The Internet of Things

“The Internet of Things” – No idea what I am talking about? Then this is a must read.

I had the pleasure of having dinner with a SVP of one of the tech world’s largest companies and our conversation drifted, as it often does, to the Internet and how it is changing consumer behavior.

A big buzz word in the tech communities these days is “IoT” or “the internet of things.” The “Internet of Things” is the idea that objects in the world around us can be tagged and connected to the global Internet through those tags.

So what does that really mean? In effect, these networked things become “smart objects” that can become part of the Internet and active participants in business processes. The Internet of Things” includes everything from smartphone apps that control your home’s lights, to your new TV with Netflix, to thermostats with remote temperature control, to real-time analytics that help ease traffic congestion and city parking woes. One of my favorite examples of the future of IoT is the idea of commercial or home for sale signs that can transmit information to your phone as you approach.

It is estimated that there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the IoT by 2020*. You might be thinking what I was thinking. How can a network like this grow when consumers aren’t even aware it exists? The reality is that consumers faced with new purchasing decisions, from upgrading light switches and outlets to buying household appliances when their old ones break, will choose those that boast Internet connectivity for remote control and energy saving purposes. Awareness of the term may not grow even as the technology takes over consumers’ homes.

So the question becomes, is your business set up to become part of the internet of things? If consumers are to become exposed to the conveniences of internet connected appliances, thermostats, TVs and real estate signs, how will you evolve your business to meet their expectations for how to connect?

*“Gartner Says the Internet of Things Installed Base Will Grow to 26 Billion Units By 2020”. Gartner. 2013-12-12. Retrieved 2014-01-02.