October 21, 2014

How to Avoid the Creep Factor with IoT Technology?

Julie Parke
Product Marketing Manager

People have always had complex relationships with objects, dating as far back as the Egyptian era when Pharaoh’s were buried with their most prized possessions. It is only now in the twenty-first century that the relationship is mutual, as objects start to ‘talk’ back and connect with us on a more personal level. As the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution continues to provide network connectivity to more and more everyday objects, it will usher in a new wave of behaviors and functionality that will fundamentally change the way consumers and businesses make decisions.

Last week comScore attended the Digital Analytics Association (DAA) Seattle Symposium hosted at the Microsoft Conference Center in Seattle, WA. The event included frequently visited topics such as location analytics, market research methodologies, and digital campaign test and target strategies.  But one of the most spirited debates came during the Internet of Things (IoT) panel discussion in which comScore’s Vice President of Digital Enterprise Analytics, Ade Adesoun participated.

A central theme throughout the panel was on how to avoid the “creep factor” when communicating with humans via connected devices. We’ve summarized the advice of the panelists into a few key points:

IoT Technology must magically and elegantly solve a problem

To avoid the hype surrounding IoT, companies must answer a central question: ‘What problem are you trying to solve?’ In general, people are time poor, thus any solution that makes consumers’ lives easier is a step in the right direction, whether it’s receiving a notice from your refrigerator that you are out of eggs or an airline automatically rebooking a new flight if it appears you will miss your connection. In order to avoid the creep factor in these scenarios, consumers need to simultaneously recognize and be surprised by the patterns of engagement via their connected devices.

Building trust by remaining transparent and informing users upfront that they are providing this data and allowing them to opt-out is the first step to achieving this magical mix of consumer approval and delight. Once this combination is achieved, care must be taken in identifying and delivering only the most relevant interactions. It is easy to abuse the one on one relationship that consumers have with their devices by being overzealous in providing extraneous functionality. Any data that is not being used for the benefit of the customer will cross the line into ‘creepy.’ Ultimately, people still want to be treated like humans and provided with solutions they need, want, and love.

Use IoT data to provide context

With the development of device connectivity, machines are now able to collect and share data with unprecedented veracity; for example, machines are able to predict if someone is likely to experience cardiac arrest based on a patient’s history or smart meters that can sense when there has been a shift in power supply without homeowners having to report the outage.

To deliver these beneficial use cases, data collection from disparate sources must be aggregated and layered into a single view that distills relevant insights, comes to a conclusion, and initiaties an action.

During the DAA discussion, Adeosun shared an example of how comScore is helping Hertz bring context to their device data. Our digital media analytics solution, Digital Analytix, collects and aggregates data from their in-car navigation and GPS mobile solution, the Hertz NeverLost. Hertz uses the insights extracted from this data to provide input to the product development team regarding all aspects of the user experience.  These insights help drive product enhancements and additional offerings based directly on their customer touch points.

Apply advanced segmentation to remain relevant to user profiles

Consumers have come to expect and demand ease of use and personalization in almost all of their digital interactions. There’s nothing more annoying than being sent a notification for a car sale near you when you are not in the market for a new car. In this instance, how you signal a user is important – accurate messaging and segmentation is key. IoT technology allows us to engage with the WHOLE person to create new and more effective marketing segments that appeal to all 5 of user’s senses. We will need to move away from only considering eyeballs (or sight) as a method to reach consumers and instead consider inputs including location, acceleration, temperature, noise level, seasonality, time of day, etc. to construct an experience that is highly relevant and engaging for the user.

To test your level of comfort with the possibilities that IoT brings ask yourself this:

How would you develop a campaign where the first touch point with a consumer is NOT on a screen?