There's no doubt that the Internet of Things has arrived. From Amazon's Dash button to wearables to smart parking meters, examples of IoT device innovation are sprouting all around us. But we're still, essentially, in the dark ages with this technology. We're just beginning to see that the real value in IoT isn't hardware-centric; it's the data that comes with it that's of most interest.
Already, 70 percent of data-savvy companies say they have enough data, according to an IBM study, and 90 percent of all data generated by devices such as smartphones, tablets, connected vehicles and appliances is never analyzed or acted upon. With data volume compounding, making the right linkages to drive value can be daunting.
The business opportunity to engage customers and create new revenue streams
IoT provides a new channel to reach customers through devices and interaction points. It provides new opportunities to garner activity information from customers on their needs, preferences, and challenges, and that, in-turn, allows businesses to personalize relationships and services. Harnessed properly, IoT will allow better business decisions through actionable data insights.
Because this area is still emerging, many companies are struggling to figure out how it will impact them - how it factors into their business model or how they'll measure outcomes. From the Chief Digital Officer to the Chief Data Officer, new strategic leadership roles besides the CIO are becoming commonplace and a lot of the digital focus will be pulled onto IoT data.
Some companies are racing ahead to make the most of IoT data. For example, Disney World offers MagicBands to select visitors to its theme parks. These bands are promoted as a convenience to wearers, allowing them to unlock hotel doors, access rides and make purchases. But with every swipe, these RFID-enabled MagicBands provide data about visitor activity and preferences, allowing Disney World to run efficient processes from staffing to inventory management.
The enterprise opportunity: Establishing a de facto IoT platform
For IoT vendors, winning the platform war will prove to be a real opportunity. Goldman Sachs predicts that IoT has the potential to connect 28 billion "things" to the Internet by 2020, ranging from bracelets to cars. Underneath all these things working, interacting and exchanging data, there's a need for an integrated platform to manage devices, applications and connectivity.
As well, there's a need for universal standards for devices to ensure compatibility, in addition to standardized privacy controls to secure data from hacking and other growing threats. The data explosion is also fuelling demand for more data center capacity, more energy utilization and a need to centralize data management.
IoT platforms will transform workplace productivity, customer engagement, product innovation and improve processes across the value chain. And they'll allow better data management and analysis to spur the insight economy.