First there is hype. Then there is fear. Then acceptance.
This is the story of new technology. Over the years, it has been played out time and again. Floodgates of excitement bursting with the possibilities of a new transformative technology, giving way to dark apprehensions during a cycle of testing, early adoption and enhancement; and finally resting with widespread belief in its power to bring big positive change.
It is no different with the Internet of Things (IoT). The past few years have been packed with the hype of smart machines communicating with each other, reports of smart consumer gizmos – and more recently of smart workplaces – that promise unprecedented impact. Understandably, this new wave of change is also creating ripples of apprehension as creases such as interoperability or security are ironed out. And yet, the early birds are in and have already begun to rake in the benefits.
The recent IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona left no doubt in our minds that we are in the midst of a new revolution. Participants presented ingenuous cases of IoT implementation at their workplaces. We dug a little deeper in a panel discussion I moderated on Smart Factories, to brainstorm the ROI of this disruptive technology, and discovered how smart factories with machine to machine communication and collaboration could progressively reduce costs, increase productivity and boost profitability. It was fascinating to see how “Social Machines”, as coined by one of our Panelists, talk to each other and are able to dramatically improve resource utilization and, in some cases, result in 20-30 per cent reduction in stock levels required to keep supplies rolling.