The density and value of interactions between people, businesses and things is accelerating at a rate never seen before – this is the economics of connections. A key concept of the economics of connections is the idea of economic agents that situationally change the nature of their roles, work and compensation.

“Economic agents are more than just people and businesses — imagine an economic agent in the role of a customer that is actually an Internet-connected thing,” said Don Scheibenreif, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “Whether it’s a refrigerator ordering a replacement water filter, a car scheduling a service appointment or an industrial machine requesting maintenance, the idea is that as the number and capability of Internet-connected things increases, they will develop the capacity to buy, sell, and negotiate for products and services, with organizations having to adapt to this new reality.”

“As the computational intelligence of Internet-connected things increases, so will their ability to request more complex support, and the expectation that they’ll be able to receive it remotely, in real-time,” said Mr. Scheibenreif.

With “things” as the equivalent to human customers, the entire practice of marketing will need to change. Instead of appealing to emotion, marketers will need to appeal to logic and reason when marketing to things.

It’s unlikely that human marketers will be fast enough to keep up with the volume of things as customers. Instead, we are looking at a future where things market to other things, guided by algorithms and capitalizing on real-time opportunities presented by customer data.

Makes perfect sense when you think about it – it’s having the smarts to come up with it that is the trick. This article takes a look at the implications to customer service, marketing and sales.
But there is also another side which is that the thing can also report on hours, operating areas, service intervals and many other variables that could impact the cost of a policy, void a warranty or revoke an operating privilege.
A good example is the “black box” describe by Terry Miller which would monitor pilot performance and compliance. And this weeks story on talks breaking down between Apple and potential partners BMW and Mercedes over who would get the data gathered by iCar sensors.
All of this suggests that it is not going to be about Big Brother being outside looking in, but Big Brother inside looking out.


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