Things are changing, or to use the more popular term, they are ‘transforming’. From the way we live our lives to the way we work, never before has technology played such a critical role.
Just recently Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft announced the 'Partnership on Artificial Intelligence', dedicated to advancing public understanding of the AI sector, as well as establishing standards for future researchers to abide by. AI and other such technologies will be a major component of the overall Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem and its 30 billion wirelessly connected devices by 2020. Seeing this type of collaboration is extremely exciting.
As the IoT becomes more visible, traditional service-provider and carrier businesses will need to reinvent their strategies and business models to avoid declining revenue and spending. They’ll need to unlock new markets, including some of the most talked about opportunities such as package delivery and smart connected cars.
However, to get to this stage companies will need to demonstrate truly dynamic digital first mindsets in order to capitalise on the incredible opportunities that are poised to arise. The speed at which companies adapt to the opportunities will determine how successful their transition is, and how smooth the impact is on their customers. There will be threats and opportunities to identify, as well as a multitude of regulatory challenges, so businesses need readiness.
Once IoT is part of the fabric of a business however, transformation will become inherent. In the workplace some human functions will become obsolete thanks to machine learning and automation, while new ones will be created. The IoT enabled office of the future will collect and analyse data on working habits to boost every possible area of performance, from suggesting efficiency savings, to real-time room occupancy updates and alerts when toilets are vacant.
This real-time element will also help businesses deliver the worker experience that best suits each individual need. Trends such as flexible working or reduced office hours will no longer be approached with a one size fits all view, rather IoT will help to make each employee happier, more relaxed and ultimately more productive. For instance a HR department will crunch data to see at which point in the day employees are most productive and use this to learn how to improve productivity at other times of the working day. In another example, IoT will impact office design based on insight collected from multiple devices around an office, creating the ultimate workspace.
By offering this level of autonomy, businesses will be empowering employees and improving the worker experience, which in turn will improve the customer experience.
Outside of the office in an industrial environment the role of IoT is even more welcome and critical. With hazardous and dangerous work carried out daily by factory and plant workers, IoT technology that helps monitor highly stressed machines could quite literally save lives. In fact, the potential benefits to people across the professional spectrum, is so vast that the transformation scenario becomes increasingly vivid – it really is a case of how far the imagination can stretch.
The bottom line is simple, IoT will change everything, and the question that businesses around the world must ask themselves is - “are we ready”? Here are some steps to ensure that they are:
Take a long-term outlook
Choose flexible and scalable technology for a seamless integration and expansion that is cost-effective.
Look to the cloud
The cloud is a great fit for IoT enabled businesses, delivering the benefits of speed, efficiency and global access as well as lowering the cost of entry and supporting business scalability and agility.
Automation equals optimisation
IoT is essentially the interconnectivity of lots of different devices and machines talking to one another and carrying out functions without human involvement. The more automation there is, the more opportunity for users to concentrate on operations that drive value.
Learn from best practices
Look for examples of companies in your industry and across industries to see how they are harnessing the power of IoT to improve their operations and deliver a greater service experience to their end customers.
By Justin Anderson, GM EMEA, Appirio