Where Will The Internet of Things (IoT) Lead Our Businesses Next?

Where Will The Internet of Things (IoT) Lead Our Businesses Next?

 

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn predicts that by 2020, “everything that can be connected will be connected”. This statement is strengthened by estimates from analyst company Gartner Inc. that 20.4 billion IoT devices will be installed by this time. Basically everything with an on/off switch, from home appliances to wearable devices, will be accessing and sharing information through the internet. Cool huh?

 

The leap in internet technology has already created exciting beneficial developments for businesses, from automation, to outsourcing opportunities and more comprehensive operational control through cloud technology and data.

 

However, with the exponential growth in technology only just beginning, how is this likely to shape the way we do business in the near future?

How IoT is transforming our current business-scape

business-scape

We are seeing fast progress with artificial intelligence and this is influencing business. Millions of us are already using technologies like Google Assistant and Alexa to make purchasing and day-to-day tasks faster and much simpler. And leaders like Google and Amazon are funding projects to improve things such as task automation, machine learning, virtual reality, robotics, voice recognition and more.

 

On a broader scale we are now seeing the power of IoT with smart homes and even smart cities. These connected environments will look to reduce the human impact on climate change and manage population growth. AI can help us do things that aren’t possible as mere human beings. Employing AI systems has already helped companies efficiently analyse data to personalize online ads, or even detect fraud or diagnose disease. These technologies will become more integrated as we move functionality into the cloud.

 

So what’s in store? Well Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew Mcafee on the subject in the Harvard Business Review,  comment that though AI is “already in use in thousands of companies around the world, most big opportunities have not yet been tapped”.

It’s predicted that AI will have a magnified role in business over the next 10 years, becoming instrumental to almost every industry, from manufacturing, to education, law, finance and transportation.

Preparing for a more connected world

In order to thrive in the era of connectivity, businesses will need to position themselves for technological innovation by adapting their core processes and their business models. Business owners should be prepared for fast developments in areas including:

 

  • Highly individualized management over what our devices can do, when and where. Think of smart offices that can be controlled by your smartphone to lower running costs.
  • Automated triggering of device functions, such as automatic ordering of office supplies when low on stock.
  • Better tracking of deliveries and vehicles.
  • Machine learning enabling data storage and collection for predictive analytics.

 

As well as improved operational efficiencies and business insights, IoT devices might become key to increased staff productivity. A person with a wearable device that tells them when and where they are most productive for instance, could maximize their contributions to their working environment. IoT will also be essential in the creation or streamlining of competitive products and services. You may be able to implement or provide customers with devices that can automatically receive instructions from the internet. These innovations centered around IoT will enable stronger product and service capabilities and improved connections with consumers.

 

However with these tremendous opportunities come challenges and risks. Businesses will need to be prepared for the huge amounts of data that will need to be stored and exchanged via their connected platforms. The focus should be on building a central system to collect and capture the data, which companies will also be leveraging for marketing purposes. Obviously digital security will be a problem faced by businesses adopting many connected devices. For now, as business owners we can educate ourselves on the possible security risks related to cloud technologies along with the potential devices that will enhance our growth and competitive edge.

 

What do you think will be the main benefits of IoT technology in the business-scape and what would you like to see in your industry? We would love to hear!