Internet of Things : Assemblage and Interactions

Novak, T. and Hoffman, D. (2016), Visualizing Emergent Identity of Assemblages in the Consumer Internet of Things: A Topological Data Analysis Approach

Keywords: Internet of things, consumer, assemblage, interactions

Novak and D. Hoffman first define the Internet of things and explain their « Assemblage Theory ». They take the example of the online service IFTTT, to show the consumer experience that emerges from that assemblage.


  • First of all, we will define the Internet of Things and the Assemblage Theory that can be applied to marketing concepts.
  • Then, in is interesting to point out how it has changed the consumer experience and in which way it will continue to evolve.


The Internet has kept evolving these last years, transforming from the internet of information to the Internet of things today. In this article, the authors explain that the Internet of things is a new step in Internet. They underline the fact that consumers do not only interact with smart devices, but also that smart devices can interact amongst themselves. According to T. Novak and D. Hoffman, what must be pointed out is that interactions is much more than just between consumers and devices, devices can also interact with other devices or even with content on Internet.

As a matter of fact, the authors here suggest that interactions in the Internet of Things “create assemblages of consumers, digital information and physical devices” and from these assemblages comes out capacities, that do not exist with the consumers, digital information of physical devices themselves. The assemblage is made of various components that all together creates a whole.

The writers propose that the identity of an assemblage – “what it is” – is defined as the properties, capacities and tendencies that emerge from the ongoing interactions between the different parts of the assemblage. However, the identity of an assemblage is essential to the Internet of Things as it can influence the consumer experience and since consumer experience emerges from a person’s interactions with an assemblage.

In the example that T. Novak and D. Hoffman take in their article, the online service IFTTT, they view an individual IFTTT recipe as “a singular realization that has been created and used by a consumer”.

To finish with, we can tell that the concept of interactions – that they see as a singular realization by each consumer – is crucial to the understanding of the assemblage theory. The whole that creates emerging capacities is much more than the sum of its parts.





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