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Posted By Barb EdsonGeneral Manager, Marketing and Business Development
People are talking more and more about the Internet of Things, but it surprises me how much of the discussion is still coming from a future-focused perspective. While it’s always fun to imagine the future, the Internet of Things is already here today, and we don’t have to rely on our imaginations to see what it can do. It’s not some futuristic trend, but a real-world technology paradigm that is making a difference to businesses right now.
As the tech world continues to focus on the Internet of Things, you’ll keep seeing discussions of billions of devices and vast volumes of data. That can feel overwhelming, but in practical terms, most of us really aren’t looking at billions of devices. You should be focused on the devices within your organization: at a few hundred point-of-sale terminals across your large retail operation, or dozens of digital scales in one store or factory that you choose to start with, or possibly just at a small handful of smartphones in your biggest department. What matters is what you’re working with right now; this is about the Internet of Your Things.
Of course, not every business has figured out a strategy to take advantage of the Internet of Things yet, but that’s a right-now thing too: It’s easy to get started. You can just make a few key improvements within your organization and start seeing big impact. You don’t have to make overwhelming changes or overhaul your technology systems. The Internet of Things can be implemented one device at a time; to make it even easier, you probably already have some of those devices in place in the form of barcode scanners, point-of-sale devices, employee access badges or security cameras.
What can one piece of data do for your business? How can it help you to have a clearer understanding of how many people are in your store each hour, or what the average temperature is in your largest machine room, or how long it takes to get prescriptions from your hospital pharmacy to the patients? Once you’ve identified the questions you want to answer, and the data that can help you answer them, you start to see which things can get you those answers. They may be sensors, barcode scanners, handheld point-of-sale devices, RFID tags, digital scales, or any number of other connected devices that can collect and relay data to the analytics tools that will help you find insights to move your business forward.
You can start small, building on what you already have, adding new devices and tapping into new data streams as the Internet of Your Things grows into an ever-evolving feedback loop of insight and action. Here at Microsoft, we’ve spent years creating the platforms, services, business intelligence tools and partner ecosystem that can help you harness data and transform your business. What you do next is up to you; the Internet of Your Things is as big — or small — as you want it to be, and as unique as your business.
Read more about the Internet of Your Things here.