Back in the 1960s, there was a cartoon program called The Jetsons. In the futuristic Hanna Barbera cartoon, they whirled about their intergalactic city in tiny airships, cooked food in seconds, and pushed buttons that controlled everything instantaneously. In the words of every child anticipating an exciting event, are we there yet? Just about.
At the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the buzz about cool products was everywhere, with emphasis on things like flexible, flat, rechargeable batteries, a bowl that recharges devices dropped into its mouth, and computers the size of an SD card. Miraculous in the 60s, today’s marketplace displays a burgeoning bounty of consumer products on the competitive edge. The real story at the show, IMHO, was M2M (machine to machine) and IoE (the Internet of Everything).
While the show focused on wow-factor consumer products, excitement ran rampant at the IoE Consortium, where startups in the connectivity of everything on the planet put their heads together. Talk focused on personalized consumer experiences, important connections between soldiers and medical facilities, students and education, illness-detecting clothing and the wearer, or TVs and buyers It’s all about prompting better decisions through smarter power grids, improved building efficiency, and higher industrial productivity, all made possible by the enormous growth in data capture and analysis delivering appropriate data to the right device at the right time.
IoE, M2M, or whatever acronym you’d prefer to call it, is projected by Cisco CEO John Chambers to generate $19 trillion in new revenue by the year 2020, claiming connectivity of everything as the biggest thing in tech since the Internet itself. Utz Baldwin, CEO of Ube, looks for a boom in the connected home, working for real, open standards to help all these connections talk to each other. Jason Johnson, managing partner of Founders Den, agrees that open connectivity is important so that people and devices can speak the same language.
Cisco’s futurists envision a world with a life span nudging up against 300 candles on your birthday cake within the next few decades. Many new products and services are poised to support that longevity. The takeaway message? If you’re not connected now on a number of levels, including health, finance, utilities, and shopping, expect to be soon. You may not have George Jetson’s lifestyle yet, but it is definitely on the way.
How does this translate to us as marketers? The information provided by all this data is richer than ever. It is up to us to provide ever more relevant content to our customers. Taking advantage of the right data and using it to inform customers, existing and potential, about products and services they don’t yet know exist, will work to amp up sales numbers, shorten the buy cycle, and improve brand image.
At the end of the day, there is just one question. How will the M2M generation of products and services change the way you live, work, and play?