What The Internet of Things Means to Your Business

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The technology world has forced to think about how we describe the multiple meanings associated with words and phrases. The mouse is something you click, not something that squeaks. A monitor is a computer display rather than someone in the hallway making sure you don’t skip class. SPAM is junk email, not something you eat while in college.

Now we’re tossing around the phrase Internet of Things or IoT. Read on to learn more about this new phrase and what it could mean for your company.

The world of opportunity is boundless for an organization to take advantage of the market opportunities presented by IoT. Vodafone recently released their Vodafone IoT Barometer 2016 report. The report provides an interesting view into the market.

• 24 percent of the IT budget will be spent on IoT.

• 63 percent of the organizations that have adopted IoT are seeing a significant return on investment.

It is fair to say that the focus on business transformation is driving in IoT.

So what’s IoT?

Here are definitions from two industry leading organizations:

• "Internet of Things: Connecting physical objects is creating new business models, improving processes, and can reduce costs and risks." – McKinsey & Company

• "The Internet of Things is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment." – Gartner

To simplify these definitions, think about a new car and a smart phone. Recently manufactured cars have a computer enabled to communicate to the outside world.

Likewise, a smart phone can handle the latest in applications and communication. Notice a key concept, items need to be able to communicate. The car and the smart phone connect and communicate using the Internet.

Here is the really fun part of the Internet of Things: you can virtually create value. Let’s look at some examples.

• Today you get a notification light on the dashboard when you have a car problem. It is never a good sign when your oil light comes on because you know the damage has probably already been done. But what would happen if the data being captured through the sensor in your car could notify you on your Smart phone that your oil consumption is higher than normal? This proactive notification could save your engine and save you a lot of money. Imagine no abrupt issues on a random road in the middle of a trip or on the way to work.

• Interested in saving on your auto insurance? Many automotive manufacturers are looking at how sensor and video advancements can be harnessed to save you from an accident. Selecting this feature also could help save a little on your car insurance. I recently read how Subaru is enabling your car with an extra set of eyes to see trouble and stop it.

• Google has legitimized automated driving. In early 2015, a news release was issued: “Gartner Says By 2020, a Quarter Billion Connected Vehicles Will Enable New In-Vehicle Services and Automated Driving Capabilities.” This further validates rapid technology developments will provide the capability for automated driving in our vehicles because of IoT.

Benefit of IoT to Business

It would be very easy to see how your organization could look at IoT as it applies to a new product offering. Challenge yourself to think about how it could impact your organization internally. I would start with efficiency. Indiana is known for manufacturing. How would a manufacturing organization behave if you were able to harness data from sensors, machines, and even routing labels? Here are a few examples:

• Conducting proactive maintenance on machine before it shuts down your production line.

• Providing an optimized delivery route to your truck driver allowing them to avoid construction and/or wrecks and reducing the likelihood of a late shipment. Taking this a step further, providing automated driving capabilities to allow the truck driver to rest during long distance deliveries.

• Outside the realm of manufacturing consider, smart city concepts that allow automatic adjustments to stop lights based off traffic flow or even video information that guides city road crews to clean city streets based off impact from a winter storm.

Regardless of the words and phrases used and their double meanings—technology is and will continue to impact our daily life. Integrating IoT into your business, whether by adopting a program or project from a vendor or creating your own IoT system could turn your company into an early adapter (yet another multiple meaning phrase brought to you by technology professionals).

Andy Brockett is the Allegient LLC director, business innovation.