The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is by no means a new concept and was first brought to our attention in 1999 by Kevin Ashton. One of the first machines to benefit from being connected to the internet, was a soft drinks dispenser, but since then our imagination has gone crazy on developing ways to connect ourselves and man-made machines to the internet.
A recent article predicted that wearable smart electronic consumer items, such as shoes and accessories will grow to be a $10bn industry by 2016. This seems an absolutely staggering figure, but if you consider that athletic tracking devices that were once only available to top professional athletes are now available on the mass market, as we see amateurs using distance and heart trackers that connect to their PCs, this figure suddenly seems very paltry.
The idea of connecting ‘things’ to the internet, will excite and frighten individuals in equal measures, but the possibilities are endless. People have a very limited attention span, which leads to inaccuracy in processing data; but as an example, think of the benefits for patient care around the world if data from health monitoring devices could be automatically transferred without requiring human interaction, to the department or specialist, with the most expertise to offer advice or treatment. By reducing, the inaccuracies that machine-to-machine contact has, the ‘Internet of Things’ allows us to reduce waste, loss and costs.
Enterprises whilst far from ready to digitalise their products and services, are waking up to the possibilities and potential. By recognising that the IoT goes beyond just assets and machinery, they are starting to realise that by streaming real time data they will be able to manage and operate their processes and services more efficiently, whilst extending their range and increasing opportunities for revenue.
By implementing an IoT strategy, enterprises will be able to gain instant updates on their goods and services, and more importantly, will see exactly at what point things go wrong.