Laurie McCabe is co-founder and partner with SMB Group, Inc., a technology industry research, analysis and consulting firm. She is widely known for her capabilities and insights in the small and medium business market in several areas, including cloud computing, mobile solutions, business solutions, social networking and collaboration, and managed services.
UnboundID: Are Internet of Things technologies (IoT) becoming a tool in the box for marketers yet?
McCabe: People get that IoT is a game-changer, but whether or not marketers see it as a tool is another question. I’m not sure they do yet. The potential is that through smart devices, marketers can learn a lot about customers and their preferences. For example, if your company makes a smart refrigerator and it partners with major grocery stores, it can help the consumer compare the prices of items between different stores and create shopping lists. So as the manufacturer, you can provide valuable content and information back to the consumer. It’s going to unleash a new way to think about marketing because now we can see data on how customers are using the products, not just what they are buying. From there, the vendor can think about how they can provide the value add that the consumer will appreciate.
I think the highest return potential on IoT will be for industrial use, in which IoT solutions help customers run their businesses more efficiently. These include, for instance, instrumentation to help farmers use resources more efficiently and improve crop yields. Or, a retailer might use “smart” store equipment, which captures data on air conditioning, lighting, locks and other systems, alerts retailers if there’s a problem and diagnoses the problem so service technicians know what parts to bring to fix the equipment.