Voice, AI, Mobile Dominate Search As IoT Hits $800B In 2017

Marketers are not preparing for a world where mobile, voice and local search, as well as the reliance on intelligent agents like chatbots, change consumer interactions with brands -- yet IDC estimates IoT spending will total nearly $1.4 trillion by 2021, as companies invest in hardware, software and connectivity.

That's according to findings from a survey from BrightEdge released Thursday that surveyed 252 digital marketers at Fortune 500 brands in April and May 2017. Half from B2B companies; the remainder, B2C. The survey sought to understand how marketers are preparing for the accelerating consumer adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), voice search, and local search during the next year.

The findings suggest marketers can see the shift, but the majority are not planning to change their marketing strategies other than to integrate search engine optimization, paid search, social marketing and content strategies. This leaves brands at risk of failing to meet consumers' expectations, per the report.



Marketers are still focused on just meeting the bar in the transition from desktop to mobile. In fact, 27% still call mobile “the next big thing.”

Roughly 66% have no plans to prepare for voice search, although it accounts for more than 20% of all mobile searches. Yet, 31% believe it is the “next big thing.”

Some 32% of respondents to the BrightEdge survey also believe artificial intelligence (AI) is the “next big thing,” but 57% are “not likely” to implement any element of AI this year.

Voice, chatbots and other search technologies have become the utility to support devices running across the Internet of things (IoT) either directly through the interface of the device or behind the scenes on the backend. An update to International Data Corporation (IDC) forecast titled Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide suggests worldwide spending on IoT will grow 16.7% year-over-year in 2017, reaching more than $800 billion. By 2021, global IoT spending should total nearly $1.4 trillion.

The manufacturing sector will make the largest investment in IoT investments this year at $183 billion, followed by transportation with $85 billion; and utilities, $66 billion. Cross-Industry IoT investments with use cases such as connected vehicles and smart buildings, will reach $86 billion in 2017 and rank among the top segments throughout the five-year forecast.

Consumer IoT purchases come in at No. 4, bringing the market segment to $62 billion this year. The consumer segment will grow to become the third largest in 2021. The industries experiencing the fastest growth in the amount spent are Insurance at a compounded annual growth rate of 20.2%, consumers at 19.4%, and cross-industry at 17.6%.

 This column was previously published in the Search Insider on June 15, 2017.

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