A Simple Explanation Of ‘The Internet Of Things’

 

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The “Internet of things” (IoT) is becoming an increasingly growing topic of conversation both in the workplace and outside of it. It’s a concept that not only has the potential to impact how we live but also how we work.  But what exactly is the “Internet of things” and what impact is it going to have on you if any?  There are a lot of complexities around the “Internet of things” but I want to stick to the basics.  Lots of technical and policy related conversations are being had but many people are still just trying to grasp the foundation of what the heck these conversations are about.

Let’s start with understanding a few things.

Broadband Internet is become more widely available, the cost of connecting is decreasing, more devices are being created with wifi capabilities and sensors built into them, technology costs are going down, and smart phone penetration is sky-rocketing.  All of these things are creating a “perfect storm” for the IoT.

So what is the Internet of things?

Simply put this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of.  This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig.  As I mentioned, if it has an on and off switch then chances are it can be a part of the IoT.  The analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices…that’s a lot of connections (some even estimate this number to be much higher, over 100 billion).  The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people).  The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.

How does this impact you?

The new rule for the future is going to be, “anything that can be connected, will be connected.”  But why on earth would you want so many connected devices talking to each other?  There are many examples for what this might look like or what the potential value might be.  Say for example you are on your way to a meeting, your car could have access to your calendar and already know the best route to take, if the traffic is heavy your car might send a text to the other party notifying them that you will be late.  What if your alarm clock wakes up you at 6 am and then notifies your coffee maker to start brewing coffee for you? What if your office equipment knew when it was running low on supplies and automatically re-ordered more?  What if the wearable device you used in the workplace could tell you when and where you were most active and productive and shared that information with other devices that you used while working?

On a broader scale the IoT can be applied to things like transportation networks “smart cities” which can help us reduce waste and improve efficiency for things such as energy use; this helping us understand and improve how we work and live.  Take a look at the visual below to see what something like that can look like.

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The reality is that the IoT allows for virtually endless opportunities and connections to take place, many of which we can’t even think of or fully understand the impact of today.  It’s not hard to see how and why the IoT is such a hot topic today, it certainly opens the door to a lot of opportunities but also to many challenges.  Security is big issues that is oftentimes brought up.  With billions of devices being connect together what can people to do make sure that their information stays secure?  Will someone be able to hack into your toaster and thereby get access to your entire network?  The IoT also opens up companies all over the world to more security threats.  Then we have the issue of privacy and data sharing.  This is a hot button topic even today so one can only imagine how the conversation and concerns will escalate when we are talking about many billions of devices being connected.  Another issue that many companies specifically are going to be faced with is around the massive amounts data that all of these devices are going to produce.  Companies need to figure out a way to store, track, analyze, and make sense of the vast amounts of data that will be generated.

So what now?

Conversations about the IoT are (and have been for several years) taking place all over the world as we seek to understand how this will impact our lives.  We are also trying to understand what the many opportunities and challenges are going to be as more and more devices start to join the IoT.  For now the best thing that we can do is educate ourselves about what the IoT is and the potential impacts that can be seen on how we work and live.

Jacob Morgan is a keynote speaker, author (most recently of The Future of Work).

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REAL TIME FROM REAL PEOPLE

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It can and it will change your company’s destiny

 Although Data has been the talk of the town lately, two things aren’t new at all. One, gathering data has been a human practice for ages, ever since the cave men started registering facts. Two, making use of data to change companies’ outcomes is something that has been around since the beginning of the 20th century, when Henry Ford became noted for creating an assembly line after a careful analysis of his production process.

Okay then, so what’s new? For once, nowadays data can be recorded instantaneously. Specially when the sources are devices such as mobiles and computers. Companies record employees performances through computer data gathering, websites study user behavior and make decisions based on it.

But still, although this is all recent, there’s something even more revolutionary. What if you could get people to get their thoughts out of their heads and instantaneously and intentionally let you know about them? What if people’s opinions could be at your hand in seconds?

Well, that’s the revolution Click Prompt brings to the market. There are 4.6 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide, and between 1 billion and 2 billion people accessing the internet. We are making use of this reality and turning it into a bridge between companies and consumers. It’s different of buying data from third party companies and paying specialists to analyze it and deliver reports. Now, consumers, be them customers or employees, can talk directly to you in real time and through our modern revolutionary tool.
How is this different? Let’s imagine here that you manage you own three convenience stores. You strive to provide a great service, and even have paper customer surveys available and things like online surveys that give back a discount coupon. Through these things you can generate customer fidelity and gather some information on customers satisfaction. But let’s be real, how many people have the patience and the time to use these tools? A small percentage does use it, but the great majority will pass it.

However, there’s always those unsatisfied people who will put the word out if they dislike any part of your service. Through our revolutionary tool, here’s how it goes: Click Prompt puts QR codes all throughout your stores, inviting customers to give real time feedback. They think the cashier was rude? There’s a QR Code right there for them to quickly scan and relate their experience. Instantaneously you, as a manager, will get the information. Yep, you’ll get an alert right away right there at your cellphone. And then you can avoid right away that the cranky cashier will make any other customers uncomfortable that day. Before it even happens.

 

Possibilities are endless. The QR codes can be in several essential places throughout your business. You determine it, we do it. And people can easily give you a feedback on their satisfaction. These people could be your customers, or even your team. But what matters is that you’ll be able to keep an ongoing conversation with them all, having data in real time and being able to make decisions right away, avoiding future mistakes and ensuring the best quality of service. And what’s even better is that you can visualize all the collected data in a modern dashboard, that can be completely customized to your needs at any time. Our tool not just simplifies your operation, but actually understands it and takes it to another level of operational intelligence.

 That’s why, although we’re new at the market, big shots of the B.I market (Business Intelligence) that have been around for a while are already acknowledging our work.

Click Prompt gives you real time data, but other companies also do this. But we provide you with a shortcut, and now it’s not just real time data, but it’s real time data coming directly from real people to real managers. This way you can avoid real mistakes and make real improvements in your company. Yes, it’s all real.

By Lizia Santos

Lizia is an online editor, journalist, with an MA in Applied Communications.

 

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