The Internet of (Every) Things

July 18, 2014

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As a PR professional, you interact with Internet of Things (IoT) technology on a daily basis – whether you know it or not. Log your morning walk down the block for that double shot of espresso on your Fitbit and your interacting with IoT. It’s everywhere if you know where to look (even behind the scenes): it’s controlling the temperature at which your latte cup was washed and ensuring the temperature of the café you sat in. The IoT is booming and questions are on the rise.

To shed light on the topic the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) recently held an IoT panel with industry experts from Microsoft, Ombitron, UIEvolution, Optimum Energy, and Avanade. Net net: it’s time to recognize IoT’s impact and get ahead of the curve.  This new wave of innovation is as real and present as cloud-based technology or big data, and evolving just as quickly. Not surprisingly, many of the key topics discussed will mean big implications for PR.

PR professionals should be closely watching these 5 IoT trends:

  1. Big Business = Big Money – Once a start-up dominated business, IoT has become a hot topic for big names like Dell, HP and Microsoft, as well as consumer brands such as Coke and Nike who have started using this technology in their latest products. Involvement from these key players signals immense growth, which will have an impact on all businesses. Your clients need to understand how IoT affects their businesses. Prepare yourselves; the industry is just starting to heat up and the questions will only continue to increase.

 

  1. A New Buzzword – IoT is a buzzword, but this technology is not particularly new. Once referred to as machine-to-machine technology, the roots of IoT are based in Edison’s automatic telegraph invented in 1869. Consumers have become used to smart, mobile devices and are looking, nay, expecting more. They want something to believe in: a better, smarter and more reliable tomorrow. It’s your job in PR to understand how your client meets this expectation.

 

  1. A Common Platform – To date, startups and corporations have been developing cutting edge IoT products independently. The result? About 50 billion devices interacting with users, but not each other. Imagine a golfer wearing golf shoes, gloves, and a club all connected via the IoT. The shoes would give the user feedback on stance, the gloves correct grip, and the club provides swing analysis. Today, a golfer would still have to analyze these independent snippets of information to improve his or her game. Why? Because none of these products are talking to each other. A common platform or “language” for these devices will be the next big thing to sweep IoT. In the future, that same golfer will be told which foot to move and hand to lower to improve his or her swing. For PR pros, IoT creates a compelling opportunity to come out from behind the tech specs to tell stories about what the technology enables and it’s impact on society.

 

  1. Acquisitions and IPOs – Money is swirling through the industry, pulling new vendors and products out of the woodwork. Key players are on the prowl and we will likely see consolidation in the IoT space. From a PR perspective, you should proactively position your client in front of these opportunities by driving placement in stories that highlight IoT innovation and the value your clients’ products deliver.

 

  1. A Changing World – New standards bodies, policies, and regulations cannot keep up with IoT technology as it’s moving so fast. The rules are constantly evolving, which translates into trouble and opportunity for PR. You’ll want to check your work, and then check it again, to ensure it is aligned with the latest industry standards so you don’t end up hitting a legal pothole. At the same time, this constant evolution creates room for originality. The ceiling for creativity keeps moving on up, so think big for your client, as they could be the one that changes the game for IoT.

 

A few years ago cloud was the hot topic, followed by big data. In the beginning they were criticized and misunderstood, but the smart companies were capitalizing. IoT is next on the horizon and PR professionals should be ready to place themselves and their clients in front of the trend.

*If you’re interested in upcoming panels on technology trends, check out the WTIA website.

-Jessica

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