What is the Internet of ‘Things’?
The Internet of Things (IoT) in the simplest terms is a network of physical devices that are connected to the internet, where they collect and share data. IoT has dominated the consumer market with the latest smart devices being introduced, from smart doorbells to smart beds. Gartner states that the IOT base, which excludes PCs, tablets and smartphones, will grow to 26 billion units by 2020; this is 30 times the number of units there were in 2009. Everywhere we look, we are surrounded by it and can feel its dominance. It’s no wonder it is seen to be the next big trend in technology.
The Importance of IoT in Business
Before IoT, companies would implement individual units, doing independent jobs for independent Business Process Management (BPM) solutions. Many organisations would traditionally implement slow iterative BPM solutions to improve their processes. This would involve conducting market research into their processes, to see how they can improve them. Along with this, implementing major changes and measuring the impact took up valuable time and opportunities to gain an advantage over their competitors.
However, this is starting to change. With IoT being a prevalent figure in the consumer technology industry, leaders in business are starting to take heed and pay attention. Unlike consumers, organisations are focusing on the data that is collected, rather than the IoT device itself. It’s this data that allows them to analyse processes in real-time and collect data that would’ve taken market researchers months, if not years to undertake.
BPM technology is used in all aspects of life and is constantly improving the way companies operate. If companies prepared their business to implement IoT into their processes, their ability to operate with data flows will put them ahead of the curve as the technology becomes part and parcel of daily operations. As IoT grows, the open and available streams of communication will also expand, providing companies access to more data in real-time. This means no more waiting for a business process to finish before determining its success and efficiency. Real-time information uncovers data from the present time of the process. By optimising their processes, organisations can save valuable energy and resources.
What should Companies do?
It is important to be aware of the challenges related to the data from the vast assortment of smart sources. The challenges that organisations will face, lie with the ability to manipulate and action the data from what appears to be a bottomless pit of smart sources. Typically, the physical device distracts users from the long-term value that an IoT device can provide. End-Users like to focus on a new gadget and all its ‘cool’ new features, without recognising the ability to integrate with the useful data these devices present.
Organisations should focus on the true game changing features of IoT and its ability to extract useful data from the endless number of sources. Focus should be put on their IT architecture, and its ability to connect to consumer orientated devices. Information architecture and data management should be at the top of any companies list when seriously considering implementing IoT technologies into their business, as information is paramount when it comes to these devices.
Organisations need to realise that IoT and its abundance of benefits must be added to the budget when considering their present and future technology. The IoT is moving at a fast pace and in order for these companies to keep up, they need to recognise and adopt the same urgency they did for technologies such as mobile, social and cloud.
The foundations of IoT lie in its ability to introduce users to the vast amount of information and data available and take business action on that data. It’s not about a new way of capturing data, but more importantly how quickly and efficiently that specific data can be analysed.
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