IoT: What Does it Mean for Local?

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It doesn’t get much more “local” than all of the devices that surround us and sit in our pockets. And the continued march of Moore’s Law means that more and more items will be connected. This is the promise of the internet of things (IoT).

But an unanswered part of this emerging field is what it will mean for local media, search and discovery. Beacons for example are a part of the IoT discussion, in terms of “closing the loop” on the retail path-to-purchase, and serving as in-store utilities (when done right…).

Other parts of IoT have implications for signaling local needs. Instead of consumers raising their hands the “old way” (search), will the embedded chipsets in my home, fridge and car tell me — and my contractor, plumber & mechanic — when something is about to break?

We’re a long way from that, but it’s the promise of IoT as it pertains to local. Meanwhile, there are small steps in that direction with things like Amazon Echo. An always-on voice-enabled assistant in the home will be the consumer gateway drug for IoT.

That’s furthered by local startups that embed themselves in interfaces like the Echo, to create more consumer touch points. The smarter local startups are already there, such as TalkLocal and HomeAdvisor. We also see usual suspects in these environments, such as Yelp.

IoT will continue to be on the horizon for the foreseeable future. And we’ll surely cover it at BIA/Kelsey NEXT in December, and in an Insight Brief due out next week. As a preview, it was the topic of a recent conference discussion which you can see in full below.

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