Adobe Summit EMEA: Connected Products Will Bring Brands Closer To Consumers
The true promise of IoT is connected devices communicating directly with customers, says Cameron Hulett, chief commercial officer at Evrythng.
“If you think that the Internet of Things will not affect your industry, think again, because you’re in for a shock,” Cameron Hulett, chief commercial officer at Evrythng, warned Adobe Summit delegates.
The technology is available now and it is not just limited to early examples of washing machines and refrigerators that can call a service engineer. The power of connected devices spans every industry and will cause major disruption, he claims. The problem is, many brands have yet to wake up to its potential.
“I think a lot of people are in a similar mindset to a bank CEO, who told me in the ’90s he would never need a website because people come to his bank,” Hulett recalls.
“It’s like the black cabs driving round the U.K. who don’t take credit card payments, and these are the guys who are being disrupted by Uber.”
One thing that brands need to understand about IoT is it will disrupt their industry but it is not all about washing machines sending out messages to service engineers, as has often been portrayed. For Hulett, marketers will get a far better understanding of the power of IoT to disrupt if they think of it more as something available in everyday consumable items, such as clothing and cans of soda, which opens up a communications channel throughout its life cycle.
“It’s not just about connecting with the product, it’s more about establishing a communications channel with customers throughout the life cycle of a product,” he explained.
“Give a product its ID and then you can track it from when it was made, how it flowed through to the customer, what happened during its life cycle, and how it added value. It allows brands to protect against counterfeiting and optimise their supply chain to understand better where their goods go.
“At the moment companies make things, they’re shipped, and they disappear off into the ether. By tracking an item, they get a better insight and they get a direct channel of communication with the consumer. They might decide to spend less on marketing then, because they’ve got that direct relationship with the customer.”
An example might be a bottle of wine which would not only be trackable by the multiplecompanies involved in getting it from the vineyard to the customer, it could also be used byvsuppliers and customers alike to check provenance. It could also inform the drinker it has been stored properly and allow them to download more information on where it comes from, what food you should eat with it, and, the best bit, how to order another case.”
Marketers wanting to know how IoT can be used to allow a brand to reinvent itself should look no further than Under Armour, in Hulett’s opinion. Though famous for sportswear, the brand has begun moving in an interesting new direction.
“It’s got 160 million users feeding in weight, health, and fitness data, it’s moved on from just being an apparel brand,” he says.
“It’s shifted from selling clothes to work out into owning the sports data its wearers generate. It’s a whole new business model. You’re going to see brands do this as they realise how connected devices are going to disrupt their industry and offer new opportunities for reinvention.”
If any marketers are still to be convinced as to how big the IoT is going to be, Hulett left Adobe Summit delegates with a sobering statistic. Many studies predict around 50 billion devices will be connected by 2020, but, Hulett revealed, his company alone had just signed a deal that would see 10 billion items connected before then. “The figures may look big, but they’re way too conservative,” he warned.