The Internet of Things is a fast moving epic transformation that, like earlier iterations of the internet, is redefining how information is created, disseminated, and consumed. Uniquely, though, IoT is projected to be even bigger than what has gone before, with some estimating it to be worth $19 trillion in the next decade. The development of a connected web of people to everyday physical objects, along with machine to machine communications, represents a scenario considered science fiction just a few years ago. Researchers predict that by 2020 over 30 billion objects will wirelessly be connected to the internet. As the world becomes increasingly connected, and the distinctions between real and digital worlds become blurred, technologists and business leaders will do well to understand the implications that these emerging and disruptive trends will have at the organizational level.
Several popular examples of this technology are already on the commercial market. The Nest thermostat is an example of taking a rather mundane element such as a thermostat and enabling it with digital technology to remotely monitor the temperature and comfort level of one’s home or business.
Another major item that has emerged recently is the Fitbit, a popular form of wearable technology that traces one’s daily steps, sleep time, calorie burn, and other health and fitness metrics. These are just two examples of a growing tendency to link physical objects to the internet. With the emergence of other wearable technologies such as Google Glass we will soon encounter a whole new realm of real time awareness and connectivity.
If you imagine the synergies that have emerged around Big Data in recent years and amplify that tenfold, then you’re approaching something comparable to what IoT will become. As one source put it, “It is taking internet to another level: connecting things and making sense of the data coming in, while sending actions back out to optimize things.”
While the Internet of Things is very much in it’s infancy, there is plenty that small business leaders can do today to leverage the market opportunities of this new and emerging economy. A plethora of information already exists on the importance of the Internet of Things and the potential impacts it will have. Even more critical for the present though is the need for real, actionable next steps. In the remainder of this segment and throughout the rest of this series we’ll outline some strategic guidelines that small businesses can begin to follow today in order to maximize market opportunities in the IoT space.
Jump Ahead of Your Competition
Determine that a strategic roadmap will be necessary to gain market share and advantage in the Internet of Things. Get your business stakeholders together and organize some lunch and learns to educate your company about the Internet of Things and why it’s transformative for business. Identify key subject matter experts in your organization – developers, project managers, architects, and business leaders – who will be tasked with outlining a set benchmarks for integrating the Internet of Things into your lines of business. Position your company with the knowledge, skills, and resources to become a leader in this space, rather than fighting to catch up in three to five years.
To be continued tomorrow . . .