Why care about the Internet of Things?

Posted by Lara Piras on 06 April 2014 in Tech

Update: We've got exclusive new data on young people and their attitudes and intentions when it comes to the Internet of Things. Get this free premium content

The 'Internet of Things' (IoT) may seem hard to get your head around, but it's becoming ever more important to as our world becomes more joined-up and digital.

So what is it, what does it mean for business and how are young people reacting to it?

In its most basic form IoT is where products and items are connected online to each other and to humans. This essentially means a natural or man-made object can be assigned an IP address and be provided with the ability to transfer data over a network.

The ways in which the IoT can connect iare via person to machine, machine to machine or person to person. They have evolved from the merging of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems and the Internet.

Popular examples include a car that has built-in sensors that alert the driver when his or her tire pressure is low and a smart window air conditioner called Aroscan be controlled from a mobile device and helps owners save electricity.

The future

With the concept of the IoT incorporated, our lives are destined to move seamlessly via wireless connections. Technology will be so advanced it will know exactly when to wake you in the morning because it will know your meetings for that day and the time it takes you to get ready. The possibilities are endless.

There are many online resources that are making this idea more understandable to the mainstream, and media coverage is growing. With various short videos and infographics explaining the term in a fun, inviting and more digestible way, more people are beginning to engage with the concept.

IBM's Smarter Planet team created an informative and enjoyable five minute video explaining the Internet of Things:

A worldwide survey featuring over 800 senior business leaders found that:

  • 96% said their companies would be using IoT some way within the next three years;
  • 76% of companies represented are currently exploring IoT internally (74% externally);
  • 68% said that their companies are already investing budgets in the IoT;
  • 17% are using IoT externally (products, services) or about to do so.

The market potential for the IoT is in the trillions of dollars globally per year and growing. It's predicted that by 2015 there will be 25 billion autonomous Internet-connected devises, with sources estimating up to 50 billion such devices by 2020.

This shows how important the IoT is and why marketers should start thinking about incorporating the concept into their research, campaigns and working environments. If of course they haven’t already done so.

I think it is a great step forward in to improving our lives. My main concern would be when it comes to marketing products and the information that companies would have about us.It is already quite invasive when an online company knows your browsing habits and employs people to customise adverts for you as you browse. Also, I would be interested to see whether these innovations would be used to help the developing world.

Cameron, Voxburner Academy

What does the Internet of Things mean for marketers?

It’s time to get technical. There’s clearly a massive market and profit potential. If you want to keep up with competitors and remain current and engaging to new and existing audiences, you need to start considering what IoT means for your sector specifically.

And graduate recruiters take note: according to professional services firm PWC, by 2020 Millennials will form 50% of the global workforce. It's vital to attract and keep this head-strong, tech-savvy generation if you're building a business that will last. Young people are beginning to take interest in the Internet of Things, and so should you.