The Internet of Things opens up a wide range of possibilities for businesses, especially in the context of an increasingly mobile workforce and primarily mobile customers. To distill down which aspects of IoT are meaningful for business, I joined panelists from Google Enterprise, AnyPresence, and OpenMarket at the Open Mobile Summit to share our thoughts with moderator Maribel Lopez. Here are some of the key insights I took away from our conversations:

The opportunity for businesses is about so much more than just connecting Things. Our industry calls it the Internet of Everything to describe how People, Process, Data, and Things get connected to drive business value. When you look at new ways to connect all aspects of a business, everyone in your organization can make better decisions – and your business can run with greater operational efficiency.

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For example, a video surveillance system can do more than just record footage for a retail store. Real-time video analytics software can alert a store manager when the checkout lines are getting too long. The manager can then quickly decide whether to open up more cash registers or have employees assist customers with mobile checkout from their tablets, creating a more enjoyable shopping experience for customers.

The biggest obstacle preventing businesses today from reaching the potential of the Internet of Things is resistance to change. Change management is key for any organization to successfully deploy IoT enablement. When creating new business process models, you’re proposing to change the way that people do their jobs. To ease this transition, you will need to make sure to include employees when designing the new processes. Then communicate the benefits at all levels. The key is to start with a well-defined problem that involves just one or two systems or teams. Prove the new model with data that shows improved outcomes. That data will be necessary to disprove long-held beliefs and motivate the company to overcome its inertia. Success will breed more success.

Industries thought to be saturated are undergoing a renaissance. Industries such as manufacturing, mining, and transportation are very mature, but are seeing revitalization when deploying the Internet of Things and enterprise mobility. Connected machines and big data analytics make new heights of operational efficiency and workforce productivity possible, especially in the middle of a factory or an open pit mine. Adoption of consumption business models in mission critical applications is gaining traction.

Think beyond the four walls of your company to discover opportunities for market disruption. By looking at IoT-enabled improvements throughout the entire value chain, your company and your partners can be more competitive. Consider new ways that you can exchange data with other parts of the value chain and build processes that automate and leverage those new connections.

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I’ve given a previous example of how this could transform the automotive industry. Consider what it could mean for the larger transportation industry. Currently, commuters often choose to take an individual car over mass transit if they feel they can’t rely on public transportation to be safe, and efficient. When transit agencies exchange data with public safety officials and the local Departments of Transportation, we can reduce roadway congestion and keep commuters moving, safely and on time.

The possibilities with the Internet of Things are extensive and exciting, but companies need to carefully choose which IoT deployments will matter to their operations and to their customers. How will connected People, Processes, Data, and Things change your business?



Tony Shakib

No Longer with Cisco