According to the report published by Cisco in 2008 the number of devices connected to the internet exceeded the number of people in the world. The number of devices that are connected to the internet will keep rising. This growth is not just because of computers and smartphones: with the help of sensors every physical item on this planet can be connected to the net. This phenomenon called Internet of Things will change our society as much as the industrial revolution once did.
The Internet of Things will revolutionize many industries. Sensors, big data, robotization and hyperconnected systems will change the ways we have done business in the past. When for example locks and keys become digital services instead of physical items, the locks manufacturers will have to become experts in online services.
The companies of today will have to be able to reshape their businesses or they will have to step aside. The five things listed below will change the future of business. Read carefully.
1. Digital and physical worlds will collide
The number of devices produced for using the Internet won’t grow alone. In the future the digital world and the physical world will become one. Many physical items are already shared online: rides are shared with car sharing service Uber and houses with Airbnb. This means that the Internet of Things won’t affect only tech-industries but all businesses. For example the music industry hardly uses physical recordings anymore because producing digital content has proved to be more cost-effective.
2. Data is capital
There is an ever-growing amount of accessible data and information in this world. The ones who can collect, manage and handle this data in a meaningful way, will hold the power in the future. The ability to use big data enables solutions for complex problems and fosters understanding of new complex systems.
3. Ownership will lose its importance
Tangible objects will become more self-aware when they collect data and react to the changes of the environment. That enables new business models that are not based on ownership. Instead of paying for owning things, we will be paying for the right to use certain things. In the so called mobility as a service model the users pay a monthly fee which allows them to use taxis, Ubers, buses and other forms of transportation. The user will just have to tell the application where he wants to travel. Owning a car is not necessary.
4. Routine-jobs will disappear
Because of automatisation and digitalisation millions of people will lose their jobs in the manufacturing, farming and service sector. The Research Institute of Finnish Economy ETLA forecasts that in 20 years time there will no jobs for shop assistants, secretaries or accountants.
The need for routine work will decrease in the future but the people working in shops and offices are still needed for tasks that require creativity and problem-solving skills. People will have to be able to identify their human capabilities and develop new skills.
5. Objects will be their own source of energy
The development of the Internet of Things is only possible when the sensors attached to various physical world objects will be able to harvest energy from their environment. In the future a physical world object will be able to harvest energy from light, motion and warmth surrounding it, and will not need any external sources of energy. This will revolutionize the energy market, which accounts for 10% of the global economy.
The Internet of Things is no science-fiction but a phenomenon that is already here. Understanding this change is essential for future business success.