As new and disruptive as it may sound, the Internet of Things (IoT) abides by the same old business laws. So don’t get afraid by this new terminology! It’s a new marketing word that sounds good and actually may be scary for the ones who aren’t tech-enthusiastic, but the truth is, you’re already using it and you can leverage its possible outcomes for your business just as you’ve leveraged anything so far. Here’s why.
First, you’re already part of the IoT, whether you want it or not. I mean, chances are at least very high, unless you’re raising goats in an environment deprived of any social activity, that you have a smartphone. Maybe you even have an activity tracker or a connected watch, why not connected speakers… And you’re probably using your smartphone to order an Uber, something to eat, get your directions on Maps, or check your next meeting. Good! You’re part of it. Now the good news if you are part of the late adopters (the ones who bought smartphones because you can’t actually find the other ones anymore), is that you’ll have to interact less and less with your smartphone as IoT applications will develop. You can already ask Alexa, Amazon’s connected speaker, to order an Uber or set an alarm for you (or even to tell you a joke, even though I must say it’s better to be a native English-speaker to understand these…). Some studies even show smartphones will disappear sooner than expected! Personally I foresee more a scenario where your smartphone exists and is the central basis for your information but almost never has to leave your pocket.
My second point is you can already leverage it, whether tech-friendly or not. I’m not talking anymore about ordering an Uber here but business-wise, to solve problems. The same good old problems businesses and the world have always had. To use the IoT it takes two things. The first is to understand that to digitally disrupt your company you will need to leverage data. The “things” generate petabytes of data. In another world we used to store this data until needed for legal compliance or other boring use. Now is the time when you can use this data to generate insights for your business. I hear you know saying “didn’t you say we already knew how to use it? I don’t know how to leverage this data”. Yes, you do! It’s actually the second thing it will take you to leverage IoT: businesses including yours have always started with the question “what’s the problem out there we need to solve and how do we make money on this?” It’s no different this time. All businesses should aim at precisely defined impacts, and once you know what it is, let experts answer your question thanks to the insights delivered by your untapped data. If you’re aware that your data will enable you to transform your business and that you’re formulating clearly the problems you want to solve with this in mind, then IoT may indeed have surprising possible outcomes. Some companies out there have achieved creating predictive crime analytics, predictive maintenance, or safer trains through these two steps. So, what will you achieve?