The business world is a magnet for buzzwords, and knowing which ones to use is a delicate balancing act. It’s like trying to walk along a high wire wearing a Teletubby mask and a pair of stilettos. If you don’t try these trends, then you run the risk of being left behind and viewed as outdated, but then there are some buzzwords that will make you sound like an idiot. Meta, outside the box, blogosphere, onboarding, directionally accurate, pre-revenue and paradigm-shift. If you’re still trying to make these work, then you are fighting a losing battle.
That said, there are some buzzwords that you need to a) know about and b) know how they can benefit your business, and the aptest example is the Internet of Things (IoT).
Business execs have been throwing this term around ever since it was first dreamed up, usually out of context. But now we’re deep into 2018, wow, there has been some serious excitement in this area, and transformations that give us a better idea of what’s to come. Entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, thought leaders, salespeople and just about everyone with a toe in business can start to use this term with confidence.
Yes, in the grand scheme of things, IoT is still in its infant years. But we can at least see what trends are going to take off, and here are the biggest of the bunch:
IoT Now, But BIoT Tomorrow
For anyone that has heard the term ‘blockchain’ thrown about, the context will have probably been to do with cryptocurrencies. But this is set to change because blockchain is the untapped superpower of IoT. It is the thing that will usher in a whole host of new services that businesses can use, and with increased security too. It is this idea of creating a digital record across hundreds of thousands of computers. On the one hand, it will make field service management software vastly improved by allowing businesses to optimize their deliveries et al, and on the other hand you will see smart cities start to blossom; cities that are connected and optimised; cities where they can control heating usage and improve the flow of traffic using connected lights. And like we said, data on a blockchain cannot be hacked. So, once this becomes mainstream, the growth in our hyper-connected world will take off. Like with cars, the idea was a hit, but people had to wait for roads and gas stations to be built before it became a success.
Success Through SaaS
For those that can’t keep up with all the acronyms that now float around, SaaS stands for Software as a Service, which is going to become a much more viable option for businesses this year, allowing us to step away from on-prem implementations. To help you understand how this will benefit any IoT deployment you may have, SaaS will allow you realise the benefits of IoT way quicker as it gets you up and running and utilising data in hours, not months. The other major benefit, especially for smaller companies and startups is the cost. It’s much cheaper and that’s because there are a lot fewer components, meaning you can start your implementation slowly and then grow it over time. And, lastly, your flexibility will shoot up. This is good for those that don’t quite know how they will leverage IoT and are planning to experiment over the coming year.
Computing That’s Cognitive
For over a decade, connected computers and things have been hitting their heads on a ceiling in the form of unique IP addresses, which has halted any hopes of the sky being the limit. The introduction of IoT, however, is quickly changing this. It has brought with it a commoditization of sensors, memory and sensors, all of which have helped everyday tech step out of the realm of being ‘just connected’ and made them, how do we say, ‘ intelligent’. This has come about thanks to cognitive computing, something that allows computers to chew through more data and thus become better at learning. Essentially, tech is becoming better at diagnosing and analysing and adapting to their environments and that means there is becoming less need for human intervention. It’s very Minority Report. But here’s the really incredible thing: cognitive computing can now combine multiple data streams and that means they can identify patterns too, ergo your business has the potential to become a whole lot more autonomous and a whole lot more productive.
IoT Is Only Going To Grow
Over the past three years, the world of IoT has exploded like no one could have ever predicted. We’re talking about billions of interconnected devices, and this is only going to get bigger because it will encourage consumers to stay hooked on gadgets knowing that they all work seamlessly. In fact, the latest predictions state that 46 billion devices will be interconnected by 2021. For a business, this means consumers are going to become even more dependent on IoT using gadgets, all of which will be controlled by smart devices. The big benefit of this is your capacity to boost customer engagement, increase your visibility and streamline your communication, some of which will utilise human-machine interfaces, such as Chatbots and VUI.
One Thing Will Hold It All Back
And that is the lack of standardization. This won’t stop it from growing, but it will surely mean it slows the growth down, which can only be a good thing for those wanting to hang onto the coattails and see where this thing goes. Basically, what we are saying is, fragmentation still exists in this area. Sure, industry leaders are trying to address this by introducing industry standards, but this won’t happen in the near future, not unless a huge organization steps in to lead the way, whether that be governments imposing restrictions or the IEEE. Of course, the three major hurdles are the platforms used, the ay devices connect and the applications, which links heavily to the platform question.