As I speak with customers and partners around the country I constantly ask the question, “How will the Internet of Things (IoT) impact your ability to provide value added services to your customers??
The resounding response I get is “..the Internet of what? Or “… The internet of WHAT things?”
The reality is the use of publicly available information in the process of proactively contacting our customers is still in its infancy. Yet we are asking it, neigh expecting it to grow up.. .AND FAST as the need for more and more data has become a mantra to live by (or with).
No sooner were pagers all the rage they were replaced with text based cell phones. Now we have smart phones that could have launched a space ship 30 yrs ago in the pocket of our children and the comings and goings of my pet beagle being captured for the world to be interested in.
While technology waves come and go, the wave on the not too distant horizon (perhaps even here today), is the advent of smart DEVICES (“things” – glasses, cars, coffee cups, soda cans, all communicating their status to the world – aka “the Internet of Things”). Of course I use the term “device” loosely as what once WAS a unique device on my belt buzzing with a phone number to dial the next time I got to a phone booth (Google it if you must), now is a watch that is watching me watch you while being used to electronically pay for the $4 cup of coffee we are drinking while we are 2000 (or 2) miles apart. While I’m no pre–Orwellian prognosticator nor did I particularly like the movie Minority Report, the reality is, everything we do, everywhere we go, most of the people we talk to and every time my dog goes in for grooming, is being tracked in some device, by some person, and in some way.
Now I have no problem with people knowing about my comings and goings (for the most part). While I don’t tend to post them very much, its clear my local, regional and social networks all of which use to be known as my “friends” ( tho I admit “network” sounds cooler) are never too far away and make me feel like I am always connected to them…. Not a bad concept (in theory).
I do have a problem however with HOW my data is used and want to be sure those who use it do so with appropriate cause, security and value added reason. (aka …”please do not cold call me 20 times asking my name and my interests when you (should) already know.”).
You’ll see me post, prognosticate, and sometimes just sit on my proverbial rock in thought on the topic of the value of data – where it comes from, who gathers it, who uses it, etc. Specifically challenging if only myself to change the paradigm of storing more data for the sake of storing more data (no offense HP, Nimble, EMC, IBM, ….). Simply, don’t just keep throwing more disk space at the nature, amount and size of your data. Or at least don’t worry about where its coming from. That answer has already been demonstrated – EVERYWHERE.
I would propose to the casual reader of this muse to focus more on the answers that drive your customers, your people, your culture and your business (yes, in that order)
Examples might include:
* Do you know the problem you are trying to solve? Can you measure the results?
* What are your customers saying? If they aren’t saying it to you, who are they saying it to?
* Who addresses the issues now? Today’s competitors are tomorrows partners, is YOUR network prepared to support your needs?
* Are you using the data you have now to its full potential? How do you know?
* Where would I turn to get the additional data I need to answer the question? Its not just a “make vs buy” decision any more.
Developing a culture based on the data you have will free you to act when there is not enough. Worry about what additional data you need when you know you need it. It will be there from every corner of the earth either way.