“Ambient computing” is actually a catch-all term for several new technologies. These include Internet of Things (IoT) devices, AI-driven devices, and cloud storage solutions that allow previously impossible amounts of data to be stored and processed.
The advantage of looking at these technologies under one term, though, is that it allows us to see the future of marketing more holistically. And that’s what we’ll look at in this article.
The breach is particularly significant given the rapid expansion of smart or IoT devices. Given that consumers already struggle to secure basic electronic devices including laptops and smartphones, the Telnet breach indicates how much larger the security risk for personal devices may become in coming years as smart speakers, TVs, and fridges join the legion of devices open to hackers.
I’m fresh from a couple of days wandering the halls of the Consumer Electronics Show, affectionately known as CES — the annual conference that descends upon Las Vegas in January and proffers the latest in technological solutions to improve every aspect of our daily lives. This is my first time attending the world’s biggest technology conference, where 4,500 companies this year are vying for the attention of 180,000 attendees, according to my Uber driver.
As I made my way through the crowds at the massive Las Vegas Convention Center and other conference venues, I tried to get a sense of the common themes defining consumer innovation as we begin a new decade.
A recent announcement that Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance are working on an open-source network standard is likely to lead to even more investment in connected devices among retailers. The open-source network that the group is working to develop is supposed to make life easier for IoT hardware vendors and software developers, but it also serves a secondary purpose of assuring retailers investing in connected technology that their budgets aren’t being wasted. With a common IoT communication and control standard, smart devices will be even more reliable and seamless to use in the coming years.
“Open source will bring businesses more agility and enable them to process data quickly while simultaneously producing valuable insights,” says Heikki Nousiainen, chief technology officer at Aiven, a firm that develops managed cloud service hosting for software infrastructure services.
The devices around us are getting smarter. From the consumer’s perspective, that means refrigerators are sending notifications when the milk is running low, and thermostats are turning down the temperature when there’s no movement in the house. Businesses are relying on the data generated by connected devices to improve algorithms and make their existing products even smarter, but collecting and managing large volumes of data is creating a new set of challenges.
Globally, the IoT market is expected to reach $212 billion by the end of this year. With the worldwide number of IoT-connected devices projected to top 43 billion by 2023, the challenges associated with managing large amounts of data in real-time are growing at a rapid pace.
Rather than being spooked by these new retail engagement strategies, surveys show most consumers are excited by them. Sixty-seven percent of wearables owners say they find dynamic user experiences that vary based on location “useful and exciting.”
Here are six examples of strategies that retailers can employ to improve the shopping experience using wearable technology.
Apple is far ahead with Watch and Airpods, which may have sold 3 million units since Black Friday. Google meanwhile acquired Fitbit to buttress its wearables play. Amazon and Microsoft launched wearables lines in the past quarter, and smaller players like Bose and Snap are planting seeds for a wearables future.
There’s an underlying driver for this activity that goes back to the perennial analyst exercise of “following the money.” This is all about extrapolating product roadmaps based on tech giants’ motivations. This is often to future-proof their core businesses or diversify revenue in the face of maturing products.
As the omnichannel approach to retail takes off, industry insiders are beginning to wonder whether giving shoppers what they want, when they want it, across any connected device, is causing consumers to develop unrealistic expectations about the types of experiences and services their favorite stores can provide.
Because marketing through the connected home is still in its infancy, most brands are in the experimental phase. Even though there are plenty of opportunities for connecting with consumers through smart appliances and devices, brands have to be careful in their approach to avoid overstepping boundaries or coming off as “creepy.” Regardless, the sheer volume of connected products hitting the market ensures that brands have an unprecedented number of new avenues to reach people inside their own homes.
Here are five innovative connected home marketing strategies being pioneered by brands and retail marketers.
When looking at several interlocking tech trends — wearables, IoT, smart devices, autonomous vehicles — one common thread emerges: our escalating connectivity as humans. All these technologies are increasingly melded with our senses as the computing “abstraction layer” diminishes.
In other words, device interfaces continue to get more intuitive and automatic. That can be seen in the progression of personal computing from UI milestones like the mouse to mobile-centric touch controls. Now, we have biometric tracking on the Apple Watch and ambient alerts to AirPods.
The “connected consumer” will be Street Fight’s editorial focus for the month of December.