Of course you’ve heard of the Internet of Things. Moving beyond computers and communications devices, we’ll append chips to some other high-value objects that will allow us to also receive information from and about them. That, in turn will allow us to perform some analyses to better utilize those items. Sounds useful for a few specialized industrial applications, but really, how could that affect our business? Right?

Wrong!

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a critical component of a fundamental shift in human history. Enabling the IoT means not merely appending, but embedding sensors, simple processors, and communications capabilities into an ever widening array of objects of all kinds. Doing so will provide a critical link between the digital and physical worlds. With the IoT, we’ll no longer have to capture information about physical objects, they’ll report on themselves – their location, status, condition, and environment.

Experts estimate that, by 2020, anywhere from 50 billion to 200 billion “Things” will be part of the IoT. This will mean an exponential increase in data to be analyzed. Our digital infrastructures will have to rapidly expand to accommodate this torrent of data. But, by doing so, we’ll develop integrated digital / physical ecosystems that will respond to our needs, in many cases, before we even recognize them.

And this definition of the Internet of Things is just the surface manifestation. With Cloud Computing, complex analytical processes can happen in the Cloud – not within the “Thing” itself. 3D Printing will enable us to manufacture IoT enabled objects and repair, replicate, or replace them quickly and at low cost. And Intelligent Agent technologies will manage the distribution, deployment, and utilization of those objects far faster and more efficiently than our current systems and processes could ever hope to.

The Internet of Things will impact every industry from manufacturing to retail, from healthcare to financial services, and from service industries to governments and not for profits. If your organization makes, distributes, buys, sells or uses tangible objects of any kind, you’ll be part of the Internet of Things.

Technology Futurist Jack Shaw has been helping people and organizations understand and plan for the Internet of Things and the broader ecosystems it helps to compose for years. Watch and listen as he helps your team understand the implications for your business and industry, and as he helps you to accelerate the strategic planning process you’ll need to gain the maximum benefits from the Internet of Things going forward.

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