Ahead of the Vox Studios Insight Launch event on 19th April, we talk to one of the speakers Helen Hoyle about how the Internet of Things is changing data insight.

Helen Hoyle is a founder of Nutshell. She is a highly experienced developmental qualitative researcher with 16 years’ experience using 360 degree insight techniques such as social media listening, mobile auto ethnography, online communities, focus groups and website UX interviews.  

Helen is passionate about the impact that IoT is having on day-to-day life for consumers, and has elements installed in her own house so she can experience it first-hand, but just as important is the impact this can make on clients and companies looking to understand their consumers in greater detail.

Find out more about Nutshell

Tell us about Nutshell MR

Nutshell is a full service insight agency using a unique mix of top level researcher and board level commercially experienced marketers.  We use 360 degree insight and the newest technologies to enable companies and brands to grow faster by helping them better understand the needs of their customers. 

We are a new model of insight agency focusing at all stages of the research process on supporting the commercial decisions that our clients need to make every day by providing greater depth and insight into their customer.

In reality the IoT has been around for decades, particularly in production, but it has yet to hit the mainstream market with a bang. 


We deliver insight from multiple data sources embracing the latest technologies on behalf of our clients such as multi-data analysis, enabling our clients to access all their data in real-time and via dashboards, on their smartphone, social media listening and mobile technology

How has the IoT changed insight?

I can see the IoT starting to impact in certain areas e.g. connected homes, wearable technology but I think on a bigger scale the IoT is a lot of noise and hear-say.  In reality the IoT has been around for decades, particularly in production, but it has yet to hit the mainstream market with a bang. 

With regards to insight, there are two main areas.  The first is that it throws up an enormous amount of disparate data which gives a couple of challenges:

·        The first is having the technology to hold and process it at a reasonable price.

·        Second, having the context and business knowledge that when it comes to analyse the data you’ll recognise the opportunity in the data when you see it.

Clients really need to understand what the pain points are for consumers in order to be able to address them. We’ve heard this from consumers, but I’ve equally experienced it within my own home.  When friends come round to visit and ask why I have sensors, cameras and key pad entry, they don’t understand the benefits. 

However, when I explain that I can give my children a separate key code to get into the house so I know they are home safely, or that I can give the delivery guy a code that enables him access to the porch (not the house) to drop off my deliveries, and the best, to turn the heating on so the house is warm after two weeks away at Christmas, the opportunities and benefits start to open up.

It’s a really exciting time to be a researcher with the growing availability of technologies we now have, giving us in the moment understanding on habits and behaviours.

It’s a really exciting time to be a researcher with the growing availability of technologies we now have, giving us in the moment understanding on habits and behaviours. However, currently, I don’t think the IoT has changed insight dramatically.  IoT means connected devices, giving us the opportunity to look at enormous amounts of data.  However, raw data is like crude oil, it’s something of value, but there is a need to refine and process it to turn it into something really valuable.

In the future those that will win the challenges of business decision making will be those who use data source agnostically and have the skills to develop it data into insight.

How do you think the IoT will revolutionise office life? What advice would you give to new and growing companies?

As with before, I think there is a lot of talk around IoT but in reality I think the uptake in offices is relatively small.  We are starting to see more automated buildings which very quickly see big changes, for example O2 operate a self-booking hot desk policy with floors of the building automatically closing down when demand is low. Machine to machine communication is building with printers ordering ink cartridges themselves, being able to control the heating and lighting remotely are also starting to happen, but these aren’t big office type issues.

The exciting areas of impact are where we could see our diaries interacting with our car navigation system.  Knowing when we get in the car what the destination is and what the arrival time should be.  Diaries that can communicate with each other to set up meetings when each person is in the same geographical area and time.  GPS tracking of equipment and staff to ensure safety, expenditure and productivity.

What are the biggest trends which are shaping IoT and insight research at the moment?

The biggest trend in IoT is the growth in multi-data.  In reality ‘big data’ has been around and accessed by some the world’s largest companies for decades.  However, the change today is that more data is becoming available to clients about their customers, as well as the ability to access all different types of data with one platform. 

These platforms mean that analysing this data has become accessible to SMEs in a cost and time-effective way. Being able to utilise and gather insight from existing data is an essential research tool, which in the past clients have been put off by as it’s always been over-whelming. 

This data gives us 360 insight, working alongside other forms of research or stand-alone. It’s at the heart of us, to help our clients such as Disney, McCormick, Jessops, Wickes to name a few in really driving business decision making using insight.

Join the discussion around how IoT is affecting business and home life with Helen and other experts.  To find out more about the Vox Studios Insight Launch event on 19th April, click here.

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