The Internet of Things (IoT) is super exciting and about to transform just about everything - business, manufacturing, service, quality of life, research and development....everything. That's because globally smart connected devices will not only create a world of smart physical objects, but also a new access point of intelligence into how those objects are used. And when they need service, who buys and uses them, information about the product life cycle, supply chain management, and much more.
When Teri Thompson and I wrote our book on the power of social media, we talked about the Chaos Theory, which states that little changes can have big impacts. We were referring to the rapid adoption of Twitter and other social platforms and how what may appear random really has structure and meaning - like a flock of birds. We watched 1 Tweet have a massive effect on Red-Cross fundraising for the Haiti earthquake and what appeared 'random' had a stunning - and lasting effect - on disaster management, non-profit fundraising, and much more.
A few short years later and we're witnessing a new example of (smart) little things having big impact. Stephan Ferber puts it this way in the Harvard Business Review: "If you are not familiar with the term, the Internet of Things refers to a dramatic development in the internet's function: the fact that, even more than among people, it now enables communication among physical objects. By 2015, according to my own firm's projections, not only will 75 percent of the world's population have access to the internet. So will some six billion devices. The fact that there will be a global system of interconnected computer networks, sensors, actuators, and devices all using the internet protocol holds so much potential to change our lives that it is often referred to as the internet's next generation."
The collision of big data and machine-to-machine connected information - all in the cloud - will be explosive. Add to that a layer of billions of consumers with smartphones on social networks and WOW! - just wow.
Companies are just beginning to think about what this is going to mean to their industry - from automotive, to retail, to heavy equipment, to health and pharma, to consumer electronics, to home security - the list is endless. My smart home will know everything about me and will serve me in ways I can't even imagine now. My car will communicate with the manufacturer to schedule service, and even my smart toothbrush will collect data about me and my health.
Just imagine the smart and connected hospital bed that takes vital signs regularly and communicates via big data systems to healthcare providers about your elderly mom's condition - it can even text or Tweet you that everything's ok. And when she comes home, her pill bottle will know if she's in compliance with her medical procedures.
Chaos? No, highly promising and intriguing. We're just at the beginning of a new butterfly effect.
Beverly Macy is the CEO of Gravity Summit LLC and the co-Author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. She teaches Executive Global Marketing and Branding and Social Media Marketing at UCLA Extension and speaks extensively on the subject of disruptive technology and social business. Email her at email@example.com