One of the most consistent buzzwords across quite a few industries over the past few years has been IoT–the Internet of Things. It’s creating endless opportunities for automation in both factories and homes, and its implementations and use cases are growing by the day. That’s why I’m so glad I got a chance to catch up with Rob Martens. Not only is he the go-to IoT guy at his day job at Allegion, but he’s also been recognized by Inc. Magazine, Accenture, and Forbes for being a true expert and futurist in all things IoT. We chatted about how IoT can fit into your business, and the importance of creating intention behind your IoT strategy. Check out some highlights from our conversation below:
Lumavate VP of Marketing, Stephanie Cox: What are the biggest tech trends you see today that are influencing how brands engage with consumers on mobile?
Allegion Futurist, Rob Martens: When you look at trends that are impacting technology going forward, many of them are based on connecting things that historically haven’t been connected, such as the IoT. And there are some serious megatrends at work there. You know sensors are more available and less expensive than they’ve ever been, and you can see that trending down in terms of their cost. All of the data that those sensors generate is less expensive to transition through the pipes if you will than it has ever been before and that trend is continuing down and then the actual tools that are used historically to make dirty data into usable clean viable information for people to use those tools are more accessible and less expensive than they’ve ever been. It’s driving a whole new generation of IoT solutions, even past what we started with just a couple of years ago.
SC: Can you talk to me a little bit about what impact you think IoT is going to have on business?
RM: I think that IoT is going to have a massive impact on business. The vast majority of devices that we look at today that are dumb devices or not connected devices are likely going to be connected. And the rationale for that is is one it’s really inexpensive to do and becoming less expensive by the day into. Most importantly there there’s really important data that those things are setting off.
SC: What advice do you have for businesses that want to dive into implementing new tech like IoT?
RM: Don’t be smitten with technology for technology’s sake. That would be number one. It is just a tool. And what’s important is how you implement the tool. Now, that being said, there are some very specific things associated with IoT that can’t be taken for granted. I think that security is a big one–one of the things you have to be aware of is who you integrate with and how you integrate with matters. So I think that selecting your partners carefully is important. In addition to adding security, we also like to make sure we’re adding incremental value to the consumer’s experience. That could be new integrations, or that could be new features and functions. You should always give yourself enough space to grow within that original footprint.
SC: Which brands are doing IoT well from a consumer perspective?
RM: Well I’m biased, but of course I like to think that Schlage does IoT very but there are other companies like Chamberlain and Rosalio and Lou Tron and Whirlpool that are doing IoT extremely well. These are companies that are truly experienced manufacturers, so you know the core elements of the product are strong and highly capable, but they’re also building with security and extensibility in mind. But I think at the end of the day for the consumer, it’s about dependability–these are people that are making products that you need to trust. You want to have a thermostat that works all the time, you want to have a lock that works all the time. So we’ve moved on from what I would call a “gadget mentality”, which is, “Hey, let’s look to see what we can connect to the Internet and remotely control”, to more of a mentality of how you manage and implement the technology.
SC: Over the next couple of years as more companies get into the IoT space, I’m curious to see how they’ll begin to monetize the investment for it. Do you think that consumers are going to expect to have a subscription offering for a lot of their connected products, or is our expectation as consumers going to be that it’s just included with the product?
RM: I think it’s going to be a combination. I think consumers are going to have a series of opportunities to choose whether they want to have things as a service, or whether they want to own the asset itself. So for people that are less familiar they might not understand that every time that a message is sent, there’s a cost involved. It’s a very small, sub-penny, cost, but when you add them up over the millions of messages, those do add up. And depending on the type of company and business model you’re operating under, you’re going to try and recover those costs in some way shape or form. It’s kind of like with the ride sharing movement that’s happening. Everyone’s mentality is changing about transportation–do I want to own a car, or do I want to move more into that sharing economy mode of it? It’ll be a similar mindset with consumers when it comes to paying for IoT.