There has been a seemingly ceaseless buzz around the “internet of things” (IoT). The idea behind this is that as our world becomes increasingly connected, the devices we carry will become smarter and interact with one another. Smarter in that sensors will be able to communicate to users some amount of useful information to which we can instruct an action on the part of the machine or record the data for personal knowledge. Though the technology is young by comparison, the term was coined in 1999, a number of applications already exist. Lights can be adjusted without being home, your thermostat can be set to just the right temperature as you get within a predetermined distance of your home, and now you can even peek in the fridge without being home — and that’s just the consumer end. There are countless possibilities within infrastructure changes, encompassing ideas such as sensors in roadways or structures that monitor conditions and update users and regulators.
Questions regarding the extent to which these new products and applications will infiltrate the market have yet to be answered, but the current trend in corporate investment suggests that even if this is just a fad, it is one that will not go away quietly. In a recent publication, GE said they will more than double their investment into their software division, betting on the “internet of things.” Tech giant Samsung announced that it would invest $1.2 billion in research and development, and startups over the next four years to boost the IoT movement. Companies large and small continue to pour resources into products with increasingly innovative and user friendly IoT applications.
However, the overall impact of the IoT remains uncertain. One assumption is that as more of these types of applications that exist, they will become more crucial to maintain economic viability. The price of the technology tumbles as new developments continue to roll out, and the prospects for IoT applications in nearly every aspect of life from industry to consumer are endless. For companies to stay ahead, they must invest in this type of technology. If the IoT proves — to any degree — to be worthwhile, then innovators in the field will be rewarded hardily with cost-saving and consumer driven growth.
Next steps for companies can be uncertain. Traditional executives will track toward a more conservative route by opting to wait-it-out and see. However, there is another option. Companies who act to command the forefront of the movement have the opportunity to set the standards and shape the way the technology both enters and develops within their sector. By being a standard-bearer, any organization with an appropriately developed strategy will be able to consistently stay ahead of the trends in this continually evolving space. The realizations of higher ROI comes from an accurate understanding of the market behind the trends that drive these developments. A crucial demographic driving these trends is the Millennial generation.
As young adults continue to grow as consumers, the market will grow towards their demands. Ride sharing apps, mobile food delivery, and mobile pay are all examples of technology solutions to a millennial-driven demand for cost saving and convenience. As IoT becomes more of a reality, companies who seek to solve similar pain-points with the new technology will see growth and popularity rivaling Über. Those companies who opt for the former track, the wait-it-out and see class, are not necessarily doomed to failure. However, they will miss out what the trends suggest is a true shift in the delivery of goods and services.