The Internet of Things (IoT) involves connected products, assets, fleets, infrastructures, markets, and people. In this series of blogs, we’ll address each of these connected aspects in turn.
A noun is defined as a person, place, or thing. So perhaps the interconnection of embedded digital devices should be called not the Internet of Things but the Internet of Nouns. Because IoT involves not only connected things, and not only connected places, but also connected people.
Connected people involves emerging IoT technologies like wearables in industrial, medical, and social contexts. It includes innovative solutions that augment reality, improve worker efficiency and safety, and enable better health and quality of life. And it extends to connectivity that pervades people’s lives, such as connected homes and connected cars.
In short, connected people is the IoT category where organizations have the opportunity to bring gee-whiz solutions to market, creating superior customer experiences and building lasting relationships with their brands. For this reason, the connected-people marketplace will be one of fierce competition. Organizations will not only need to develop the most innovative solutions; they’ll also need a unifying foundation to help them digitally transform existing processes and evolve to new digital models.
The power of networks to the people
The opportunities for connected people exist across three key dimensions:
1. People and work
IoT can link employees to their environments in real time, allowing workers to stay safe and enabling organizations to avoid risk and improve or even transform processes. What’s needed is not only a means of capturing data – through wearables, for example – but also the ability to harmonize and analyze the data in real time. The resulting insights can enable workers and organizations to continually improve processes, meet and monitor regulatory compliance, address bottlenecks, reduce downtime, and collaborate with other individuals and organizations.
2. People and health
Internet-connected medical devices are about more than simply allowing patients to track fitness activities. Connected people and health should aim to create a consolidated view of all patient-related information sources. Today, most of these information streams are siloed, increasing costs and impairing patient care.
Ultimately, healthcare providers should strive to create a 360-degree view of each patient, adding a semantic layer through natural-language processing to normalize all data sources and create a comprehensive health network. By adding medical-research data to the patient view, providers can correlate demographic data with medical data. That will enable researchers and hospitals to quickly create patient cohorts and more quickly validate hypotheses.
Finally, a patient-health engagement platform can enable a tight-knit net among patients and providers to improve care and monitor patient adherence – a significant benefit, given that nonadherence is linked to 125,000 deaths a year in the United States alone. For example, Validic is connecting more than 300 medical devices and fitness trackers. A mobile app lets doctors monitor drug compliance and interact with patients to improve outcomes.
3. People and homes
Homes are becoming more connected, with smarthome device shipments expected to double from 535 million in 2016 to 1.1 billion in 2020. Connected lighting, security, and heating and cooling, along with smart appliances and other innovations, will make home life more comfortable, efficient, and secure.
Homeowners will gain convenience, control, and peace of mind. Manufacturers can capture detailed, real-time information about performance and usage to optimize product designs and develop personalized solutions. Manufacturers and retailers can create new service-based business models, offered individually or in concert with other service providers, to cement brand loyalty. Insurers can leverage connected-home intelligence to fine-tune offerings or create new value-added services.
IoT can enhanced people’s work, health, and lives. It can enable better lifestyle experiences and stronger communities. Organizations can leverage IoT, cloud computing, data analytics, and related technologies to offer connected people new services in real time – all highly tailored to individual activities, locations, and needs. By connecting individuals and communities with products, services, and brands, IoT will transform the way companies go to market and build and maintain brand loyalty.
Effective IoT connectedness requires a unifying foundation. SAP has addressed this need by introducing SAP Leonardo Internet of Things portfolio, innovative solutions designed to help organizations digitally transform existing processes and evolve to new digital models. Learn more by reading about real-world use cases, visiting sap.com/iot, attending our flagship event Leonardo Live this July 11–12 in Frankfurt, and following us on Twitter at @SAPLeonardo.