The internet of things has been considered an epic phenomenon that will make the world a smarter, better place to live in. Naysayers may debate the point, but the truth is that the vision of thousands of interconnected devices- wearables, conversational interfaces, cameras, refrigerators, ovens, toasters, all interacting and ‘talking’ to each other and to us – is a compelling one. Pundits hail it as an entirely new way of interacting with the world and the customers. And whether startups or large companies, there has been an immense amount of development related to both hardware and software.
Given the boom the field is witnessing, what does IoT bring us in 2017? Two areas of development seem to be possible. The first is the development of an ecosystem and infrastructure that supports the phenomenon. After enough evidences of the power and the possibilities that this phenomenon promises, few avenues like the alarming incidents of security breaches regulations, laws, and security frameworks would be at the top of the list.
Concerns today centre on the edge or the fog- how to ensure that the layer of interconnectivity between the actual device and the cloud is developed. I believe that for some products the development of this layer would take priority, as these products are already in the public eye, and are ready to be integrated into world markets.
Design and product innovation would be a focus, ensuring that hardware and software are designed smartly, to ensure seamless operability. Marketing and distribution channels would be strengthened for the truth of the matter is that today these are not fully equipped. Connectivity is another area where improvements are sought, and where energy and dollars are going to be focused. In short, efforts would be directed to ensure the phenomenon works, so that we may reap the benefits.
Simultaneously, there would be a focus on ensuring that the data is being used smartly and innovatively to get the most of it. These data can have immense advantage for the marketers and human resource managers. IoT allows a two-way interaction between product and the customer, providing a myriad of data about customers, their actions, and their preferences. Companies and marketers can therefore get to know their buyers with greater intimacy, gaining insights into their personalities, wants, and needs, and providing avenues to establish purchase intent. Audience based marketing is possible, allowing for targeted content and greater personalization of offerings, driving engagement and loyalty, encouraging customers to develop personal and interactive relationship with brands, which is the holy grail that drives sales.
Another area of development that is less seen or discussed is the avenues provided to companies to make their internal customers happy. For example, data collected from electrical devices such as air conditioners could help maintain ambient conditions at an optimal, satisfactory level, which provides comfort for the employee to perform their tasks without having to expend energy on adjusting to extreme conditions.
Being comfortable adds to well-being, and allows employees to interact and discuss, sharing tacit knowledge. Sensors could help track movement patterns, allowing placement of furniture to maximize impromptu interaction, which could ensure development of good interpersonal relations which contribute to well-being of employees and could allow serendipitous exchange of tacit knowledge, allowing employees to learn, and organizations to remain competitive in changing business environments. Seems far-fetched, but the data allows this to happen! I believe the time is right for this to happen.