The Internet of Things (IoT) will considerably transform the world we live in. The fact machines will connect, think, make decisions and talk to each other makes for a very clever world and one that is not that far away.
According to Gartner (this is courtesy of Wikipedia), there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020. ABI Research estimates that more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of Things (Internet of Everything) by 2020.
The landscape is going to change quickly. Think how fast GPS changed the way you travel and how you easily know how many minutes until the next train or bus. Organisational teams involved in change will need the knowledge and skills to make the most of all opportunities. Strategy, structures, processes, M&As and business models will all be influenced by the expansion of smart devices. Intelligence can be added to the machine enabling the machine to monitor situations, make decisions, provide intelligence and allow remote control. Things will move fast which means change teams should be advising now on what to adopt when.
Of course with anything new it’s very easy to get carried away by the hype and what these teams should be there to do is to assess where there is real added value and early mover advantage and building foundations for a longer-term strategy around the opportunities. Making sure the technology stack works with both agility and longevity but also making sure over-enthusiastic investment isn’t made too early. The recent HBR editorial on this is a brilliant explanation of all that’s involved.
There are some extremely clever things being done especially in health and manufacturing but what about more mainstream organization that provide customers with products or services? As yet the Internet of Things may be little more than a topic on the horizon.
Some thoughts on the impact IoT will have on the work Business Transformation teams do.
The IoT opens up new business models. Boundaries will blur as parts of the value chain merge. The things you can do and the services you can offer are more diverse once machines connect and talk to each other. Products will be redefined, parts of the value chain will consolidate and new value chains will emerge. Each business strategy team will need to be aware of what’s possible and decide where they want to play in the new value chain before new entrants move in to take that space.
New business models will require new policies and processes. From a strategic policy level change teams will need to decide on:
1. The technology roadmap – what they will and won’t be adopting in order to create a competitive advantage.
2. Agreeing with IT and Legal teams any design principles. Security, privacy and data ownership are not easy topics or ones you want to get wrong.
From a tactical perspective process design teams need to have the knowledge of what’s possible to enable them to consider opportunities for utilizing the power of smart connected machines.
The data you can get from these smart machines will increase and so will the intelligence you can get from them. Your organization will need to decide how to use that and if it presents any commercial opportunities. Alongside this though will be a consideration of policies around ownership and privacy. All needs the skills to be able to make informed decisions that protect all parties.
Who in your organization is responsible for building this knowledge? Who owns it? Is your IT set up to allow exploitation? Do you need to be thinking more innovatively. Do you have the right diverse and innovate team (see my last blog post on building a creative team ). Do you have the policy advice you need for the right security and privacy policies? Recruit from areas already doing this. Bring in the skills and knowledge. Make sure you are ready to take full advantage as things are about to change.
By Sandie Bakowski
Business Psychologist, Programme Manager and transformation expert