iBeacons, Brands and the Internet of Things: Weekly Spotlight

Give me the mad men of IoT
Give me the mad men of IoT

This week, it isn’t when brands will feel the impact of iBeacons and the Internet of Things, it’s with what.

Less Intrusive, More Intimate
At GigaOm, interrupting consumers as they walk around a world of connected everything might be the easy money, but it’s smart content that will be the winner:

“There are two options they need to consider: The incredibly intimate data they can glean from connected devices (a scale that knows you’re on a diet, for example) and how to use these platforms to put their brands front and center.

The trick with the internet of things is that as computing surrounds us, ads have to become more subtle and ingrained into the experience. It’s more akin to product placement or influencing someone at the right time. The benefit is that the data available as devices come online makes it far easier to give the message to the consumer at the point where it could have the most influence.”

iBeacons and Retail
Business Week calls iBeacons a BFD. Of course, iBeacons aren’t an Apple-only thing…but count on Apple to get the hype, even if they’re barely promoting the power of the beacon.

“Except NFC requires a chip not all devices carry. NFC’s range is so short that a store can’t do much more than jazz up payments with it; it also requires credit card companies to cooperate. With iBeacon, retailers can count among their audience everyone with a new or updated iPhone or iPad. “Bluetooth LE is so much better,” says independent tech consultant Steve Cheney in New York. “Not only is it already in every single iPhone dating back two years, Android can support this, too, when Google catches up in software.”

They point to baseball and American Eagle as pioneers on the way to beaconized retail spaces:

Major League Baseball plans to roll out an iBeacon program at stadiums next year. Visitors at participating stadiums who have MLB’s At the Ballpark app will get map guidance to their seats, offers at concession stands, and other coupons. Stand near the giant apple that sits in home-run territory at the New York Mets’ Citi Field, and a video about it will be pushed to your phone. “Watching a ballgame is an experience,” says MLB’s Ritter. “We want to enhance the whole experience.”

That’s another advantage iBeacon has over NFC: It’s not just a payment system. “There are opportunities for marketing and selling that don’t play in the NFC world,” Megibow says. After two years with NFC, American Eagle is ready to try something new. “By this holiday shopping season,” he says, “we’ll have iBeacons in our stores.”

Today’s Leaders Aren’t Tomorrow’s

Over at ClickZ a cautionary tale. New technologies like the Internet of Things aren’t just new marketing channels, they’re IT and data convergence mountains we’ll need to climb:

“Many of the vendors on top of the IT world today–namely Cisco, Oracle, and Microsoft–will likely not be the IT leaders of tomorrow in the Digital Industrial Economy.”

Data is being generated by current and potential customers (even as the nature of business is itself being redefined) who are interacting with brands across different channels. In order to get a 360 degree view of the customer–to understand what generates customer satisfaction and possibly, loyalty–the data needs to be “converged” or “digitized.”

Brand growth will come from light buyers, not ‘heavy’ ones.

Multi-channel. Cross screen. Intimate experiences that don’t interrupt. Data convergence.

Welcome to the new world. Mad men need apply.

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