The Internet of Things or IoT is one of the key digital transformation technologies. In fact, it’s not just one technology as many keep saying but a series of technological and other components that is really vast.
If we look at digital transformation technologies as (sets of) technologies which enable, drive and accelerate digital transformation, business creation/change opportunities and improvements in the ways we work, live, entertain ourselves and connect, the Internet of Things is probably the most impactful and vast of them all. This is certainly the case in the Industrial Internet of Things ‘segment’.
The sheer number of devices and connections which are projected to join the Internet of Things (IoT) is staggering. The latest updates (end 2016) from companies like Gartner, IDC and Forrester show an expected Internet of Things universe with anywhere between 20 and 30 billion devices by 2020.
The Internet of Things: a matter of data and business in transformation
Moreover, with the addition of sensing and data transmitting devices to networks of connectivity and value comes an avalanche of data. With the growth of the Internet of Things we will have more data than we can humanly handle.
While devices and connectivity are of course all important, whether it’s in the Industrial Internet of Things or the Consumer Internet of Things where the device obviously has an additional dimension, in the end the Internet of Things is an umbrella term. It covers many things, and at the same time is part of a bigger ecosystem of technologies and value. Data, why we capture it using IoT and how we turn it into knowledge, matters a lot.
It’s the ways in which we analyze and use this data to enhance what we do across all areas of society that makes the Internet of Things so powerful. It’s clear that big data analysis, the cloud and other related technologies to enable this move from data to knowledge to outcome are all key digital transformation technologies.
While concerns in several areas are tackled and increasingly will in 2017 and until the next decade, companies across the globe are investing in the Internet of Things and already achieve considerable benefits. Others move slower, while consumer adoption of the Internet of Things also picks up. Despite the fact that connecting devices is not new and that with the Internet of Things we have entered a new dimension in many areas, we are still at the beginning of an era of accelerating Internet of Things adoption. And it will be a key pillar in the digital transformation economy.
Internet of Things 2.0: moving to integration and outcomes
All components of an Internet of Things project or solution are important. Today most people focus on the devices, the connections and the volumes. Enter what we could call Internet of Things 2.0 and where we see all digital transformation technologies meet eachother, depending on use case, scope, etc.
As said, the Internet of Things is such a vast reality that it has become an umbrella term for many underlying use cases, technologies and other aspects.
It’s why we started to distinguish between the Consumer Internet of Things and the Industrial Internet of Things. It’s also why some prefer terms such as the Internet of Everything, and in an industrial context, simply the Industrial Internet.
Regardless of how we call it, the Internet of Things 2.0 reality is about an Internet of Things that is put in the context of related technologies, processes, people, benefits, outcomes and massive real-life opportunities, rather than just the technology and device aspect.
It’s about how we move to a hyper-connected world with goals in mind and roadmaps to achieve these goals clearly defined. And in that roadmap will be several digital transformation technologies.
The hyper-connected world: leveraging connected knowledge at scale for optimization, innovation and human purpose
Internet of Things 2.0 in the end leads to an even more hyper-connected world where eventually the term Internet of Things will disappear or be used like we use the term Internet today: as a given, a new normal, a bit like electricity.
Internet of Things 2.0 moves from devices and data to actionable intelligence and purposeful action. The focus will be on the possibilities of hyper-connectivity, less from the connectedness perspective as such but more about how we can improve business, life and society, using the insights gained, thanks to the hyper-connectedness of which the Internet of Things is a crucial additional component.
In order to connect the dots and realize the benefits of this hyper-connected world it’s important to see the Internet of Things puzzle, the various pieces of that puzzle, why we want to complete it to start with, and what is needed to put the puzzle in a safe, valuable and broader perspective.
As usual, this requires a high-level understanding, an understanding of how the Internet of Things fits in the scope of digital transformation and various related digital transformation technologies, insights regarding the Internet of Things beyond the “number of connected devices level” and a holistic view of people, purpose, process and actionable information.
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