10 reasons businesses need a strategy for the Internet of Things now

| Chris DeMaria

The Internet of Things (IoT), one of the top enterprise trends of 2014, affects not only businesses but society at large. It is fundamentally changing the way we do business, it’s surfacing greater efficiencies, driving deeper customer connections and introducing new business models and revenue streams.

I frequently get asked about the benefits a company can realize in adopting their own IoT strategy, so we’ve developed a “top 10” list I’d like to share. Here are a few of the highlights:

1. Get a jump-start on your competition. As more enterprises adopt strategies to capitalize on IoT, it’s becoming increasingly important to do the same—like those who have grown business 70 percent after connecting a factory floor to technicians in Italy, taken thousands of cars off the streets of Paris through an intelligent car-sharing service or united disparate data streams and systems in a hospital to provide physicians anywhere, anytime access to critical patient data.

2. Get more out of your existing IT assets. You don’t need to rip and replace your IT to begin to see value from IoT. Start with your existing IT assets and build upon them. Add a few new devices, connect them to the cloud and enable them to talk to each other, to your employees and to customers. Transform your business by utilizing the data those devices generate with business intelligence tools to gain deeper insight into what your customers and employees want and need.

3. Enable small changes to make a big impact. The Internet of Your Things starts with identifying the one process, product line or location that matters most to you, then making small changes for big impact. Connect robots on the factory floor with back-end systems and create a production line with more continuous uptime. Add expiration dates to the data set for pharmacy inventory and save thousands of dollars in wasted medications. Connect devices and data streams on board your cruise ship and suddenly you’ve got a real-time, personalized on-board experience.

Recently, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about “a data culture for everyone” where computing becomes ubiquitous with devices that listen, respond, understand and act on our behalf. He referred to this as the “era of ambient intelligence,” and many of the technologies driving this evolution in computing are part of the IoT mega-trend.

In light of the vast potential for IoT discussed by Nadella and others – IDC recently predicted the number of “connected things” will reach 212 billion by the end of 2020 – it’s hard for a business to know where to begin.

At Microsoft, we believe IoT begins with your things—your existing devices and sensors, the data they produce, your cloud services and business intelligence tools. It’s not a futuristic technology trend: It’s here today, creating real, measurable value in businesses around the world.

Read the full “top 10” list here, and check out Microsoft’s vision for IoT and how it can transform enterprises across all industries.