How the Internet of Things Will Impact Our Productivity

September 5, 2015

6:00 pm

The Internet of Things is a phenomenon many people talk about, but most hardly understand its nature and its implications on the future of our daily lives – including our economic productivity. According to a Harvard economist, Michael Porter, the Internet of Things has the potential to revitalize the sector of innovation and improve the efficiency of individual companies in driving the market towards an even more pronounced emphasis on innovation.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a phrase that many experts think doesn’t accurately capture the idea behind the increasing number of smart, connected objects or emphasize the new opportunities they can represent. Many people find the Internet of Things hard to understand in itself.

The Internet part of the equation serves as a mechanism for communication, which in the sense of objects means transmitting information. The other part of the equation – things – refer to a growing number of smart, connected objects that fundamentally change the nature of things as we’re used to understand them.

Thanks to their connectivity, such things have expanded capabilities and generate data that will be valuable for companies to get a full picture of how a specific product is being used by consumers and what could make it even more relevant and valuable in their lives. What will be the consequences of a widespread use of such smart, connected objects?

How will the Internet of Things impact our productivity?

Porter is especially noted for his work on competition. His analyses have been extensively covered by the media – he famously claimed that the existing IT and Internet-driven innovation have already played themselves out and what we’ve been enjoying for the last 10 or 15 years was a “pretty dismal” economy. Things are about to change, however, with the arrival of the Internet of Things, which he expects to deliver “tremendous” efficiency gains.

Porter claims that the Internet of Things will help individual companies to limit the waste factor in global economies in more effective ways. He sees the Internet of Things as offering a “bright era” for the future.

In general, products which are connected to the web can communicate how they’re being used or their current status. In the near future, Porter predicts that this data will be used to schedule maintenance when it’s really needed, not against some set of inefficient schedules as it’s done today.

Usage data, on the other hand, will feed back into predictive analytics which will be used to reduce failures, as well as product design. In sum, all those functionalities will improve the efficiency of our products and increase their value, inspiring a surge of productivity and innovation.

Porter expects IoT to change how manufacturers and service companies interact with customers as well. Today, a business sells a product to a customer and expects them to reach out in case something goes wrong – hence our reliance on massive call centers and developed customer service departments. The IoT is clearly about to change this fact – products will be directly connected to a service assessing product condition before taking relevant action.

The Internet of Things in the Future

One of the most serious concerns about the Internet of Things is its security – mostly because there exist some real reasons one should consider before delving into the technology. First of all, there’s definitely more at stake now – imagine a person who manages to hack into the operating system on an automatic car driving in the city.

Then there are concerns about the possible ease with which such devices can be attacked – many have neither the processing power nor requisite pieces like anti-virus software to protect themselves. Developers of the technology claim security to be their top priority for the future of IoT – it’s easily the biggest challenge it the field.

Still, just like Porter, most experts agree that the future of the Internet of Things looks bright. The new technology will bring about a host of new products, new businesses and even new ways of thinking about objects.

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Isabel Wiliams is an accomplished businesswoman and a Project Manager at She combines a deep background in Internet Science with intense expertise in New Technologies. She is a seasoned educator lecturing about leveraging the potential of the Internet for professional development.

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