Why the IoT Has to Make Sharing Data Worthwhile

Insights gained from the Internet of Things can put an end to hit-and-miss direct marketing—but only if companies investing in the technology ensure that security is embedded in their content-management system.
By Christopher Justice

It Has to Be Worth It
But capable sensing devices are only half of the solution. Without data, the IoT just wouldn't exist, because it's based on the communication of data between things. And yet, while data is the answer, for many consumers it's also the problem. In a 2014 Acquity Group Study, nearly one quarter of participants said they have turned off in-home IoT devices due to privacy concerns, while more than half reported that they were less likely to use wearable devices because of recent hacks and data breaches at major companies.

Concerns about privacy are understandable. That's why firms investing in the IoT need to ensure that security is embedded in their content-management system, and that it remains a constant pillar of their strategy. Mobile devices have also had a direct impact on our perception of privacy.

Except for a small core of early adopters, most people are reluctant to risk giving their data away unless the benefits are substantial. As with any sort of transaction, people will only willingly share information if they gain something meaningful in return.

Leveraging the IoT
Organizations, therefore, need to weigh the costs and benefits for consumers when they collect and aggregate their data, and they must offer consumers tangible value in exchange for that data. Away from the world of health care, they need to offer them products that can provide significant improvements in their lives and businesses.

Over the long term, organizations will realize that the Internet of Things is not just about gadgets. Neither is it about individual products or projects, but rather about developing strategies that offer consumers seamless experiences, from the point of purchase to the end of a product's lifecycle. The IoT will have a huge impact on the relationships that companies have with their customers, giving them new ways to add value. Businesses need to simultaneously work on increasing value while also ensuring the safe storage of data, so that consumers will no longer need to worry if it's worth sharing their information.

Christopher Justice is the chief marketing officer of Magnolia International, which provides a digital business platform with a content-management system at its core.

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