The content of things

Where do writers fit into the internet of things?

By: Caitlin,   3 minutes


What is the internet of things? According to the Guardian: “At its core, the internet of things is simple: it’s about connecting devices over the internet, letting them talk to us, applications, and each other.”

The internet of things is something tech companies, governments and futurists love to explore and discuss. They’re all looking at how new technology can be integrated into our daily lives. ‘Smart’ everything.

So where do writers come in? Beyond my genuine interest in the topic, I believe content has a major role to play in the anticipated onslaught of smart technology. And so a Feed began.

Products in the home need to watch their language. They’re in an area of trust, relaxation, and family.

There have been a number of articles about the marketing and brand building opportunities with the internet of things. But what about the content the devices themselves use? When we welcome technology into our homes and our lives, how should it communicate with us? How can it strike the right chord of trust, value, and friendship? And how might it go too far? How does a marketing channel become a friend in our home?

Tech brands already spend huge amounts on user experience. Focusing on how people like to interact with the technology, thinking about how to make things more intuitive and improve the user journey. While design plays a major part in this, so does the content the users interact with.

From my research I’ve pulled out three key areas to keep an eye on:

  • Tone of voice
  • Adaptive messaging
  • Machine learning

Tone of voice

From packaging to instruction manuals, and even the communication from the technology itself, there are opportunities for new gadgets to integrate more seamlessly into our daily lives. But products in the home need to watch their language. They’re in an area of trust, relaxation, and family. The tone of voice they use needs to adjust to our mood and mindset in this environment.

But this also means appliances can have more of a personality. They can communicate in a way that makes us feel confident using them, even if we’re not tech savvy.

Siri might be adorable when she’s sassy, but nobody wants sarcasm from their bathroom scales.

Adaptive messaging

There’s a growing opportunity for content to be adaptive to the users’ needs and habits. For example, a smart fridge integrated with a shopping function could be programmed to help its owner stay on track with their diet, ordering in fresh fruit and giving gentle advice when they order ice cream. Or they might prefer drill sergeant style reminders shouting “DON’T TOUCH THAT TUB”. To allow for personalisation, gadgets could be set with a number of messaging options and communication styles. Siri might be adorable when she’s sassy, but nobody wants sarcasm from their bathroom scales.

Machine learning

There’s an amazing opportunity for all forms of technology to incorporate data into adaptive programming. This would impact content in two ways. Learning from consumer habits, the machine could decide what content to serve up at certain times and in certain contexts. To support this, a number of scripts could be created, or perhaps a library of responsive content. Additionally, data created by the use of the device could feed back into the creation of master brand content. Data from user habits could impact instruction guidelines and even how a product is marketed. Brands could quickly adjust their messages to better communicate with emerging audience groups.

With the rapid explosion of smart technology expected within the next five years, now is the time to start thinking about the role of content. Not only for the marketing opportunities, but to better interact with the user on a daily basis. Brands have a huge opportunity to endear themselves to customers if they can get the messaging right.

Personally I’m looking forward to my very own smart coffee machine that connects to my calendar, notes that I’m catching an early train for an important meeting, and makes sure it not only has my cappuccino ready at 6am, but also wishes me good luck.


More about the internet of things:

What is the Internet of Things?, The Guardian 

How the Internet of Things is Changing Online Marketing, Content Loop 

Big Brother is Coming: Google, Mass Surveillance and the “Internet of Things”, Salon

The Content Strategy of Things, Scriptorium 














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