By Barton Goldenberg, President of ISM
I recently had a very interesting conversation with my good friend, Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies based in San Jose, CA, and a renowned technology analyst. Tim is very keen on the new trend called the “Internet of Everything”, which was in full display at this year’s Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show. What follows results from my discussion with Tim and follow-up research:
The “Internet of Everything” is made up of two parts. The first part consists of the infrastructure required to connect all devices – smart phone, tablets, PC, etc. – for real-time communications and analysis. For obvious reasons, this is being backed by Cisco. The second part – which is being called the “Internet of Things” – and is being backed by Qualcomm and Intel – is less about the infrastructure and more about the collection of data from lots of different devices. Here are some examples of the Internet of Things in action:
• Connected Automobile (20-30 sensors per vehicle)
• Connected Devices (e.g., AppStore, Netflix, OnStar)
• Connected Home (e.g., Kwikset, PetTracker, Dropcam and connected refrigerators)
• Connected Wearables (e.g., Nike+, glasses, watches)
• Connected Health (e.g., iHealth, Mimo)
• Connected Commerce (based on Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons)
An excellent Internet of Things example is the Sleep Number bed, which has 500 sensors in it. When a person lies on a Sleep Number bed, the sensors pick up the person’s body movements and send the data back to this person’s smartphone with observations on sleeping habits to allow the person to hopefully sleep better. In another example, companies are now building motion sensors directly into tennis racquets that can be connected to a smartphone to provide tennis players with detailed analysis of their tennis game.
A key component supporting the Internet of Things is “Beacon” technology. Today’s Beacons use blue tooth low energy (BTLE), which is a radio chip that utilizes low energy specs. BTLE today transmits consistent signals and can be used in headsets, smart phones, etc. And unlike the older blue tooth devices, BTLE does not stream continuously but rather sends out short communications bursts thereby enabling device batteries to last up to a month without charge.
Beacon technology can be used for short signal bursts based on location. So for example, imagine a person downloading the Macy’s department store app, and informing Macy’s what products he/she is interested in (e.g., jeans, jewelry, etc.). Macy’s can then place beacons on for example their jeans aisle such that when the person is shopping at a Macy’s store, the Macy’s app sends out a promotional alert to that individual shopper to inform them that there is a 30% discount on jeans for the next 30 minutes. Pretty cool use of technology!
For those of you not yet familiar with the new SF 49ers stadium currently being built in Santa Clara, this new venue will utilize Beacon technology throughout. It will be the most tech-friendly stadium ever with the entire stadium WIFI-ready. By placing a Beacon on every other seat, stadium attendees will be able to see the location of his/her seat on his/her smartphone or tablet if he/she has an electronic ticket. Once seated, the Beacon will send a burst of information to the person’s smartphone or tablet such as a 20% discount for T-shirts in the next 20 minutes or an electronic coupon during the game (e.g., $1 off hot dogs). Furthermore, Beacon technology will allow stadium attendees to be connected to the Internet through the football game, so that they can watch replays, get football statistics, view in-stadium promotions, etc. throughout the game. View this one-minute video to learn more.
Tim and I foresee the “Internet of Everything” and the “Internet of Things” having an enormous impact on how companies market and sell products in the future. With 2.8 billion people online today, and another one billion coming online in the next three years, the possibilities to leverage new customer data are endless for both B2C and eventually B2B companies. Of course all this requires a well thought out strategy and implementation plan as well as an understanding of the changes that the company will need to take in the area of customer service as their customers take “always-on and always-connected” to an entirely new level.
The team at ISM is presently working with our clients to analyze the Internet of Everything and its Internet of Things as part of its end-to-end customer-centric planning. ISM will be offering an Executive Briefing to organizations taking a serious look at how they will reach — and sell to — the Internet of the Customer. Get ready to strap your seat belts on, as the Internet of Everything and the Internet of Things is just beginning to take off!