"Digitization is giving the startup scene a massive push"

DIGITALIZATION Jason Johnson is Chairman of the Internet of Things Consortium. In an interview with Christoph Oggenfuss* at the Überall App Congress Vienna, the online pioneer reveals the extent to which digitization will simplify our lives in the future and what this means for startups. August, which is causing a stir on the market with an intelligent door locking system. In addition, he [...]

August, which is causing a stir in the market thanks to an intelligent door locking system. In addition, it is  Chairman of the Internet of Things Consortium and Managing Partner at startup funder Founders Den.MK What does "digitization" mean to you?JASON JOHNSON This question alone manifests a generational theme. You and I grew up in the analog age, and that's how we understood that world as reality. The "digital natives" don't even ask themselves this question of demarcation between analog and digital. For me, digital means that information in the appropriate format is easily accessible and can be moved around. And that also means making content easily available. Digitization overcomes socio-economic boundaries - any person anywhere in the world has access to information.MK Can you illustrate this with an example?JOHNSON With www.github.com provides young entrepreneurs with a platform that makes relevant information, tools, software, etc. available to them at low cost, thus massively lowering the barrier to entry. This makes it possible to build prototypes of a business idea for little money. If the business idea requires massive computing power, then this can be obtained from the cloud at comparatively low cost. And precisely because we have arrived in the digital world, this applies not only in Silicon Valley but also in Africa or anywhere else in the world. In other words, digitization is giving the startup scene a massive push. In the past, founding a company meant taking big risks and getting sufficient funding - today, I can start small, possibly keep my current job (and thus secure my livelihood) and scale up at the right time. Whereas it used to be more of a competition for money and risk-taking ability, today it's a competition for relevant ideas and clever business models.Interesting to know that startups like Netflix, Instagram, Pinterest, Spotify and Airbnb have helped themselves with cloud services from Amazon. Obviously, that wasn't a disadvantage....MK How do you experience marketeers dealing with the increasingly digitalized world?JOHNSON I'll explain this best with an example of my own. When I launch a new product with my company, my PR consultant tells me that I need to aim for a presence in Wired magazine or, even better, on www.wired.com. Of course, this does not correspond to the classic marketing approach where a concept with many assumptions is written first. But as soon as something is put online, it can be recognized worldwide and, above all, a dialog can be set in motion right away. This is accompanied by active blogging, and so a communicative dynamic develops that provides information about whether the product is understood, whether it is assessed as relevant, where limitations become manifest, etc.In the example of "retargeting", I think it becomes very clear what contribution digitization can make to marketing success.In retargeting, the buyer is accompanied or "followed" and confronted with relevant and pertinent information several times with the aim of increasing the conversion rate. The retargeting method is a dynamic marketing approach that requires a high degree of agility on the part of the system, which is only possible thanks to highly developed analytics.In my estimation, marketers are still rather reserved about these contemporary possibilities.MK Finally, let's talk about your key topic "Internet of Things" - where do you see the biggest challenges for marketing?JOHNSON Let me start with a clarification of terms. I no longer speak of the "Internet of Things" but of the "Internet of Everything," which is closer to reality. From a marketing perspective, the term "Internet of Things" is far too abstract and technical. An early task for marketing will be to create a conceptual world that is understood and user-friendly. The second will be to work out the benefits - who is interested in "Internet of Things"? From a marketing point of view, the purchase of Nest - a fire alarm manufacturer - by Google seems to me to be an interesting example. Google is not to be understood as a search engine provider and Nest not as a seller of fire alarms. Google is in fact a huge advertising company and Nest's devices collect information about people moving around in rooms. The combination of these two features is consistent with Google's vision. Collecting behaviorally relevant personal data and then cleverly offering or using it for advertising purposes.This also makes it clear that the "Internet of Things" is not primarily about technology but about information management.

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