Imagine a world where supermarkets did not maintain inventories and administration departments did not monitor office stationery, but suppliers and manufacturers were automatically notified when stocks had to be replenished, with valuable insights into customer’s preferences as well. This could soon be a reality as the ‘Internet of Things’ radically disrupts traditional supply chain management, while transforming every other aspect of managing businesses in a connected world.
The ‘Internet of Things’ eludes to the next generation Internet, which connects not just computers and people, but everyday objects. While the idea of connected devices is in no way radical, the technological impact in this instance could be driven by scale. It is expected that 212 billion 'things' will be connected to the Internet globally by the end of 2020, generating global revenues of $4.8 trillion in 2012, and driving the market for the ‘Internet of Things’ to hit $8.9 trillion by 2020.This throws open the possibility of new revenue streams and customers for IT vendors, service providers, and systems integrators.
It could create a world driven by applications and customizable easy access to IT infrastructure. In this world, you could access a hospital’s Wi-Fi network, check in for a flight or make your HOTEL RESERVATIONS using your Facebook ID. Most importantly, the Internet of Things could change the way organizations communicate. For instance, imagine a scenario where a business associate could be automatically notified that he is stuck in a traffic jam and would be late for a meeting, without human intervention.
In this environment, objects could connect to the Internet through RFID and 2D barcodes, retrieving information and enhancing their intrinsic value. The industries with the leading number of connected objects are expected to be the pharmaceutical and the textile industry, but its impact could be felt in other segments too, as ‘undigitizable’ information is increasingly digitized. For instance, in the healthcare industry, capturing critical patient information in an ambulance is a complex process. But this has been simplified by filling in information with a digital pen and processing data over the Internet. Such technological innovations could be transferred to other business areas that involve cumbersome paperwork, and need to be digitized, such as the human resources function in organizations.
Sensor technology adds a potent dimension to the Internet of Things across sectors. Now, healthcare professionals can remotely monitor patient health across wide geographic distances. Similarly, urban transportation regulators could automatically divert vehicles from clogged roads during an accident. In the agricultural sector, farmers could monitor the minutest changes in their crop, before they are visible to the human eye.
In South Korea, we have the first example of a city driven by the Internet of Things. At Singdo, citizens use their mobile devices to control their homes and offices. This city, where roads talk to streetlamps and cars, is amongst the most energy efficient cities in the world.
Can you see other applications for the Internet of Things in your organization? Share your experience with us.