In Canada, Internet of Things Buildout Continues

New digital data sources are changing the way marketers build campaigns and target audiences

Toronto, ON (July 20, 2016) – The internet of things (IoT) is a rich data source for industries in Canada. The ability to use sensor data to trigger events in supply chains and other operations has added a new capability for real-time decision-making, as explored in a new eMarketer report, “Sensor Data in Canada: How Marketers Can Tap the Internet of Things for More Precise Audience Targeting” (eMarketer PRO customers only).

For marketers, the opportunity is still developing. Consumer data collected from IoT sources like smart homes and smartphones enables more precise targeting. Behavioral targeting is often badly executed—i.e., display ads that follow users around the web, too-frequent or untimely promotions, etc. Data from the IoT can augment historical web behavioral data with real-world sensor data, resulting in a less-intrusive ad experience for consumers.

The bulk of the IoT buildout is being funded by industry with operational improvements in mind. The ability to connect disparate points in supply chains and build connectivity into their solutions are major incentives.

In the past year, the major telecom players in Canada—Rogers, Bell and Telus—have begun to market IoT solutions to industry. Wired and wireless connectivity is the fabric of IoT, enabling constant and real-time data sharing between sensors and connected devices. For telecom vendors, their interest lies in growing traffic over their infrastructures, and increasingly that’s wireless. In 2016, there will be 5 million machine-to-machine (M2M) mobile connections in Canada, and that number will double by 2020, according to “The Mobile Economy North America 2015” report from GSMA Intelligence.

Telus markets an IoT Marketplace, a store that connects vendors and IT personnel for specific IoT application projects. The firm commissioned research in March 2016 by Maru/VCR&C to gauge IT decision-maker interest in IoT solutions for their businesses. More than half (52%) of respondents had some level of interest.

Additionally, for the percentage of IT decision-makers who were interested in adopting IoT solutions, 9% had already rolled out a project, 9% were in the pilot stage, 11% were planning a project and the balance (23%) were still in the consideration phase.

The data proposition associated with IoT is certainly on marketers’ radars: One-fourth of marketing executives in Canada polled by the Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA) cited IoT as a topic of interest for 2016. The other key topics of interest—social location services, location-based advertising, location analytics—all have hooks into the world of IoT and its broader interpretation.

“Marketers are gathering a lot of data but they’re not quite sure what to do with it,” said Petar Bozinovski, president of digital at media and technology company Crucial Interactive Canada. “There’s definitely a need to start investing more in data sciences and machine analysis of the data. All the data collected on behavior beforehand almost has to act as your cookie pool.”

What’s clear is that marketers are in need of packaged solutions to turn IoT data into actionable targeting. It’s about taking the abstract to the specific, with the help of algorithmic intelligence along the way.

Several of the industry experts who spoke with eMarketer for this report confirmed that IoT is in a nascent state when it comes to data mining for marketing. The first step—developing systems for collecting the data—is underway. But turning the raw data into actionable targeting insights is a few years away for most industries. In some sectors like retail, sports and entertainment, the insights are now attainable and that’s mostly due to a maturing of beacon technology.

eMarketer PRO customers can view the full report here.

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SOURCE: eMarketer