Making Moves in the IoT

We’ve experienced hearables, wearables, touchables.  Just sneeze in the wrong way and you might end up changing your alarm.  What’s next?  Smellables?   I’m happy to say I doubt any company is going to be looking down that avenue for their next idea.  What is being looked down though is gesture-enabled devices.  No, you’re Kinect isn’t going to make a comeback.  I’m talking about being able to control your smartwatch without touching a thing or augmenting your virtual reality devices.

Google’s ATAP has spent several years developing Project Soli.

Project Soli is the name of this new technology that’s aiming to change the way we interact with devices on a daily basis.  It uses a miniature radar to detect touchless gestures in a way similar to how bats navigate.  The sensor tracks sub-millimeter motion both accurately and at high speeds.  Through the addition of specific gestures, users will be able to control devices in different ways.

For a simple understanding, it’s quite similar to sign language.  Rather than a single ‘sign’ being a command though, it requires movement.  For instance, to turn the volume up on your smart watch, you might need to pinch your fingers together and move them up.

How does it work?

Project Soli works by emitting electromagnetic waves in a broad beam.  Objects within range will scatter the energy and reflect a portion of it back towards the radar.  Every movement of the fingers is tracked backwards through the high-quality and diversified information capturing.

 

What can Project Soli be used for?

Any device within reach, really.  Soli isn’t a huge machine or a complex sensor, it’s a chip small enough to fit into a watch which uses only a small amount of energy.  It’s not affected by light and even works through most materials, so the sky’s the limit so to speak.  It can be used in everything from watches to cars to most other IoT devices.

For developers of IoT devices, this is one of the first technologies that is almost designed to work together.

Soli is expected to start shipping later this year and is already accepting a small number of companies to develop.  Levi’s is just one of those companies.  Their plan? To stitch the chips into their clothes for Project Jacquard, a unique endeavor intended to make clothes themselves into a type of smart-device.

Whether gestures are going to be the next big thing or the next big flop remains to be seen.  As a lover of all things tech, I am certainly going to be keeping a close eye on Soli .

 

Making a Mark in Marketing

The Internet of Things has been making a splash in all sorts of unexpected industries.  From city infrastructure all the way down to baby monitors, its affecting our world in a way that’s not been seen since the internet.  Its next venture?  Marketing.

Real-time Marketing

Marketing is one of few industries that changes minute-by-minute.  Consumer perception is a difficult thing to understand and what worked last week might not today.

A recent survey stated that over half of top global marketers expect the Internet of Things to revolutionise the marketing world by 2020.  Why?  Because data is everything, and there’s no better data-gathering tool right now than the IoT.

The IoT is able to gather data in real-time in devices where it was previously unattainable.  It can analyse customer buying habits, help garner insight into how consumers choose a product, and even help expedite customer service.

How IoT Changes the Game

How something is marketed can change at the drop of a hat.  For instance, let’s look at a simple product like eggnog.  It’s a seasonal item and therefor selling in June is unlikely to garner many sales, and so it tends to come out around Christmas.  Now, let’s say there was a huge egg-scare and people are suddenly avoiding eggs.  What happens now?

Without the IoT, businesses are slow to respond to this trend.  Eggnog sales are down, but most companies don’t know why.  They keep it on the shelves and end up losing potential customers.

With the IoT, the system recognizes that Eggnog sales are down… but what’s this?  Egg-free eggnog sales are up.  The system was able to analyse this trend in real time and within a day, the business has started prioritizing egg-free eggnog.  Sales stabilise for this business.

Consumer behavior is an ever-changing beast.  Thanks to the IoT, this beast is a lot more tame.  It can help with a lot more than just egg-scares, too.  Knowing why one product is bought over another is just as important when it comes to marketing.  Was the price too high?  Was the product not in the right color or size?  Sure, you could ask the customer all these questions, but with the IoT, it’ll be able to predict the answers based on data received.

It can also help with targeted ads.  Social communities are an important part of social media and focusing efforts towards these communities to reach prospective customers is extremely helpful.  Determining emerging trends with one group of people would help you to sell the same type of product to other similar groups.

Being able to answer the why’s of consumers is the number one job of any marketer.  Being able to answer in each moment allows marketers to adapt instantaneously to new trends.  As it happens, the Internet of Things is the tool required to do both on a global scale.