The Internet is taking another revolutionary leap. The latest rave on the Internet of Things is about leveraging the interconnection of smart devices for information sharing and automation. The smart devices could be a computer, smartphone, or a sophisticated device fitted with a monitoring sensor.
For the user of the ‘system,’ he receives timely information prompted by his inquiry or instructions for actions carefully configured based on prescribed conditions. The smart grid for energy management, health monitoring, and dynamic pricing at parking meters are examples that leverage the power of the Internet of Things system.
For the business, flexibility becomes paramount in supporting these dynamic solutions. There are five areas that a business needs to adapt to ensure success.
1. Expedient data access
The sharing of up-to-date information is predicated on the availability of data needed to assess specified conditions in order to trigger an action. The on-demand communication works well if the systems are fully integrated so that there is little lag. Disparate legacy systems pose a big challenge when the needed data could not be retrieved quickly. There is a need for opening up the existing data archives and harmonizing the data to provide the dynamic data access.
2. Standardization of practices
Connectivity requires a standard protocol to facilitate communication. This goes beyond the exchange of data. Inconsistencies such as different labels for the same data element in different applications or varying operating rules across the lines of business are headaches. They lead to taxing processing. In some cases, the performance of the final solution is compromised if the business model is not overhauled.
Simplicity is a key appeal to the system users. In striving to incorporate as much intelligence as possible into the solution, the configuration gets more complex. The support required for the Internet of Things systems could become onerous if the business model itself is unwieldy. A mindset for ‘simple’ modus operandi is a key success factor. Despite the availability of boundless computing power, the management of complex systems tests the boundary of human comprehension.
4. Analytical workforce
Workers who would excel in developing pragmatic solutions for the Internet of Things systems are those who understand customer needs. They possess the vision for a compelling solution and an analytical mind to decipher essential elements from the massive volume of data. They have experience in different phases of product creation and delivery, enabling them to work around hurdles that might arise. How well the system is configured hinges on their expertise. Cross training becomes a critical investment so as to build the well-rounded knowledge base.
5. Prudent risk taking
Innovation is front and centre of the Internet of Things systems. The leap to broad interconnectivity involves risk. Taking an ambitious big bang approach could lead to business havoc. A more systematic approach builds traction and allows the business time to test and adjust the system. Along the way, considerations for the positioning of the new solution, return on investment, prioritization, and internal change management require adequate examination. Balancing the risk and return cannot be ignored.
The possibility is endless with the potential afforded by the Internet of Things. It is certainly exciting. In order to leverage the opportunity, evaluate these five areas to prepare your business to take the leap.