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How Will the IoT Era Affect PR?

Caroline Watson

Caroline Watson

The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming fast. At Mobile World Congress, IoT was the top-mentioned technology, beating out much buzzed-about tech like 5G, AI and VR. By separate accounts, the number of connected devices is expected to reach 20.8 billion to 50 billion by 2020.

With these predictions in the billions, the coming IoT era is positioned to shape everything we do, from restocking groceries and driving connected cars to PR, marketing and communications strategies. How exactly will the IoT affect the PR industry? Walker Sands Vice President Meredith L. Eaton offered her thoughts on the subject in her most recent LinkedIn Pulse, “Ready, Set, Adapt. Key Marcomms Questions for the IoT Era.”

The wealth of data produced by embedded sensors, for example, provides opportunities for highly data-driven campaigns, but marcomms pros will need to keep an eye on more substantial shifts in strategy as well.

Will the proliferation of voice assistant technology mean moving away from the written word? And how will the IoT affect your approach to SEO, when users abandon website search engines in favor of voice-activated options, like “Hey Siri” and “OK Google”? New opportunities may also arise, like the possibility of using predictive automation to create social media posts and communities.

We’ve already seen some of this kind of automation technology, with robot reporters writing news stories. The Associated Press, working with Automated Insights and Zachs Investment Research, uses algorithms to translate data into earnings stories, based on AP’s style and content preferences. These stories are written with no human involvement, though AP editors and reporters may update or expand the material after stories are published.

Perhaps someday PR pros may similarly be using robots to generate press releases, or relying on predictive automation for social media posts. We’ll certainly be looking out for these trends in the years to come.