November 14, 2014 Kevin Erb

Here’s the thing

Your fridge knows when you’re running low on milk – and sends you a text reminder to pick some up on the way home. You set the oven to 400 degrees for the roast – in the car on the way home from the grocery. You Everything is connectedremember that you didn’t turn the thermostat down before you left the house – and then do exactly that from the computer in your office.

No, it’s not some dystopian future prophesied by the McFlys in “Back to the Future.” It’s called the “Internet of Things” – and it’s the latest example of technology that, in just a few short years, has gone from seeming from a time far off – to not so far away.

As the technology that powers wireless Internet (WiFi) and near-field communications (NFC) continues to become more affordable and accessible, the ability for all of the gadgets and gear in our lives – from fridges to phones – to connect and “speak” to each other becomes more prevalent. Forget smart TVs – over the next few years, the marketplace will become awash in smart fridges, smart ovens, smart thermostats, smart propane tanks, smart water heaters, smart garage doors…you get the picture. It’s exciting and fascinating and just a little bit terrifying – all at the same time.

What does it mean for you? Unless you’re in the business of manufacturing refrigerators or thermostats or ovens, not much. For now. But this isn’t a trend so much as a movement – one that feels pretty permanent and irreversible. And the bigger takeaway is how the idea of EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED continues to permeate our lives as consumers – and what that means for businesses and brands.

So while you may not have to worry about how the Internet of Things integrates into your marketing strategy now, you should always be thinking about how your products and services connect with your customers – and how you can always make that connection stronger, more convenient and more valuable.