A few years from now, your TV will be able to tell you that the coffee in your coffee machine is ready, and then tell your refrigerator that you need to buy more coffee. Maybe the fridge will even order more coffee for you and have it shipped directly to your doorstep the same day. It sounds like science fiction, but it’s really the coming of machine-to-machine (M2M) reality.

Welcome to the Internet of Things.

The “dumb” electronic devices we have today –  like refrigerators, microwaves and coffee machines – will be smarter than today’s smartest smartphones. And, together, they’ll form a complex network of M2M communications that will revolutionize the way we live our lives and the way businesses manage data to drive marketing strategy.

Mobile, social and cloud are already disrupting traditional master data management (MDM) platforms and many current technologies aren’t prepared for M2M communications. Data may connect all of these dots, but platforms are only just learning to keep up.

Here’s how MDM platforms must change to solve three emerging challenges of the M2M marketing landscape:

1. Complex Relationships

Traditional MDM architecture is becoming overwhelmed by the inter-connected nature of data sets. The complex, multi-level relationships and hierarchies that are part of corporate business and personal relationships are difficult to properly model on many existing platforms.

A CRM-style MDM solution, for example, doesn’t leverage location-aware, mobile-commerce relationships, nor does it take into account the individual’s social-commerce relationships. These relationships will become even more complex when other devices enter the equation and M2M becomes commonplace. When consumers are using their phones to turn on their ovens, what marketing opportunities does that offer to the app maker or third parties? What about the oven manufacturer?

These questions can be resolved by an MDM platform, but only if the technology is sophisticated enough.

2. Mobile

Most Americans age 18-44 have their phones on them twenty-two hours a day. Interaction is possible at all times and, in this new networked economy, it is crucial that those interactions take place at the right time, in the right place and through the right channel.

Mobile commerce will enable location-based awareness data that can be relevant to any business. If this data is consolidated and operational within an MDM platform and coupled with social media data, it will be possible to make highly-contextual and personal offers.

Meanwhile, mobile devices will proliferate far beyond the phone. Watches, glasses and even clothing are already becoming empowered with computing capabilities.

3. Networked Influence

Across social media networks, companies are trying to decide how to best build customer relationships and enhance sales and marketing efforts. These public MDM repositories have valuable demographic and network information that can be leveraged for social media commerce. Next-generation MDM platforms can be used to build models for each customer’s sphere of influence.

More devices and more interaction points from M2M will make these spheres of influence exponentially larger and richer. It’s up to the next wave of MDM solutions to offer a way to effectively monitor, manage and take action from the data created within them.

In the very near-future, the economy will be one of networks: between things, people, devices, brands and business. Having a platform to make sense of those relationships will be crucial for companies to plot the road ahead.

Read the rest of the whitepaper about MDM and M2M here or visit our other blog posts about data management at Pitney Bowes’ Digital Insights blog.