Awakening the Force of IoT at SXSW

awakening the force speaking at event

Following the siren’s call of SXSW Interactive, Philip Ryan and Gesina Gudehus-Wittern traveled to Austin, Texas to share our latest thinking and get some insights into what’s on the minds of industry experts. At the German Haus on bustling Rainey Street, Philip spoke on the powerful opportunities the Internet of Things offers brands – beyond the buzz. Inspired by one of the keynote speakers, JJ Abrams, Philip drew a comparison between the Internet of Things and The Force – “if it exists, it can be smart and connected!” But just like The Force, IoT is always at risk of abuse: From air-conditioned shoes to smart shovels, many an IoT innovation feel wildly disconnected from true customer needs, or even intent on making our lives more complicated. So how can brands stay clear of the dark side?

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Philip advised marketers to start with your brand promise and what you are truly selling: are you a credit card company or a company that helps people get the stuff they want? Do you sell light bulbs or are you helping people set the right mood? Are you providing diapers or helping parents ensure their babies grow into healthy kids? Next, it’s time to think about the true customer need you are addressing: is it to be healthy? To be in control? To express themselves or to connect with others? Only with these questions answered should brands then look to the Internet of Things as an opportunity to solve their customers’ need and build out the experience beyond the product, as brands such as Tesla, Levi’s, Little Owlet and Nest are already doing.

Following his SXSW talk, Philip was joined by a panel of other IoT experts – Suchit Dash of Dubsmash, Freya Oehle of Spottster, and Shah Karim of Saferock. One thing they all agreed on? Used to solve true needs, the Internet of Things is a force so powerful that a future where technology simplifies lives just may not be all that far away after all…