Get Connected

Smart products and the internet of everything

Kara Melchers

Managing Editor, BITE Creativebrief


It seems like pretty much everything is being connected to the internet. Check out the Tumblr weputachipinit, you’ll wonder how we’ve survived this long without the smart floss dispenser or t anning pillow. Actually, the latter could be quite useful. Whilst these start-ups all fight to fulfil a need we didn’t know we had, the real challenge for brands is to use this technology to create ubiquitous experiences that tell their story and add value for the customer.

Through useful interactions, smart products can further engage shoppers and even help disrupt the general opinion of a brand. Gatorade Fuel Lab has designed a smart cap water bottle for elite athletes. The cap tracks intake, provides visual feedback to pace drinking, and communicates fluid levels to team coaches. The product innovation helps to transform Gatorade from a sports drink into a sports fuel solution.

Applying connected technology to products is a scalable way of adding value for customers. This could be performance data, added editorial content, advice, or entertainment. Whatever strengthens the brand story.

It’s not just products, this technology is revolutionising experiences too. Museums and institutions continue to test immersive exhibits and look for new ways to further engage visitors. In Autumn 2016 The Science Museum, London, will open a new interactive gallery, with live experiments, and experiences that will bring visitors closer to the universe than ever before.

By creating interactions that are an extension of the product or service, brands can discover new scalable ways of building engagement and adding value for the customer.

Read on for examples…

Hyundai's Reactive 360° 'Football Heaven'

Hyundai Motor UK is launching a one-of-akind, innovative ‘FanDome’ in King’s Cross, London. The live 360-degree audio-visual experience will respond in real-time to the football action. Goals scored, red and yellow cards, penalty shootouts, national anthems and injury time will all trigger a unique immersive audio-visual response.

A system of giant 360-degree screens surrounds the entire interior of the FanDome.

Four metres high and the length of a football pitch (91 metres), this custom built display encloses fans in ‘Football Heaven.’

The experience is fronted by Vinnie Jones and his on screen team of tattooed cherubs. Fans will glimpse cherubs wheeling in cannons and playing tubas as they celebrate live match successes, and see them hiding in the clouds to avoid the Grim Reaper if a red card is shown.

Fans will be given infrared LED wristbands that are stimulated by live elements in the game, according to which team they are supporting.

Agency: The Brooklyn Brothers, London

fans across 45 matches
91 metre
surround screen

Play The McDonald's Mctrax Placemat

Creating music can trigger creativity in young people, that’s why on 22nd April McDonald’s in the Netherlands gave their guests a musical surprise. The fast food restaurant introduced McTrax, a paper placemat that turned into a full music production station. Using conductive ink, the placemat could connect to the customer’s smartphone. Every touchpoint triggered a full sound bank where diners could choose their own melodies, tweak tracks with sounds and even record vocals.

Agency: TBWA/Neboko, Amsterdam

Unlock Burberry's Snapchat Discover

Burberry’s first foray into Snapchat is for their new fragrance Mr Burberry. A smart move from the brand to engage a younger audience with a product at an introductory price point and start to build a relationship with the brand. The bottle can be scanned to reveal feature articles, videos and interviews on the theme of ‘how to be a modern man.’ The production value is high to represent the quality of the product, and it’s a great example of the luxury sector talking to a younger audience without undermining the brand.

Agency: In-house

Samsung's Smart Surfboard

“Surfing can be a solitary sport,” says Samsung. “The surfer, alone in the middle of the ocean. Disconnected from his coach and fans. What if Samsung could change this?” The result is the Galaxy Surfboard, a smart surfboard created especially for Brazilian surfer Gabriel Medina. The board can connect to a Galaxy S7 phone, so Medina can keep in touch with his coach and fans, via messages displayed on an LED screen. It also features real-time condition updates, such as wind speed and wave size.

Agency: Leo Burnett Tailor Made, Sao Paulo