Incorporating the Internet of Things into Business Strategy

internet-of-things_331223288The idea that the internet could connect any device with an on/off switch to people and other devices, often without human intervention, must have seemed like science fiction at the end of the 20th century when the term “internet of things” (IoT) was first coined.[1]

The IoT transformation is happening so quickly that companies are struggling to keep up. Since 2014, more devices are talking to each other than the number of people communicating with each other.[2] Experts estimate there will be 50 billion connected devices in the IoT by 2020.[3]

The rapid merging of physical and digital business processes is occurring as manufactured products such as software, sensors, mobile devices and cloud computing are being digitized and interconnected. The IoT transformation promises smarter applications, improved service and better process management. The IoT also will generate more information, creating the need for big data management, storage and protection.

Companies will need to think differently about their business strategy and deal with several operational and security challenges as the IoT gains momentum. Some of the questions that business owners and executives may wish to consider include:

  • What are the business opportunities the IoT offers?
  • Are there revenue opportunities we should pursue, such as developing devices or software interfaces for the IoT?
  • How can we incorporate IoT into our customer service?
  • What potential security risks are posed by IoT devices connecting seamlessly to our company systems?
  • How can we be assured that company data and customer information remain secure when accessed through remote devices?
  • What interoperability challenges do we face with legacy systems?
  • How can we design and develop our interconnected systems and products for ease of use and communications by our customers and stakeholders?
  • What types of additional information will be generated by the IoT and how can we make best use of this big data?
  • How can we best store, manage and secure big data generated by connected devices?
  • How can IT, marketing, product development and management work together to develop an effective IoT strategy for our company?

[1] “Sketching out the Internet of Things trendline,” by Philip N. Howard, Brookings Tech Tank blog, June 9, 2015. Available at: http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/techtank/posts/2015/06/9-future-of-iot-part-2.

[2] “Sketching out the Internet of Things trendline,” by Philip N. Howard, Brookings Tech Tank blog, June 9, 2015. Available at: http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/techtank/posts/2015/06/9-future-of-iot-part-2.

[3] “Sketching out the Internet of Things trendline,” by Philip N. Howard, Brookings Tech Tank blog, June 9, 2015. Available at: http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/techtank/posts/2015/06/9-future-of-iot-part-2

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