Prepare Your Business for the Internet of Things
There's no doubt that the Internet of Things (IoT) will be an incredibly big market. The opportunities and threats presented by this growing market will be immense. But there's no reason to shy away from or be scared of it.
There are a few reasons why the IoT is getting so much attention by the business press. First, the potential benefits are staggering. Imagine a world in which many of our home appliances, clothes, and cars are digitally connected. The ability of all of these things to capture, track, and share behavioral data and someday facilitate purchases is mind-boggling for businesses, even overwhelming when we think about it in such broad terms. But IoT enthusiasts are describing the vast benefits of this market to get our attention. And they’re largely succeeding because, let’s face it, the IoT presents a lot of opportunities.
Conversely, it also presents a lot of threats. As we become more dependent on technology for entertainment, convenience, safety, health, and comfort, we become more vulnerable to it. Implanted medical devices, automobiles, homes, and personal and corporate finances are increasingly connecting to the Internet. Any of these can be hacked, as nothing is always 100 percent secure. As a result, the IoT could create a hacker’s paradise, or worse, a new playground for terrorists.
While the opportunities and potential threats of the IoT are equally staggering, we shouldn’t be intimidated by them. It might help to put things in perspective.
First, it's important to realize, the IoT market didn't just pop up out of nowhere. Like Big Data, which is unstructured data from a variety of sources (e.g., email, phone, and the Web), the Internet of Things existed before the name became popular. For example, smartphones and tablets are part of the IoT market.
If you are worried about how the Internet of Things could affect your business, don't think about the totality of the IoT market. Instead, narrow your focus to your market, your business, your partners, and your customers—things you already know about and are likely an expert in. What you'll find is that the IoT is much like what e-business was to businesses 15 years ago. Back then, business professionals were also overwhelmed by the opportunities and threats of e-business. But as they became more comfortable with the concept and how it applied to their organizations, it was accepted and fully absorbed by their businesses.
For those who are ready to take the plunge into the IoT market, we have some good advice for you in our feature story "The 3 Ds of the Internet of Things" , by Associate Editor Maria Minsker. It also wouldn’t hurt to learn what security experts suggest is the best way to protect your company and customer data; check out the feature "In Data Security, It’s a Numbers Game", by News Editor Leonard Klie.
These stories suggest that, like any new market, you shouldn't hide from innovation; you should embrace it, but proceed with caution.
The Internet of Things will undoubtedly be one of the hot topics at our CRM Evolution conference (August 17–19) at the New York Marriott Marquis. Here, you can join CRM analysts, consultants, vendors, and peers to learn how to take your CRM efforts to the next level. If you register by July 17, you can receive a $100 discount off the full conference price or the All Access pass to the CRM Evolution, Customer Service Experience, and SpeechTEK conferences. I hope to see you there.
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