50 Billion Devices Can’t Be Wrong
Soon, 3 billion people will be connected to the Internet – and it can’t be long before half of the world’s 7 billion inhabitants are online. In addition to this growing ‘Internet of People,’ there is an even more rapidly accelerating number of ‘connected things.’ Cis- co estimates that 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020: cars, houses, factory machinery, sport trackers, watches and entire cities.10 These are the smart connected things that make up the IoT.
The IoT can already be seen around us in the latest consumer trends. New automobiles are natively equipped with Internet connectivity and in-car infotainment systems. Sensors watch almost every aspect of car functionality including tire pressure. Emergency services will even be connected to all cars in the European Union (EU) once the new eCall regulation is in place.
Wearable technologies such as activity sport trackers and smart watches collect interesting metrics including step counts, sleeping rhythms and daily performance achievements – set against a pre-defined target – and analyse them in the cloud to help users track their fitness.
Down the road, we will see even more advanced measure- ments in the IoT, like emotion and feeling sensors embedded in jewelry. As ‘vertically integrated offerings’ start to open up their APIs and become horizontally integrated, more and more possibilities will appear.
How Data Informs More Intelligent Processes
For the IoT to be useful to enterprises and consumers alike, it requires an abundance of key technologies with a reasonable un derlying cost structure. For example, sensor technology, high-speed worldwide connectivity, cloud computing and advanced analytics with machine learning are all foundational for the IoT to flourish. Sensors provide the data which is transported through connectivity to cloud-based systems with advanced analytics, which can then make machine-speed decisions about what to do, and connect with other services in the cloud to drive a new way of resolving even the smallest aspects of human labour.
With new IoT sensors and the data they collect in place, plus the connectivity that provides access to that data, there is now a nearly endless supply of information that can be utilised to create new insight, intelligence and automation and improve current business processes. One aspect of this is to take routine and mundane tasks off the plates of humans, so they can focus on more meaningful tasks, leaving the heavy lifting to the machines. This has the extra benefit of removing the “human error” risk from processes, and reducing the chances of business disruption and the potential for fraudulent activity. For businesses that must manage high SLAs, warranties and insurance policies, this is an invaluable benefit of the IoT.
Most industries today agree that the creation of new, intelligent, real-time and contextual processes are key to improving not just business performance but also the customer experience – and that will be the real impact of the IoT, particularly from the perspective of the end user.