The Internet of Things – the 4th Industrial Revolution or Hype?

July 14th 2015

A quick history lesson!

The first industrial revolution began in Britain in the late 18th century with the mechanisation of the textile industry. The second came in the early 20th century when visionaries like Henry Ford ushered in the age of mass production. The 3rd industrial revolution refers to the sweeping changes brought about by digital computing and communication technology during (and after) the latter half of the 20th century.  If you stop reading now at least you can say you brushed up on your history!

We believe the Internet of Things (Iot) represents the 4th Industrial Revolution and in the same way that the first three industrial revolutions utterly disrupted industry at the time, organisations that embrace IoT today will thrive and those that don’t will become irrelevant and unable to compete.

 

‘IoT isn’t just hype, it’s a reality’ says one of Ireland’s most prominent thinkers in this space, Philip Moynagh, VP of IoT, Intel @PhilipMoynagh

 

What is IoT and why will it disrupt your business?

A key part of what we do in ActionPoint is take the complex, break it down and say it as it is:

IoT simply describes how the many and varied  “things” that we all use at work, home and play can be connected to, controlled from and analysed via the Internet.”

 

The IoT poster boy – The Smart Fridge

A widely used IoT example that most people immediately “get” is the connected fridge. A smart fridge that:

  • Actively helps you maintain a healthy diet.
  • Automatically manages and updates your shopping list for you.
  • Suggests recipes based upon the food in the fridge, the amount of time it knows you have to prepare it and most importantly based on what it knows you like.

So ask yourself a simple question. Your local electrical retailer has two fridges on display side by side, one IoT enabled, the other not. Which fridge do you want to be the supplier of? It’s also worth asking yourself just how quickly do you think the other supplier will become irrelevant and unable to compete?

Not-Just-about-Fridges

Why now?

The perfect storm of declining sensor costs, greater, cheaper or even zero cost connectivity as well as  flexible cloud-based data services means that any business can now join the world of IoT. It is no longer the sole preserve of large multinationals with huge R&D and product development budgets. This presents both exciting times and huge opportunities for those who embrace IoT.

 

OK I get it but this doesn’t apply to my business, right?

Consumer devices such as fridges are only a small part of the IoT revolution. For example we have worked with and helped our customers connect the great products they manufacture including fuel tanks, smoke alarms, sensors or even home ovens to the internet enabling them to embrace IoT, opening new markets for them and stealing a march on their competitors.

There are any number of forecasts, @GartnerDigital reports, @CiscoUKI whitepapers etc. that highlight the enormous projected growth of IoT. All of these are consistent in projecting growth across all industries and all product types, including yours! Just look at how actively governments around the world – including our own here in Ireland through @EntIrl and @IDAIRELAND – are supporting IoT initiatives. Check out this great IoT infographic on the IDA website. The numbers are big and make no mistake, this is a revolution and like all great revolutions you have got to choose a side!

IOT---Which-Road

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