Commentary

Consumers Tap, Talk, View Their Way Into The Internet Of Things

Consumers are going to interact and connect to the world of the Internet of Things in many ways.

The current main connection to that world is primarily via the smartphone, since many smart devices still need somewhat of a central control point.

Fitness trackers, for example, collect and aggregate activity information and quickly and neatly send that info to smartphone screens, thanks to Bluetooth.

Consumers also will interact directly through devices they wear, which is where virtual reality (VR) comes in.

Virtual reality hardware is projected to skyrocket this year, with 10 million units shipping globally, according to International Data Corp. (IDC). In terms of revenue, this translates to $2.3 billion to be spent this year.

And by 2020, a combination of virtual reality and augmented reality hardware shipments are projected to pass 110 million units.

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While much of the VR usage will involve gaming, marketers will be creating new consumer experiences to take advantage of dramatically improved VR and AR technology, along with using the technology in various work environments.

But that’s just one way for consumers to leverage new technology to interact.

For example, consumers at home can order various things, courtesy of Amazon’s Alexa on the Echo by just saying something. The latest company to integrate with Alexa is 1-800-Flowers, which now will enable floral gifts, most notably just in time for Mother’s Day.

A customer only has to say ‘Alexa, ask 1-800-Flowers to order a dozen roses’ and the company will process the order and arrange for delivery.

Of course, speaking to devices like Alexa can trigger other things, such as playing music or sending a note.

And previously smartphone-tethered devices, like smartwatches and health-tracking monitors, will evolve into standalone technology with their own wireless connections, providing yet another way for consumers to interact with the outside world.

The next iteration of Apple Watch has long been rumored to be coming with its own wireless capability, negating the need for a smartphone connection.

Consumers will be talking to and tapping appliances, speaking to devices in their homes and even wearing technology that can virtually transport them into a unique experience.

From a marketing perspective, this will be an entire universe away from traditional advertising.

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