It’s a pretty amazing time to be a marketer.

Every physical thing from packing labels to ingestible pills can be connected to the Internet. We are racing forward to an era of hyper-connectivity. The Internet of Things is happening now.

How big is the Internet of Things? Analysts at Gartner have forecasted that by the end of 2015, there will be almost 5 billion ‘things’ connected to the Internet.  And by the end of 2020 that number will rise to 25 billion. That’s more than three things connected to the Internet for each person on the planet.


As a companion to our report, the “Trillion Dollar Customer Experience Trend: What the Internet of Things Means for Marketers”, we found ten examples of companies embracing the Internet of Things to create new experiences for their customers.

Companies using the Internet of Things to create new customer experiences


1. Hilton Hotels


Hilton is rolling out new features to it’s front of house services like smartphone based check-ins and room key functionality. Going forward, it is not difficult to imagine saved custom guest heating and lighting preferences, push travel suggestions and deal notifications, and automated luxury services.

2. Philips Lighting


Philips hue LED bulbs allow consumers to control mood lighting with their tablet or smartphone. Users can program the bulbs to dim at night, or blink if they detect an intruder. There’s also an API that allows Netflix to dynamically change the lighting based on a movie scene’s color palette, extending the movie experience beyond the screen

3. Ford


The automotive maker is investing in new business models and partnerships that include Zipcar-like ridesharing, and Uber-esque on-demand services. Its AppLink platform allows users to connect to apps through voice recognition, and Ford has ambitions give drivers the ability to pre-order Starbucks or automatically pay for gas.

4. Tesla


If a repair is needed, Tesla’s software automatically downloads an update and if necessary, autonomously schedules a valet to pick the vehicle up and bring it to a Tesla facility. Car owners avoid the often frustrating experience of dealing with third party repair garages and negotiating over price.

5. Nest


We had to throw it in. Possibly the most recognizable of smart, connected home devices to date, the Nest thermostat allows users to control their home’s temperature from their smartphone or tablet, while also helping customers save on their energy bills. The company was recently purchased by Google for more than $3 billion, and is releasing a suite of other home automation products like a fire alarm.

6. Ralph Lauren


The clothing company’s Polo Tech Shirt streams athletic performance biometrics like heart rate, movement intensity and energy output to the cloud. One could easily imagine integrations with FitBit and Nike+ to give the wearer a unified experience of their athletic performance.

7. Johnnie Walker


For a Brazil Father’s day campaign, Johnnie Walker built a platform that connected 100,000 of their whiskey bottles to the Internet. With innovations in smart labeling, the whiskey brand allowed anyone to create a personalized film tribute. Gifters and receivers could opt into further promotions and share the video on social channels.

8. Apple


Apple is poised to be a major player in the Internet of Things, having recently released both the Apple Watch and Apple HomeKit, a developer framework for connecting smart objects. Combined with Apple Pay, the Apple Watch could become the central hub connecting users’ physical lives to the Apple ecosystem.

9. Walgreens


Recently, Walgreens allowed developers to access its photo printing services through APIs, which led to the creation of applications that allowed users to print photos from Facebook and Instagram. The popularity of these applications enhanced customer engagement and led to a six- fold increase in revenue from these customers.

10. Babolat


The French tennis, squash, and badminton company has created a product system that puts sensors and connectivity into its tennis racquet. The Play Pure Drive system allows athletes to track and analyze ball speed, spin, and impact location to improve their game.

For more information, download our new report, the Trillion Dollar Customer Experience Trend: What the Internet of Things Means for Marketers.

Drop me a line on Twitter @jkoufopoulos and let us know your favorite examples, or if we missed any.