Is your business Internet of Things ready?

Like many technology trends on the Hype curve, the Internet of Things (IoT) is currently doing the rounds in many top boardrooms. For many others, IoT remains a topic full of confusion, mis-understandings and black holes. Some businesses risk missing out on an opportunity that could revolutionise their business and their bottom line. Ignoring IoT risks companies sleep walking to bankruptcy as competitors embrace the trend and pull ahead.

So what is IoT?

Essentially its the bringing together of existing and new technologies to allow devices to exchange information that is then analysed and acted upon. The type and number of devices are immeasurable. Connected devices could be anything from your car to a lamppost or even your medicine. Many large research houses are predicting significant growth in terms of the number of devices sharing information. Ericsson puts the number at 18 billion by 2022 while Gartner believes the revolution is coming soon with 21 billion connected devices by 2020.

Even if viewing the numbers with suspicion and skepticism, IoT is going to happen and it will impact your business. For forward thinking innovative businesses it’s time to consider how to leverage the opportunities IoT can bring.

Okay. I get it but give me some tangible examples? Isn’t IoT just going to go the same way as wearables?

Like many things on the Hype curve, IoT will suffer setbacks but it is pulling away from the ‘fad’ tag it had a few years ago. Take any sector and the possibilities that IoT provides are endless.

Let’s take logistics for example. Imagine you run a large multinational logistics business shipping products across vast oceans. Normally tracking and checking of any consignment would be done manually. In the age of IoT, a logistics company could monitor an entire container ship of individual containers remotely. They could also use connected devices to monitor the contents of each container. When shipping fresh fruit or vegetables a connected container could raise an alert if the temperature controlled environment becomes unstable. This would allow the logistics business to intervene and rectify the issue before the ship arrives with thousands of pounds of spoilt produce. The implementation of such technology would bring significant cost and waste reduction opportunities. It would also provide the logistics company with an additional revenue stream to sell to clients wanting protected and reliable shipping.

Give me another example.

Imagine your business is in healthcare. You provide the state with healthcare solutions for an ageing population. With the ageing population comes a rapid increase in costs as diseases and long-term conditions such as dementia suck the public purse dry. Here again IoT can bring significant tangible benefits. In the future your vital statistics will be shared directly with your GP via a secure and remote connection. They will be analysed in real time with a new diagnosis leading to improved treatment combinations. For dementia patients real time tracking will allow family members to take better care of their loved ones.

The business benefits of IoT are endless. Whether it’s waste or cost reduction or new revenue opportunities businesses need to be thinking about this trend and thinking about it now.

So how do I get my business started with IoT?

Like any new technology trend there are risks involved. Many rush into IoT without thinking of the security, cost and legal considerations that could put your business at significant risk. Other business leaders fear IoT due to the perceived backlash from workers who believe their jobs to be at risk from increased automation.

There are a few tips we can share on how best to get started in this exciting and rewarding space.

Spend time understanding how IoT could work for you. Speak to specialists (like us ;)) and technology vendors to explore possible scenarios. Avoid jumping straight in and spending considerable sums when there’s unlikely to be a return on your investment.

2. Be open with employees about the benefit and risks

IoT will revolutionise the world but it’s unlikely to lead to mass unemployment. Automation will increase with such technological advances but so too will the need to monitor, update and administer connected devices. There are millions of jobs yet to be created by this technical revolution. Many jobs we haven’t yet thought of. Be open with your workers on the benefits but also the drawbacks of IoT. The vast majority of workers will be amazed at what can be achieved and how their lives could be improved.

3. Remember that IoT can give back to society in a profound way.

Whether its cars that automatically find parking therefore reducing pollution or a device that helps dementia patients live semi-independently the scenarios are endless. The future isn’t as scary as you might think.

At Strategy Activist we help clients understand how to get the most out of IoT. We jointly explore with clients the opportunities available to them by supporting from strategy development through to technical implementation.

To learn more about how we can help visit www.strategyactivist.com

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Paul Roberts

Work in travel tech. A fan of applying disruptive thinking to age old problems. Passions include writing, reading, ski touring and travel. Opinions are mine.