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The Nashville Internet of Things: What Business Owners Need to Know

The Nashville Internet of Things is already here.

The Nashville Internet of Things wants to buy you peanut butter. Next time you need some chunky Jif, your trashcan will order it for you. That’s the promise of the GeniCan, which attaches to the inside rim of your garbage and scans the things you throw away, then orders replacements through online grocery delivery services.

The Nashville Internet of Things (IoT) is already here. The GeniCan is just one device in the ever-expanding IoT: the collection of common items built with internet connectivity and app capabilities that used to be reserved for computers and mobile devices. Your trashcan is only the start. Increasingly, appliances, clothes, buildings, and even public spaces are all being constructed with smart IoT capabilities. Here’s what to know about how the Internet of Things is taking over Nashville, and the world.

IoT is Here—And It’s Only Getting Bigger (Even if You Don’t Know it Yet)

A recent study by the Franklin, TN-based connectivity software-development firm Metova found that 70 percent percent of consumers own an Iot-connected device, and yet a mere 20 percent said they had a good understanding of what the IoT actually was. So while most people might not know it, their devices are talking to one another—and companies are connecting more and more of their products to the IoT.

Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson projects that by the end of 2018, there will be more IoT connected devices than mobile devices in use around the world. Consulting firm McKinsey thinks that by 2025 IoT could have an economic impact of more than $11.2 trillion. IoT is not going away—but what does it all mean for the Nashville Internet of Things?

Going Public

The IoT isn’t just relegated to fitness trackers and home appliances. It will also connect our public sidewalks, gathering areas, and transit networks. Research firm IoT Analytics expects that “Smart Cities” will be one of IoT’s hottest sectors in the next six years, with a 54 percent compound annual growth rate.

Nashville’s WeGo Public Transit already features real-time GPS tracking of city buses that riders can follow on the system’s app, along with route-planning and service alert features (not to mention expanded WiFi in certain stations and vehicles). Now, they’ve announced a new IoT technology aimed at reducing noise pollution in populous areas and around sensitive locations like hospitals, schools, and universities. Each bus outfitted with the upgrade will automatically switch from its diesel engine to its electric batteries when it senses that it is entering one of these areas.

San Diego-based IoT network provider InGenu recently installed the next generation of connective networks in Nashville (they call it “the Machine Network”) built specifically to handle the data needed for IoT devices. It uses random phase multiple access (RPMA) technology, which is more energy efficient and allows for longer transmission distances than traditional mobile networks. The system’s 9 access points enable IoT connectability for more than 99 percent of Nashville’s population.

Healthcare

By 2020, more than 80 percent of all healthcare customer service interactions will take place using the IoT, according to IDC Health Insights. Many hospitals and providers already have telemedicine services in place that provide physician appointments using video calls on smart devices, especially for ailments that require a visual inspection but aren’t life-threatening. With a robust healthcare industry in place, Nashville is well positioned to leverage the IoT for its existing businesses.

Nashville’s Emids Technologies, a healthcare IT consultant and services provider, announced last that it would dedicate resources to developing specific IoT solutions for healthcare companies. Emids is especially interested in how IoT devices can leverage the ambient user experience—the sum total of the information gathered in the background by connected devices as a consumer goes about his daily life—for better medical decisions. Imagine your fridge, your thermostat, and your smartwatch all sending updates to your doctor, then alterting her of health or lifestyle changes that warn of possible impending problems. Other applications could improve the patient experience, streamline drug development, and provide better remote care.

The Analog Strikes Back

As every action in the physical world becomes connected to a wealth of information in the digital realm, people will be looking for experiences that feel authentic and genuine–even if they’re still backed up by online connectivity. This is part of the promise of the Iot: you don’t need to sit at a computer or stare down at a phone screen to get the benefits of all that modern technology has to offer. Still, consumers will be looking for experiences that help them focus on the moment around them, not the conversation online.

The MILK App (tagline: Milk the Moment) is designed to encourage people to leave behind the distractions of the virtual world. Created by Nashville entrepreneur Courtney “Coko” Eason (formerly the entrepreneur-in-residence at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center), it rewards users for refraining from using their mobile devices in public spaces. Simply for turning off their phones and interacting only with the world around them, the app will give you gift cards to movie theaters, restaurants, Uber, Walmart, Amazon, and more. Even as Iot connects us all, consumers will look for services and products that provide a feeling of genuine tactile engagement with the real world.

Businesses Will Need New Marketing Strategies

The internet of things will open new venues for businesses to interacting with their customers, and a wealth of new data about consumer preferences and behavior. But to leverage that access and information correctly, they’ll need marketing messages that take into account the full context of specific consumers, and speak strongly to that experience. The best marketing agencies will be those that are agile enough to change with this new environment—those that merge the traditional creative skills of content and design with an understanding of the new digital development challenges presented by IoT.

 

Are you a business owner looking for a marketing partner that can help you navigate the world of IoT? Social Link is an award-winning, full-service digital marketing and mobile development agency. Give us a call at 615-873-0707.

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