Making Cents and Sensibility of IoT in Asia

Last month, the WE Communications team in Singapore helped lead the communications for IoT Asia 2017—the region’s first event dedicated to addressing the increasing Internet of Things (IoT) momentum in Asia—themed “Making $ense in Our Connected World”. The “$” is not to an attempt to be millennial friendly, but rather to emphasize the value generation in IoT.

This focus could not have come at a better time as organizations across Asia are adopting IoT at a rapid pace. According to the latest IDC Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide, the region will lead the growth in global IoT spending, expected to reach a staggering US$1.29 trillion by 2020.

As the conversation evolves beyond awareness and interest to implementation, companies are beginning to question their return on investment. Are we investing in the right technologies, engaging the right stakeholders, or even pursuing the right outcomes? How can we utilize IoT in our next marketing initiatives? All of these questions and more were answered at the recent IoT Asia event. Here are our key takeaways.


Beyond Self

Every technology player wants in on the IoT bandwagon. This comes as no surprise especially with the thriving IoT market estimated to reach US$267 billion over the next three years. While we have no lack of innovative IoT technologies—from automated factory lines to smart refrigerators—we need to keep in mind the fundamentals of IoT (or even technology), which is to solve real-world issues or enhance end-user experience.

IoT must stem from purposeful innovation, which draws away from innovation for the sake of it and instead towards addressing today’s problems and enabling tomorrow’s solutions. As such, it is important for organizations to come together to deliver the best of technologies that aims to solve complex challenges and capture new opportunities.


Data for Brands

From real-time traffic monitoring to 24/7 building surveillance, Asia is no stranger to technology in almost every aspect of our lives. However, for brands to truly benefit from IoT, we need to translate that massive amount of data collected to actionable insights. This will allow more strategic engagements with customers and end users. One of the speakers from IoT Asia 2017 shared how Under Armour’s acquisition of fitness apps Endomondo, MapMyFitness, and MyFitnessPal remains one of the industry’s best examples of leveraging intelligence from data.

This vital acquisition has provided Under Armour access to the world’s largest database of sports enthusiasts. The sports retail brand is no longer limited to traditional strategy or one that is market-focused, but rather, one that speaks directly to the needs of the athlete based on their health, fitness habits, or activity preferences. IoT provides a range of exciting possibilities, first and foremost the ability to deliver personalized customer experiences that galvanize sales. For marketers, the opportunity to improve products and services in real time is golden.


Technology for Marketing

The success of an IoT implementation or deployment is not just in the hands of the tech guys anymore but the entire organization. Marketing will need to strategize on how to better demonstrate the benefits of a solution, finance to oversee the investment and returns, and the business leaders to align it with the company’s overall growth strategy. Apart from bringing the solution to actualization, it is important to have all stakeholders on the same page to discuss their expectations and collaborate to drive success.

IoT has just gotten real. As it gets bigger in Asia, it also becomes nosier: more perspective challenged, more questions asked, and more focused discussions.  Asia may be united as a region but it is a largely diverse one, with varying degrees of maturity across countries.

This is exciting for brands and communicators here in Asia as a one-size-fits-all narrative will no longer work. The financial interest for IoT may seem robust for the region but investments will be strongly scrutinized as many companies and governments try to make cents and sense out of it.