July 2017

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Living Like the Jetsons

The idea that the home is no longer just a house, but now an information hub is completely awesome, and very much in tune with the millennial culture.

Manny Mandrusiak

Manny Mandrusiak,
Executive Director, Q College
and Q Academy

Contributing Editor

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I am going to date myself here and explain to anyone under forty just who the Jetsons are.  The Jetsons are a futuristic version of the Flintstones.  A family that lives in the distant future and is surrounded by robots and technology to make their lives easier.  From what I have been seeing on the market today, I believe that we are just starting to enter the world where robotics, and home automation, are becoming marketed as a new standard for homes.

I wrote a column several years ago for entitled “The Future is so Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.” In it, I rambled briefly about home technology and how I wished that my refrigerator would send me a list of what I needed to buy on my way home. 

My boss at the time told me that it was complete gibberish, and that no company would develop technology like that and that I was just writing about nonsense.  Well…. Welcome to 2017 where the fine folks at Samsung thought a smart fridge was not such a silly idea. 

What I really find appealing is how Samsung has positioned the fridge as not just a fridge, but as a family hub. Here is a statement from their website: “With a connected touchscreen, the Family Hub lets you plan meals, coordinate family schedules and even entertain, helping you organize your home and live better every day.”

The fridge enables users to:

While the Family Hub fridge is awesome, this article is more about the evolution of the Smart Home and all the data that could be collected through connected devices.  If we were to look at the fridge as the Family Hub, and then we connect a Roomba robotic vacuum, and smart lights, a smart thermostat, all connected to smartphones, how much trending data could a company get? 

We know that 2017 is turning out to be a year of “Big Data,” but if companies could collect data on patterns of daily life, it would take marketing in a totally different direction.  Imagine if a marketer could get so laser-like focused on advertising that when you are out of bed craving that midnight snack you would receive a “Got Milk” ad on your smart fridge.  We know that human behaviour can be influenced through the positioning of items that are impulse purchase items at cash registers, so odds are you would probably crave a glass of milk if you saw that ad at the right time.

The idea that the home is no longer just a house, but now an information hub is completely awesome, and very much in tune with the millennial culture.

We recently had an international exchange student from Columbia stay with us for a few months, and she used to tape notes and English phrases all over her room.  I thought that it was pretty odd to have these notes and phrases taped all over the room, so I asked her about it.  It turns out that this was her learning style.  Every time she looked in the mirror, or at the ceiling, she would receive small bits of information on English idioms and phrases to help her learn English. Now, look at this from a Smart home perspective.  If every mirror in the house had the ability to receive an internet feed, a person could check their email, or calendar, while brushing their teeth. 

[an error occurred while processing this directive]It is a totally amazing concept in the way that we could potentially receive information.  It would take mobile marketing to an entirely new level, as marketers could now create burst ads that run across these devices all targeted to the buying trends of a particular Family Hub.  A very similar concept to the way that Facebook ads let marketers define their target market based on age, income, location; the smart home could potentially let marketers target specific homes based on data collected from Family Hubs.  This data would enable marketing campaigns to become extremely more granular and sophisticated.  These are definitely exciting times that we are living in.

In a time of extreme technological advancement, and “Big Data” it is very exciting to see what new innovations are developed to improve our quality of life.  As a marketer, I look at the trends with new innovations as to how data from a new invention can be collected and used to market other products.  With the introduction of online shopping and these family hubs, brick and mortar stores may come smaller and smaller, while delivery services will no doubt increase.  Definitely some exciting times in store for everyone.

Since my home is not quite as advanced yet, I’ll have to make my own breakfast, and continue to write my grocery list on scraps of paper, but a person can always dream of a Jetson’s future, can’t he?


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