Ever felt that you’ve spent half your life searching for a parking space? Well, it’s not that much of an exaggeration. One study estimates that typical drivers spend 2,549 hours of their lives in the aimless, money-wasting, and gas-guzzling quest for a place to park.
Now imagine that through technology — connected cars, roads, and, of course, parking spaces — you could substantially reduce all of that wasted time and money.
Unfortunately, business and enterprise are rife with their own versions of wild goose chases for parking spaces: supply-chain deficiencies, checkout bottlenecks, quality-control failings, communication breakdowns, and, yes, clogged parking lots. These are but a few of the drags on productivity, efficiency, and innovation.
The solution for all these problems may be the same: connectivity.
Cisco estimates that the Internet of Everything — the networked connection of people, process, data, and things — promises $14.4 trillion in Value at Stake for private-sector companies globally over the next 10 years.
To illustrate just one area of impact, in 2013, manufacturing is expected to realize $103.1 billion in IoE-related profits. The elements driving this progress include collaboration tools that link design teams with engineers and global teams; smart factories that adjust their output and product design according to real-time data from customers and partners; and machine-to-machine connections that share data on tracking shipments and inventory across supply chains.
But how will your organization begin to reap the great benefits of the Internet of Everything?
Here are four key steps that will set your company on the road to IoE value:
- Let There Be Light. To start, identify those currently unconnected “dark” assets that could bring greater value when connected across the people, processes, data, and things that define the IoE value chain. If you are a retailer, for example, one dark asset may stand out above all others: your customers. Many theme parks, on the other hand, have done a great job of “lighting up” their guests through digital bands and connections with smart devices. The result is greater efficiency, increased interactivity, reams of data, customer insights, more fun, and higher profits.
- Isolate the Hot Spots. Those assets that are ripe for illumination then need to be categorized. Find out which ones align to each of the five IoE value drivers: asset utilization, employee productivity, supply chain and logistics, customer experience, and innovation. Let’s say you have a machine shop. Those 25 stamping machines at the heart of your operation may promise to make your supply chain much more effective, once IT-enabled. So, light ’em up.
- Prioritize the Use Cases. We call this step the valuation assessment. Cisco has drilled down on particular use cases and how they relate to the promise of IoE. These include smart factories; connected marketing and advertising; smart grid; connected entertainment; smart buildings; connected vehicles; connected healthcare; and connected education. Find out how your currently dark assets align with potential use cases and IoE drivers. Some of your assets may fall into multiple use cases; regardless, the goal is to prioritize in relation to your organization’s performance, especially relative to your peers. If, for example, your core goal is to bolster customer experience, you will need to rate those assets in terms of your organization’s IoE readiness and feasibility (in effect, by evaluating these dark assets, which, when enabled, will enhance people, process, data, and things).
- Follow the Map. We call this final step the IoE solution engagement. It provides your organization with a comprehensive roadmap of business and technology solutions—so that you can prioritize the use cases according to the competency and market challenges that your business faces today.
By defining some very concrete steps that lead into the Internet of Everything, you will begin the process of transforming your business in extraordinary ways as you align and connect key assets, internally and externally. IoE, after all, is an ecosystem. In this model, no one can innovate alone.
The IoE revolution is upon us and promises unprecedented opportunities for eliminating inefficiencies and creating new value for your organization.
So, heed the call to action. And don’t waste time looking for a parking space!