Companies around the world could generate $1.2 trillion in net profits by the end of 2013 based on their current Internet of Everything (IoE) capabilities, according to a new Cisco Systems study. Unfortunately, $544 billion of that will go unclaimed.
In a whitepaper and a recent webinar, Cisco explained why organizations won’t capture more money—and what IT decision makers should do so their enterprises can experience the full benefits of IoE.
Just in case you missed it, IoE is Cisco’s term for a completely connected world, where all sorts of devices communicate with each other. The outcome is that organizations can access information more quickly and make decisions faster than ever. IoE encompasses not only machine-to-machine connectivity, but also people-to-people and machine-to-people links.
Organizations aren’t making full use of their existing IoE capabilities, Cisco says. The company recommends two main remedies for this situation: businesses should put people at the heart of IoE pursuits and pinpoint specific IoE opportunities.
Get people involved
During Cisco’s webinar, Jeff Hagins, CTO of SmartThings, gave a good example of IoE successes from his own life. He pointed out that many of the systems in his house are linked to movement sensors. When his family goes to bed at night, the sensors detect the resulting stillness and turn off various systems, such as the lights on the main floor.
He said retailers could use this sort of technology in their stores—and it isn’t difficult to imagine that. Sensors could detect when movement has stopped, cross-reference the lack of activity with the time of day and shut off the lights when the store is closed. Sensor data could also activate the alarm system and trigger the cash registers to tally and transmit the day’s financial details to the retailer’s head office.
Pinpoint IoE opportunities
Bruno Magrani is the coordinator of the Brazilian Observatory of Digital Policy, which oversees that country’s electronic infrastructure planning processes. In Cisco’s webinar, he explained how Brazil might capitalize on IoE. Magrani said the vast majority of Brazil’s exports come from the agribusiness sector. If Brazil concentrated its IoE efforts to support that area, the country could help reduce costs and improve margins for many Brazilian businesses. It’s all about connecting IoE to a specific need or problem. Doing so, organizations have a better chance of seeing significant returns on their IoE investments.
Given its position as a network equipment vendor, Cisco might have been forgiven if it had said the most important piece of IoE is the network. But in fact, the company says technology investments are not as important as four other factors:
- enabling employees to contribute and collaborate
- using data to achieve objectives
- developing employee talent
- tracking progress towards specific goals
The combined force of these activities makes IoE a powerful profit generator for corporations. Unless they pull those pieces together, however, companies likely will fail to realize all the benefits of IoE.