What Does Big Data Mean for the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to evolve as more people use more wearable and connected devices. As a result, the availability of data is exponential. How can marketers wade through all of that information to find what’s actually valuable?

It all has potential value, according to Joe Burridge, a data science and big data recruitment consultant at U.K. digital recruiter Salt. The more information there is available, the clearer the picture that can be painted. For example, a consumer’s purchase history on a supermarket loyalty card, how often their gym membership is used, and family histories of diseases can give a more accurate portrayal of their health than the data from a fitness tracker alone.

But from a marketer’s perspective, one connected device in isolation can still give them plenty to work with.

“They’ll know the type of music you listen to, how fast you drive, whereabouts you live, your typical route to work,” Burridge says. “They know what kind of car you drive – if you drive a people-carrier, they’ll know you probably have children. They can create a pretty accurate profile of your interests.”

He adds that if enough data analysts look at enough drivers in the area, they can build a profile, which can have an effect on where advertisers place billboards.

“Ten years from now, I reckon all brand-new houses will be smart, and you can control your curtains and heat from your smartphone,” Burridge says. “Brands like IKEA are going to be all over that.”

Though the data is useful, it can still be overwhelming. To effectively manage it, Burridge – who points out that the amount of data humanity created prior to 2003 is equivalent to what we now create every 10 minutes – says companies need to focus on hiring.

By treating a deep understanding of data as fundamental knowledge, rather than a bonus, a company increases its likelihood that its employees have the level of analytics skills necessary to wade through troves of information.

And that data never stops coming, notes Katrina Conn, vice president of marketing services at email marketing solution StrongView. The key for marketers is to keep consumers in mind and use all the data they acquire to make their lives easier, she says.

“Marketers need to look at the point of view of the consumer and provide value for their day-to-day convenience,” Conn says. “If I’m willing to give you my sleep patterns or my exercise data, or if I’m going to give data about how I drive back to BMW, what does that do for me?”

Conn thinks the Internet of Things can eventually grow to products including temperature-controlled dresses and smart toothbrushes that send your brushing habits directly to the dentist, as well as partnerships between Uber and United Airlines that automatically dispatch a car to your home before a flight. Activity and location are “the low-hanging fruit” of big data, she says.

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