of consumers homes.

Smartwatches and fitness-related wearables led the initial charge, gaining mass popularity in 2014 and 2015. In fact, it appears that consumers are now comfortable enough with these devices so as to be open to advertising on them.

As we wrote this week, a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau finds that two-thirds of Americans (62 percent) say they at least own one IoT device.

And a sure sign that consumers have deeply embraced products such as connected TVs, smart watches, fitness trackers, internet-enabled appliances, is the willingness of 65 percent of consumers who say they are interested in receiving marketing messages on their IoT devices.

The key here, as with mobile marketing, is to deliver clear utility: Customers report that they purchases IoT devices for the reason of “usefulness” — not “to be cool” or “for convenience.” It appears to be time for marketers to explore expanded IoT-related marketing use cases, but the rule of delivering seamless utility needs to hold.

Read more about the Internet of Things:

Majority Of Americans Have An IoT Device — And They’re Open To Advertising

Why Marketers Need To Start Thinking About Smart-Home Technology

Gartner Predicts Bold Future For Internet of Things — But Not Without Growing Pains

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of GeoMarketing.com. A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.