The internet of things or the outer web has been much talked about already, and from my perspective, is an intriguing future. The idea that objects will all have an IP address is a powerful and exciting image for someone working in the field of technology marketing – the possibilities for application are almost limitless.

I can see a real race of innovation taken place around this – indeed reading the BBC Tech section today I saw this story about RFID application in clothing as a bootlegging deterrent. A great, and brave idea, from Gerry Weber. The idea of insisting suppliers all sew in RFID chips to clothing they’re producing. This is to crack down on the over production of some suppliers (who then sell this on via the black market). By limiting exactly the number of RFID chips the manufacturer is in essence deterring the over-production (as would then make it easy to work out who produced and sold them). It’s a nice and innovative idea.

However, I think this is just the start of what’s possible.

With RFID chips now affordable (about 9 cents each and falling) and now extremely small (size of a grain of rice) the idea that these chips could soon be in everything isn’t that hard to imagine (there is talks of them even being used in bank notes to fight counterfeiting).

If in a piece of clothing it could – just a few examples:

  • Be used for targeted marketing based on location

  • Be used – much like barcodes are now – for linking a potential customer to the product via the web (i.e. a reader in a smartphone – could mean people could easily add items to a wish list/one click like the item on Facebook/access pricing details/marketing promotions/contests and games etc)

  • Be used for Pay and wave via mobile phones – why use a till, pick up your jeans, scan and go.

  • Be used for after sale customer promotion and engagement i.e. events for people wearing the brand – scan and enter

  • Be used to track everywhere you go wearing the item – good data for the manufacturer and for future marketing (although would need its own charge to transmit so perhaps unlikely for clothing)

Cool stuff.