Remember how the Internet transformed everything in our lives, from how we work to how we communicate? That’s nothing compared to the ways the Internet of Things (IoT) stands to revolutionize everything we’ve ever known about business, management, marketing, industry—and everything in between.
It’s been said the disruptions caused by IoT will exceed those caused by social, mobile, analytics and Cloud combined. It will connect not just computers, cell phones, and customer service reps, but appliances, vehicles, wearables, homes, bodies, rivers, oceans and more. More than 6 billion things are already connected, with more than 20 billion anticipated to connect by 2020. If your head isn’t spinning—and inspired—about the things IoT can do for your customers, employees and overall productivity, it’s time for a pulse check. IoT is the biggest driver in digital transformation we’ll see in this lifetime. The following are just a few reasons why.
We all know data collection enhances our customer satisfaction and marketing efforts. The IoT will take it even further, allowing us to anticipate customer behaviors and needs, and stay in relationship with them 24/7. It allows us to make real-time decisions based on what products are selling, which marketing campaigns are working, and even which sales pitch needs to be tossed out the window. Whereas in the past, data trends were reported weekly or monthly, IoT will allow us to gather and process information in real-time, making us look like heroes to our bosses, geniuses to our stock holders, and psychics to our customers and employees alike.
Is there room to grow? Absolutely. Currently, 90 percent of data created by IoT is not captured or analyzed, and 60 percent of that data loses its value almost immediately. It’s clear that today’s executives are not yet prepared—or don’t fully grasp—the value IoT offers. As the technology permeates our working and living spaces, we as business leaders need to get smarter about how we work and whom we hire so we can take full advantage of its benefits.
On the business side, data garnered though IoT will help you more accurately predict both sales and slumps. It may even prevent the slumps altogether. It will help you more efficiently direct your staffing resources and manufacturing plans to better reflect the reality of your market. Indeed, one of the magical things about IoT is that it requires no human interaction. Objects do all the work for you, saving thousands of hours in human processing time. Employees will spend less time fixing problems and more time anticipating solutions before the problems even occur. It will allow you to be proactive, even in a transformational market.
Employees will also benefit from clearer vision. They’ll waste less time regrouping and changing direction, and more time following a consistent, directed plan. That is what inspired leadership is all about. They’ll feel like they’re working in tandem with their leadership team, and they’ll appreciate having clear marching orders they understand and believe in.
Big Data gathered by the IoT will save you tremendously on numerous levels. On the supply side, it will help you manage inventory and production. It can help you predict maintenance issues on machines and automatically replace or repair them before it’s too late. It will also allow you to anticipate those same needs for your customers—allowing them to schedule preventative maintenance based on their true needs, thereby increasing satisfaction for ease of use and reliability both. Don’t believe it? The city of Barcelona estimates IoT has helped save $58 million from connected water management and $37 million in smart street lighting. GE believes that using IoT to make its oil and gas exploration just 1 percent more efficient could save the company $90 billion. In that sense, the cost of implementing a clear IoT plan is nothing compared to the benefits it offers.
Your customers aren’t the only ones captured in your data chain. Your employees are also connected in the same multi-dimensional system, offering thousands of data points a day related to work performance, preference, and culture. An effective IoT plan will allow you to better gauge which hours your employees are most productive, where they work best (work or home), and how they respond to incentives and bonuses.
Happy employees, satisfied customers, and inspired growth. If that doesn’t sound like a game-changer, I don’t know what is.