There are many technological trends in the recent past that have changed the living and business environments significantly. Many of them involve huge and major breakthroughs in hardware or software architecture, leading the human race into a new horizon of IT possibilities. One of those technologies is the the Internet of Things, or more commonly referred to as IoT.

What Exactly Is The IoT?

Before proceeding, it would be good to recap what exactly the “Internet of Things” is. The IoT is an emerging tech megatrend, where non-human and non-computer devices connect to the internet independently and access or retrieve information. These “things” are also able to interact with each other to form a huge network of interconnected smart devices. Each of these “things” is powered, mobile, and can be mapped to location, speed, acceleration, humidity, temperature and many other physical parameters.

How Is IoT Different From Traditional Internet?

To be candid, it’s not. Not in essence that is. The Internet of Things is just a further example of the ubiquity of computing. The next level of computers being integrated into every component of life as we know it. Being a techie, I’m excited about the possibilities, though I can see why some people are running to get their foil hats.

Realistically, the practical difference is this: IoT is the connection of any “thing” to all the data it needs to become smart — allowing a much more dramatic interaction with the physical world, and with you and me. And of course, this means more opportunities for businesses to create some amazing products and services. Just imagine computerized pace-setters in heart patients that actively interact with the hospital’s servers to exchange vital information. Location tracking devices for patients with memory issues. Golf balls that can tell you where they are. Or even your refrigerator telling your car to route you to the store on the way home to pick up some milk. The possibilities are mind blowing, and we will be seeing a whirlwind of new IoT devices over the next 10-15 years. In fact current figures place the figure of the number of IoT devices at around 42 Billion already!

How Will The IoT Change Business In The Coming Years?

The IoT is definitely a ground breaking technology that will overshadow the apparent success of the Internet bubble. Below are some of the ways business landscapes will shift with the adoption of IoT as a mainstream business concept.

  • There will be real-time asset tagging and tracking. Fleet managers, herders, insurers and other companies may have to map exact asset locations. In case of herding animals or hiring out cars, a geo-fence may come in handy in limiting movement.
  • E-commerce will change from traditional shopping carts to surprise deliveries by shopping stores. Ecommerce stores will have to find ways of automating stock control and tracking the refrigerator or wardrobe contents of clients to stay in businesses.
  • Active computers will increasingly take a back seat in conventional manual data entry, and corporates may have to do data mining through mobile devices. Companies like Apple and Amazon are already upbeat in forming a tribe around their products. If they succeed, they will have control over all the client’s spending in the future.
  • Security will be a major concern for businesses in the coming years. With huge information loopholes, businesses will need to tighten security in order to remain operational. Simple theft of a mobile device will for instance compromise the net worth of an individual. His house will be accessible without a key, her car will be available via Near Field Communication (NFC) and even their assets may be transferable at the swipe of a finger.
  • Data sharing will have to be an inevitable end for corporates aiming to stay in business. Clients’ needs will be extremely specific due to the huge amount of information available about them on the IoT. For this reason alone, data selling and sharing will be huge business for market veterans.

However you look at it, the IoT is already changing the way business is being done. Expect this trend to continue at an accelerated pace over the foreseeable future. If you haven’t started evaluating how this will impact your business, I suggest you get started!