The Power of “Internet of Things” with Kwesi Robertson and Sanaz Hamid

By Alex Rabideau

This past Tuesday, Grand Valley’s Advertising Club was visited by two lovely guests from Amway’s digital team, Kwesi Robertson and Sanaz Hamid.

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When most people think of Amway, the first thought that comes to mind are their health and beauty products; however, Kwesi and Sanaz informed us right off the bat that there’s more to Amway than just supplements and lotions.

In fact, Amway is currently researching and actively using something that proves it’s also a technological powerhouse. This was the main topic that Kwesi and Sanaz came to talk about: the “Internet of Things.”

The “Internet of Things,” also known as IoT, is mystifying to a lot of people. This is mainly due to its recent and abrupt rise in mainstream technology. While the technology itself isn’t new by any means, the way that it’s now being incorporated into our lives is. The first confusion that Kwesi and Sanaz wanted to clear up is what the IoT isn’t:

  1. Skynet, or anything close to that. And no, robots are not becoming self-aware enough to take over our lives (yet).
  2. Something that will allow more jobs to get “stolen” by robots.
  3. Cookies, a form of text data that we’re all familiar with. Kwesi made sure to make a point saying that there isn’t too much of this type of data in IoT.

So what is it?

The idea of IoT is actually fairly simple, it’s the connection of everyday devices through the internet. A better way to describe IoT is how new “smart” devices are connected to everything. Smartphones, televisions, refrigerators, watches and even washing machines are all a part of this infrastructure. It’s something that has slowly integrated itself into our lives and we really didn’t even notice.

Why is this important to companies like Amway?

“It’s all about data,” Kwesi put it bluntly.

According to him and Sanaz, one of the biggest reasons that the IoT has become so immensely popular is that companies are able to gather more data about our everyday lives. They are then able to use this data to make their companies products and services more attractive to consumers.

It sounds rather creepy, and our speakers began to notice how uncomfortable we looked after hearing all this information. In an attempt to help us out, Sanaz explained that the data gained from the IoT isn’t meant to stalk our personal lives; Instead, it’s just a way for companies to enhance their products to suit our tastes. While not completely convinced, it was a little reassuring to hear this coming directly from the people who collect the data.

Facing forward in the world of advertising, it’s clear that data and research is important. Strides in technology have shown us that when data is used in a correct context, it breeds incredible results.

Kwesi and Sanaz gave us a glimpse of what the future of marketing data collection looks like, and a lot of it comes from expanding IoT. It allows companies to make the user’s journey better with each new piece of information they get, which will allow them to customize and enhance their overall experience.

With a projected 4.9 billion connected devices this year alone, it’s clear to see just how powerful the Internet of Things will be.

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On behalf of Grand Valley’s Advertising Club, I’d like to thank Kwesi and Sanaz for giving such a wonderful presentation. Thank you for all the insightful information!

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