I mentioned ‘The Internet of Things’ (IoT) in a conversation last week and to say I got a weird look is an understatement. I then had to attempt to qualify what the IoT is. It all sounds like hocus pocus and if it was to be suggested even 10 years ago I’d probably have been thrown in a tower somewhere and branded some form of devil worshipper.
The reality is the IoT is a reality. It’s here. You probably have some devices that are classed as IoT already. Your SMART phone, CCTV cameras linked to the web, heating system you can turn on and off with your iPhone Windows phone? Yeah, that’s the IoT. Eventually everything will be connected. This includes everything from your smart watch that monitors your pulse, internet connected baby monitors and self-driving cars to the IoT toilet that will analyse your deposits and send off the data to your health provider for analysis to determine what and how much you actually drink and eat. It’s scary but exciting stuff, I think.
So what does this mean for business then? Well, a lot actually. It will ultimately depend on your industry. Manufacturing (in terms of efficiency) will benefit greatly from IoT. Think of anything that benefits from tools and plant and it will eventually be Internet connected. It will start replacing manual jobs in numerous industries. Ok, but someone has to maintain and repair the machines, right? Wrong. Eventually machines will be self-repairing effectively eliminating the need for any human intervention in many respects. The rate of technological advancement is phenomenal, so much so that Professor Stephen Hawking has suggested artificial intelligence is one of the greatest threats facing mankind. In business to retain any form of competitive advantage you have to invest in technology, that’s not really under dispute. The rate of change is gathering pace and I for one, won’t think of the ‘Terminator’ film series in the same light again.