“Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.”
— Inventor Dean Kamen
“When we talk about the Internet of Things, it’s not just putting RFID tags on some dumb thing so we smart people know where that dumb thing is. It’s about embedding intelligence so things become smarter and do more than they were proposed to do.”
—Nicholas Negroponte, MIT Media Lab Co-Founder
The Internet of Things (IoT) is far from a new technology. First references go more than a decade back, and businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the consumer benefits a connected device can bring. But it’s important to realize that, as far as the technology maturity curve goes, we’re just getting started.
As we move deeper into the world of IoT, consumer benefits are only the beginning. Increasingly, the same concept has begun to reap real business rewards for organizations willing to step in and build a network of smart, machine learning, integrated software and hardware.
Through IoT, life is becoming more effective and more efficient. Sensors save money by allowing occupancy levels to drive lighting levels and HVAC settings. Automated assistants schedule conference rooms and send invitations to invitees. Consumer data from wearables allows customer experience to soar to new heights.
But ultimately, and to Negroponte’s point, it’s all about the way that connected devices enable an improvement in the business process experience for all audiences. This is how.
Strategic implementation of IoT results in more than just theoretical benefits. It can drive real productivity results, in more ways than one:
– IoT improves collaboration. Smart devices allow for better meetings, while smart offices take away the burden of everyday tasks (like keeping up with ink cartridges) to focus on more productive, strategic work.
– IoT increases office efficiency. Streamlining efficiencies across the office doesn’t just free up space for collaboration. It also minimizes waste through better inventory management, automated meeting scheduling, and more.
– IoT lowers energy costs. Lighting and heating systems that learn can optimize their operations according to occupancy levels. Meanwhile, devices (including employee computers) can optimize their power cycles to reduce waste without impacting productivity.
– IoT improves the supply chain. Smart asset tracking offers real-time access for managers looking to minimize asset loss or delays. That reduces the variability within just-in-time inventory systems, while at the same time improving routing, pricing, and other supply chain considerations.
Each of these benefits directly improves related business processes. Together, they can become significant enough to transform the entire business process experience. IoT becomes more than just a helpful tool; it’s a driver of digital transformation, affecting all core audiences.
A true IoT network does more than feed information to end-users or improve through machine learning opportunities. It also enables each device on the network to communicate directly with each other, eliminating human error and significantly speeding up a wide range of business processes.
When devices communicate with each other, they no longer need to wait for human feedback. They can work around the clock, constantly optimizing against each other. At the same time, they continually gather data, allowing the business to optimize a wide variety of tasks:
– Connect and communicate with your customers around the clock, regardless of employee hours.
– Pinpoint and predict anything from future operations and interactions to sales levels through information-rich predictive analytics.
– Personalize and humanize the experience by turning data insights into more customized communications and interactions.
– Track and manage the entire flow on the backend, typically through automated processes with human oversight and strategy.
Again, we’re just at the beginning of a truly interconnected IoT. But already, the benefits of building connected business processes are beginning to become drastic. More than 80% of companies who have implemented IoT have seen their efficiency increase, some drastically so. Manufacturing and healthcare alone, for instance, make up more than 70% of all IoT devices today.
But that balance is already shifting, with the total amount of IoT devices on the market expected to triple by 2025. More strategic applications, combined with a more natural way to fuel necessary improvements in business processes, will only accelerate that movement.
The result is more revenue, better retention, and quicker resolutions when issues arise. Businesses evolve based on the connectivity fueled by IoT, resulting in a net plus that is so significant, it becomes impossible to ignore.
Implementation, of course, can be a challenge. Fortunately, you don’t have to be on your own. Working with an IoT consultant can go a long way towards streamlining your processes and improve the return on your efforts, to all audiences. Get in touch to start that conversation.
Murray consults with clients to create digital solutions that align with their vision, markets, customers and products. Prior to OZ, Murray co-founded Biztegra, a digital marketing, engagement and technology agency.
He also held senior positions at some of the world’s largest digital agencies, including Razorfish and Sapient, and began his career at what is now Accenture. An IASSC Certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt™, Murray earned his B.S./B.A. in computer science and finance from the University of Florida.
OZ is a consulting and technology solutions leader focused on increasing customer engagement & operational excellence by leveraging Intelligent Automation.