Today, people do not think twice about signing up for the next gadget if it makes their life easier. Technology, more often than not, is viewed as a necessity in life. However, it is human nature to be cautious in our approach to technology, asking ourselves if this is really something we should embark upon.
It is time to change how we approach technology. Instead of asking ourselves what could go wrong, start focusing on what can go right. When a possible technological advancement comes, say "Good, let's embrace technology for the value it provides!"
Technology is there to make our lives easier. We are willing to put in the hard work up front so that we can realize the benefits on the back end by automating some process that we find as mundane and figured there has to be a better option. You may be asking how does this relate to the title of this blog?
In the past, everything that we have done to make our lives easier has been within our control. We build Widget A or Widget B and make the best use of it, and sometimes we even help others with the same solution. However, look around you, technology is everywhere. The Internet of Things (IoT) is here and is here to stay. Everything you interact with today is probably connected in some shape or another.
Everything is connected and capturing everything we do and this is something that makes many people nervous. We are asking ourselves how this can go wrong, instead of what advantages it can provide. Think back to the baby boomer generation and how they reacted to technology. The personal computer, the bag phone, and the VCR were all technologies that were temporarily rejected as fads, too complicated, or superfluous.
But this is cyclical, and occurs within every generation. Now we are finding ourselves saying the same thing to our children or the recent college grads using the latest connected devices. We sit there and wonder why they would want to live in such a connected world. The realization is hitting many of us that we are having the same reservations as the generations who came before us. There is something new out there and it is time to embrace the connected world of IoT.
The importance of IoT is beginning to gain traction within the business world too. You hear about businesses putting sensors on various machines or use them to monitor temperatures and various other use cases. Taking the position of "Good, Let's connect everything" may be off putting to some, but not to those people who are truly innovators.
The connected world of IoT generates a lot of data. What does this data do for a business? In some cases, it can describe what has happened in the past for the organization and hopefully the organization is able to act upon the information. However, in most instances the data can become overwhelming and they often do not know what they are looking at in a meaningful way.
Organizations have to understand that IoT can bring significant change. Some may view this as a negative because it may replace a particular duty of a resource, but instead repeat the refrain: “What value can this provide?” Why? Because the upside is greater than the downside. In the end you could:
- Free resources up to focus on other areas that are often neglected by repetitive tasks
- Improve monitoring to help identify and prevent the next environmental disaster.
- Perform proactive maintenance - monitoring equipment and identifying maintenance needs before they break down which can save organizations significant amounts of money.
These a just a few examples of the benefits that can be gained from IoT. You may be thinking at this point that IoT is just a set of sensors and the IT department would own his challenge. You would be wrong. IoT is not an IT tool. IoT is there to support the operations of the business.
Operations is the life blood of any organization. To foster the growth of the business you have to operate in the most efficient and effective way possible. Organizations cannot scale if they keep doing business the same way they do today with the same resources. The introduction of IoT within your organization can bring change that enables you to grow.
Imagine a world where you did not have to have a resource go and check a pipe or the temperature of a piece of equipment during routine checks. What if the sensors were able to give you all of the data you needed without having to physically be there to check? Or how nice would it be to be automatically alerted to an anomaly before it becomes catastrophic event resulting in loss revenue because the equipment was down? What if it alerted you and you could proactively maintain the equipment even if it is not within its maintenance window? This would enable you to schedule an outage that does not create a significant burden on your business financially because you can't produce the widgets. Or you have to pay time and a half to resources because of the emergency that was not planned for because you didn't know?
These are real challenges that organizations face, but you may be saying that you don't face those challenges. That may be true on the surface, but IoT is such a broad field that you would be hard pressed to not find something that fits your business needs.
Things are changing around us so quickly that it is hard to keep up and trust in the ever changing technology. It will take time to trust the data, but in the end, you are creating value to your organization and value to your customers. IoT should be viewed as a resource to help you identify symptoms of what may be a bigger underlying issue so that you can focus on the root cause.
IoT is not the silver bullet and will not solve your problems, but it will give you a competitive advantage to bring you insights that your competition may be missing. It's the age old question, "How do I do more with less?".
IoT is gaining significant momentum in both our personal lives and in business. Organizations have to decide if they are ready to look past the unknowns of IoT and embrace it for the betterment of their organizations and customers. To be successful, organizations have to start small and win small. If you attempt to put a sensor on every single fleet vehicle and try to get immediate returns you will fail miserably. Ask your operations staff about the challenges they face and see if there is something there that you could help offset their time because of IoT. In the end look yourself in the mirror and say, "Good, I'm ready for the challenge" and take the unknown head on because in the end the rewards will outweigh the costs. It will take time, but if you use the, "Crawl, Walk, Run" approach you can be successful, but the speed at which companies fully adopt will vary greatly.
Although the speed of adoption may vary for those taking the challenge, it will always be faster than those that don't do anything at all.
Are you up for the challenge?
To read more about how the Internet of Things can help organizations, read our enVista enSight on how The Future of Supply Chain Necessitates IoT Adoption.
If you’re interested in hearing about these topics and more, consider attending FUEL 2019, enVista’s annual physical and digital commerce executive summit, this September in Scottsdale, Arizona!