How the Internet of Things changes publishing

Hester Gras

Nowadays, there are more things connected to the internet than people. How will the Internet of Things change publishing? Thanks to the FIPP we had the opportunity to talk to Thomas van Manen, an analyst and digital strategist at the Sogeti trendlab VINT. He gave a speech about this subject during the Digital Innovators’ Summit 2014.

Thomas van Manen

How would you define the Internet of Things?

“While many devices and environments still lack connectivity, we are now able to connect physical objects to the web due to cheaper and smaller computing power. The consequence is that the physical world becomes programmable, which is very interesting. It provides new data streams to work with in a smart way; think about reducing waste in energy, water, etcetera, but also about creating new forms of interaction between humans and objects and between objects themselves. In my opinion, an object is smart when it learns from the behavioral patterns of users and, as a result, provides better service. The Nest Thermostat is a good example.”

How will the Internet of Things affect our daily lives?

“In general, we will have to deal with many more connected devices. Wearables are a part of it; they are actually the personal or human side of the Internet of Things. Think about self-tracking your health and the consequences of the relationship with your doctor, but also about the way we are dealing with information. New screens provide new types of interaction.”

“Improved sensors also lead to optimization and increased efficiency in urban environments. These sensors work with sensor networks that act as antennae. They perceive their environment, monitor it, and give feedback through data, which allows for new insights and improvements. In San Francisco, a quarter of the city’s 28,000 parking spots is linked to sensors in the road surface which help people determine whether a spot is available. Motorists can see where parking is available using a smartphone app. These smart parking meters lead to lower CO2 emissions, fewer car accidents and a more efficient use of the parking police. In short, everything will be more streamlined and interactive.”

How do you see  “The Internet of Things”, wearable devices, and contextual information influence content delivery?

“Context is key. Knowing how someone uses a product offers new opportunities to make the current system more efficient, effective and personal. For instance, which emotions show up when your reader reads an article, how does your reader go through the content, when is your reader most open to interruption and what kind of interruption results in the most valuable experience in which time period?”

“The whole idea of ​​the Internet of Things – sensor networks, wearable devices, embedded intelligence, smart home / offices and so on – fits perfectly into the idea of ​​creating anticipatory systems around a user. Enabling the technology to disappear and let some kind of silent intelligence takeover. Users have a personal hierarchy of what kind of information is important. If publishers can provide relevant and personal content via contextual triggers such as sensors, time and location, they are doing a good job. Finally, behavioral analytics are very important; we should learn from users without asking for input.”

Can you give some examples of successful smart technologies where digital publishers can get inspiration?

“A good example is Google Now. If publishers can translate the principles in the video to their own content strategy, I am convinced!”

What are the most interesting upcoming technology trends and how will these influence digital publishing in the next few years?

“I think it’s not so much about new technologies, but there will be more focus on the integrating of social, mobile, analytics, and connected objects like sensors and wearable devices. Companies will also start to offer more services via the (personal) cloud that really centralize the customer and they will serve users by anticipating their intentions.”

What do you think about the Internet of Things? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!


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