The Internet of Things and Your Business

 What comes to mind when you think of “connectivity”? Computers and people communicating with each other is a likely answer. But what about other “things,” such as cars, household appliances, and tools? When you start thinking about how objects can be connected to you, to the Internet, and to one another, the possibilities and opportunities for businesses to capitalize on can be boundless.

The “Internet of Things,” is poised to be the next big thing for business because when it comes to “things” connecting to your business and your network, the opportunities are endless. Here’s a look at why:

Conversing with objects: “Robots are entering our homes in subtle ways, through countertop appliances, hand-held tools and wearable gadgets that display specialized and isolated robotic behaviors,” Carla Diana, a product designer and creative consultant, writes in The New York Times. “As products become smarter, their behaviors will mean they essentially have continuing conversations with us, whether they include verbal exchanges or not.”

Bringing hockey goal lights home: Budweiser Canada introduced to viewers a red goal light for the home that’s synced with news of your favorite team. An article in Wired describes it thusly: “The Budweiser Red Light works by connecting to your Wi-Fi network. After configuring the device with an Android or iPhone app to tell it what teams you are rooting for, it sits sleeping in your rec room. When a game is on, it wakes up and starts listening over the network for a score. When the puck goes in the net, the light goes crazy.”

Linking hardware and software: “The reality of the Internet of Things coming to fruition brings with it perhaps one of the most interesting developments: the role of software,” Ben Bajarin writes in Time. “What becomes increasingly evident with all the connected devices I saw and played with at (the International Consumer Electronics Show) was that nearly all of them were made significantly more usable and valuable through the use of companion apps for smartphones or tablets.”

Thinking about things differently: In the Internet of Things, the players aren’t always the usual suspects. Will.i.am, part of the musical group Black Eyed Peas, has taken on the topic as a Director of Creative Innovation for Intel: “Everywhere that we go in the world, the things that we come across aren’t intelligent,” he says. “Like this wall that I’m looking at, it’s just separating the room from the other side. In actuality, that wall should be intelligent. … That’s why when you go into a house, you need to put a TV on it, instead of the wall being the display system.”

Planning for the Internet of Everything: Cisco estimates that more than 1.5 trillion existing devices have the potential to be connected to the Internet. But “without the connection between things, arguably their value is significantly diminished,” Dave Evans, Cisco’s chief futurist, tells InformationWeek. And humans are a part of the change: “We — people — will become nodes on the network.”

 How is your organization making its mark in the “Internet of Things?” In what other ways do you see the “Internet of Things” affecting your business?

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