'As easy as flipping a switch' - the new wave of IoT has arrived

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 10 January 2018
Yoon Lee (left), Senior Vice President of Samsung Electronics America and Joe Stinziano (right), Executive Vice President of Samsung Electronics America

From connected appliances, cars and TVs to smart speakers and more, this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has kicked off with an internet of things (IoT) storm.

Speaking at the tech show in Las Vegas, electronics giant Samsung has reconfirmed how all of its products will be IoT-compatible by 2020, adding that 90% already are.

“At Samsung, we believe IoT should be as easy as flipping a switch,” president and head of Samsung’s consumer electronics division Hyunsuk Kim said.

He said the current fragmented and complex IoT ecosystem is a barrier to adoption and for IoT to be approachable and accessible, it requires scale and open innovation.

In spring 2018, Samsung will put all of its IoT applications into the SmartThings app so that users can connect and control any SmartThings-enabled device directly from their phone, TV or car from a single application. It also said its smart TVs and new 'Family Hub' refrigerators will be voice control enabled to make everyday tasks easier.

The IoT 'tipping point'

“There's a whole new wave of innovation for the Internet of Things coming,” Salesforce’s innovation expert Dan Bognar tells AdNews.

With the rise of voice-activated artificial intelligence (AI) devices such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa, Sydney-based Bognar, who is Salesforce’s senior VP Asia-Pacific for engineering, cloud and innovation, says this year we’ll see more IoT connected devices rapidly expanding, resulting in new opportunities for brands in every industry.

He says it’s important not to get too absorbed by the data piece alone, and when it comes to advertising on connected devices, such Google Home, this must be done sensitively

“We are at a tipping point of what the IoT can do for cities, governments, industry and consumers, but with the IoT comes a responsibility for marketers to process this information and obtain customer insights in the most transparent, effective and intelligent way,” Bognar says.

“This needs to respect the customer’s privacy and not bombard them with generic offers. Our experience suggests that customers will respond to ads provided they are personalised, targeted and valuable.

“It’s worth remembering that IoT, like every technology project, should be business outcome driven. We are seeing a lot of companies experimenting, innovating and developing rapid prototypes, which is incredibly exciting. It’s important to keep the customer at the forefront of these innovations so that any innovation positively impacts their sales, service or marketing experience.”

The growth of IoT is backed up by research from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) which suggests that 62% of consumers have seen an ad on a connected device and 55% would be prepared to receive ads in response to discounts, exclusive rewards and othe incentives.

In 2017, Salesforce surveyed 350 Australian marketers in a State of Marketing Report and found AI and IoT/connected devices are expected to rack up the highest growth in usage among marketers, with 66% working with IoT/connected devices now, and another 23% planning to do so in the next two years.

“Marketers are always looking for any differentiator to deliver their message to target customers, often through leveraging emerging technologies,” Bognar says.

“We are seeing a lot of interest in artificial intelligence and IoT as a means to do just that.”


Salesforce's State of Marketing Report

The fourth industrial revolution

The IoT Alliance Australia says IoT technologies are estimated to potentially expand the Australian economy by up to $120 billion by 2025 and that the IoT, also referred to as Industry 4.0, or the 'Fourth Industrial Revolution', will bring much economic uplift for Australia. 

In a submission to the Department of Industry late last year, in response to the the ‘Digital Economy: Opening up the Conversation’ consultation paper, IoT Alliance Australia’s CEO Frank Zeichner outlined a vision to empower the industry to grow Australia’s competitive advantage through IoT.

“Where, in the past, digital was considered an appendage to business as usual, today digital is business as usual. Now, more than ever, as a nation we must consider how to disrupt our own legacy businesses before new entrants, unencumbered by pre-digital investments, do it for us.” Zeichner said.

Speaking at Salesforce's Dreamforce conference in San Francisco last year, CEO Marc Benioff also spoke a lot about the 'The Fourth Industrial Revolution', saying a new era of growth in the tech industry was happening - with the cloud giant pushing its 'Einstein AI' offering.

IoT spans far and wide

Bognar, who worked at Oracle for a decade before moving over to rival Salesforce in 2012, owns a Fitbit to help track and analyse his daily activity. He also purchased Google Home devices for team members as recognition of their performance and, as he suffers from sleep apnea, has a home CPAP machine that is IoT enabled.

“It collects, analyses and shares my sleep data with my doctor. I also have access to this data via an app that helps me to monitor my results in real time. These are great example of how the IoT is working to improve our everyday lives and deliver great customer outcomes,” Bognar says.

While the IoT isn't a new technology itself, Bognar says with the significant rise in cloud computing, mobile and connected devices, it has become a topic of conversation for many brands looking to tap into its many uses.

Dan Bognar

He says by 2020, the digital universe will contain “nearly as many digital bits as there are stars in the physical universe”.

“It’s a grand, but simple vision. We see a future where businesses can collect data at IoT scale and proactively engage with customers - and you wouldn’t even need to be a developer to do it,” he explained.

“For example, admins at a manufacturing company can trigger service calls whenever a factory robot issues a component failure alert. And sales teams at a local car dealership can trigger proactive selling opportunities when connected cars pass high mileage markers.

“It’s an incredible business opportunity - already worth more than $14 trillion - that’s only going to get bigger.”

Also at CES, Samsung, which spent more than US$14 billion on R&D in 2017, highlighted its ongoing commitment to investing in breakthrough technologies.

Want more? Check out Samsung's CES video below.

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