Stella Voutsina, EVP, Technology, Data & Digital Operations, MDC Media Partners
In the midst of the new age of connected home appliances, the continued success of Amazon’s Alexa, and the introduction of Google Home, the competition to be the “iPhone of the IoT age” is well underway.
What opportunities does the connected home, workplace, and automobile offer brands and advertisers to connect with consumers? What are the challenges? And what will be the breakthrough that makes IoT as ubiquitous as the smartphone?
The era of the industrial internet has the potential to disrupt the global economy in a scale larger than any previous industrial revolution. The big technological advancement: the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of Everything (IoE) has the potential to change the way we live and work, and create a significant economic impact on society.
The IoT allows devices and people to connect via the internet so new actions can be enabled. The main ability of IoT is to gather and exchange data from various sources in such a way that the data becomes actionable and lets devices and users make decisions based on it.
Most organizations have shifted their focus from collecting “big data” to the more pressing questions such as: “What should I do with the data I have?” and “How can we extract useful insights and then make them work for us?” The quality of data and information collected now removes the guess work for most organizations.
Once businesses start investing in cloud-based services and analytics, it will become easier and simpler to understand the performance of a product or a service offered that’s IoT-enabled. In addition to this understanding, it will become more seamless to gather real-time information so new products and services can be created. Whether it’s a smart home application that measures the levels of consumed energy, turns the lights off when everybody has gone to bed, or orders new detergent via the click of a button, the IoT can help businesses understand their consumers better by measuring their behavior within their ecosystem of devices, sensors and actuators. The IoT will become an enabler of a direct conversation between brands and consumers.
Apple, Google and Amazon are already quite advanced, but there are still two primary challenges for IoT.
1. Interoperability and the Lack of Common Criteria and Protocols
Most devices are built and connected within walled gardens, but don't connect or communicate outside of these. While it is understandable that the technology is still developing, the industry still needs to move to an open source or standard so devices can share data easier, becoming more secure in the process.
2. Data Collection, Storage, and Data Management
Most data infrastructures are built to manage data from data centers to devices and not the other way around. Additionally, the data volumes collected daily will certainly be a lot larger since it will be real-time, gathered for actionability, but also historical analysis. Therefore, storage will quickly become an issue. It will certainly be interesting to see what tools are being developed for decision making within this short but important timeframe.
There are undeniably significant challenges that come along with the promise of IoT and what this new frontier will mean for technology. While we’re still in the process of grasping IoT technology’s full potential, both businesses and consumers can gain significant benefits by keeping up with the newest IoT advances and learning how to intelligently use these connected devices.