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How the Internet of Things is a Revolution for Consumers and Business Alike

The Internet of Things is the next natural step onwards from the Internet. Just about everyone and their dog have created IoT versions of their products. There are connected fridges, baby onesies, health monitors, cars, lamps, garage doors, you name it, there’ll be an IoT version of it out now, or very soon. But with all of these different IoT products, what are the benefits for consumers, vs. businesses?

Consumer vs. Business, the Model

In the world of software, you generally have a split in vendor market approach, with independent software vendors (ISV`s) specializing in enterprise software vs. consumer software. There has been good reason for this. In general, the requirements for any given software product are different for an individual using it, as opposed to the commercial use of it. You also get widely differing product types between the two sectors. This split has become a little fuzzy in recent years, especially with the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) revolution, where employees can access enterprise network resources and applications from their own personal computing device, such as a smart phone. This will continue to a large degree with IoT devices, but there will be obvious areas where commercial requirements will be so different from consumer ones that you will get well-defined IoT product categories forming.

The IoT as a Consumer Revolution

The consumer IoT landscape is as wide as your imagination. Everything from a bed, to a baby onesie, a watch to a fridge, are up for grabs in the IoT space; even pet wearables are out there now and it’s only a matter of time before someone decides to turn their pet into a walking IoT device…

According to a recent report by AIG, “The Internet of Things: Evolution or Revolution?” there will be around 40-50 billion IoT devices connected up by 2020. That’s a lot of market to compete over. It also means that a lot of consumer data is being generated, numbers in the order of 205,000 new gigabytes every second. Data, is information, is power. Sophisticated analysis of this data may well be the most influential and life changing aspect of the IoT for consumers. For example, in the healthcare industry, IoT devices like Fitbit have great potential to, not only make our healthcare more efficient and diagnoses more timely, but they can also allow insurers to offer individually tailored healthcare packages.

The entry of IoT devices into consumer’s lives and homes is likely to have many advantages, including:

Safety: IoT sensors in cars can adjust our usage patterns and seating position to create a more pleasant driving experience. They can also make us safer and help to reduce our insurance costs.

Control: IoT monitors allow us to control our living environment from anywhere. You can adjust thermostats, open garage doors and even turn that steam iron off that you accidentally left switched on.

Health: use health apps to keep tabs on your vitals and communicate them in real time to the doctor`s surgery for review.

A Connected Life: In the AIG report on the IoT revolution, it says that one of the most exciting things to come out of IoT for consumers is the potential for a fully connected life. They give the example of a closet, syncing with a calendar and a weather app, offering up advice for best outfits for the day.

The IoT as a Business Revolution

The business space has not been left out of the IoT revolution and very specific devices are being designed that will enhance business and change the economic goalposts for all of us. One of the areas benefiting from IoT for business is in the energy sector. The AIG report says that this industry sector is an innovator in the use of the IoT for business. It goes on to say that Ericsson predicts the number of connected devices managed by utility companies alone will be 1.53 billion by 2020. But IoT capability is being integrated into the whole gamut of industrial process units, from GPS tracking for fleet maintenance, to automation of industrial processes, to streamline data communications right across the manufacturing lifecycle.

So what advantages does the IoT confer on an organization?

Safety: IoT sensors in cars, trains and airplanes can improve safety records and crash based fatalities

Control: Supply chain control is an area of IoT that is starting to be explored. The AIG report states that with a predicted 30-fold increase in Internet connected devices by 2020, and the data supplied by such devices, supply chain risk will be able to be more effectively managed.

Efficiency: The improvement in efficient business processes should be one of the more welcome factors that come with the IoT. The Just-in-Time practice of stock control is one area that will really benefit from the integrated and context driven world of IoT generated data, with a real-time feedback system.

Consumer vs. Business, Who Will Win?

Both sides of the IoT coin stand to see wide reaching benefits from devices connecting up through the Internet. Consumers will hopefully have greater control over essentials in their lives, health and homes. Businesses will see benefits in efficiency and safety, which will ultimately result in better financial results and happy shareholders. The outcomes are data driven – with data comes responsibility. Much has been said in recent months about security and privacy of IoT devices, this debate needs to continue until this area of IoT usage is resolved. The benefits of the world that IoT opens for us all are tangible. A secure and privacy enhanced IoT will allow us to embrace this paradigm across our own lives and in our organizations, equally.

This article is the product of a partnership between BestTechie and member companies of American International Group, Inc. Although this post is sponsored, the information and opinions expressed in the article constitute only my own beliefs.

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