Earlier this year, Google bought Nest, a home-hardware tech start-up. Streaming Headlines reported the search giant paid $3.2 billion, in cash. The concept of home automation and—more broadly—the “Internet of Things” has been around for a while, but Google’s insistent acquisition has brought it to the fore.
The Internet of Things refers to objects that can be connected to their virtual representations through various sensor technology. At the moment, that means things like smart locks and fridges, cooking thermometers and laundry machines. Each of these formerly “dumb” objects now connects wirelessly to a smartphone or computer, allowing for better security, more efficient usage and remote control.
Intel predicts there will be 200 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020. As the network grows, it will allow manufacturers to accurately analyze their supply chains and equipment. Retailers will be better able to take inventory, and their consumers will make smartphone purchases without contact. The gaps between technology and life’s more traditional transactions will shrink ever smaller.
Though devices will grow steadily smarter and more self-sufficient, they can’t really be impactful unless they interface seamlessly with the people they serve. In the case of businesses, a truly smart system requires both integration and an understanding of how the Internet of Things can achieve more efficient results than the past. Smart objects will reveal opportunities for optimization, and it will be up to people to make management changes accordingly. As McKinsey Quarterly reports, “The Internet of Things also can support longer-range, more complex human planning and decision making. The technology requirements—tremendous storage and computing resources linked with advanced software systems that generate a variety of graphical displays for analyzing data—rise accordingly.” Content creators and marketers should be first to interpret the data that rises along with the Internet of Things. Whether they do so in the form of white papers and infographics, careful comparisons or engaging narratives, it is brand storytellers who are best suited to measure the significance of the Internet of Things and give these objects individual voices.
Already, however, consumers are wary when it comes to the integration of content marketing with the objects themselves. As Wired mentioned after the initial Nest announcement, “Many joked about Google+ integration with Nest’s products and Google Ads showing up when you turn off your smoke alarm.” Nest shows no signs of giving screen time to Google ads, and the more likely marketing opportunity seems to be on the Internet rather than the Thing. In addition to building new hardware, developers are jockeying to be the go-to platform on which the Internet of Things will unite. Intel mentions Ninja Blocks and Evrythng as potential “Facebooks of Things.” When a primary platform emerges, it will offer a new space in which content marketers can support consumers with comprehensive data, guides to better usage and related entertainment.
Objects, technology and people are forging more closely knit relationships. As the Internet of Things expands, its vast network will require savvy translators to assure increased efficiency and easy implementation. Start brainstorming the possibilities now in order to grow marketing and media alongside the products and platforms.
What the “Internet of Things” Means for Content Marketing