May 21, 2014

That Internet Of Things

There's been a lot of buzz around the whole Internet Of Things (IoT) lately, most of which seems to gaze starry-eyed at the future of gadgets talking to each other and working under your (remote) command. So cool, so convenient, so efficient.

But so many articles (like this one here: 19 Ways The Internet Of Things Changes Everything) just miss the point: the IoT is inevitably mostly about advertising and its twin brother, surveillance. Why else would Google want to wire up your house? It's not doing it for the hell of it, it's not doing it for you, it's doing it because it gives Google an enormous distributed platform for advertising, based on the amazing opportunities for locational surveillance these Internet-enabled Things open up. Think talking fridges or Nests flashing ads as you pass in the corridor, or TVs sensing your waning interest and inserting a loud ad for something it knows you want, just for starters.

I work in the industry (both tech and advertising), and I've gone on and on (and on) before about immersive advertising (e.g. Total Immersion), but I'm not sure that people have ever quite got the sheer scale of what's coming. If you think Minority Report was science fiction, all I'll say is that it's a rather subdued vision of what's on the way. I've seen embryonic versions of it myself already at work....

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