The Social Internet of Things Is the Future of Smart Objects
According to The social internet of things (siot)–when social networks meet theinternet of things: Concept, architecture and network characterization, a paper authored by Luigi Atzori et al. and published in the Computer Networks journal back in 2012, the term SIoT (Social internet of Things) has a different definition from what you might expect. In short, it doesn’t refer to smart objects that are connected to social networks, which really wouldn’t be something mind-blowing, but rather to intelligent devices that are able to create social relationships among them, fact that leads to social networks of their own.
What are the Advantages of the Social internet of Things?
One of the most remarkable ideas behind the SIoT paradigm is that humans wouldn’t be involved in establishing relationships between the objects. However, the structure of the things’ social network should be shaped in such a way that it is navigable in a logical manner. This would lead to an easier discovery of objects and services, and would permit a similar type of scalability as the one seen in human social networks.
Another benefit of the SIoT is that levels of trustworthiness can be established depending on whether or not objects are “friends” or not. This could increase or decrease the degree of interaction between them, and would enable humans to measure the security levels of each object relationship.
As networks of interconnected objects will become larger and larger, models used in the study of human social networks will become relevant for IoT-related problems. Still, depending on the type of devices and the relationships that can be established between them, object social networks might be far from their human counterparts.
What Types of Relationships Can Smart Devices Establish?
With the emergence of the SIoT, social relationships have transcended humans. According to Atzori et al., there are five types of relationships that govern the social internet of things, namely:
- Parental Object Relationship (POR): is typically established among homogenous objects — same generation devices made by the same manufacturer.
- Co-location Object Relationship (C-LOR): established among heterogenous or homogenous objects that share the same envir onment. Smart home devices such as sensors and actuators have such short links because they are unlikely to cooperate towards a common goal.
- Co-work Object Relationship (C-WOR): established between two or more devices whose functionalities are combined to accomplish a common goal. This type of relationship occurs between objects that either need to touch each other to achieve that goal, or need to be in close proximity of one another
- Ownership Object Relationship (OOR): occur between the smart devices of the same user (smartphones, portable media players, video game consoles, etc.)
- Social Object Relationship (SOR): occur when the devices come in touch whenever their owners meet. Smart objects belonging to friends, classmates, coworkers and companions could establish this type of relationship.
The entire concept of Social internet of Things was built around the idea that all of the above relationships are established without human intervention.
Collaborations between Brands Will Open a World of New Possibilities
Much like in the case of wearables that function at their best only when paired with a smartphone from the same manufacturer, locking a brand’s smart objects to only interact with themselves would be a really bad decision, and would really contravene the entire concept of IoT. Fortunately, the big players of the tech industry are quite open to one another when it comes to developing connected devices, and have even created networks such as the internet of Things Consortium or the Alliance for internet of Things Innovation. While the latter is mostly comprised of tech SMEs and start-ups, the former is a bit more diverse, as it also includes crowdfunding platforms (where IoT devices are all the rage) and even food and drinks companies such as Nestle.
All in all, the involvement of every company in these organizations makes perfect sense, as the Social internet of Things will surely affect the products that they’re making, the services that they’re providing, or the distribution of either of them. Another argument would be the applications and services that address groups of objects, rather than a single device at a time, so locking users into a path where each brand’s products can only interact among themselves would be a grave mistake.
How Will All This Influence Internet Marketing?
In 2014, Salesforce pinpointed the 5 ways IoT will make marketing smarter, as follows:
- Easy exchange of sales data, which is among the most important types of information generated by any business. Smart devices could cut off the technological expert that acted as the middleman between the collected data and the salesperson.
- Smarter CRM (Customer Relationship Management) through instantaneous and continuous customer analysis
- Devices that know when they are approaching their end of life through regular maintenance and diagnostics
- Predictive social media through automated social media posts and shares that are regularly generated by the smart objects themselves. By combining social media with IoT objects, marketers can discover newfangled processes and put them to good use.
- Advertising through smart devices could easily shift the focus from banners and pop-ups to ads that are tailored to each user’s behavior and needs.
It’s beyond doubt that smart devices and SIoT will influence most if not all aspects of our lives, marketing being only a small one of them. As far as this field is concerned, the main benefits will be observed in data-oriented marketing, as this is what smart devices can provide: either details regarding the environment where the users are or the behavior of the users. All of this can lead to a better analysis of the users’ purchase habits and buying processes. Last, but not least, customer service could be radically improved using interconnected smart devices that don’t even require human intervention to solve problems.