PSFK and EVRYTHNG’s shortlist of five cloud-connected products prepare you for a world where your purchases talk back
Picture yourself ‘checking in’ to your coffee machine for a live video chat with a master Barista on how to make the perfect cappuccino. Or friending your sensor-packed tennis racket so it can track your swing and let you know how to improve your serve. Or imagine that you’re in the produce section of the grocery store and the local butternut squash sends you a message recommending a curry soup recipe along with a shopping list of ingredients. That future is just around Aisle One.
A surge of retailers, museums, hotels and sports arenas have begun experimenting with the indoor location-tracking and proximity marketing system known as iBeacon to serve their patrons with a rich flood of information designed to change the way they interact with a physical space. Now further technological advances are bringing that same experience to the level of individual products, enabling the very things we touch, browse and buy to communicate with us in unique ways.
PSFK IoT partner EVRYTHNG is an IoT startup that enables the world’s products to function with minds of their own, like the examples described above. Their work is integral to giving products an individual online identity so they can connect to the Web and provide us with smart, real-time digital content and services (think of unique social network profiles for people, but applied to things). Brands need a cloud platform to manage all this IoT data flowing between them and their consumers through products, not to mention connecting products to all the other apps and services in people’s connected lives.
Forward-thinking brands have embraced this trend of what EVRYTHNG calls ‘product as media’ to co-create a completely programmable world of physical things, opening up an entirely new set of interfaces and relationships between people and the objects in their lives. The trend ensures a world where products have taken on the qualities and dimensions long associated with TV, radio, and Internet channels. Together, PSFK and EVRYTHNG have compiled five best-in-class examples of the ‘product as media’ takeover.
Contextual Whiskey Served On The Rocks
Farm To Table (In Augmented Reality)
After noticing diners’ interest in the origins of their food, McDonald’s Australia launched Track My Macca’s, an iPhone app that turns smartphones into ingredient trackers. Users open the app and scan encoded Big Mac, McChicken, and Filet-O-Fish packages, using image recognition software to identify the product. GPS sensors recognize the restaurant location and access real-time data about the McDonald’s supply chain. Track My Macca’s data mining pinpoints the exact growers and bakers that supplied each scanned product.
Rather than presenting raw data, Track My Macca’s uses 3D and augmented reality to craft an ingredient-specific story. Friendly animations appear around each box, and users can click on different animated characters to reveal more information about ingredients. Thus, they can ultimately “meet” the farmers, bakers, and fishermen that helped craft their meal.
Full Entertainment In A Bottle
Each bottle is outfitted with a Bluetooth beacon under its cap. When that beacon touches a computer, phone, or tablet, it unlocks a code for a free movie. Tap the bottle to the screen, and a movie automatically starts playing. Grolsch’s beacons aren’t activated until a bottle is opened, meaning that Movie Unlockers can be transported and stored the same as their traditional counterparts.
A Toothbrush Brushed Up On Your Needs
Your Adidas Know Best
Adidas’ rollout to digitize its footwear and apparel with a near field communication (NFC) channel is an example of products-as-media’s potential to open billions of new direct-to-consumer channels.
Adidas has created an entire line of wearable technology with the integration of an NFC chip into its sneakers, allowing shoppers to receive detailed product information from the brand, as well as read reviews from sports publications while browsing kicks in-store.
Once they’ve purchased a pair, the unique NFC code is assigned to the buyer so Adidas can continue to engage with the consumer long after they’ve left their store. Adidas can feed collected data about consumer habits into its marketing strategies to build longer-lasting relationships. The entire process opens up a new realm of touch points between the brand and its soon-to-be increasingly loyal consumers.
Based on information that shows exactly how and when and where consumers interact with the product, developers can create more anticipated and well-received products, while brand strategists can deliver contextually relevant and personalized information across social channels and campaigns to create direct, digital relationships with their customers. Your IoT-enabled dinner is served!