The Internet of Things (IoT) has made its way into the workplace, and is changing the way we do business. There’s a growing use of beacons, sensors, and ‘smart’ devices that collect data to automate manufacturing, streamline operations, and improve customer experiences. But that’s not enough. We are miles away from reaching a tipping point with IoT. In fact, we are barely scratching the surface of its potential. The workplace of the future is disruptive by nature, led by constant change, and characterized by enhanced connectedness. IoT is a logical fit in this evolving business world. Let’s discuss how IoT will reshape the workplace in the coming years.
IoT Rides on the Big Data Wave
As we move ahead, there will be a stronger need for businesses to become more perceptive. Companies of all sizes and industries are dipping their feet in the big data pool. They are using data to improve productivity, performance, customer interactions, critical decisions, and revenue generation. It’s no secret that data influences business outcomes in more ways than one. Therefore, the cost of ignoring big data is significant.
IoT makes the capturing and interpretation of raw data more effective. The quality of the insights generated from it depend on how relevant the captured data is. To gain better and more accurate insights, sensors or endpoints need to be more intelligent. Integration of Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) could be the solution. A case in point is Intel’s SDI. Patrick Moorhead, Moor Insights and Strategy’s principal analyst, said in this Forbes article, “Until now, SDI has been more of a concept, but Intel is working to enable real-world usage models and I think IoT presents a terrific case for the use of SDI.”
Connectivity will Become Standard
Gartner estimated the number of connected devices to reach 26 billion by 2020. At the same time, it pointed out that dipping costs of device components would mean connectivity will be a given feature even “for processors costing less than $1.”Another reason why we may see an increased use of sensors in the workplace.
The Intelligent Workplace
IoT will create new workforce needs. Companies will need to focus on expanded skill sets, including data science, software development, testing, and enhanced operations skills. As the workplace becomes more intelligent, innovative products and devices will help:
- Communicate seamlessly across a plethora of devices.
- Improve customer interaction through better and more interactive interfaces.
- Reduce operating costs.
- Optimize outcomes and productivity.
- Enhance workplace safety and prevent accidents.
- Minimize failures during operation.
- Shrink decision-making time during critical situations.
An infographic by David Wong, featured in this Business Insider article, is an apt description of how an IOT-enabled workplace would look like in future. Greater cost savings, increased energy efficiency, new revenue streams, and better inventory management, are just a few of the changes expected.
Devices integrated with augmented reality have entered the enterprise and they are playing a major role in increasing the efficiency of the deskless and hands-free workers. According to a Gartner report, smartglass, such as Google Glass, could be responsible for an added profit of more than $1 billion per year by 2017. If this is where things are headed, IoT will soon become an enterprise reality.
I believe for a workplace undergoing the transformations brought by big data, mobility, and the cloud, IoT is simply the next step in a very natural evolution.
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This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. For more on these topics, visit Dell’s thought leadership site Power More. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.