Mobile’s initial prospect was about using tech to communicate with people anywhere and everywhere. Now, we are connecting with things and things are connecting with us. This is Internet of Things (IoT). A couple of years ago the future was about mobile applications. Today the future is about mobile applications integrating with “things”.
IoT is machine to machine communication
Imagine your alarm clock automatically ringing later because the train you take to work has been delayed, or locking the door from a mobile app after you’ve already left home. IoT is changing the type of products and services brands are offering, and it’s giving the mobile application landscape more value.
A complete transformation for businesses
For example, people wouldn’t just be selling an electric toothbrush, people would also be selling an extended service- a mobile app that can monitor your toothbrushing behaviour. My Fitbit One™ tracker monitors my sleep, how many steps I have taken, etc. You don’t just buy the device; you buy the service app that comes with it. This is IoT, and it’s going to change the way we do business. It’ll change the way we package physical products, with a service add-on.
New efficiency for enterprise mobility
Processes will be more effective thanks to the ability to have the right data in the right place at the right time. We will be able to use mobile devices to streamline a large amount of real-time info. Retailers, for example, can greatly benefit from enterprise apps such as FedEx’s Senseaware, which tracks shipments’ location, temperature, light exposure, humidity, and barometric pressure. In the event any sensitive items are damaged or spoiled, immediate action can be taken. Furthermore, many retailers don’t have a proper inventory system, but with the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, IoT mobile implementation, workers can track their items right from a smartphone. This is only one example out of many in which IoT can greatly contribute to enterprise mobility.
IoT will become a new standard of life – and the new direction for mobile apps
Thanks to mobile apps this data is becoming more relevant because it’s so easy to obtain. Why use so many separate devices when you can just use apps with standard APIs (application programming interfaces tell software components how to interact with each other) that different developers can connect through? It’s a great opportunity for brands to deliver new products or services to enhance what they are already offering. There are, however, some barriers.
- Privacy: If it’s trackable, it’s hackable. What happens if your car’s system is hijacked whilst driving? Information can be used for good and bad, so implementing the right security technology is key when dealing with so much data. It’s a complex issue; for example, on one hand we all want ads that are relevant to us, but on the other hand we don’t want to share with brands every single thing about us because we find it’s very intrusive. The key is giving users choice: By using FitBit people make a conscious choice; they love this and even more people will want to analyze themselves. You don’t need to be a tech nerd to want these kinds of things.
- Managing big data: It’s one of the biggest challenges, having servers and tools analyzing real time data. Finding correlations between behaviors is not simple and the users will need help visualizing data in the right ways.
The big idea is that IoT uses technology to improve the quality of life for human beings by improving the services provided, or making work easier. It gives you much more accurate data and when integrated with mobility, which is context smart, you get a win-win situation. You can optimize and make better decisions because data will be combined for a more accurate analysis on what you need. The technology is there for us to use if we want to.
Sylvia Lorente, Head of Account Management, Mobile App Solutions Division
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Image courtesy: Sogeti