MMA Creates Internet of Things Group

The so-called Internet of Things (IoT) has arguably inspired more speculation, hype and privacy hand-wringing than any other tech industry buzzword over the last year. It’s not hard to see why. The concept is that Internet connectivity is shifting from the desktop to mobile devices to everything in the physical world from clothing to health monitors to household items and cars.

The prospect of extending digital connections deeper into the home and everyday products has captured the imagination of marketers and agency execs, envisioning brand messages reaching into almost every facet of people’s lives.

In that vein, the Mobile Marketing Association is creating an Internet of Things Incubation Council to help keep brands up to speed on IoT technologies.

The new body will also serve as a think tank for the emerging area and help brands in determining how they approach IoT and the wearable market. “The Council will help marketers prepare for this next mobile phenomenon and create a culture of education, experimentation and innovation,” stated Sheryl Daija, MMA chief strategy officer.

Co-chairing the IoT Council are Richard Ting, executive vice president, global executive creative director, mobile and social platforms, at R/GA, and Gregory Kennedy, vice president of marketing at Tapsense. R/GA last year launched a Connected Devices Accelerator program with Techstars in New York, providing funding and advice to IoT-focused company founders and start-ups. 

“We see the Internet of Things as a fast-growing space,” Ting said. “In our mind it’s an evolution and growth area for mobile. Mobile phones are the connection point for a lot of IoT products and services.” But he also cautioned that brands shouldn't simply rush headlong into the new area without seeing what type of products consumers are gravitating to first.

One big test in that vein will be consumer response to the Apple Watch, Apple’s recently unveiled wearable product scheduled to roll out early next year. Already various brands including BMW, Starwood Hotels and Nike are building apps for the new device that will sell at a starting price of $399.

Ting said the IoT Council will likely host educational forums like Webinars, seminars and talks from individuals or companies deeply engaged in the field. And in the coming weeks, the MMA plans to name additional members, with a potential total of up to 20 people, including representatives of major brands. “The MMA membership has quite a few brands that can add a lot of value to the Council,” said Ting. 

MMA member companies include Procter & Gamble, MasterCard, Coca-Cola and HP.

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