Although the potential for the Internet of Things (IoT) is vast, its practical execution remains in its infancy. Much of the current development in IoT has focused on industrial opportunities. However, IoT for media consumers can open up new, intimate entertainment experiences. We explore some basics and ways for media and entertainment companies to prepare now for the future of IoT.
What is IoT?
IoT describes the connection of devices to the Internet using embedded, software and sensors to communicate, collect and exchange data with one another. With IoT, the world is wide open, offering a virtually endless array of opportunities and connections at home, at work or at play.
The building blocks of IoT
IoT combines connectivity with sensors, devices and people, enabling a form of free-flowing conversation between man and machine, software and hardware. With the advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, these conversations can enable devices to anticipate, react, respond and enhance the physical world in much the same way that the internet currently uses networks and computer screens to enhance the information world.
Much of the current development in IoT has focused on industrial opportunities. However, IoT for media consumers can open up new, intimate entertainment experiences.
The sensors that will drive IoT expansion for M&E
The increasing sophistication of the sensors embedded in technology makes it possible for devices to read, gauge and understand consumers at unprecedented levels.
Sensors measure physical inputs and transform them into raw data, which is then digitally storable for access and analysis.
Among the most discussed applications for sensors are all things smart: cities, environment, water, metering, security and emergency services, retail, logistics, industrial control, agriculture, farming, domestic and home automation, and e-health.
For M&E, some critical types of sensors include:
- Sound, audio and acoustics — Identify sound, recognize speech and voice commands, and measure and locate echo. Detect presence or absence of objects, and measure distance. Applications: microphones, hydrophones, transceivers, ultrasonic sensors, audio systems, speakers, headsets, cameras and fingerprint-sensing applications.
- Temperature and thermal — Detect temperature or heat. Applications: Galvanic skin response sensor, infrared sensors, cameras, wearables, smart home and connected vehicles.
- Motion and velocity — Detect motion of an object, sense rotation and change in orientation, measure acceleration, and react to velocity. Applications: video and mobile gaming (tracking purposes), 3-D motion tracking products, 3-D character animation, sports science, camera stabilization, electric keyboard and smartphones.
- Optic, light and imaging — Measure various outputs using light. Detect distance, absence, or presence of an object by using light. Convert light into a signal. Applications: image sensor for HD video data, video images, thermal imaging, wearables, cameras, webcams and smartphones.
- Proximity, position and presence — Provide positional feedback, and detect height and width. Perform non-contact detection of objects, sense UV index, ambient light, long range proximity, heart rate or pulse, motion with 2-D or 3-D gestures. Applications: wearables, GPS, cameras, smartphones, game consoles and connected vehicles.
- Pressure and force — Sense pressure applied. Measure force and weight. Detect touch and contact pressure. Applications: virtual reality, gesture recognition, video and mobile gaming, touch screen devices, cameras, security and smart home.
- Magnetic — Measure the strength and direction of a magnetic field. Applications: security and tracking systems, game consoles and connected vehicles.
- Flow, liquid, chemical and gas — Measure the flow rate of a liquid or gas. Detect room humidity. Sense and monitor dangerous chemical elements (carbon monoxide, radiation). Applications: cameras, wearables, smartphones, smart home, security systems and connected vehicles.
Where vision meets execution
A fully executed IoT vision will incorporate three elements to create an interconnected experience:
- Personalization at home and on the road — By knowing specific attributes of the device owner, sensors can gather additional data that will enable media companies to deliver personalized experiences and advertising.
For advertisers, ads can be contextualized to the specific interests of an individual. On the road: connected cars offer increasing levels of connectivity and automation, such as dashboard interfaces for accessing email, music and video streaming, and social networks, and the promise of self-driving, self-parking modes.
- Authentication and verification — Imagine standing in front of a kiosk at the train station and having instant rights to your TV services without having to actively log in. Taken to the next level, big data algorithms could customize a large screen experience for a public group based on a combination of content the individuals have the rights to and the proclivity for.
- Wearables — These have the potential to unlock new data that can both address deficiencies in the current measurement system, such as de-duplicating unique users across platforms, and enhance what marketers know about their audiences.
Through IoT, advertisers and media companies may be able to answer critical questions about consumer behavior, such as:
- How many exposures led to a conversion? In what context was an ad most successful?
- How many times did a person really “see” an ad?
- How many exposures are unique individuals vs. the same person on multiple platforms?
Proceed with caution
For all of the opportunities that IoT offers, there are some significant risks that M&E companies need to address before they adopt IoT in full measure:
- Regulatory — Legislators around the world are already working on addressing the numerous challenges IoT creates. For example, intellectual property rights: Who owns the data? Even in instances where data ownership is clear, the duration for which owners can own the rights of collected data still needs to be addressed.
- Privacy — One major challenge that organizations need to overcome is the IoT ecosystem seeking to collect enormous amounts of data and contextualize inputs from sensors and other IoT solutions.
- Cybersecurity — Security remains something that will become exponentially more difficult as IoT connects more devices, software, machines and humans.
- Legal — Lawyers and judges across jurisdictions are grappling with some tough legal questions:
- Who is responsible for a connected device malfunction or resulting accident?
- Who is responsible for a data breach?
- How much are companies liable versus the consumers themselves?
- Standards — Without a common language or standard of implementation, IoT will remain limited in its application.
- Scalability — Only when IoT reaches critical mass can M&E companies reap the full financial benefits of their personalized content investments.
The next evolution: four steps to IoT leadership
- Create an innovation culture to assess every step of the customer experience.
- Adopt a hybrid agile model, borrowing key capabilities from the automotive industry and other sectors with high maturity.
- Create business application programing interfaces (APIs) able to plug into different IoT ecosystems.
- Embed risk management throughout the organization.
At its heart, IoT removes the friction from manual completion of mundane tasks, enabling people to spend time on the things they enjoy. If this time is spent consuming and engaging more deeply with content, the M&E industry will find real value in its IoT investments.