For many consumers, the Internet of Things may come to them from the outside in rather than the inside out.
Rather than a consumer deciding to purchase a smart device for the home and then looking for a way to connect it to other things to make it more useful, the actual drivers may start outside the home.
For various reasons, large-scale Internet of Things projects are rolling out all over the place.
A French startup company that has raised $150 million in funding is coming to 100 U.S. cities to set up more than 200,000 tower, billboard and rooftop sites exclusively to connect IoT devices like smoke alarms, refrigerators and various other smart appliances.
The startup is backed by some significant companies, including Samsung and Telefonica.
Right now, a consumer who buys such an appliance has a relatively small number of interconnecting options, especially if they want to link multiple brands.
Another example of external IoT is in Kansas City, where a $20-million digital rebuilding along a streetcar line is creating an advertising-supported people mover and first generation smart city corridor.
Backed by Cisco and Sprint, free public Wi-Fi zones are being created for consumers, whose actions will translate into data on city tourism sites, businesses and streetcar schedules.
Consumers will interact with 25 large, kiosk touch-screens with advertising as they’re introduced to new location and contextual based IoT experiences.
Large external networks dedicated to IoT objects will provide consumers with more interacting options and more elements of smart cities will help educate them as to what can be done with connected things.
In addition, new capabilities will become available to aggregate more smart things in homes.
For example, GE Lighting recently adopted a version of Bluetooth technology to connect LED lightbulbs for home applications.
The lights could be used to connect smart thermostats, appliances, smoke alarms and security cameras.
All of these connected devices will become potential conduits for marketers.
Rather than viewing any individual set of smart objects as new devices to which communications can be sent and received, marketers should consider the new and large-scale conduits coming.
New and massive pipelines are being created so that all the smart objects that consumers acquire can connect to each other, primarily so that value can be extracted for them. And that’s where key parts of marketing will reside in the Internet of Things.