We’re all familiar with the Internet of Things (IoT); in fact, it’s fast becoming a buzzword that means many different things to many different people, in many different industries. The general idea is that everything will soon have sensors; our homes, cars, and cities will "talk" to each other, making our lives more efficient -- not to mention more like the Jetsons.
Let me shift to this idea of the Internet of Me (IoM), which, for me, makes a lot of sense -- especially when thinking about being a fairly active consumer. I already use my mobile to find information, buy things, interact, and connect on many levels. I wear a Fitbit to track my activity, allowing it to remind me on a daily basis to walk more. Soon, the soles in my shoes, or my shirt, will have built-in sensors to measure a variety of things, like my movement, my perspiration levels, and possibly even my heartbeat and blood pressure levels -- bringing the health & wellness industry to a whole new level. And, finally, sounding a little like sci-fi, but already under FDA approvals, we may soon be ingesting various types of tiny sensors, giving us even more understanding of ourselves. [Google it -- it’s a lot of fun to read about.]
From a marketing and advertising point of view, maybe I’m taking things a little too far. But I do believe -- and have written much about the personalization topic in the recent past -- that we are headed toward a world where we can expect services and deals that fit our precise needs. Not to watch our every move, but to receive benefits to help us be more efficient and save us money. It’s being called hyperlocal, a very interesting trend. And it’s exactly what consumers want. We already know they want to use their mobile for commerce even more than it’s already possible. We also know that more than 60% of these shoppers will use an offer if it’s delivered at the time of purchase, helping them at the right time and the right place. Retailers benefit; shoppers benefit.
It’s fun to imagine a world where the many aspects of my life are interconnected, ultimately making it better. My refrigerator might know that it ran out of milk, automatically order a gallon, and have it delivered to the house (along with other fridge basics). My sensor-ridden running shirt might notice that my blood pressure seems a little higher, alerting me to make an appointment with my doctor. My mobile phone might notice that I tend to eat dinner with my family pretty regularly at the local Chevy’s, offering a discount to keep my loyalty or get me to frequent the restaurant more often. And maybe, if I have courage, and get real benefits, a pill that I have recently taken will inform me that I’m on track with my health regimen, making my blood pressure settle back in to a healthy rate.
The network is being built for this. People are a little nervous, but I think it’s all good progress. Not just for really cool sci-fi reasons, but to help us live more efficient, less stressful, service-oriented lives as we continue to go digital.