Even if the Internet of Things is still a rather remote possibility, in the next couple of years it’s predicted to invade our daily lives like no other technology before. The IoT is expected to change every single aspect of business, ranging from consumer relations to employee productivity. It will impact the economy at large by granting us access to new solutions, such as precise geo-location or remote mobile device management.
Michael Porter, an economist from Harvard, believes that the Internet of Things is the answer to a lag in enterprise innovation. But how will it translate into the daily lives of employees around the globe? Here are 6 ways in which the Internet of Things will make us more productive by helping to save time on more activities than ever.
But first, what exactly is the IoT?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is basically a network of smart, connected objects. Still, many people find the idea hard to understand – and that’s perhaps because the name itself conveys very little meaning. The internet stands for the mechanism for communication – in this context, we’re talking about objects transmitting information.
Things are nothing else than objects which can connect to the web. They’re able to generate and send lots of valuable data to help companies assess anything from customer preferences to servicing requirements of objects. In the Internet of Things, it will be things, not people, to generate a constant stream of data, which will be then sent to a server and analyzed by appropriate tools with specific goals in mind.
But how will such objects affect our productivity? Here are 6 key ways in which the Internet of Things will invade our daily lives and revolutionize our methodologies in areas ranging from project development to team management and marketing.
- More data than ever
If every object that surrounds us will be able to generate data, you can only imagine how much data will be floating in the air every second. It’s clear that enterprises will need to develop new strategies to deal with this surge of information. That’s why it’s likely that they’ll enforce new industry standards to help managers and employees to adjust to new forms of data intelligence. The daily reality of data analysts and architects will change radically.
Regular employees will possess much wider knowledge about data analysis tools – with so much data, every level of an enterprise will require new devices to help them make sense of the information, be it for the purpose of analyzing consumer relations or workforce trends.
This also means that supervisors will be able to monitor and analyze web habits of their teams. Seeing the way in which employees use technologies and smart objects will help managers to understand and modify work environments to be even more efficient and help employees improve their productivity.
And this productivity will translate to the enterprise level – with constant access to heaps of data, companies will be able to tailor their products to perfectly match consumer needs and trends, as well as the internal life-cycle of the product.
- Daily commute revolutionized
With remote work on the rise, many employers realize that commuting involves a great loss of resources. On the employee level, commuting seriously hurts productivity – morning traffic jams or being squeezed like a sardine on the subway does get on our nerves.
The Internet of Things is predicted to help us in daily commute through an intricate system of mobile devices, cars and road systems which will all be connected to each other and help professionals reduce travel time. Every single element of the street will be integrated into a whole. Sensors in stoplights will analyze traffic patterns and adjust their operation to minimize traffic jams. This will mean that getting to work will be faster and running errands more efficient than ever.
Car companies are already deploying such solutions, and you’ll see them grow to popularity within the next few years. AT&T joined manufacturers like GM and BMW in revolutionizing the connectivity of cars. Driving to work, the employee of the near future will have access to information ranging from real-time diagnostics to traffic information.
- Improved time management
The IoT will also help us to get the most from our time by educating our mobile devices and offering us the possibility of controlling various things in our lives in remote. Devices will learn what works for employees and help them save time – for instance, dedicated geo-location systems which will help us in daily commute or reaching a place we’ve never been to.
Our smartphones will constantly interact with the surroundings. And those, enriched with invisible sensors, will provide our mobile devices with heaps of valuable information and automatize processes to avoid losing time on manual access.
Imagine the following situation. You’re rushing in the morning and you still need your daily dose of caffeine. You walk past the door of the cafe and the barista is instantly alerted about your order history and most common orders. All you’ll need to do is confirm the order and quickly pay for it with your smartphone. As you can imagine, this will limit the hustle of the morning rush, helping you to be more focused once you reach your desk.
- Remote mobile device management (MDM)
This is an IoT powered technology expected to bring lots of benefits to IT departments. In the near future, IT managers will not only be able to remotely control desktop and mobile devices, but also other connected objects. Remote-access technologies will help executives to gain control over smartphones and tablets, and manage them in remote – including devices like Android cameras and set-top boxes.
If they need to pass key information to other team members, managers won’t need to wait until the device users read the message and respond to it. But remote MDM will also help employees – especially in collaboration, where their devices will communicate automatically, helping workers to establish stronger collaboration practices. Platforms for remote control of IoT devices will revolutionize every aspect of a digital workplace.
- Easier adaptation to new working standards
This is a key benefit of the IoT technologies. With every comfort in our professional lives, the IoT will inspire profound changes in every industry. Some experts are convinced that literally every single sector will undergo the process of serious transformation as a result of introducing IoT technologies. These industry disruptions will present new challenges to employees, who will need to adapt to new work environments and business practice standards. But the IoT will render the transition easier once employees choose to embrace it.
A good example of a large-scale disruption similar to what we’re facing with a widespread adoption of IoT technologies is what happened to movie rental business. Once Netflix got popular, Blockbuster simply couldn’t compete. But we all gained on it – the web helped providers in improving the logistics of film rental, removing the late fees consumers hated so much. The cost of rental is lower and the choice is much broader. Eventually, this disruption proved to be a productive industry change – and so will be the IoT, especially once we all adapt and learn how to make the most from it.
- Geo-location data at our fingertips
Since the IoT is practically based on location functionalities, you can only imagine in what ways it will make office life much more productive. To put it simply, location tracking will be a piece of cake with IoT technologies – smart objects and devices will all be geo-tagged, saving employees lots of time on locating them. Enterprises will, on the other hand, save lots of money by reducing the loss rate.
With IoT geo-location functionalities, enterprises will be able to track their managing inventory, locate and deploy field service staff and realize orders in record time. Every single vehicle, tool or manufacturing center will be connected to one information system, reporting on their location and making the lives of employees much easier.
What does the future hold for IoT?
A significant factor in slowing down the commercialization of IoT technologies is the problem of security. Not only is the risk higher, but protection is relatively lower – devices which could be attacked have little processing power and no anti-virus software to protect themselves from hackers. It’s one thing to hack into an intelligent fridge, but quite another when it comes to a self-driving car.
Once the security issues are solved, however, we can count on the IoT to swiftly invade our technological landscape and revolutionize our daily lives. Bringing about new ways of interacting with objects, the IoT will simply lead us to achieve higher levels of productivity.
About the author: Carol Williams is part of the team at Honeybells – a fruit shipping company from Florida. She combines her passion for everything tech- and digital-related with her love for writing.