Is the Internet of Things (IoT) still a thing? As a company who considers IoT one of our areas of expertise as it relates to developing positioning and messaging, content marketing, public relations, and social media campaigns for B2B technology companies, that’s a question we get asked a lot. The short answer is yes, and no. Sound confusing? It still is to the many companies who have spent considerable time labeling themselves as IoT companies.
About five years ago, we asked the editors of Fierce Wireless whether they would be launching an IoT newsletter because, well, everyone else was. Their answer was “no”—they believed that IoT was going to become a part of every industry moving forward, and they would cover it through their vertical market coverage. Turns out they were right, just a little ahead of their time. The pendulum is indeed swinging to the point where connected devices are everywhere, in every industry from retail to financial services and manufacturing to energy.
When IoT was all about the devices and connectivity, and after that, the data, IoT was a perfectly proper name. However, now that we’re at the point that we’re talking about the insights derived from that data, as analyst and IoT expert Stacey Higginbotham noted in a recent newsletter, it’s time to get more granular with our definitions of IoT. Stacey paints IoT not as a technology shift but rather an economic one, where—because we can access data and insights so cheaply and readily—it’s irresponsible not to do so.
IoT, too, is suffering from the hype cycle, where analyst and vendor predictions for IoT adoption were way ahead of their time, in some cases by years and millions of devices. It’s hard to believe that it’s finally happening now when the predictions missed the mark so badly in early days.
So, should companies with IoT solutions stop marketing themselves with an IoT moniker? No. According to the 2019 IoT Barometer from Vodafone, only one-third (34%) of companies have adopted IoT, and that two-thirds of the market is still up for grabs. The IoT may very well be where they start their searches for connected solutions and leaving IoT out of potential searches is simply a marketing mistake.
What should be happening, however, is using IoT for search engine optimization and making benefit statements a more key part of IoT marketing efforts. It’s no longer enough to splatter IoT over your website and have potential users find you. Today, those organizations searching for IoT solutions are more mature in their searches and are looking for the challenges and benefits of IoT rather than IoT as a buzzword.
With almost all products on the road to being connected today, it won’t be too long before we stop talking about the word IoT altogether, and instead focus on the insights it brings to companies worldwide.
Interested in learning more about how IoT will evolve in 2020 and beyond?
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