The Internet of Things (IoT) is still in its early, formative stages – over here we have a wired thermometer to track the history of your temperature measurements, over there we have a citywide smart parking system that can tell you where the closest empty parking space is. In this embryonic stage, IoT implementations have often been one-off instances of gathering information from a device and the storage and/or sharing of that information, with or without additional analytics.
Now let’s fast forward maybe five years. My living room in that future will be one in which I interact with my various home devices and the internet primarily through voice and gesture, and analytics and interconnectedness means that my objects will be making optimized recommendations to me about what to do. My thermometer will not only capture the record of the temperature readings I’ve taken of each family member, but will link to knowledge of medical diagnoses in my neighborhood so that if my son’s temperature remains above a certain level over a certain number of hours, my thermometer can tell me that it’s time to take him to the doctor because there’s been a lot of flu diagnoses in my area recently. Likewise,my city’s smart parking system will be integrated with my car’s own navigation system, so that when I reach my destination, I can say out loud in my car, “Find closest parking space,” and the city will identify and reserve me an appropriate spot to which my in-car navigation takes me directly. Both scenarios are pretty cool, and totally possible in the near future.
There are only two differences between these hyperconnected, seamless scenarios and the IoT today: the number of partnerships involved and the level of integration. For the fever scenario, we’ve added today’s existing smart thermometer temperature tracking to an external knowledge source about local illness levels, which may come from a local health care provider, or maybe from a search engine that supplies the number of times various illnesses are being asked about in my area. The smart parking scenario envisions deep collaboration and real-time information flows among my in-car navigation system, my city’s centralized smart parking system, and parking garages themselves, which are likely to be privately owned, plus a natural language voice interface in my car. Okay, maybe this parking scenario will take more than five years to implement.
But here’s the point – the simple and straightforward single object, single data point IoT implementations of today are going to be the foundations of the hyperconnected, partnership-driven world of the very near future.
The takeaway? Double down on those IoT implementations, because they’re not just an end in themselves, they’re your gateway to a phenomenal new world of chargeable service opportunities. And for each single-object IoT implementation you’re building now, think about what data from which other external entities would be the best to bump your current IoT projects up to whole new levels of value, revelation and revenue. Then pick up the phone and start making partnership agreements with some of those entities right now. There’s no time like the present, and “five years from now” will turn into “today” before you know it.
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