The Internet of Things for B2B
A few weeks ago, I was in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show (#CES2016).
XOEye Technologies, an amazing client of ours, was there touting the fact that they have the first large-scale deployment of managed wearable tech in the field service industry. Welcome to the Internet of Things.
While XOEye was not the sole B2B fish in the massive ocean of B2C vendors, there certainly were not many. Yet as I browsed the miles of aisles across the multiple convention halls that housed the show, the Internet of Things (IoT) was a dominant presence.
There are the usual suspects: fitness and wellness trackers (those vendors alone could have filled a convention hall), baby monitors, smart thermostats, fobs that will help you find lost keys, any number of home automation functions made controllable by your smartphone.
In this case, the consumer market is apparently leading the rush to adoption. But as our friends at XOEye are finding, B2B demand for IoT resources is only increasing—and the applications are many.
A Quick IoT Primer
The Internet of Things refers to the growing hoard of internet-connected devices that feature an IP address and, in one way or another, talk to each other to monitor, measure, locate, and/or report about what’s going on.
The Technology Strategy Board defines IoT as “a state where Things will have more and more information associated with them and may have the ability to sense, communicate, network, and produce new information, becoming an integral part of the Internet.”
What does “things” entail? Everything from electronics and environments to clothing, bicycles and—as on vivid display all over CES this year—cars. Bottom line: the IoT is the ever-increasing collection of objects that are connected to and communicating via the internet.
There is no doubt that the IoT is a megatrend. To give you perspective on the significance of this, consider the numbers:
- IoT currently comprises roughly 16 billion devices and experts expect that number to climb to 200 billion devices by 2020. (Intel)
- That’s approximately 26 connected objects for each person on the planet.
- By 2020, the total worth of IoT technology could be as much as $19 trillion (Cisco)
What Does This Mean for B2B Companies?
Here is where it gets directly pertinent: 94% of B2B businesses have realized positive ROI on IoT-related investments (CSGI).
At its marketing essence, IoT is about affording actionable insight about human behavior and product performance. The most apparent application is the myriad of ways IoT will enable optimization and better business processes. Access to real-time data is already affording marketers the ability to tailor their approach and make more informed decisions throughout the buyers journey. The Internet of Things is able to provide B2B companies with a closer look into how customers interact with their product, offering a new depth of insight and opportunity to marketers.
Next week, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into the implications of IoT for B2B marketers, so stay tuned.