Is the Internet of Things the latest transformative technology or is it just another tech buzzword?
Dion Hinchcliffe, writing recently in ZDNet, outlines argument for and against the long-term value of IoT and comes down firmly in support.
Certainly some are rather skeptical of the strategic nature of the trend, he writes, citing an Economist article that says IoT communications for the most part represent merely communications among smartphones and computers or industrial components that have long been in use. If this were true, the benefits of IoT have already been realized.
The consulting firm, McKinsey is certainly betting on the growing value if IoT, placing it in the top Ten IT-enabled business trends for the decade ahead, expected to contribute several tens of trillions of dollars to the global economy by 2025.
In addition, IoT can provide a network effect by being connected and contributing value of to those on the network.
Because IoT connects active devices by the tens, and eventually hundreds, of billions that capture and project data and broadly enrich the network, the technology has tremendously powerful network effects, Hinchcliffe wrote. Consumer products manufacturers like Philips, GE, (and now Google) or carmakers across the board are racing to connect their products for this reason. It will generate incredible accumulated value of data, and that data will have enormous competitive consequence.
With this effect at work, businesses will be able to create value with IoT in the following ways:
Smart, connected workplace. Data and control technologies for the workplace will often be wearable, but can include sensors or controllers, and will be connected.
Business process monitoring, control, & optimization. Business activities in the office and in the field will be deeply instrumented, measured, and once they are quantifiable, they can more systematically improved.
Enhance and extend IT. IoT will project the IT presence of the organization globally and extend the enterprises reach.
Automation of products and services. Companies will IoT-enable their products and services, but next design them for and around IoT.
Business intelligence. Just like big data did for social media, there will be new levels of insight into the real world and how it actually works, and businesses will adapt accordingly.
Staying engaged and connected with customers & the marketplace. By being connected in a meaningful way 24/7 with millions of customers through IoT-enabed systems engagement, organizations can remain relevant, and stay ahead of the competition.
So, in short, yes, IoT is strategic to the enterprise, Hinchcliffe concludes. There isn't much time, so build your ecosystem, accumulate knowledge, build shared value over your IoT ecosystem, and get it delivering -- and capturing data -- for as many customers as possible, while you still can.
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