The Internet of Things isn’t coming. It’s here, and it’s disrupting the way business happens.
More than 35 years ago, Alvin Toffler identified it as a driver of Intelligent Environments. Today, it is recognized as one of the most important technology developments to date. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a paradigm shift that has connected the world.
The impact of the IoT is immense. Between 2014 and 2015, the number of connected things rocketed to approximately 5 billion. By 2020, that number could reach 50 billion. To put that into perspective, there are currently about 7.3 billion people in the world. The annual growth rate has that number hitting about 7.7 billion in 2020. That means there will be as many as seven connected devices per person worldwide.
While consumer adoption initially led the spread of the IoT, it has become a powerful disruptive force in virtually every industry and sector. Opportunities like seamless connectivity, data democratization, and real-time information distribution also bring new kinds of risk, models and markets. As you explore the implications of the IoT for your organization, industries, and markets, here are five key things to consider:
- The IoT is more about new and different markets than it is about technology.
Hyperconnectivity disaggregates existing value chains. The IoT drives new customer opportunities and creates new revenue streams. With that opportunity comes the need to innovate business models to satisfy new customer demands.
- Good design is customer-centric.
Consumers have become conditioned to expect customization, ease and streamlined problem solving. This trend is accelerated with the IoT. Successful innovation must focus on solving tomorrow’s problems.
- Balance privacy tolerance and security expectations.
More and diverse data sharing can result in wider, more detrimental breaches. It’s crucial to mitigate cyber security vulnerabilities. Part of that process is recognizing your customers’ tolerance for trading privacy and data for customization.
- Avoid data paralysis.
More does not equate to better in data. In fact, information glut can inhibit innovation and growth and cause the culture to stagnate. Create a balance between being ‘”decision-focused” and “analysis focused” and use context to drive purposeful data aggregation and application.
- Go long. The year 2016 is the starting line.
As the number of connected devices continues to increase, so will the volume and velocity with which information travels. Innovation will increase competitive advantage, and the need for organizational agility will increase. The bio-digital convergence is not far off. As humans become even more interconnected, the Internet of People will offer even more potential to transform disruption into opportunity.
Have no fear
Don’t fear technological convergence. Embrace it.
We know that access to new data can yield amazing insights into human movement, thoughts, and evolution. The IoT has unprecedented potential to illuminate markets, offerings, and innovations.
And if we’ve learned anything, it’s to never lose sight of what comes next.
Tyler Sweatt is the director of business development for Toffler Associates, a strategic/advisory firm helping global organizations to architect a better future.