IoT is not a strange futuristic world with intelligent robots hatching from eggs under your bed.

IoT is not a strange futuristic world with intelligent robots hatching from eggs under your bed. IoT, however, is here today.


What is IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) connects chips, sensors, software, networks and data to products and services in a myriad of new and exciting ways that will boost customer experiences, change the nature of your business and disrupt competition in a radically new way.

‘Products have become complex systems: that combine hardware, software, sensors, systems, social media, networks, data storage, microprocessors, connectivity, and occasionally big data in a myriad of new ways’  Porter & Hepplemann (2014)

IoT - the Internet Of Things can connect everything

IoT the Internet Of Things – can connect everything


Trends Driving the IoT Opportunity

As a result of increasing wireless connectivity, processing power and social media combined with  decreasing chip (& device) sizes, we can  now attach, tiny chips connected via wifi to databases and big data to products and services to deliver added value experiences to customers. Add in the ability to create strategic partnerships to share data as well as the benefits of other products and services and you have a potent formula for success via IoT.


IoT Adds Extra Value

We can attach rich layers of data, information, advice, tips, visuals, virtual experiences, added value to anything. This is the IoT. Tomorrow’s smart products  can add so much value,  they can even   create new services by helping customers in new and previously, unimagined ways.  Iot will shift many products into a new categories as smart products deliver additional benefits, way beyond the original products.

The old value chain, is once again, being reshaped and consequently CEOs are, once again, asking the proverbial old philosophical business question: ‘what business am in?’ The following IoT examples show how real this question is.


IoT Brings Marketers Closer To Customers  

If you can discover what customers will really want, when they’ll want it & where they’ll want it (before they know themselves), then IoT can help you to capture your customers for life, by adding relevant extra value exactly where and when required often via integrated partnerships.  Sometimes this may require forming partnerships with other companies (see the Whirlpool example).


IoT add value & deepen customer relations

IoT can add value , bring customers closer to marketers & deepen customer relations

IoT Deepens Customer Relationships

Equipped with data analytics tools, marketers can segment markets in new ways e.g  each customer’s very specific needs. And then, equipped with the right software, marketers can tailor (through software rather than hardware) relevant tailored products/services just when customers need them. If used correctly, this will deepen relationships.

Iot Examples

Here are some IoT examples many of which were first presented by Harvard’s Porter & Hepplemann (2014).

IoT is not lazer technology

IoT is not rocket science nor advanced lazer tech. It is however pervasive.

Tennis rackets  containing sensors and connectivity in the racket handle allows manufacturers* to help players improve their game through the tracking and analysis of ball speed, spin, and impact location – all delivered via smartphone application (* Babolat Play Pure Drive)

Baseball Bats with video analytics & over 200 sensors built into it gives players detailed feedback on how to improve their game [PRS markcomms 6th ed]

Ralph Lauren’s Polo Tech Shirt, reveals  distance covered, calories burned, movement intensity, heart rate, and other data to the wearer’s mobile device.’

Whirlpool is a leader in the connected home, which ‘includes connected appliances including automated lighting, HVAC, entertainment, and security. This is now a product-as-a-service since Whirlpool maintains ownership of the product and the customer simply pays for the use of the machine’.

Home Lighting, audiovisual entertainment equipment, and climate control systems ‘have not historically competed with one another. Yet each is now vying for a place in the emerging “connected home” that integrates and adds intelligence to a wide array of products in the home. ‘

‘Philips Lighting Bulbs introduced the hue smart, connected lightbulb, for example, it included a basic smartphone application that allowed users to control the color and intensity of individual bulbs

Tesla Car  ‘Transmits software upgrades to its cars.  Tesla cars self-detects when the car is due for maintenance or repairs. Then the car either automatically  (a) calls for a remote repair via software or (b) alerts the customer with an invitation to request that a Tesla valet driver take it to the Tesla garage. ‘

They skip traditional dealer network by selling their cars directly to customers who pay the full price (no haggling with dealers – which, intriguingly, improves customer satisfaction). ‘The firm was recently rated number one in customer satisfaction by Consumer Reports.’

Tesla have their own garages for servicing and repairs) which allow  Tesla to deepen its relationship with customers (& capture this revenue stream).

Google’s self-driving car is analyzing a gigantic amount of data from sensor and cameras in real time to stay on the road safely. [PRS Marcomms 6th ed]

Zipcar (shared cars) A variation of product-as-a-service is the shared-usage model. Zipcar, …..This substitutes for car ownership and has led traditional automakers to enter the car-sharing market with offerings such as RelayRides (originally invested in by GM and now rebranded as Turo) , DriveNow from BMW, and Dash from Toyota.

Aircraft Cockpit Glass Cockpit (LCD) displays can be repaired or upgraded via software

Wind Turbines ‘local microcontroller can adjust each blade on every revolution to capture maximum wind energy. When smart wind turbines are networked, software can adjust the blades on each one to minimize impact on the efficiency of turbines nearby.’

Automated teller machines automatically check themselves for early signs of trouble. After identifying a malfunctioning ATM’s status, the ATM is either repaired remotely, or if remote repairs cannot be carried out, a technician who is equipped with (a) a detailed diagnosis of the problem, (b) a recommended repair process, and ideally (c), the required parts [prs]


Who ever needed an iphone?


Who ever needed an ipad or Sony Walkman or for that matter,  Shazam (that truly wonderful musical app that allows customers to hold a device to hear some music (whether in an ad, on a radio station, in a movie, in a club, on the street) and then the app tells you the name of the song, the band, the album, when they are touring, options to buy tickets, CDs, downloads and read the words. What an absolutely brilliant app. It does what great marketing does – it helps customers in so many relevant ways. Who would ever have said they’d like an app to do all of that 10 years ago? Customers don’t always know what they want and what they might like.


So our job, as marketers, is to find out what customers actually want now and what they might like in the future. What would ‘sizzle’ them (or excite them)? See some sizzle in ‘Customer Retention isn’t boring here’s wow’.  The great news is that technology can do almost anything we want. Technology even claims to be able to create original music (e.g. Jukedeck app claims it can create new music!). So the opportunities are endless. Our job is to harness the potential.



IoT Part 2 – will explore: 

  • Will All Physical Products Become Commodities?
  • IoT Is Strategic Choice
  • Where does IoT fit into strategy?
  • New Strategic Options
  • Here Come the Invisible Roboto
  • Technology Stacks That You Will Need

And question whether this is IoT

A remote controlled ball for pets to play with when you are away:

Note to reader: These IoT extracts are taken from  the SOSTAC(R) Guide to your Perfect Digital Marketing Plan (V2.0 Feb 2016) in the Market Trends (section 1.6) in the very first chapter, Situation Analysis. IoT is also explored further in the Components Of Strategy (section 3.3) in the chapter on Strategy. A more detailed dedicated analysis of IoT is in appendix 8, Strategy: The Internet of Things.


Porter,E., Hepplemann, J. (2014), Harvard Business Review, Nov

Smith, PR (2016) SOSTAC ® Guide To Your Perfect Digital Marketing Plan V2.0 Feb,

SOSTAC Guide To Your Perfect Digital Marketing Plan

SOSTAC (r) Guide to your Perfect Digital Marketing Plan