Millennials are the future for the “Internet of Things”?

By Andi BoydDecember 3, 2014

The Internet of Things is trending. It has already earned its own acronym (IoT), and more importantly, it has begun to advance business. While the IoT is a buzzword, it is commonly viewed with confusion by marketers and consumers alike. Simply put, the Internet of Things promotes a product model that involves integrating internet technology into offline products. The IoT cuts across industries and verticals, including innovations in home automation, health, toys, and even gardening. The options are usually niche like a pet tracking device or a “learning” thermostat that can be adjusted from your mobile phone. Yet, despite the singularity of its offerings, the popularity of the Internet of Things is on a continual climb.

The question arises, then, who is responsible for this new development and its surge in popularity? The answer mostly lies with one generation: the millennials. On one end of the spectrum, this group’s characterization as online junkies and technical savants has incited companies to offer integrated services as a means of reaching this huge customer segment. Understandably so, as it is a big segment: Generation Y is the largest generation to date. It has even been proposed that the millennial’s purchasing interests led to the entire IoT phenomenon. However, the millennial influence on the Internet of Things is essentially one of “double-dipping.” Not only has the product market shifted towards integrated products to appease the needs of its best customers, the millennials, but Gen Y is also bringing IoT into their workplaces. Millennial business professionals are reaping the benefits of IoT innovations and introducing them in revolutionary ways to the B2B space.

Unlike the generations before them, the millennials grew up in a system of constant technological adaptation. The fluidity within the generation’s age range means that some went from dial-up internet to smart phones, while others adapted to various applications, platforms, and technical integrations entering their offline lives. Subsequently, the “digital generation” knows how to maneuver quickly through systematic advances in business not because of any particular expertise, but because of their ability to acclimate to new technology. In this way, they also have some advantages over younger generations who exist entirely in the technological world. The millennials grew up in many worlds, capable of navigating both the online and offline realms with ease. This ability and the following characteristics give Gen Y the upper hand in a business model that is drifting towards IoT.

They know what people want.

Since it has been suggested that millennial consumers instigated IoT, they only need to look to themselves to understand what products and services will be sought by customers. Gen Y’s ability to create and understand buying trends gives them unique insight into new product and service endeavors.

They want to seize new ventures.

Multiple studies have come to the same conclusion: millennials are not interested in the traditional “climb to the top” business model. Instead, they are motivated to become entrepreneurs and are less afraid of risk-taking. Their goals are well-matched with their ability to adapt, allowing them to create innovative businesses and business strategies, especially in the IoT.

They can manage new systems.

As more offline businesses move toward the Internet of Things, they need staff capable of understanding and managing their products and services. The millennials’ penchant for learning new technology puts them in the driver’s seat for fulfilling this need.

And they’ve got the numbers.

It is projected that by the year 2020 the millennials will saturate the workforce. Which means it can be reasonably expected that in the forward push for IoT products, the millennials will have their hands in almost every step of the process, giving them the opportunity to guide and control the evolution of the Internet of Things.

That is significant influencing power, and it may pave the way for the millennials not only to have the largest population in the workforce, but also the most successful in global business development.

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