The Internet of Things


In the recent years, internet connections have become easier to access to, technology costs have decreased, everyone possess more and more devices with wifi-capabilities… All these factors are favoring the development of the “Internet of Things” phenomenon.

What is ‘The Intenet of Things’?

The Internet of Things is a network of physical objects whose goal is to be able to connect devices over the internet to make these “smart”. How can we do that?  Objects, animals, people will be associated with a unique identifier allowing us to recognize it among all connected objects. This object will collect data thanks to sensors and transfer data via wireless communication.

This phenomenon is not new but its development could have a huge impact on our lives and on organization’s way of doing business in the next 5 years. Indeed, according to the famous analysts firm Gartner we can expect over 26 billion connected devices by 2020.

Impact on our lives

IoT applications will enable us to connect with things and learn about them and interact with them in a new way. IoT will also enable us to monitor things. This could have a huge impact on the health industry. What if hospitals were able to track cardiac data of patients 24/7 allowing them to detect any irregular activity and to treat it in real time.  What if sensors could help you monitor the health of an old relative living alone? IoT is an opportunity to develop reality search engines to learn how to better manage. If a “smart” city is able to know where its citizens are, it could better manage congestion, security and energy efficiency.

Impact on organizations

It also has a huge impact on firm’s way of doing business. It makes the real time track of individual products possible whatever the way they are transported, having huge impacts in the supply-chain and inventory management of the retail industry for example. The performance of production cycle could also be monitored allowing for better maintenance and predicting potential breakdowns, hence reducing costs. Sensors on roads could transfer information to cars’ GPS about weather conditions, making the car slow down when needed… But IoT sensors are most of all a new way of collecting data on customer behavior as products would themselves report how they are being used. The impact would be huge as “the ability to offer almost anything as a service can transform the very nature of what is bought and sold” (J. Maniyka & M. Chui, McKinsey & Company, (2015)). A research of the McKinsey Global Institute estimates an economic impact of IoT applications of about $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion per year in 2025.

Even if IoT requires sophisticated technology and involves huge impact on the processes such as the management’s decision-making process businesses will have to invest in IoT applications in the future to stay competitive and to benefit from strategic and operational impacts.

References:

McKinsey, 2015. ‘By 2025, Internet of things applications could have $11 trillion impact’’  http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/mgi/in_the_news/by_2025_internet_of_things_applications_could_have_11_trillion_impact  last visited: 20 September 2015

Forbes, 2014. A simple explanation of ’The Internet of Things’  http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobmorgan/2014/05/13/simple-explanation-internet-things-that-anyone-can-understand/ last visited: 20 September 2015

Wired, 2015. The Internet of Things is far bigger than anyone realizes’ http://www.wired.com/insights/2014/11/the-internet-of-things-bigger/  last visited : 20 September 2015

Whatis .com, 2014. ‘The Internet of Things’ http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/Internet-of-Things last visited: 20 September 2015

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