The Internet of Things

At its essence, the Internet of Things (loT) involves technology being embedded in devices so that the ability to send and receive data is feasible. This connectivity enables companies to track the physical location of everyday objects. loT increases the speed of business decisions, and eliminates unnecessary, manual involvement.

In 1990, the world had roughly 300,000 connected devices. In 2013, there were 9 billion. In 2025, there are expected to be an estimated 1 trillion devices with this technology. Areas where loT will be valuable include ordering more resources when supplies are low, tracking the location of a customer’s order, and monitoring the process flow of production. All of these activities can already be accomplished, but incorporation of loT enables them to be completed without manual intervention.

This will be valuable in many ways. For example, when a store is running low on a certain product, employees won’t need to go into the system to manually place an order. Instead, when a predetermined threshold is reached, loT will cause that product to be ordered automatically. This will ensure employees are not interrupted. Instead, they will be able to continue performing their work. Bringing this to a more granular level, when you run low on paper towels at home, loT will create an order at Amazon, Walmart, or other retail company, and have that product shipped directly to you.3

Taking Action

loT has extraordinary potential, especially in regard to the speed at which your business will be able to operate. To ensure you produce optimal value, you must determine the best approach for using it.

  • • How is your industry using loT?
  • • What are the devices and objects in which technology can be imbedded in so your business can speed up production?
  • • Where could loT generate the most value in your business?

Apps and Mobile Devices

If you haven’t switched everything you can over to digital/virtual yet, you’ve already lost. Building a virtual presence over the past two decades has been instrumental in survival. You must build on this by extending beyond just having a digital footprint; today, everything must be mobile and voice activated.

Apps and mobile devices allow people to control their lives more than ever, with every part of daily activity being affected. From controlling the temperature in the living room and monitoring sleep patterns to watching the most recent episode of your favorite television show and remote healthcare diagnosis, mobile technology and advances with apps are now demanded from the marketplace.

Mobile connectivity will not stop there. Over the course of the next decade, customers will become increasingly interested in wearable devices. More than just a watch that will enable you to read email, text with friends, or track how many steps you take, wearables being developed will have far more functionality. Watches will tell you which friends are in close proximity, glasses will alert you to stores in your area that are having a sale, and earrings will play music for you depending on your mood.

The use of voice-activated products will also skyrocket over the next decade. Companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple (among others) have created advanced, voice-activated technology that is revolutionizing consumer behavior. This paradigm shift empowers people to simplify their lives by enabling them to communicate with a device directly, rather than through the use of a keyboard.

Taking Action

If you delay adopting apps and mobile devices similar to the way many companies delayed embracing websites and social media, you will lose. The world has never been more mobile, so the idea that you can avoid incorporating this advance is false. Instead, you must meet this challenge head-on.

  • • What have you done to embrace the transition into mobile?
  • • What app or mobile device could you create that would enable you to communicate with your consumers more directly (and effectively)?
  • • How will voice technology disrupt your industry? And how can you include it in your business?
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