Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Internet of Things: The future of business
The articles “Big Bang Disruption: The "Internet Of Things" Takes Off, Gradually And Then Suddenly” published in the Forbes and the “The Internet of Things” in the McKinsey Quarterly were an excellent read. They clearly articulate how more and more products are gaining the ability to communicate and with that disrupt the existing business models, improve business processes and reduce costs.
For years, computer processing speed and memory have experienced regular, even predictable, growth that is nearly exponential. Everything gets twice as fast and half as expensive every few years following the pattern of Moore’s law. In what’s called the Internet of Things, sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects—from roadways to pacemakers—are linked through wired and wireless networks, often using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the Internet. These networks churn out huge volumes of data that flow to computers for analysis. When objects can both sense the environment and communicate, they become tools for understanding complexity and responding to it swiftly.
Precision farming equipment with wireless links to data collected from remote satellites and ground sensors can take into account crop conditions and adjust the way each individual part of a field is farmed—for instance, by spreading extra fertilizer on areas that need more nutrients. Billboards in Japan peer back at passers-by, assessing how they fit consumer profiles, and instantly change displayed messages based on those assessments.
Traces of futurism can be seen in some of this and early warnings for companies too. Business models based on today’s largely static information architectures face challenges as new ways of creating value arise. And when operating environments are monitored continuously for hazards or when objects can take corrective action to avoid damage, risks and costs diminish. Companies that take advantage of these capabilities stand to gain against competitors that don’t.
The widespread adoption of the Internet of Things will take time, but the time line is advancing thanks to improvements in underlying technologies. Advances in wireless networking technology and the greater standardization of communications protocols make it possible to collect data from these sensors almost anywhere at any time. Massive increases in storage and computing power, some of it available via cloud computing, make number crunching possible at very large scale and at declining cost.
I believe this will essentially change the way businesses will take place in the future. Internet of Things is the future for all organizations to improve and reduce costs.