THE INEVITABILITY OF THE INTERNET OF THINGS
Slowly but surely, the Internet is being incorporated into everyday objects. This goes beyond updating and creating the next big thing in tablets or smartphones: Light bulbs turned on by the click of an app. Toothbrushes that keep track of use. Thermostats that can be controlled while you’re miles away from home. As the desire for WiFi-enabled products increases, the tech world is steadily improving to enhance effective communication between devices and make life a little easier for users and marketers alike.
This march into a WiFi-ubiquitous world, or “The Internet of Things,” opens up the marketing doors to a future of infinite amounts of hyper specialized and targeted advertising. A regional coffee company could serve geo-targeted ads to college students preparing to pull all-nighters, reminding them to stock up on supplies. Local restaurants could buy space on refrigerator doors, reminding Mom or Dad that they can order-in dinner with just the push of a button on their fridge instead of rummaging through it to put together a meal.
For now, with more products gaining the ability to run apps or connect to the Internet, the world of digital advertising continues to expand. Smart appliances are already a reality, like the smart fridge from Samsung that comes equipped with apps preloaded on a WiFi-enabled LCD screen. Owners can access calendars, notes and apps created for the fridge; download apps for Internet radio and email; or, with newer models, even tweet directly from the appliance. It’s only a matter of time before Candy Crush starts showing up on these fridges … and the banner ads that come along with it.
Mobile advertising gains the most from The Internet of Things. The smartphone is becoming the new universal controller, with the ability to monitor all of the new, WiFi-enabled tech products from smoke detectors to parking meters to baby monitors. While users get peace of mind, marketers can use all of this new data to serve ads to benefit an audience at home and on the go. For example: while out, a consumer gets an alert on their smartphone from their baby monitor that the batteries have almost run out – this could trigger instantly served, relevant ads for Energizer battery sales at retail stores close by … and how about the nearest Toys ‘R’ Us to pick up something special for Jr.?
So far, only an estimated 1 - 2% of Americans (in 2013, according to Forrester Research) have home-automation products like the “smart fridge.” With WiFi-enabled tech, it’s a slow but steady journey to get all of the pieces connected for a smooth, harmonious user experience. As more WiFi-enabled, easy-to-use, affordable smart products come to market every day, more Americans will begin to welcome the tech, and the advertising that comes with it, into their homes.
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