CIO Dashboard: The Internet of Things Means Business

InsightaaS: CIO Dashboard is a blog run by PwC principal Chris Curran. In this post, he hones in on the “Internet of Business Things” – sensors mapped to process actions, used to drive analytics that will allow businesses to “fine-tune their operations like never before.” Curran points out that this kind of approach will create a host of new challenges, ranging from architecture (where do you store and crunch data?) to management (how do you “act based on what you learn”?). He closes by urging companies to experiment with instrumentation, to understand how data from instruments will be used within the organization.

According to a survey by the research arm of The Economist, businesses are slightly more likely to be using the Internet of Things for internal operations and processes than in external products or services. It’s important to draw a distinction between forward-facing IoT and what I call the Internet of Business Things (IoBT). The knowledge, skills and alliances it will take to instrument the business are different than outfitting consumer products with connected technology.

The IoBT is adding sensors to people, places, processes and products across the value chain to capture and analyze information to advance the goals of the organization. By mapping different sensor outputs to enterprise events, companies can take “business activity fingerprints.” These data-driven, digital impressions will enable companies to match actual sensor outputs with pre-tested business scenarios to prioritize and direct resources, improve workplace safety, reduce wasted effort, streamline product and people flows, strengthen relationships with customers and increase revenue.

We’re already seeing companies use sensors to track the movement of customers and the employees who interact with them. Sensors are determining inventory levels so businesses can replenish supplies on the fly. Machines are being developed to detect when an employee isn’t properly trained and shut down in response. Businesses are even embedding sensors into the ID badges of employees to study the dynamics of their interactions to build better teams…

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