sommai - Fotolia
This is an important question, not so much for what's happening today, but for what is to come.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is really a first-generation term referring to a hyper-connected world where people, machines and things are seamlessly intertwined on the Web and in the cloud. When that happens, the second generation will take over -- namely the Internet of Everything. In this world, not only will these elements share a common fabric for communication and collaboration technologies, but the associated data will open up new possibilities for learning, innovation and problem solving.
IoT is a lofty objective, but currently only a nominal number of machines or "things" are Web enabled. People, on the other hand, are saturated with connectivity options. But in terms of potential IoT endpoints, we are far outnumbered by devices. As such, IoT is still an early-stage idea. But with ever-improving technology, it's just a matter of time until every "thing" can be connected to this ecosystem.
For now, this means that the impact of IoT will be limited on collaboration, since this activity is primarily among people. Good teamwork depends on good communication capabilities as employees interact with each other to share ideas, understand problems and achieve business outcomes. Today's collaboration technologies can deliver these goals without an IoT overlay, but this too is a first-generation response.
A key challenge for collaboration technologies is demonstrating a tangible return on investment (ROI). As businesses get further along in their deployments, ROI will become more of a requirement. So far, collaboration vendors have focused on getting the underlying technology to work, but not so much on key performance indicators (KPIs) that can measure productivity and team performance. Ultimately, what management really wants is to streamline workflows and automate processes, and this is where collaboration intersects with IoT.
To address these outcomes, second-generation collaboration technologies will go beyond person-to-person interaction and tap into the data derived from the associated endpoints -- such as smartphones, tablets and PCs -- along with the various software applications used to collaborate. These are the machines and things that complete the IoT equation. As such, when collaboration activity can be tracked among people, machines and things, new forms of data will be created.
With the right analytics expertise, businesses will have a much easier time measuring the true value of collaboration.
Do you have a question for Jon Arnold or any of our other experts? Ask your enterprise-specific questions today! (All questions are treated anonymously.)
Test your knowledge of impact of IoT on businesses
Cisco retools collaboration strategy for the Internet of Things
Using the Internet of Things for a competitive advantage
Dig Deeper on Internet of Things (IoT) Strategy
Related Q&A from Jon Arnold
Building a business case for speech technology requires an understanding of the current use cases. Our expert explains what to look for when building... Continue Reading
Speech technology applications aren't confined to contact centers. Our expert explains the use cases for the technology, including personal digital ... Continue Reading
Team collaboration can be deployed as part of an integrated offering or as a separate app. Our expert explains why IT may not have much control over ... Continue Reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.