What’s coming up next? 25 billion connected things.

In Cannes, this Sunday felt like Monday. Delegates all over the world filled Palais Du Festivals like a veritable Tower of Babel. From rushing to pick their badges to the next seminar, workshop or talk, constantly asking fellow ad lovers “what’s coming up next?” And the question did not remain unanswered.

Out of the 8 hours of amazing talks and presentations, one stood out and delivered not only mind boggling facts, but a sense of surreal you only get from science fiction movies. The culprit was the “Three Hidden Stories behind the Internet of Things” seminar, hosted by Cheil Worldwide.

It all started with a realization that made everyone call their mother, brother, grandfather and yell “Did you know that we are actually living in the fourth industrial revolution?” Well, lo and behold The Internet of Things. IoT refers to devices that collect and transmit data via the Internet. Now, picture this; by 2020, there will be 25 billion of connected things in the world. It means that there will no longer be a barrier between physical and virtual – they will merge together and form our new reality.

It’s already happening, from intelligent shoes that guide you through a foreign city, the smart fridge that lets you know when the food is about to expire to the bottle of water that alarms kids when to hydrate themselves. It will snowball from smart personal devices to smart houses, schools to smart cities.

It’s overwhelming and it makes you wonder what will be the role of advertising, will it still be relevant? Well, not only relevant but more meaningful than ever. Technology and marketing can no longer be separated and brands can no longer deliver a single, uniform brand experience to all consumers, but they should and will diversify into completely individualized, independent experience for each consumer.

And this where we, the mad men and women of the connected world, should step in to brew all the data into magic. We will have the biggest playground ever, but we will need to do one thing to make it fun, invent the toys.

Some examples of IoT from today’s world of advertising:

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