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Gartner forecasts that 8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide this year, and that number is expected to reach 20.4 billion by 2020. Recognize this statistic? It might just be one of the most overused data points in the technology media landscape. The reason for the use? There’s a vast amount of uncertainty around internet of things (IoT) technology, and all anyone can confidently articulate is that they know for certain “things” will connect in the future.

The problem is we don’t know exactly what things, in which capacity, and the outcome and/or the value of these connections for either the enterprise and the consumer. All of these factors make it very difficult for one message or storyline to resonate over the other and translate into IoT media coverage. Think of it this way: If no one can demonstrate with 100 percent confidence the value of a technology, how is anyone supposed to convince others of its value?

We may not know exactly where IoT is headed or what it means for the future of the enterprise, but, the fact of the matter is, people are still talking about it, and tech businesses need to be a part of that conversation. Here are a few ways to do just that:

Capitalize on Public Sentiment
Don’t worry about making a square peg fit in a round hole. Instead of convincing everyone that IoT is the biggest thing since sliced bread, capitalize on whatever the general sentiment is at the moment. Is it fear? Confusion? Hope? If people people are mystified by the tech, run with that.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a great example of a topic that has given ample opportunity for thought leaders to put a stake in the ground. While consumers may fear robots are taking over their jobs, enterprises may look at AI as a way to streamline processes.

Speak to the Everyday Consumer
As much as reporters and media are interested in the effects on businesses, their readers are also interested in how it will affect them. Think about the implications of IoT and technology on the components of people’s’ lives that matter the most — their job, their communication with friends and family, the political landscape.

Boiling very technical stories down to how it affects the everyday person helps not only actualize the use cases for it, but emphasizes its impact on our lives.

Evaluate Necessity
In the tech landscape, there are new trends popping up everyday. But evaluating whether they are truly useful or who would benefit the most is a crucial question when messaging.

With IoT, it’s about the connections — does everything need to be connected? Is connecting your closet light to your Alexa excess tech? Before bandwagoning and jumping on the next tech trend, make sure to ask these crucial questions.

The only constant in the tech world is change, and as storytellers, it’s imperative we find a way to tell a story that sticks. While the internet of things may sound vague and tech utopian-esque, people are talking about it, and it’s our job to figure out a way to take a piece of that conversation.

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