‘The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.’ William Gibson
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term coined by Kevin Ashton, a British technology pioneer working on radio-frequency identification (RFID). He conceived a system of ubiquitous sensors connecting the physical world to the Internet, a system of interconnected devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data via the Internet.
Leaders of the digital transformation, who are leveraging emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning that take a cognitive approach to innovation, are creating a ‘Strategy for the Future’ foundation; a comprehensive road map that has the potential to take nations to the next level of development.
An important part of this Strategy for the Future should be an understanding of the future consumer. A data strategy without an integrated analytics or cognitive computing strategy will not suffice. Having great data without the ability to leverage it for competitive advantage is useless.
The geostrategic landscape of procurement and logistics for consumer industries is changing exponentially through these emerging technologies. ‘Expect the unexpected’ has become the new normal. Whereas, regulatory requirements of international legal considerations continue to lag.
We’re in the heart of a new paradigm
The Internet of Things, leveraged by these technologies, might be perfectly positioned to play a key role in helping the consumer products industry define what the ‘consumer of the future’ truly means.
Intelligence, sensing, and wireless communication from the Internet of Things generate the flow of data. This, along with the data from social media and the ability to create uncensored and open data, makes it possible to better study consumer behavior.
According to Cisco, 50 billion devices are likely to be connected to the Internet by 2020, helping to sustain a $14 trillion market. The IoT has the ability to steer the minds of transformers, scientists, investors, and decision makers across all industries. It continues to scale worldwide as one of the dominant consumer industries by deploying hardware and software sensors, systems of monitoring, and security systems.
The IoT provides deeper insight into the daily habits and preferences of humans and ecosystem stakeholders. This makes products and services more intelligent and useful, which can add greater value to our lives. Savvy companies can leverage the IoT’s continuous stream of real-time data to deliver an unprecedented level of customization to their customers, which translates into an unprecedented level of added value to their lives.
Additionally, network-connected smoke detectors, carbon monoxide sensors, blood sugar and blood pressure monitors, and other environmental-sensing systems can save lives by alerting customers and relevant stakeholders to dangers that might not be immediately discernible to humans. This creates safer environments, which should have a significant impact on human longevity and quality of life in the years to come.
The convergence of all these environmental and behavioral data channels delivered over the IoT yields opportunities to improve human civilization. Specifically, the IoT enables us to develop a deeper understanding of human ecosystems, which enables engineers and public-policy makers to nurture healthier and more sustainable communities by building more energy-efficient and health-conscious transportation systems, more energy-efficient housing, higher quality healthcare, more intelligent manufacturing processes, and many other refinements of human existence.
Now that the IoT is a reality, and data is everywhere, what is next?
Systems become smarter. Emerging technologies, including the Internet of Everything, augment, broaden, and enrich solutions for the innumerable problems that developed and emerging economies face. Leaders have a timely opportunity to create strategies forceful enough to drive nations’ transformational growth.
The IoT is set to be one of the biggest technological transformations on the horizon, promising to radically change the way we live and how we conduct business.
At the Global Institute for IT Management (GIIM) we help IT and non-IT leaders overcome uncertainties, be well prepared to meet the challenges of the digital transformation, and lead organizations to success in transition. For more insight on how the IoT will change the consumer products industry, read SAP’s latest ebook, “Moving Into the Fast Lane with IoT.”