The second theme for our discussion on the future of social is dealing with data.
With the ability to track everything -- both due to the growth of social networks online and users rapid technology adoption on and offline -- understanding what customers want is within reach. For this reason alone, big data has become the new shiny object in marketing.
Whether that is a gold mine or a royal headache depends on the level of tech integration and analysis capabilities available to the organization.
Think about the ability to track bodily functions and movement, home appliances, heating systems, television programming, car performance, energy consumption, sport equipment usage, and so on and you can see we're barely scratching the surface with data.
The Internet of Things is an industry moniker describing the use of data-driven devices that are networked together to perform useful tasks ranging anywhere from home and industrial automation to lifestyle enhancements.
Solutions include sensors, embedded controllers, compact power sources, wireless networking, mobile and web apps, cloud computing, biomedical devices, and large-scale data analytics.
Imagine how this could be transformative of daily life.
Dealing with data takes a whole new meaning
Thanks to barcodes, it has become easier to verify where packages are. Phones, car keys, and cars can send signals to tell us where they are. Plants can draw water when they need it through the use of sensors. Devices sending alerts on high volume traffic days.
These are all examples of objects communicating with us and each other through technology. While many of the components are not new, the cost and availability of Internet accessible platforms are now within reach. It has become viable to take making things to a whole new level.
Devices connected to a tracking mechanism -- and to each other -- collect all kinds of data points on usage and history. The stack of embedded controllers, sensors, devices, power sources, apps, and the cloud bring about the need for large-scale analytics.
Add to that the human component, what people want to do, to the mix, and the importance of the query set to uncover the patterns from specific questions we want to investigate becomes apparent.
Social interactions are rich with emotional, linguistic, and cultural data. Creating a measurement framework is a process and a discipline more than an exact science.
Implications for business
Rather than a humble servant, data is an overlord. While it is critical to measure what matters, the ability to quantify more is akin to Ulysses Siren's song -- it takes focus to resist diving in to wade into even more data and lose one's way.
Collaboration and data sharing allow organizations to deliver better services. For example, insurance companies and telecoms collaborating on pay-per-use products based on shared data.
Data sharing also allows organizations and communities to collaborate on innovation. For example, GE# opened thousands of its most promising patents and new technologies to the Quirky community for the development of new consumer products; and a co-branded product development initiative to build a full line of app-enabled connected devices for the home in areas such as health, security, water or air that will be developed using advanced manufacturing tools and technologies#.
Expect the road to a unified set of communication protocols, standards, and regulation to be bumpy.
Looking forward to our conversation to discuss perspectives on dealing with data and the impact of connected devices on products and services at the future of social# event in Princeton, September 13, 2013.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her to speak click here.