THE BLOG
01/13/2015 03:05 pm ET | Updated Mar 13, 2015

How Intel and the Internet of Things Will Change Marketing as We Know It

At the CES Show, Intel announced innovative technologies that will be used to create amazing new wearable products to help to power the Internet of Things (IoT). In turn, the IoT has the capability to improve our lives and make the job of marketers so much easier, accurate, and transparent.

Curie

Curie is a low-power system on a chip that is so small it can be fashioned into a variety of form factors such as wearable rings, glasses, lapel pins, watches, and bracelets. Curie is very powerful, but uses very little power. It includes a 32-bit Intel Quark SE processor, connectivity via low-energy Bluetooth, sensor hub with pattern matching accelerator, flash and SRAM memory, accelerometer and gyroscope, battery charging capability, and an open-source, real-time operating system.

RealSense

Essentially, RealSense is a very small 3-D camera that has a depth sensor and will enable more intuitive interactions with devices, facial recognition, emotion tracking, 3-D scanning, 10-finger gesture recognition, and background extraction. These are exciting capabilities for gaming, security, imaging, and yes, marketing.

Internet of Things

If you ask 10 people the question, "What is the Internet of Things? ", you are likely to get at least 10 different answers - varying from blank stares to long-winded pontifications. To be useful, the Internet of Things (IoT) should be easy for everyone to understand. It can be boiled down to the following three main elements:

  1. Smart and sensor-embedded devices and software.
  2. Users of the information provided.
  3. All connected through the Internet.

From a marketing perspective, how can marketers use the IoT to improve their business performance? The fundamental building blocks of marketing provide a useful structure to organize some of the more important answers to this question.

Marketing Information System

The IoT has the capability to collect and analyze feedback, report it to decision makers, enable them to take the appropriate action, and provide an analysis as to how well the actions taken worked. The IoT can enable marketers to measure actual behavior in real-time rather than process biased answers to unwanted or inadequate survey questions. The small form factor, 3-D imaging, and emotion-tracking capabilities of Curie and RealSense can more quickly and easily collect and react to complaints, compliments, new-product ideas, competition information, and marketing strategy feedback as it happens and when it matters. It can provide businesses with real-time information on what customers like and don't like rather than relying on executive guesses. It can save you from endless meetings where decisions are too often based on the boss's opinions rather than marketplace data.

Branding

The IoT can measure brand interactions by capturing brand preferences, brain activity, heart rate, emotional reaction, body temperature, eye movement, and other human responses to such brand elements as logos, mascots, jingles, colors, shapes, and type fonts. Using this information, sellers can get more accurate feedback than is possible from traditional buyer research - enabling them to improve customer relationships, increase sales, and lower costs.

Product

Using sensors in products and packaging, the IoT can provide feedback on how people use and interact with products, the rate at which they use products, and when products are about to fail or run out of replaceable components. Some devices already warn customers when batteries are low, filters need to be changed, or alarms have gone off in remote locations. From wireless devices, users can remotely turn products on and off, open and lock doors and windows, and receive reminders to take important actions. The IoT will enable users to improve product performance and efficiency, improve security, notify manufacturers of defects and the need for maintenance, and even automatically order consumables so they'll arrive as they need to be replenished.

Sellers can use crowd-sourced data in real time to determine which products to offer in which locations to better match supply and demand and allow for local variations. Customer service and repair technicians can remotely diagnose and fix problems as they occur without having customers go through the painful process of contacting providers, reporting problems, hoping for competent help, and then fighting for bill adjustments.

All of this will work together to lower the cost to manufacture, maintain, distribute, and provide customer service. Ideally, buyers will have a better customer experience and get what they want at a lower cost.

Price

Lower transaction and friction costs translate into lower prices and/or better quality for the same price. The reduction in defects, improvement in customer satisfaction, and lower customer service costs all work together to improve seller performance and buyer experience. The IoT will also enable different prices to be dynamically offered to different buyers based on their purchase and credit history, loyalty, and importance to the company.

Distribution

The IoT can deliver efficient and convenient distribution alternatives to buyers. It can tell buyers via their mobile devices and automobiles the closest places to buy the products they need. It can also provide independent ratings of these businesses according to user-specified priorities.

Sellers can sense when their customers are nearby and send them alerts related to the products they like to buy that are on sale, or they can provide buyers with coupons (that only apply to them) delivered to their mobile, Internet-enabled devices.

Promotion

Out of home marketing, such as electronic posters and billboards can adjust their messages and rate of display based on a variety of factors such as eye movement, speed of travel, and number of passers-by. They can also deliver coupons to mobile and wearable devices on demand. The IoT can enable signs to go on and off or change based on the flow of traffic and time of day - saving sellers on electricity bills and providing greater relevance to buyers. Smart promotions online and off can measure eye movement and obtain real-time feedback on the parts of ads that are being viewed or ignored. Buyers can respond to ads automatically by using mobile devices to request more product information or order directly. Consumers watching a TV show, movie, or video game will be able to stop action, request more information, or order products the actors (and characters) are using or wearing.
Using the IoT, online content can be dynamically adjusted to individual customer interests, time of day, and click-through rates. Similarly, retail store window and in-store displays can be modified in real time as store traffic, ambient lighting conditions, and other dynamic factors change throughout the day.

Smart screens throughout homes, offices, and shopping malls can provide information on products, discounts, and special offers, and enable buyers to order directly when ready. Users can automatically transfer electronic coupons from these screens to their smart devices.

Future IOT devices are here or on the way

To facilitate doing all, or any part, of the above there are many new inventions that are already here or on the horizon. The following is just a partial list.

  • Google Glass. Wearable glasses with the ability to send and receive lots of different information in real time in the direction of where the wearer is looking.
  • Apple Watch and other smart watches and wearable devices send, receive, and retrieve information that is carried on the wrist or other parts of the body.
  • Smart TV. Provides TV content and two-way communications capabilities via the Internet.
  • Smarts Screens. Similar to Smart TV, the concept of two way interactivity is extended to mirrors, windows, and other screens in homes, classrooms and businesses. They are already on computers and mobile devices in the form of touch screen and tablet computers.
  • Smart posters, ads, and billboards. Taking traditional forms of promotion into the future, these will be ads that communicate to potential buyers, enabling them to interact with the ads, request more information, and buy products directly from the ad.
  • Smart ink. Several manufacturers have developed forms of ink that enable electronic circuits to be printed on just about anything. This will enable consumers of print ads to interact with those ads - giving Marketing Information System feedback, transporting consumers to Web sites, and enabling them to request more information or even order products.
  • Smart clothing. Sensors built into the fabric, or printed on, clothing will give health and performance feedback to medical personnel and athletes. Marketers will use such clothing to monitor physiologic responses to marketing content, product and brand variations, and pricing changes.

To stay ahead of the curve

Knowing what customers want and giving it to them is a 24/7 job that requires always-connected and integrated technology that better serves the customer and delivers more efficient and effective results for the business. The Internet of Things, using devices such as those announced by Intel, offers marketers the ability to interact with the marketplace in real time, make better decisions, be more efficient and effective, and do a better job of giving customers what they want. The hope is that some of the information provided in this post with enable you to take advantage of the IoT to increase revenues, lower costs, develop better relationships with customers, and achieve greater success. Best of luck, and stay tuned.