Is Your Business Ready for the Internet of Things?

Is Your Business Ready for the Internet of Things?

Internet of Things (IoT): bringing together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before-turning information into actions that create new capabilities, richer experiences and unprecedented economic opportunity for businesses, individuals and countries.—Cisco

The statistics are everywhere. More people than ever are connecting with your business first online…not with flyers, cards or billboards, but with clicks, impressions and connections.

But the “Internet of Things” goes beyond someone simply clicking on one of your Google Ads. Here’s what some of our own experts have to say on the topic:

What’s your personal definition/explanation of IoT?

Matt McComb, Motion Graphics Specialist: Products and consumers are becoming an integrated network of connectivity and productivity.

Lucas Jackson, Technology Manager: The IoT concept brings connectivity to devices and sensors for information gathering, analytics, automation and control. It’s where the rubber meets the road for the cloud.

Geoff Karcher, President: Every communication you see will become a touch point to interact with the web.

Sarah J. Storer, Senior Content Marketing Strategist: The connectivity of everything in our lives and communities…from our wearables to our cities and everything in between.

What, in your opinion, is the biggest impact IoT will have on business in general?

Matt: We have to think about marketing strategy much differently. The internet is not a portal for information, but for cross-connectivity. We have to ask, “How can we use the Net to constantly provide real-time information, and how can that information be used as a tool?”

We also have to stop thinking of the internet as a portal that you go to and then turn off. It’s becoming more of a personal music playlist that’s always playing in the background and you choose when to listen, what to listen to, and how loud you want it to be.

Geoff: There will be a built-in expectation that [businesses] can deliver the right content, to the right format/device on a constantly immediate basis. A true commitment to content will continue to increase in importance. Those that commit to it will thrive.

Lucas: IoT gives businesses the ability to collect data from systems. That data can be analyzed in the cloud, and it can offer better insight into systems and processes.  

Sarah: It’s going to make some aspects of business planning look like a slow, sad dinosaur. IoT will allow savvy businesses to make nimble, quick decisions based on real-time data for the things their customers need or want right then, in that moment. It will also allow businesses access to much more detailed data that will help them pinpoint customization in new and more innovative ways than ever before.

What, in your opinion, is the number one thing businesses should do to prepare for IoT?

Geoff: Be prepared to be transparent.

Lucas: Efficiencies. Businesses need to embrace connected devices and cloud analytics (the two really go hand-in-hand) to gain insight into systems and processes. 

Sarah: IoT means that every business will become a technology company as well as whatever actual business they are in, so the first thing to do to prepare is to begin to see your entire business and your customers as interconnected. The detailed data that IoT will provide will show, in real time, that there is truly a “butterfly” effect when even the smallest detail in your company changes.

Matt: IoT is a huge opportunity for community building. The trend of marketing is already going this way – so businesses should focus even less on direct sales and more community building.

Consumers are armed with as much information as they want. They see what that community says about the products they are interested in, and less of what the businesses are saying about their own products. There is still a place for features and benefits (shiny things still get people excited), but transparency, authenticity and community building will be the next marketing revolution.

Final Thoughts?

Geoff: The technology and devices will be capable of delivering IoT before businesses are ready to feed it with the right kind of content. That will create an opportunity for forward-thinking businesses to get ahead of the pack. Those that are able to commit to the content, be transparent and are willing to experiment will be the ones that set the standard, and hopefully earn a lot of money doing so.

Lucas: Anyone who says IoT is only for home automation, or tries to say the two are synonymous needs kicked. Home automation is a result of IoT.

The Internet of Things is really where cloud services are able to integrate in things around us. A lot of the benefit of IoT is being able to process information that would have normally gone uncollected. 

Also, there are "infrastructure things" that need to be examined when thinking of IoT. There’s going to be a greater demand for IP addresses, and we’re running out so, IPv6 needs to be taken seriously. 

Sarah: It’s a new and exciting time that will seem daunting or take effort to understand and adopt for a lot of older, more established businesses. But we have to remember that we now have an entire generation that doesn’t remember a world without the internet. As a result, they have completely different expectations of businesses, and will quickly funnel their dollars to the businesses that seamlessly communicate and sell to them where they are and how they understand it.

Learn more about how your business can better communicate with your customers online. Contact The Karcher Group today.

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