The problem: information overload
Information is power was the mantra of the last decade. Nowadays, information overload is our curse. Back in the day, newly found access to information brought about by the internet has destroyed whole industries that relied on their customers being ignorant and uninformed. We are all better off without them. Nowadays, the biggest returns belong to companies that offer us a way to clear the clutter, digest the massive volumes of information on our behalf and surface the relevant few items.
We see a similar thing going on with IoT nowadays when everyone chases a new information rush. Information now has a new name - data, and the new rush is brought about by the internet of things, just like the old rush was brought about at the time by the newly invented internet of people.
The internet of things - connecting physical things to the internet, is highly attractive for many businesses with assets and products in physical form. Connecting things to the internet means new information becomes available. And information is power. Or is it? IoT may be bound to hit a familiar hurdle - what information overload did to people, data overload risks doing to businesses.
The solution: Automation
Newly gained access to information is valuable, for both people and businesses. But only as a prerequisite for what comes next. New information is only valuable because it enables better decisions. Better decisions are what leads both people and businesses to take better actions. And it is through actions (good or bad), not information, that both people and businesses move forward (or backwards).
Businesses embarking on IoT projects face many challenges as they get swept by the new information rush. Getting the right hardware sensors, choosing the right connectivity, ticking all security boxes, and then everything to do with managing the actual sensor data - storing it, processing it, cleaning it, analysing it and visualising it. What is often overlooked is how it will be used to enable better actions. How will it be integrated in the business’ core processes and how will it serve to help as many functions in the business as possible to take better decisions and ultimately, better actions.
Looking back over the history of business growth throughout all of the last century, there is one single constant that we can identify over and over again that pushed companies to leap forward: automation. It brings about lowered costs, improved efficiency and increased profits. What are businesses doing about their newly invented internet of things? Will they fall for the information rush? Or will they cleverly realise that information is just a prerequisite and that automation is what will truly make the difference?