By now you might have heard people talking about the “Internet of Things” and chances are the IoT (as some call it) has already started to weave its way into your life and business. In a study quoted by Fortune, it is estimated that there will be nearly 25 billion sensors hooked up and sharing information by 2020. That’s nearly five times the number of things connected now. This has come to include everyday items like lightbulbs and thermostats to cars and, even more importantly, businesses.
While some people are busy becoming distracted by many of the applications of this new technology, many companies are getting so caught up that they’re unable to see the proverbial forest from the trees. A report by Deloitte Consulting called the latest craze in “ambient computing” one of currently most disruptive trends in corporate technology. Businesses are often so wrapped in the web of new technology that they fail to properly focus their efforts to get the most from these new advancements. “The goal should not be the Internet of Everything,” said the report. “It should be the network of some things, deliberately chosen and purposely deployed.” Often the places where the IoT has the biggest impact are places where consumers might notice it the least.
According to a blog post on Verizon, the Internet of Things provides valuable data in a timely fashion that has real applications for your business as opposed to merely providing more statistical padding for a PowerPoint presentation. “By going between the vehicle, the infrastructure, and driver simultaneously, managers can make quick, knowledgeable decisions while considering every possible step of the fleet management process,” per writer Geeng Yee Chong. As a matter of fact, the corporation now manages more than 15 million IoT connections for business customers and this was one of the fastest growing lines of business for the company in 2015. Early predictions have the growth of the new digital frontier showing no signs of slowing down. A report by the McKinsey Global Institute (per The Huffington Post) estimates the “Internet of Things” could potentially be worth $3.9 to $11 trillion by 2025.
“I think people are starting to understand all of the incredible impacts the Internet has had on business, their personal lives and the ways we can interact with government,” Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute said. As consumers and companies begin to understand these impacts, it will be even more important to focus and prioritize how one adapts to and gets the most from this incredible resource. For businesses, that can mean an increased spotlight on information related to direct outcomes, such as improved vehicle safety or customer service. For everyday consumers, this means using the IoT to get information that actually matters to you, like a breakdown of where you’re spending/saving money on your energy bill.
As the tech grows more powerful each year and the level of inter-connectivity continues to expand, the sky’s the limit for what can be controlled or monitored from mobile devices. But with great power comes great responsibility. Before you upgrade, make sure you can actually use the data you’re downloading as opposed to just making things more complicated.