Internet of Things Means More Data for Global Marketers


ThinkstockPhotos-160304837The Internet of Things (IoT) and M2M have been used in certain niche industries for many years, ever since Internet technology became more widely available. Now, IoT is starting to filter into our everyday lives. From how we do business to how we interact with each other and the world around us.

The central theme of Localization World 2015 in Berlin was The Internet of Things.  Localization leaders, futurists and globalization experts led discussions and presentations at LocWorld28 on topics related to how IoT will affect global business. One key area that the IoT will impact is global marketing and how we communicate with customers around the world. Localization will play a critical role in the interconnectivity of all things.

IDC forecasts that the worldwide market for IoT solutions will grow from $1.9 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion in 2020.  Cisco estimated that 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020. To put that in perspective, that’s six devices for every one of the eight billion people expected to be on the planet.

As the IoT continues to filter into our everyday lives, global marketing will move beyond email and laptops to engaging with their “Generation Z” customers through smart, wearable devices and tablets through digital media. The challenge for marketers is to develop a view of customer habits which will help create enhanced brand, messaging and services which add value to the user experience and can be delivered through these new devices, in a language that is understood by all those accessing it.

A byproduct of the IoT is the huge amounts of data generated by all the users. Global marketers must be able to use this data to make informed localization decisions. It will impact future revenues and product launch strategies. The more data that is amassed about the user, the more invaluable the product becomes.

Mark Holden, head of futures at media agency Arena Media UK, says, “Clearly this data could be useful for brands, helping to build rich profiles of user behavior and to do more intelligently manage pricing. However, if connected products are to collect data on use, we’ll have to ensure there is a value exchange for users: that we’re using the data to better tailor brand experiences, improve products or reward loyalty.” If content relating to products or marketing campaigns are being accessed in wider geographical markets, then marketers must localize this content.

Harvard Business Review recently published an article about how connectivity will allow brands to crowdsource their advertising, gain real-time feedback on products and have an ongoing dialogue with their customers – through their products. This has huge implications for the localization community. To have an ongoing dialogue with your global customers means you need to speak and understand their local language and have the right people, process and technology in place to make this happen. And this could happen almost real-time with immediate translation.

Welocalize CEO, Smith Yewell, recently shared insights on the future of the localization industry.  He noted that you need to use existing IoT data and harness predictive analytics to be able to forecast localization needs for marketing campaign materials. It will define how content is translated, by whom, when it is delivered, and the at what level of impact.  It will define true return on content (ROC). It’s the future and it’s now.

Global marketers who embrace the IoT will be the winners, creating products, online campaigns and services that learn from the way consumers use them. Collecting data and monitoring user behavior is nothing new; however, the growth of the IoT means the amount of data we are collecting will significantly increase.

Analyzing user behavior gives a company more value and allows global marketing campaigns to be more tailored for better engagement. From a localization perspective, we can start to use this data to help shape localization strategies and even pass on data, in understandable forms, to the translators and linguists so they have a better idea of who they are translating for and in what context.

The prospect of a world where everyday objects can communicate with each other has unleashed an avalanche of amazing innovations. Such innovation also presents market challenges. Security is a big issue, both on a personal and business level.  How can we ensure our lives are secure when everything is connected? If someone hacks into our fridge how can we make sure they can’t access our entire network?  This will also have to be addressed through a “local” connection to the user – in their native language.

The amount of data we will have access to will increase exponentially.  We need to start thinking which data is most valuable to us and how we use that data to add value to our consumers. Companies need to consider how they will store, track, analyse and interpret the vast amount of data available and use it to their global benefit. Where does localization play a role? Everywhere in the Internet of Things.

IoT creates as many opportunities as it does challenges for marketers. The opportunities are endless. The challenges we can overcome by working collaboratively and connected.



Lauren Southers is a marketing specialist on the global marketing and business support team at Welocalize.

Technologies Reinventing Global Manufacturing

Are new technologies in the global manufacturing industry driving the next industrial revolution? The answer to this question will be on full display and central to many of the topics discussed at two big global manufacturing events taking place this week: M2M World Congress 2015 in London and Smart Manufacturing Summit in Indianapolis, USA.

Core to both event agendas, how manufacturing is being reinvented for the 21st century.  New technologies and movements such as additive printing, the Industrial Internet, the Internet of Things and M2M remote monitoring means new global expansion and new ways of doing business for industrial manufacturers around the world.  These along with the way we share information today via the cloud, mobile, wearables means languages, translation and localization play an important role for these innovations to take full effect.

As an example, manufacturing companies do face challenges in the areas of technological skills gap. Recruiting and training is global. The impact on the supply chain plus changing world economics means many manufacturers are having to face re-shoring production activities to make the books balance. In addition to training materials, translation of technical documentation and content must be localized when operating a multinational supply chain.

In this blog, I want to look at these key technologies that are changing the face of manufacturing, possibly driving a new industrial revolution and consider the impact on globalization.

3D or additive printing is the process of making a 3D solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. “Manufacturing on demand” is now a production reality. Gartner analysts said worldwide 3D printer shipments are set to double, year-over-year. Advances in additive manufacturing technology indicate a growth in small, local production units, providing on-demand 3D printing which means increased demand for localization of user manuals and training materials. Manufacturing-heavy sectors, like energy, oil and gas, are seeing an increased use of additive production methods, leading to more specialist requirements in the translation of technical communications.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a well-known, heavily used media term used to apply to a system where microprocessors are in everyday items – cars, credit cards, domestic white goods (see: The Internet of Things and How it Affects Localization). From a localization perspective, the IoT has significant implication and opportunity. For example, more communications will exist on smaller screens, smart devices and rely more heavily on imaging and iconography – all of which have to be localized for local markets.

Machine to Machine (M2M) refers to technologies that allow both wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices of the same type and is an important part of the overall IoT movement and enables the Industrial Internet.  M2M uses a device, such as a sensor, to capture an event like temperature or inventory levels, which is then relayed through a network to an application that translates the event into meaningful information. This meaningful information, relayed to an internet-connected IT infrastructure, must be understood by other machines and ultimately, humans.

Although the language between machines is universal, we don’t all speak the same language therefore information must be localized for the intended audience. As production sites shift, seeking lower cost alternatives or to a more local unit for on-demand 3D printing, each locale and every user and workforce must be considered.

For global manufacturers, translation and localization of data and information is crucial for all content types, including user interfaces, training materials, technical manuals, software localization and internationalization. All this content has to be localized by specialists, experienced translators and language service providers that are experts in working with global manufacturing leaders.

All these interconnected innovations – the IoT, 3D printing, M2M, the Industrial Internet – are all technologies that are driving the global economy towards a connected world with intelligent machines and processes. They will have a big impact on manufacturing supply chains and the skills required by the manufacturing workforce. We know universal computer codes and languages exist and can smoothly communicate with each other. However, even in this climate of innovation and change, one fact that remains is that humans will always speak different languages and will ultimately be managing and operating this intelligent machinery.

Even if machines become super-intelligent, global communications will be still fundamentally driven by people and not machines.


Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.

For more information on Welocalize services in the manufacturing sector, click here.