There is no question that we are living in an era of impressive technological disruption that is changing the way we live. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a perfect example of the innovation that occurs when we leverage the latest technology trends to create solutions that positively impact the world.
The Internet of Things is possible thanks to the availability of more powerful and cost-effective components. Today, we have small and accurate sensors, powerful edge computing, cloud computing, advanced analytics techniques such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, and a myriad of display form factors, including phones, watches, car dashboards, and even Virtual and Augmented Reality.
Twenty years ago, we had accurate sensors and some edge computing capabilities, though not nearly as powerful as what we have today. We also had the ability to centralize data and analyze it to extract value.
So, what has changed?
The answer is connectivity.
Today, connectivity allows enterprises to collect data from remote locations at blazing speeds and affordable costs. With systems no longer siloed, we are seeing the promise of the Internet of Things become a reality.
Ubiquitous connectivity opens the door to new products and services that can reach a wider portion of the population. Take for example the concept of a Smart City. Cities are complex, siloed systems that support the daily life of their citizens. Systems like energy generation and distribution, water delivery, waste management, transit management, surveillance, and more provide the complete nervous system of any city.
The connectivity revolution enables us to remove barriers across all of these systems and create a unified mega-system commonly known as a “Smart City.” This opens up the door for a multitude of opportunities for both enterprises and governments to deploy solutions that increase operational efficiency, reduce cost, and improve the quality of life for their citizens.
Companies can improve the efficiency of energy delivery by creating a self-healing electric grid or “Smart Grid.” Cities can save millions of gallons of water by automatically detecting leaks across hundreds of miles of “smart pipes.” These applications and many others are beginning to take hold today, and they are powered by connectivity and the Internet of Things.
It’s easy to see how this connectivity revolution enables opportunities in developed countries that already have the infrastructure and know-how to take advantage of them. But what about opportunities in developing countries?
These technological innovations have the potential to have the largest impact in developing nations, where advanced connectivity can enable cities to “leap-frog” many years into the future. Governments will be able to bypass the construction of expensive, traditional infrastructure by adopting wireless connectivity solutions, such as 5G, that will deliver more bandwidth and capacity for a fraction of the cost.
With this infrastructure in place, enterprises and governments can focus on deploying solutions like the ones mentioned above. They can even take them further by creating innovative applications such as mobile payments, remote education, and remote health.
The Bottom Line
The connectivity revolution is just beginning, so now is the time for companies to develop a strong strategy to leverage these new trends to provide better products and services to their customers.
To be successful, that strategy must be informed by an understanding of what additional value will be provided to the customers and the company with access to real-time data in their customer’s environment. If you are able to identify that value, then you are ready to start your IoT journey.
Go ahead. The technology and connectivity will be there, ready to support you.
Note: I wrote this article as part of a collaboration with Ericsson (#EricssonInfluencer). Read how Ericsson and Grundfos are leveraging the connectivity revolution to develop intelligent pumps.