Watching cats or funny memes online is not what Internet is all about, at least not for big businesses like Amazon, Facebook or Virgin America. Since the breakthrough of the Internet of Things a phenomenon has occurred in the relationship between companies and their customers. IoT together with Big Data have made possible for companies to reach closer to their customers and even being able to engage in a deeper level. They are now capable of customize the user’s experience only by using Big Data and offer a wider branch of options that enhance both their experience online and their engagement with the brand.

Internet of Things gives users access to products and services that optimize their daily life and enhance their consumer experience. From daily activities, such as knowing how long will the next bus take, obtaining information about the road traffic or discovering the fastest routes thanks to apps like Waze–a network with millions of users around the world that share their location and traffic information using their smartphones–; to improving the processes at companies and institutions in order to optimize their operating efficiency.

Wearables devices, including wristbands, smartwatches or clothing that can monitor physical activity of the wearer, are starting to become standard products in society. However, the Internet of Things is increasingly becoming professionalized and expanding towards improving production processes, products, and services.

In addition, the IoT has sped up the battle between PCs and cellphones, pushing the scale favorably towards the latter. In fact, many studies have shown that users prefer to access applications with smartphones. According to the Internet and trend projections the difference in the usage percentage of both devices is expected to increase with the emergence of new technologies.

However, the IoT also brings certain risks. It puts device manufacturers to face a threat: a higher risk of hackers’ attacks to its users. This risk against user’s privacy could lead to a serious reputation crisis for companies that sell devices with low security. As a result, all devices must pass strict security controls to avoid potential weaknesses and to protect customer’s data.

Big Data, a phenomenon that consists of finding correlations between large amounts of data, emerged alongside the Internet of Things. It originally provided companies with excellent opportunities for storing large amounts of information. This could, in turn, be used to identify consumer habits and preferences during the shopping experience.

Companies began implementing Big Data in their business in order to establish patterns, as well as to optimize their products and services. They became aware of the competitive advantage. However, the experience revealed the gaps that were left behind by Big Data, which led to the use of Small Data, a new information tracking method aimed to identify the data’s background.

Big Data has shown that there is still a long way to go. Especially, in learning how to efficiently interpret and cross the information in order to establish accurate consumption parameters.

On the other hand, Small Data favors creativity and aims to identify the aspects usually missed by statistics provided by machines. For this reason, it is the leading method when analyzing simple, specific, and smaller data—obtained through direct observation and interviews—that affect the special features of each business.

In other words, Big Data analyzes behaviors and predictive patterns on a large scale, while Small Data uses Social Media to provide qualitative data about emotions, opinions, and feelings of users. This happens when users condition their purchases in real time and this is important information that businesses can use thanks to social media.

In addition, trends such as “machine learning”–self-learning systems that allow machines to interpret information in a certain context–and improved procedures that integrate data in the production process, as well as predictive analysis, are also becoming widespread.

All these factors indicate that companies must facilitate users to be able to define what they want to see and how they want to see it when they go online. The personalized experience of the audience is the actual phenomenon produced by Big Data and Small Data. Businesses that fully comprehend that these are their best tool to achieve engagement are more likely to anticipate consumers’ trends and behavior. Thus, positioning themselves one step ahead when it comes to online experience and becoming leaders of their markets.

It is then undeniable that the Internet of Things, Big and Small Data will be the main focus of technological innovation in the coming years. Businesses that are unable to adapt their model to this new technology–to personalize offers–could face major obstacles in the mid and long term. This revolution is here to stay, and is no longer merely optional, but rather imperative.

*ByDavid G. Natal Consumer Engagement Director at LLORENTE & CUENCA Spain