BARCELONA: Nestlé, the food and beverage business, is looking at how it can exploit the spread of wearable devices to the benefit of its portfolio of brands, a leading executive has said.

"There will be some unique opportunities around taking wearable or sensor-based data and turning it into next-gen solutions for brands, whether it's recipes, meal prep, pet services," Pete Blackshaw, Nestle's chief digital officer, told The Drum.

"There are lot of ways you can leverage those types of data streams, and we are just in the early stages of figuring those out," he added.

He also enthused about the internet of things. "Connected devices are measuring up to the hype, they have come of age," he declared. "We have been talking about it for years – the connected fridges and cars – but it's real now."

The speed of the change currently taking place in the digital world has led Nestlé to change its whole approach to this area.

"To keep up with today's consumer realities we have to think discontinuously in terms of how do we keep pace with consumer expectations and gain competitive advantage in this space," Blackshaw explained, adding: "I'm not even sure it's a choice anymore."

The other step it has taken is to establish a presence in California's Silicon Valley to ensure it stays on top of all the developments there, especially those from start-ups.

Blackshaw said that technology was now "the price of entry" for anyone aspiring to be a chief marketing officer but warned that balance was needed. This echoed remarks he made to Warc last year when he argued that marketers rushing to new platforms were in danger of losing sight of the fundamentals of their trade.

It is an area explored further in Warc's Toolkit 2014, which found that major brand owners were reappraising their approach to digital, no longer regarding it as a separate discipline and instead focusing their attention on longer-term brand-building programmes.

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff