In our soon-to-be-released Digital IQ survey of over 1,400 business and technology executives, 20% of respondents say they plan to invest in sensors. We feel confident in predicting that the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Internet of Everything will finally begin to take off this year, as futurists have forecasted for years. What remains to be seen is whether or not CIOs will win their rightful place in product design planning and the development of business instrumentation strategy.
Slowly but surely businesses and governments will use sensors to digitize droves of everyday devices and extract infinite amounts of information and insights to gain a competitive edge and garner deeper relationships with customers. Here are a handful of examples we expect to materialize this year:
- Mobile devices will interact with the digital data that surrounds them, giving users the benefits of a true digital assistant
- Low cost sensors will track shopping traffic patterns to enable retailors to improve customer service, streamline operations and lower costs
- Motion and weight sensors will direct drivers to open parking spaces
- Manufacturers will track everything in their supply chains to streamline operations
- City governments will use gunfire locators to sense when a gun is fired and notify authorities
By 2020, virtually everything that surrounds us will communicate with the Internet. The question for today is: will the CIO drive discussions about how their companies can take advantage of the IoT? Here are two areas where CIOs need to ensure that they are included in planning so corporations can benefit from their IoT investments and protect the organization from risks:
1. IoT in Product design
Product producers will certainly consider installing connected capabilities through wired/wireless technology and embedding the ability to sense and respond to relevant user and environmental situations. The challenge for CIOs is in influencing IoT design. Some CIOs will have to battle the bias that they belong in the back-office and shouldn’t be included in product architecture planning.
CIOs must “sell” IT’s strength in information architecture. They have a vital role to play in connecting the product data to other related enterprise data – customers, products, pricing, geography, etc.
2. Business Instrumentation using IoT
With sensors and beacons, the entire enterprise can come alive with invaluable information and increase visibility into all aspects of operations: physical locations, vehicles, devices, equipment, products, people, etc, empowering businesses to make better decisions about business processes. Today, we use samples to model the way parts of our businesses work. The IoT will give us an opportunity to collect actual performance data and learn from it to improve businesses. It’s like trading guessing for analyzing.
As the IoT starts living up to its promise, now is the opportunity for CIOs to initiate discussions with their C-Suite peers about conducting IoT pilots to explore the possibilities and risks. The IoT is inevitable. Why wait to get started?