Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The “Internet of Things” and The Future of Insights

By: Gina Joseph, Communications Manager, inContext Solutions 

Renee Brandon’s afternoon session on the Internet of Things gave attendees a moment to think futuristically. What if washing machines could order you more detergent when you run low? What if in-store beacons could ask you if you needed help as you walked down the aisle at a grocery store? What if your health monitor could tell you when you missed a dose of a medication, and could suggest a different meds to take instead?

Would these things creep you out, or do they sound like useful technologies?

These were some of the questions posed when Brandon and her company, Field Agent, created sample studies to find out how people would use and respond to connected technologies just like these.

The future of insights 

While the above scenarios may sound sci-fi, they are the kinds of technological capabilities that are coming our way 10 or 15 years down the road, maybe less. So learning how the Internet of Things will affect consumers and shoppers, and what types of insights can be gleaned from these technologies, is imperative to planning how store experiences will work down the road.
When Field Agent conducted studies related to these connected futuristic scenarios, there were certain considerations they wanted to measure:

·         The appeal of the technology (how consumers viewed the benefits of being connected)
·         The comfort level associated with having to answer surveys triggered by the technology (Brandon referred to this as the “creepiness factor”)
·         And their likelihood to actually respond to a survey

Field Agent came away with some insightful results. When it came to a connected home—a house where connected thermostats and light sensors regulate your homes temperature and energy usage while you’re away—sample tests showed a strong appeal to the usefulness of that type of technology. However, when respondents were asked whether or not they would be comfortable with surveys asking about where the homeowners are going on vacation, or for how long, the correlation was low—only 37% were comfortable with that kind of personal information being asked.

In contrast, being able to be connected through health monitors and receiving notifications about medication refills and doctor appointment suggestions also had a strong appeal as well as a high comfort level—the takeaway being that consumers are more likely to answer survey questions about their own personal health in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

This kind of data on the Internet of Things and the insights they will produce is still in an early phase. But more and more, these kinds of data sets and technologies will become the norm, and we need to make sure we’re ready for them. 

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