The Jetsons. Back to the Future. Metropolis. A Space Odyssey. Total Recall. Minority Report. These old favorites feature the past’s imagined technologies of the future, including many inventions to assist us in our daily lives. Ranging from the voice-activated or robotic to the instantaneous and answer-your-every-command “genie” devices, these advancements once seemed impossible within our lifetimes. Technologists, however, did indeed bring the future to us … by developing networked devices.
Introducing the Internet-of-Things
Today, physical networked devices that connect to the Internet (and feature an IP address) can send and receive data to and from other Internet-enabled devices. Such devices link to advanced programs, work remotely, and process huge amounts of data in split seconds. The movement to connect devices and advance these technologies has been dubbed the “Internet-of-Things,” or IoT.
Simply put, if a device has an on-off switch and can be connected to the Internet, it’s considered a part of the IoT. The realm includes devices like coffee machines, the Amazon Echo, smart phones, refrigerators, washing machines, and many more. The industrial sector, for example, uses IoT for electricity monitoring, oil rig operations, and jet engine controls. The possibilities for adaptations are endless ‒ and also a bit mind-boggling.
#1 Huge Potential
Within the next three years experts predict that as many as 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. Yes, that’s billion with a “b,” according to Hans Vestburg, former CEO of Ericsson, and Dave Evans, co-founder and CTO at Stringify, an IoT start-up.
The rapid growth of IoT has not met Vestburg and Evan’s predictions quite yet, but three years out we’re making our way ever closer to that 50 billion device estimate. At this rate it’s worth taking notice of IoT’s impact now, before you’re left behind. Some of these devices are bound to help people find what they’re looking for, buy what they’re looking for, share what they’re looking for ‒ and more!
Marketers will undoubtedly get many key opportunities to use IoT device technology to enhance their campaigns, but, more importantly, they can also help people improve their everyday activities and quality of life.
#2 Considering Cybersecurity
Many experts have touted the benefits of IoT for years, including the ability to transfer data more safely – that is, if it’s done right. Cybersecurity is a key concern for businesses and online applications used the world over.
Using IoT for personal or business applications potentially provides big cybersecurity benefits. IoT can help keep your employee and customer data safer, as well as your own personal data that is transferred by an IoT device.
First, many IoT devices use Bluetooth encryption to send and receive data. This form of encryption tends to lower device battery life quickly, and so unfortunately many companies do not take advantage of the technology. When used properly, Bluetooth encryption offers many advantages as a safe way to send and receive data.
Second, cloud security is often used with IoT as well. When set up and protected, the Cloud offers advantages over older methods of keeping your information safe. This provides not only cost savings for companies, but also peace of mind.
Finally, remote erase is often available on IoT devices if they are ever lost or stolen or taken by exiting employees. Remote erase has made managing corporate cell phones a much easier endeavor than in years past.
#3 Search Strategies
The use of IoT devices, like voice-activated technology, has changed the words we use when we search. Conversational queries are limitless and adapt over time. Especially with IoT.
As SEOs and marketers, thinking about the way IoT will affect how and what people search should impact the way we develop our campaigns. Future-proofing SEO ‒ using content marketing to address search queries used in the future and optimizing content to better suit the needs of a changing audience ‒ are primary concerns for most of us. Keep an eye out for industry IoT trends and how you can adapt IoT to your own site or your clients’ needs.
We’re already starting to see how conversational search and voice search are morphing SEO. Cell phones and other connected devices have used this technology for years. Every day, people find more ways to use voice-activated searching. Mary Meeker, partner at Silicon Valley investment firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, addressed voice-activated search in her annual Internet Trends report. (Take a look ‒ it’s worth the read.) It’s clear that as SEOs we must stay on top of IoT trends, particularly those that use natural language queries.
#4 Switching Engines
More and more, people will move away from conventional engines and turn to other mediums to search for answers. As a result, we may see a reduction in organic search click-through rates over time.
While somewhat speculative, it seems likely that, as users start finding ways to service personal needs through connected devices, organic Google clicks may see a decrease. Although these devices may still source Google, access will come not through a desktop, mobile, or tablet device, but rather through the preferred source, an IoT device connected to the Internet.
Could this really happen? It certainly could – in time. The adoption rate for IoT probably has a long way to go before we see such major changes. While the prediction of 50 billion Internet-connected devices is possible, IoT devices can be expensive, and millions of people in the world lack access to basic services such as electricity, let alone the Internet. It will take some time to see IoT’s impact on organic search click-through rates. Still, it’s worthwhile to start to consider the potential consequences.
#5 Alternative Optimization
As marketers, we must always think a few steps ahead, and that includes pondering optimizing for other channels. After all, optimization means more than just Google when it comes to IoT.
This is true with or without IoT. You should optimize for channels other than just the search function. So many other ways beyond SEO practices exist to help us increase traffic and bring in customers. Optimizing for Google is still incredibly important, of course, and for as long as the site captures the attention of billions of people this will hold true. IoT helps us remember, however, that other forms of traffic are out there for the taking. And IoT is a growing opportunity and an prospect to consider seriously.
#6 Budget Presence
Marketing budgets of the future may line item IoT advertising dollars and prioritize it over other forms of marketing.
It only makes sense that if IoT continues to grow and individuals continue to embrace it, new ways to optimize and advertise on IoT devices will spring up. Devices that access search engines, for example, can already be influenced by improving your online SEO for conversational search queries. The level of advertising that will eventually evolve is likely to include buying ad space on IoT devices, and thus IoT advertising will likely make it to the budget line on corporations’ books.
#7 Driving Differently
IoT will change our lives not just in our homes and offices, but on our streets and highways. In-car solutions such as AtYourService and other smarter local search applications are already in use today, further extending IoT’s reach.
These innovative ways of connecting bring new function to everyday vehicles, and the tasks you’re able to perform in them are advancing, too. Autonomous cars are currently on the road, and if you’ve ever had the privilege of driving one you’ll recognize how amazing these vehicles really are. Manufacturers like Tesla and Ford are challenging the way we look at technology-enabled cars while at the same time expanding IoT’s reach in the public market.
Drivers frequently need to seek out nearby businesses when they’re on the road. That’s where local search applications come into play. The apps that get you from point A to point B can be influenced by marketing dollars. This can be done through paid advertising or through seeking out opportunities to improve your organic presence. Either way, you’re able to utilize IoT to get in front of the types of customers that seek out businesses like yours.
#8 Content Adaptations
Adapting content marketing strategies to include IoT platforms will likely be a key marketing tactic in the near future. This shift in content marketing will require innovation.
Your marketing efforts in this area will need to be easily adaptable and able to morph to display your content in whatever form is required. With Visual Reality (VR) devices hitting the mainstream market, it won’t be long before your content, such as ads and video messages, will need to be adapted for 3D. Additionally, 360-degree technologies are prevalent and could require special alterations of video assets or images so they’ll show properly in the right environment.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to see your ad within a VR game or on a YouTube 360 video by one of your favorite travel bloggers? It’s already possible! Talk about standing out and grabbing your audience’s attention! Such platforms could be the future of IoT advertising for digital marketers. Stay open-minded about the type of paths that IoT may open up – the potential avenues are endless.
#9 Lucrative Technologies
In 2014 Google purchased Nest, an IoT device that controls home functions such as heating and cooling. The $3 billion-dollar deal wasn’t the first and won’t be the last of many acquisitions in the technology market. Such big-scale buys add fuel to the fire for the innovators who strive to invent new technologies.
If you want to understand what the future of IoT looks like, put yourself in the shoes of the technologists who are making and adapting tools and expertise for our needs. News outlets routinely report huge acquisitions and sticker prices on technologies in the IoT sphere. These eye-opening accounts are enticing to inventors looking to take on new projects in their corporations or put their brainpower toward an entrepreneurial mission of their own. This motivation in turn sparks innovation and growth. Others ‒ such as angel investors and companies willing to back the ideas of useful and interesting IoT devices ‒ then start to follow the scent of money.
There’s no doubt we’ve only seen the beginning of high ticket prices for IoT-adapted technologies.
#10 Endless Horizon
IoT adaptations are seemingly endless! From helping to save the planet or save a life, these technologies are here to stay.
The growth of IoT is driving many changes and innovations within industries, including many niche industries. Although few know what IoT advancements loom on the horizon, it’s quite amazing to see how far we’ve come. The following are example of how IoT devices already on the market are helping to solve vital problems faced by many.
Amazon Echo & Google Home
Here’s one possible situation: Your babysitter is at home with the children. Your one-year-old is just starting to walk and falls and hits her head. She doesn’t cry, and that worries the babysitter. Could this be a sign of a concussion? Should your babysitter call you and interrupt your date? Using these products, she can give an audible command to ask a question and receive an answer quickly. Or, better yet, she can call your pediatrician’s nurses line with an audible command as well. In-home uses of IoT devices for healthcare scenarios like this will only continue to advance.
Here are some of the top IoT Devices of 2016:
- Ring: Video doorbell monitoring
- Ray Super Remote: Touchscreen universal remote
- Starry Station: WiFi wireless router
- CUJO: Smart firewall for the smart home
- Talkies: A new way to chat with kids
- Lyric: T5 WiFi thermostat
- Prodigio: Connected Nespresso machine
- Philips Hue: Connected lightbulbs
- Awair: Smart air quality monitor
- Roost: Smart battery for smoke alarms
- Fitbit Surge: Fitness tracker
- Roku: Streaming media player
- Canary: Home security device
- Switchmate: Smart lighting
- Breeze: Wireless breathalyzer
- Luna: Smartbed
- Chamberlain: Garage connectivity kit
- Tripper: Window and door sensor
It’s amazing to think about a world full of devices that help us perform our everyday activities. What once was the stuff of sci-fi fantasy movies is becoming a reality. As technologies adapt, marketers will be called to adapt as well. Will you be ready? Hopefully after you read this post and follow a few of the resources throughout, you’ll be better prepared to tackle the exciting challenges coming our way.