Marc Benioff isn’t scheduled to take the stage at Dreamforce until tomorrow, but we already know what's on the mind of the Salesforce’s founder and CEO.

He's going to make a big deal about the company’s new IoT Cloud — something he boasts will transform the Internet of Things (IoT) into the Internet of Customers.

Here's the Plan

In the simplest of terms, Salesforce aims to help its customers harness the large quantities of streaming data generated by everything from connected devices — like thermostats, automobiles, turbines, toothbrushes, Fitbits, you name it — as well as social networks, mobile devices and the cloud.

It claims it can separate the signal from the noise so companies can glean insights and take informed actions.

“We have access to so much more data than we’ve ever had before, but less than 1 percent of it is being analyzed,” Gordon Evans, VP of Product Marketing, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, told CMSWire last week. The remaining 99 percent represents lost opportunities for gleaning insights and engaging proactively.

That's a big loss, especially when you consider that McKinsey Global Institute estimated IoT applications could have a potential economic impact of as much as $11.1 trillion per year by 2025.

Squeezing Insights from Data

But it might not be that way for long because Salesforce’s IoT cloud will leverage Thunder, a massively scalable architecture designed to listen to the connected world. It can ingest billions of events a day, from any source. It is fueled, in part, by leading big data crushing, open source technologies such as Storm, Spark, Cassandra, Kafka and others.

Insights from IoT need context to be relevant and that’s where the value of the IoT Cloud really kicks in. It listens to the world at IoT scale, looks for proactive engagement and then triggers actions according to real time rules.

“This is important for customers - as it creates value. It is an IOT platform,” Constellation Research analyst Holger Mueller told CMSWire.

Just what does he mean? Consider Emerson Climate Technologies, a thermostat provider, that gathers data from billions of weather forecast events, sensors and temperature settings to proactively alert customers on how to manage their HVAC usage within their predefined budget. It’s engaging in a world where engagement counts more than selling.

“Success is all about your customer’s experience with your brand,” said Evans. And the means by which IoT data can be used to create a highly personalized 1:1 marketing event, he added.

Why IoT Data Matters

Will Salesforce change the world or the face of business with its IoT cloud? Time will tell. But one thing already seems certain.

IoT data, if you study it closely can help you engagement.

Now might be a good time for other Platform-as-a-Service providers like CloudFoundry, IBM, AWS, Oracle, Google and others to raise their games.

Title image by Jordan McQueen.