So, you’ve survived the onslaught of social networking, cloud computing, Big Data, and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon. You fought back against the ‘consumerization’ of IT, and are feeling pretty good about yourself.
Welcome to your next nightmare – the Internet of Things (IoT)!
The new year is only a couple of weeks old, and the latest hype-cycle is already in full gear. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) catapulted the promise of connected cars, homes, appliances and other devices into the forefront of consumers’ and the corporate business crowd’s consciousness. All of a sudden the old-world ideas of machine-to-machine (M2M) commercial use cases of tracking vehicles to improve logistics have been replaced. The new world dreams: monitoring the driving patterns of everyone to better understand their buying behavior and preferences.
Cisco Systems has estimated that 25 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by next year, and 50 billion by 2020. Its CEO, John Chambers, is salivating over the prospect of providing the networking solutions that will power this brave new world.
And, nearly every other major player and a growing number of emerging providers are quickly establishing their positions in this rapidly evolving marketplace. Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com, for instance, is advocating a CRM-centric perspective with the proposition that every connected thing actually supports customers. Thus, Salesforce is promoting the “Internet of Customers” as its new mantra for 2014.
Of course, none of this would be possible if it weren’t for the extraordinary technological advancements in mobile devices and remote sensors. Smartphones have become the preferred tool to access business and professional data instantaneously. And, remote sensors can now be economically attached to almost anything.
But, the real engine of the Internet of Things is the Cloud, which enables any company to quickly build a network of connected objects, capture and analyze the Big Data from the network, and share and act upon that information in a way that wasn’t economically feasible only a year ago.
You better be ready to respond to a bevy of inquiries and requests from your CEO, CMO, SBUs, etc. about how and when your company can join the IoT revolution.
So, where should you begin?
First, don’t turn a cynical ear to the IoT idea. Real-world successes stories are already multiplying that clearly demonstrate the IoT isn’t just the next overhyped tech craze. So, denying the practical realities of the IoT concept isn’t going to get you very far.
Instead, take advantage of the rapidly growing interest in the IoT idea to work with your CXOs and strategic business units (SBUs) to determine the best ways to test and deploy the latest technologies to help them meet their current corporate objectives and pursue new market opportunities.
Not too long ago, smart CIOs and IT professionals realized that the Cloud would fundamentally disrupt their traditional IT world. They embraced the opportunity to redefine their role within their organizations from managing technology to managing vendor relationships.
Enlightened CIOs and IT pros also responded to the Big Data challenges that emerged over the past year. They did this by helping their organizations leverage various Cloud-based services to sort through the explosive growth of internal and external data to gain greater insight into their customers, competitors and markets.
Now, you have the opportunity to use your Cloud services and Big Data skills to extend your organization’s reach and deepen its customer relationships via the IoT. So, become your company’s Chief IoT Officer (CiO?) and be a hero again within your organization!
Kaplan is Managing Director of THINKstrategies (www.thinkstrategies.com), an independent consulting firm focused on the business implications of the on-demand services movement. He is also the founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace (www.cloudshowplace.com), and the host of the Cloud Innovators Summit series (www.cloudsummits.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.