If you attended this week’s Dreamforce you’d be justified if you thought that everything was already connected to everything. There were 137 sessions that had the word “connected” in either their abstract or their title. Ironically, the only thing that didn’t seem connected was the Internet, which left me at a digital standstill on more than one occasion. At times, Moscone West seems more like Moscone Old West.
Yet that appears to be the only hiccup. IDC recently forecast that by 2020 there will be 200 billion sensors, detecting and connecting information about you, me, and the world in which we interact. More importantly, 30 million – a 50% increase in 5 years – will be “wired” to companies who look to better compete with that information.
And at Dreamforce there were companies aplenty showing off their wear(able)s:
Proximity Insight provides location and customer info (dubbed “clienteling”) to businesses who can translate that data into “Minority Report” like experiences, from real-time meet and greets to customized offers off the rack.
Mobagel leverages real-time product feedback for companies like Panasonic, who can then proactively offer customer service and make product adjustments or repairs.
Scio uses the light spectrum to analyze literally everything, from soup to nuts and more. With the technology, that little green pill can be propertly ID’d, consumers can pick the sweetest watermelon, and companies can determine when motor oil has gone bad.
Yet for all the sex appeal of the latest devices, for me the real money is with the companies that enable enterprises to actually make sense, and then make dollars, from all this data. The truth is that the best ideas are worth exactly zilch if there’s isn’t a way to easily extract valuable data and then make a market from it. This is where companies like Xively and Aria come in. Xively provides a device agnostic platform to connect information about customer habits and usage as well as company products and offers. Aria ensures that you can measure and monetize the data that is available. And while not as showy as the Proximity’s, Mobagels and Scio’s of the world, making money from data is where the real action is at.
It should add up to dollars and sense.