Living Services Sprouting in the Wake of the Internet of Things: Accenture

Intelligent IT services are about to get an IoT-fueled boost, presenting businesses with new opportunities and challenges.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to have a dramatic impact not only on the lives of consumers, but also on how companies operate, according to a new report from Accenture, a global consulting and technology services.

A new report from Accenture Interactive, The Era of Living Services (PDF), explores how the IoT will change daily life with personalized services that intelligently adapt to the user. Although tech companies have tried before, the IoT's scale will help push intelligent services into the mainstream.

"The concept of intelligent services that adapt and change based on consumer preference isn’t new, but the technology that enables living services has recently matured enough for brands to create and deliver them at scale," noted the company in a statement. "The services will start to grow on a new layer of connected intelligence formed by sensors, the cloud, connected smart devices and real-time analytics, also known as the Internet of Things."

Delivering those services will have a profound impact on how IT organizations are structured and operated. "One striking example of how Living Services will require businesses to change is the growing fusion of the roles of chief marketing officer (CMO) and chief information officer (CIO) traditionally charged with IT operations," stated the report.

Naturally, analytics will play a major role, forcing enterprises to start "designing with data in mind," advised Accenture. "Rather than a tunnel-vision approach to designing a service with a fixed range of options and functionality, Living Services require an evolutionary capability to be designed in from the beginning," said the report. "Designs must be immersed in behavioral data from the concept stage."

The cloud can help organizations analyze, manage and integrate the enormous data volumes produced by always-on sensors, mobile devices and wearables. It can also help democratize data, allowing individual businesses units to glean insights or uncover potential opportunities. "In short, cloud data systems will help businesses become more nimble, efficient and creative," stated the company.

Networks also have to be up to snuff. "Continued investment in the rollout of hyperfast data delivery infrastructure is critical to the creation of Living Services that blend seamlessly into our lives," stated Accenture's report.

Businesses will also grapple with data privacy. While the public is growing to accept that complete data privacy is a thing of the past – 80 percent of 20- to 40-year-old consumers believe that to be the case says Accenture – they remain suspicious of how their data is being used, potentially harming their relationship with a provider.

Seventy percent of those consumers surveyed by the company believe that businesses aren't transparent about how their data is used. Another 87 percent are leery about how companies protect their information.

Embracing living services means ceding some control over to consumers. "The shift in power will gain momentum as the commercial opportunity to empower people to control their personal information is increasingly recognized," the report said.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Tags: Accenture, internet of things, IoT

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